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Shri Vasudeva Upanisad
1 Om. The great sage Narada bowed down before the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Lord Vasudeva and asked: O Lord, please teach me the rules of Vaishnava tilaka. Please tell me of the substances, mantras, places, and other things in connection with it.
2 Lord Vasudeva said: To please Me, My devotees headed by the demigod Brahma, wear Vishnu-candana, which comes from the spiritual world of Vaikuntha. Because every day the gopis anoint My limbs with this candana and then again wash it away, it is also known as gopi-candana. This sacred yellow candana, which holds within it My cakra, and which is present at Cakra-tirtha, brings liberation (to they who wear it).
3 In the following prayer one praises and bows down before gopi-candana:
O gopi, O destroyer of sins, O candana manifested from Lord Vishnu's transcendental body and marked with His cakra, I offer my obeisances to you. Please give me liberation, for I am anointed with you.
4 One should go to My Ganges, take some water, bring it to My temple, and use it to make gopi-candana paste. Then, reciting either the mantras that begin `deva avantu nah' (May the Lord protect us), or the Vishnu gayatri, or my names beginning with the name Kesava, one should apply gopi-candana tilaka.
5 A brahmacari or vanaprastha should, while chanting the Vishnu-gayatri or the holy names beginning with Krishna, apply this tilaka to his forehead, chest, neck, and shoulders.
5 (A) Three times he should chant this mantra: O Lord who holds the conch shell, cakra, and club in Your hands, O infallible Lord who resides in Dvaraka, O lotus-eyed Lord Govinda, please protect me, who have surrendered to You and taken shelter of You.
5 (B) After meditating in this way, a grhastha should, while chanting the Vishnu-gayatri or the holy names beginning with Kesava, apply this tilaka with his ring finger to twelve parts of his body, beginning with his forehead.
6 A brahmacari or grhastha should, while chanting the Vishnu-gayatri or the holy names beginning with Krishna, apply this tilaka to his forehead, chest, neck and shoulders.
7 A sannyasi, while chanting the sacred syllable Om, should apply this tilaka with his forefinger to his head, forehead and chest.
8 As there are three Deities (Brahma, Vishnu and Siva), three vyahrtis (Bhuh, Bhuvah and Svah), three metres in the Vedic hymns, three sacred fires, three times, three states of being, three atmas, and three letters (a, u, and m) in the sacred syllable Om, so Vaishnava tilaka has three parts, which correspond to the letters in the sacred Om.
9 A person who chants the sacred syllable Om goes upward (urdhva). That is why Vaishnava tilaka is called `urdhva-pundra.'
10 A paramahamsa should say the sacred syllable Om and place Vaishnava tilaka on his forehead.
11 When he sees the Supersoul in his heart illumined with the lamp of truth, the yogi attains the liberation of meeting Me.
12 Or the yogi may surrender his heart to the Lord in the tilaka mark on his chest or to the Lord in the lotus of his heart.
13 In the heart is a flame reaching upwards, a flame like a lightning flash from a dark cloud, or like a slender rice-plant. In that flame the Supersoul stays.
14 In the lotus flower of the heart one should search for the Supreme Lord, who is present as the tilaka mark. Gradually one should become rapt in meditation on Me, Lord Hari, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who is present as the Supersoul.
15 He becomes liberated who, with single-pointed concentration meditates on Me, Lord Hari, the eternal Supersoul who stays in the lotus flower of the heart. Of this there is no doubt.
16 By engaging in My devotional service one is able to understand My transcendental form, which is spiritual, eternal, self-manifest, filled with knowledge and bliss, and beyond the touch of the material world of dualities.
17 I am Lord Vishnu, the one Supersoul who stays in the hearts of the many moving and unmoving creatures.
18 As oil stays in sesame seeds, as fire stays in wood, as butter stays in milk, and as fragrance stays in flowers, so I, the Supersoul, stay in the hearts of all living creatures.
19 By anointing one's body with gopi-candana tilaka and by meditating on the Supreme Lord, Hari, splendid like a transcendental sun in the brahma-randhra, heart, and between the eyebrows, one attains the Lord in His supreme abode.
20 His sannyasa danda raised, his semen flowing upwards, His Vaishnava tilaka vertical, and his practice of yoga elevated, the sannyasi, in this four ways ascending, goes to the highest spiritual abode.
21 The final conclusion is that by serving Me with devotion one attains the supreme perfection. Wearing gopi-candana tilaka, with single pointed concentration one should always engage in My devotional service.
22 Of all brahmanas and followers of the Vedas he is best who wears Vaishnava tilaka of gopi-candana mixed with water.
23 If gopi-candana is not available one may use the earth from the roots of the Tulasi plant. In order to attain the spiritual goal that cannot be seen by materialistic men, a person who yearns for liberation should wear Vaishnava tilaka every day.
24 One should apply Vaishnava tilaka using the sacred atriratri-agnihotra ashes of the sacred syllable Om, the Vishnu-gayatri, or the mantras beginning with the words `Vishnus trini pada.'
25 In this way one should apply Vaishnava tilaka with gopi-candana.
26 A person who studies this Upanisad becomes purified of all sins. Sinful thoughts do not arise in his mind. He attains the results of bathing in all sacred rivers and lakes. He attains the results of performing all yajnas. He is to be worshipped by all the demigods. He attains unwavering devotion to Me, Lord Narayana, the goddess of fortune's husband. When his spiritual knowledge is perfect he attains the liberation of meeting Lord Vishnu. He does not return to the world of birth and death. He does not return to the world of birth and death.
27 Thus spoke Lord Vasudeva, the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
28 One who studies this Upanisad certainly attains this. Om. That is the truth. Thus the Upanisad.