Wednesday, March 15, 2006

The Meaning of colour

The meaning of colour
Colour probably has more significance in every day life in India than anywhere else in the world. India is the land of colour.
Each colour has a significance. A religious meaning too.
And there is an occasion for each rang.
Can you wear black to a wedding? Why is sindhoor red? Why are festival colours red and green. Why is saffron special?
In Hinduism gunas play a special role. They represent the qualities and states of existence. Tamas, sattva and rajas are these three mental states. Interestingly each guna has a color. Sattva is about peace, calm and brightness. It is represented by white. Rajas indicates passion, heat, spirit, energy, dynamism. It is red. And tamas is the least desirable state. It stands for anger, darkness, negativity, lack of energy, inertia. Black is its colour.
Apart from these three colours that directly represent the gunas, each colour has a finer significance.
Lal or red suggest sensuality. But it also symbolizes purity. It actually rides a thin line between both. Red is worn at weddings. It is also the colour of sindhoor and tikkas. Red is about energy and passion. Goddesses Durga and Lakshmi wear red.
This too is a colour a bride wears for a wedding. It indicates a bit of chastity and a bit of sensuality. Yellow is the color of Lord Vishnu. Yellow keeps evil away. Yellow attracts a mate. Yellow food can be sacred. Yellow welcomes spring. Farmers may often wear yellow.
That's Lord Krishna's color. A deep, tantalizing blue. It is a sacred blue and a color of calm. The chakra at the center of the Indian flag is blue
Green indicates fertility. Especially in Maharashtra where it is a wedding colour. It is an earthy color. And a festive hue. A traditional colour and a colour of vitality. It suggests happiness and life. Green is a favourite too with Muslims and Parsis.
Saffron is India's most favourite color. Our flag has a saffron band in it. Saffron is a very holy and sacred color. An auspicious color.
White represent tranquility. Purity too. Hence it is worn at different occasions to suggest purity. It is also associated with death and rebirth.
Black is not a happy color in India. India does not like black. It is about evil and death. Or a penance. A black mark on a child's forehead keeps evil away. At certain occasions the superstitious do not wear black -- not at weddings or births or by the pregnant. Children are not meant to wear black.

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