Four Comparisons Used For Krishna’s Complexion

[Shri Krishna]“The shyama color is not exactly blackish. Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura compares it to the color of the atasi flower. It is not that Lord Krishna Himself appears in a blackish color in all the Dvapara-yugas. In other Dvapara-yugas, previous to Lord Krishna’s appearance, the Supreme Lord appeared in a greenish body by His own personal expansion. This is mentioned in the Vishnu Purana, Hari-vamsha and Mahabharata.” (Shrila Prabhupada, Chaitanya Charitamrita, Madhya 20.337, Purport)

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Certainly seems odd. There is a God; otherwise how to explain so many amazing things that happen on a daily basis? What person would still be an atheist after witnessing the miracle of childbirth from within a hospital room, standing inches away? How to explain the perfect intelligence embedded within so many aspects of nature, intelligence so predictable and reliable that fields of study result, known as science?

The majority of the population believes in God, but do they know that He looks bluish? Even if told so, why to trust? Where is the reliable authority to confirm the fact? Who else do we know that has this complexion?

The Vedas present this information and boldly so. There are no apologies made; the spiritual leaders of the past saw God directly in His incarnation form and reported on what they witnessed. They passed on that the color on the transcendental body is shyama, and several comparisons are given to help explain that unique complexion.

1. The dark raincloud

One name for Krishna is Ghanashyama. This means “dark like the cloud.” The cloud here is one that is just about to pour rain. This is a specific kind of blue color. Though ominous in certain situations, with respect to continuing life the raincloud is one hundred percent auspicious. Without this conglomeration of different forces of nature, grains could not be produced. And without grains, life would not continue for very long.

2. The indranila-mani

This is the blue sapphire. It sparkles. Krishna’s complexion is such that others take notice. For God there is no difference between body and spirit. I may have certain aspects of my body that are attractive, but not everything. Moreover, that body doesn’t identify me. My feet are beautiful in appearance, but the toenails are not. Perhaps my eyes are enchanting, but my torso not.

With Shri Krishna, everything is attractive. You can focus on just the complexion of the body and have a perfect match for the eyes desiring meditation. Just as gems are used as ornaments to help enhance appearance, the Supreme Lord’s entire body is like the most valuable jewel.

3. The tamala tree

[Radha-Krishna]These are certain kinds of trees found predominantly in the area known as Vrindavana. Today there aren’t many such trees remaining, but during Krishna’s manifest pastimes there were many. The tree’s color so closely resembles Krishna’s body that sometimes Shrimati Radharani would go up to one and embrace it. She thought she was meeting her paramour. Sometimes the longing feeling due to separation from Krishna was so strong that out of love she would mistake the tamala tree for Him.

4. The atasi flower

For further clarification there is the comparison to the atasi flower. This brings another kind of bluish color into the mix. Lest there be any confusion, the saints of the past have provided ample evidence. Their voluminous written testimony is the best evidence of both the existence of God and the nature of His external appearance.

Complicating the matter is that the word shyama might refer to other colors, like green or brown. That is why sometimes the incarnation of Shri Rama is depicted in a greenish color. The world goes through cycles of creation and destruction, and there are innumerable worlds. Though in our present timeline Shri Krishna manifested on this earth some five thousand years ago, that is not to say He is not manifest somewhere else right now. In another universe, Shyamasundara might be giving off a greenish bodily hue.

[Shri Krishna]The idea is that God is the most beautiful, wherever He appears. In His form of Vishnu, there are four items – one in each hand. Two items are associated with peace and two with violence, but actually all four are equally as beautiful. This is the meaning of “all-attractive,” and anyone who creates a firm connection to Him in yoga basks in this beauty for as long as they desire.

In Closing:

How that description to believe,

When never such vision to receive?

Authority for removing the shroud,

Shri Krishna compared to a cloud.

Like one about to pour down rain,

Or to atasi color the same.

Sometimes Radha hugging the tree,

Tamala like her beloved to see.

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