Colors in Hinduism
For the Hindu, colors play a very important role in the religion and culture
and have a very deep significance, transcending purely decorative values. Hindu
artistes use color on the deities and their dresses signifying their qualities.
Proper use of colors creates an environment, which should keep a person cheerful.
Some of the main colors used in religious ceremonies are red, yellow (turmeric),
green from leaves, white from wheat flour etc.
Red - In Hindu religion red is of utmost significance and the color most frequently
used for auspicious occasions like marriages, birth of a child, festivals etc.
A red mark is put on the forehead during ceremonies and important occasions.
As a sign of marriage, women put red powder on the hair parting. They also wear
a red sari during marriage. Red powder is usually thrown on statues of deities
and phallic symbols during prayers. It is also the color of Shakti (prowess).
A red colored dress is put on deities who are charitable, brave, protective and
who have the capacity to destroy evil. On the death of a woman, her body is wrapped
in a red cloth for the cremation.
Saffron - It represents fire and as impurities are burnt by fire, this color
symbolizes purity. It also represents religious abstinence. It is the color of
holy men and ascetics who have renounced the world. Wearing the color symbolizes
the quest for light. It is the battle color of the Rajputs, the warrior caste.
Green - Symbolizing peace and happiness, it stabilizes the mind. The color is
cool to the eyes and represents nature.
Yellow - This is the color of knowledge and learning. It symbolizes happiness,
peace, meditation, competence and mental development. It is the color of spring
and activates the mind. Lord Vishnu's dress is yellow symbolizing his representation
of knowledge. Lord Krishna and Ganesha also wear yellow dresses.
White - It is a mixture of seven different colors hence it symbolizes a little
bit of the quality of each. It represents purity, cleanliness, peace and knowledge.
The goddess of knowledge, Saraswati is always shown as wearing a white dress,
sitting on a white lotus. The other prominent deities would also have a touch
of white on their dress. A Hindu widow would wear a white dress in mourning.
Blue - The Creator has given the maximum of blue to nature (i.e.) the sky, the
oceans, the rivers and thelakes. The deity who has the qualities of bravery,
manliness, determination, the ability to deal with difficult situations, of stable
mind and depth of character is represented as blue colored. Lord Rama and Krishna
spent their life protecting humanity and destroying evil, hence they are colored
What is Nirvana?
Nirvana is union with the Supreme (Brahman), through moksha, i.e. release from
the cycle of birth and death and the pain, sorrow, and suffering of the human
condition. Nirvana is the immediate experience of the ego-less self with the
blissful Brahman. The Bhagavad-Gita has one of the clearest expositions of Nirvana,
calling it Brahma-nirvana, i.e., union with Brahman, or extinction (of the ego)
in Him. The Gita's method is by the practice of yoga (joy, peace, vision all
turning inward), through which one can 'come to Brahman and know nirvana'. The
Jains have somewhat similar ideas expressed in their own terms.