Tuesday, June 9, 2015

The Colour of Love?

Colour communicates. Period.

When I was in college, we did not have these 'days'; traditional day, friendship day, saree day, blue day, or even the Valentine's Day. Quite boring, isn't it?

But I have been always intrigued by Valentine's Day. This particular import of western culture has been picked up by the young, commercialized by people selling everything from greeting cards to flowers, then further popularised by the media, by giving full page space to the ads selling these products. I am not going to judgmental about it. You like it, go ahead and celebrate it. Present a red rose to the person you love, or think you love. But is the colour of love RED? Deep down, do you really think so? If the answer is NO, here is probably the reason...

We have ben learning about the meanings and psychological effects of colour based on the colour wheel, developed by western philosophers, researchers, and thinkers. However, we have forgotten the Indian context of colours and their significance in the Indian context.

This is what Natyashastra says...

Bharata Muni enunciated the eight Rasas in the Nātyasāstra, an ancient work of dramatic theory, written during the period between 200 BC and 200 AD. Each rasa, according to Nātyasāstra, has a presiding deity and a specific colour. There are 4 pairs of rasas. For instance, Hāsya arises out of Sringara. The Aura of a frightened person is black, and the aura of an angry person is red. Bharata Muni established the following:
  • Śṛngāram (शृङ्गारं) Love, Attractiveness. Presiding deity: Vishnu. Colour:green.
  • Hāsyam (हास्यं) Laughter, Mirth, Comedy. Presiding deity: Ganesha. Colour: white.
  • Raudram (रौद्रं) Fury. Presiding deity: Rudra. Colour: red.
  • Kāruṇyam (कारुण्यं) Compassion, Tragedy. Presiding deity: Yama. Colour:dove coloured.
  • Bībhatsam (बीभत्सं) Disgust, Aversion. Presiding deity: Shiva. Colour: blue
  • Bhayānakam (भयानकं) Horror, Terror. Presiding deity: Kala. Colour: black
  • Vīram (वीरं) Heroic mood. Presiding deity: Indra. Colour:wheatish brown
  • Adbhutam (अद्भुतं) Wonder, Amazement. Presiding deity: Brahma. Colour: yellow
(Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rasa_(aesthetics))

Interesting? I have much, much more to tell you about colour in the Indian context. But more about it in the next post.