Vedas Smritis On Saffron The Colour of Hinduism

Saffron colour is associated with Hinduism. Donning Saffron robes is the hall mark of a Sanyasi,one who has renounced everything in Life. Saffron color has now become a symbol of Hinduism.

On careful examination of Vedic texts and Smriti does not give a clue about Saffron being the colour of Hinduism, let alone Sadhus.

Hinduism is not an institutionalised one. Nor does it have any Prophet or Founder. Spiritually, in Hinduism is personal and it does not brook external symbols , excepting in instances where Tantra ,Yantra worship is practiced.

Renunciation is the embodiment of leaving everything, including the Sankalp for the Moksha or Self liberation.That is True Sanyasa.

As to Sanatana Dharma, as I have been writing in my articles, is an approach and a way of Living that is unique to one’s Nature,Swabhava. If one were to search for Temple worship in the Vedas, he would not find it. Nirguna Aradhana, that is Worship or meditating upon The Reality as a principle which is beyond Attributes is recommended.

As it is difficult to meditate upon ,for normal human beings, the concept of Worshipping individual Deities was introduced.This is Saguna Upasana,the worship of Reality in the form of a Specific God . The Saguna Aradhana is the first step towards Nirguna Aradhana.In this, there is no room for any symbols.

I have found some interpretations. I am reproducing them here.

All explanations seem to be convoluted ones, where the explanations seem to be of individual opinions. But none of them seem to have any authority sanctioned by either Sruthi (Vedas) nor Smritis.

Smritis do not prescribe any specific color for performance of Samskaras. It recommends dry white Dhoti for auspicious occasions and wet ones for Inauspicious ones. The dresses we ascribe to Gods and Goddesses including Navagraha are only the expressions of Saguna Upasana.

Any additional input with authentic texts welcome.

Two religious reasons:
1. Ancient Hindus worship fire. Well known reason.
2. Ancient Hindus worshiped Lajja Gauri, the Goddess of fertility. Fertility is naturally denoted by the color red. For reasons which will become obvious if you follow the Wikipedia link, I cannot include a picture of the Goddess.

One geographic reason:
Rubia cordifolia produces Alizarin which was used as a dye. The dye was used extensively with henna.Cultural reason:
Ascetics adopted the color to denote purity(since fertility and purity are intertwined). It came into extensive use since antiquity. The color was not as extensively used in the middle ages as many people would like to believe, it gained prominence with the Hindu Nationalist movement in the late 1800s. The rest, as they say is history.

In Sanatan Dharma, the dark saffron colour indicates sacrifice, religious abstinence, the quest for light and salvation. Bhagwa is the most sacred colour for the Hindus and is often worn by sadhus who have left their home in search of the ultimate truth and serving the society before self.

It is to be said, in the earlier times Hindu saints were always fond of nature. One of the biggest components of Vedas is the “Aranyakas” – experiments with nature. Two of the most impressive things that Hindu saints found were – Sandhya (time of sunset/sunrise) and Agni (fire). A big part of Vedas is about extolling the virtues of the Sun and Fire. Thus these three predominant colours of sunset and Agni are yellow, orange/saffron and red became the holiest colours of Hinduism.

Hindu saints and spiritual stalwarts have always been saying things based on their experiences. As per legend, we experience saffron colour when we reach to Samadhi. When your energy flows from Muladhara (Root Chakra) to Sahasrara Chakra (Crown Chakra), and you awaken the entire Kundalini, the colour which you experience is Saffron.

We have seen Bhagwan Rama, Bhagwan Laxaman and Mata Seeta wore saffron during their exile and also saints they met during their journey.,serving%20the%20society%20before%20self.,serving%20the%20society%20before%20self.

3 responses to “Vedas Smritis On Saffron The Colour of Hinduism”

  1. Dear Sir

    Once in Chennai there was a Conference on Skandha Worship. It was for 4 days held at World Tamil Institute, Tharamani.

    The conference venue was divided into many Halls like Seyon, Kumaran etc., and many speakers spoke on various aspects of Kaumaram

    One speaker was Professor Sri Kannan from from Pondicheery University. He spoke about origins of relegions.

    He said Hinduism started with settlement of people in the Sindhu River Basin (which could be now in Iraq and Iran).

    He particularly referred Kaavi or Saffron being sacred to Hindus as opposed to green of Islam.

    He said Islam is a relegion started in desert. In a desert, which is full of dead dull sand, what can be more precious and lovable than something green? So Islam revers it.

    Now imagine this with a river-based civilisation. Around 10000 years ago the river should been a roaring mighty splendour and with such lush green forests and very fertile soil, where birds will be singing and all sort of animals will be happily living. In such scenerio what can be more endearing and lovable?

    The dark night ends and Surya Bhagwan rises. The majestic saffron coloured dawn occurs – birds, animals, people all start their day. So naturally for Hindus the saffron became a cherished colour.

    He also said Muslims just wash their face before prayer – many Muslims even do not wash their entire face but just clean their eyes and ears with drops of water because water is a scarce commodity in desert.

    But Hindus take bath before prayer. We have mighty rever full of water and what is the difficulty in taking bath? – You can even bathe dozen times if you wish before your prayer.

    Islam is a tight clannish society. They advocate killing all the other non- muslims. Why? – In a desert everything is scarce – you have to conserve with as little sharing as possible.

    On the contrary Hinduism calls for Vasudeiva Kudumbakam. In river civilisation all things are abundant – so as much sharing as possible is the order.

    So our great Relegion cannot have any colour sacred except sacred saffron because that is the Ushath Kaala niram, the colour of the dawn of the day.

    Yours faithfully

    R. Chandrasekharan


Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: