Questioner: Different spiritual sects wear certain colors in their attire. Does color impact one’s spiritual growth?
Sadhguru: The color of the clothes, or the colors of anything around you – does it have some impact? You need to understand this – how color happens, first of all?
Why this [pointing to clothes] seems to be white right now is because, when the light falls in it, it reflects all of it. So, it looks white. Why this [pointing to flower] seems to be red right now, is not because it’s red. It is just that it hold back all the colors, and only reflects red. That’s why you are seeing red. And, what is red for you, may not be red for some other creature. If you dress up really jazzy colors and go and stand in front of your dog. He looks at you in an un-interested way. Because he doesn’t see any color. He sees everything black and white. Do you know this? Don’t dress up for him. Dog lovers I’m saying. You wear only black and white – dog lovers. Nothing else works. You don’t impress him with red, green, blue and whatever.
What you reflect will be your color. What you hold will not be your color
So, color is not what it is. Color is what it gives away. What you reflect will be your color. What you hold will not be your color. This is the nature of life. Not just of color. This is the nature of life itself. Today, if you radiate love, people will see you as a loving human being. If you hold back all your love, because you had a love bank. You are full of love, but you don’t radiate. People will think you are…that. If you radiate joy, people will think, oh! he is a joyful person. If you are a joy bank – you held back all your joy because you want to take it to heaven – people won’t experience you as a joyful human being, isn’t it?
What you give away is always your quality, isn’t it so? So, that is not just for a human being. That is the nature of the existence itself. What is thrown away is the quality of that substance. Now, this [pointing to clothes] reflects everything, so this is white. That reflects only red, so it is red. That reflects only blue, so it is blue. Everything else is held back. What it holds back, you don’t see. What it gives away is what you see.
The color that you reflect will naturally add to the aura that you carry
So, how is color significant for human consciousness as such. Or for any kind of spiritual process. It is significant – in the sense – that the color that you reflect will naturally add to the aura that you carry. People on the ascetic path don’t want to wear anything. They don’t want to add any new things to them. They just want to work with what they have. They don’t want to take on anything more. What you are right now, to work that out is quite substantial. Adding one more thing, and one more thing – it complicates. So, they don’t want anything. They walk naked. If socially walking naked is difficult, they will put on one little loincloth. So that socially there is no issue. But the idea is, they don’t want to take on anything more than what they are. What they are is substantial. There are other aspects to it, that’s different. I’m saying about the color.
The chakras in the body – all the 114 chakras, or rather 112 chakras ascribe to some color
So – Orange. The chakras in the body – all the 114 chakras, or rather 112 chakras ascribe to some color. The 2, do not ascribe to any color, because they are not physical in nature. Anything that’s physical in the existence naturally reflects light. You understand what I’m saying? Anything that’s physical in the existence reflects light. Once it reflects light, it will have color in your perception. It may not have any particular color, or it may not have the color that you are seeing – you are only seeing what’s being reflected. What you are seeing is the reflected light. You are not seeing the color of the substance that you are seeing. You are not seeing color of the things that you are seeing. You are only seeing the color of the reflected light.
Black reflects nothing, it holds back everything. So, it becomes black. You see – we say the grass is green. No the grass is not green. It is giving away green. So, we see it as green. The sky is blue. No – no – no, sky is not blue. You go there and see. There is no blue out there. Sky is blue for a completely different reason. Because the refraction quality of the color blue is different from the other colors, that’s why the sky is blue.
Those who are on a path where they don’t want to gather anything, they will wear white
So, why is it, that spiritual processes – for different types of processes we use different kind of colors is:
Those who are on a path where they don’t want to gather anything, they will wear white. Those who are onto a different kind of sadhana – if their sadhana is mild, but they are on the spiritual path. But they are involved with various aspects of life. They don’t want to gather life around them. They want to be participating in life, but they don’t want to gather anything. Such people will choose to wear white.
They [monks] will wear orange. Because the color of the chakra is orange
People who are on a more intense sadhana, which is oriented towards a particular chakra in the body, which is known as agna – between the eyebrows. They will wear orange. Because the color of the chakra is orange. They want to radiate that color. Because the whole process is about enlightenment, and reaching to that state of knowing, opening up that dimension of perception which is referred to as ‘the third eye’. So, they will seek always ochre or orange color. Because that is the color of the agna.
The yellow robes were worn by Buddhist monks. Because the process that Gautama gave to the initial stage of Buddhist monks was very rudimentary process. He chose this process for the people, because it did not need any preparation. But he wants to cause a wave of awareness. That means, he doesn’t stay in any town for more than a day. Continuously he is moving, from village to village, town to town. There is no time to prepare people for any kind of practice. So, the practice that he gives them is very rudimentary. But still he is converting them into monks. He is fixing their life, but not giving them enough preparatory steps. So, he told them to wear the yellow robe. Because yellow is the color of the muladhara. The most basic chakra in the body is the muladhara. So he wants them to be stable. For a monk, the most important thing is, he practices stability in his life. So, he just wants them to be stable. They don’t have to fly off into a blissful experience. They don’t have to get enlightened right now. They don’t have to get anywhere. They just have to learn to be stable, because he is preparing soldiers to shake the world with awareness. So, he told them to wear yellow robes.
Later on when they graduated to what he called as – arhats. The arhats in the Buddhist tradition wore ochre robes. That is orange as all the Indian sanyasis wear. But then, after Gautama passed away – when they tried to spread the Buddhist way of life – people, in India there were at least 30% of population were sanyasis or monks by nature. By culture it was just like that. So this one more set of monks, they just accepted them, and they became kind of part of them. They couldn’t maintain a distinct identity. So, from ochre they shifted to a little more maroonish color, more for an identity sake. Because they would simply mix with all the other yogis and monks who were walking all over the place. So, they wanted to setup a distinct identity, so they switched to a little maroonish color later on.
Yellow is the color of the muladhara
But the basic Buddhist color is still yellow. Because yellow is the color of the muladhara, and it can be taught without preparation. No preparation. No teaching. No nothing. A simple process. Just to stabilize, and stabilize, and stabilize. Such a process is taught when you are charting out a spiritual path for a few lifetimes. See that tradition still continues in the Buddhist way of life. They keep coming back and coming back, to do more work, and more work because the process is such – it’s of stabilization, not of realization. So, that’s why the yellow.
Devi is always red. Because red is the most vibrant color. Of all the colors, red is the most vibrant color, and feminine represents that. Whether you like it or not, there is a longing in a woman to be like a flower. Because nature has given that possibility for her. There is a certain quality in the feminine which is flowery. So, when we say flower – the first thing that comes to mind for most people is always red. A red flower is always the real flower. Other things are on the way. Red is vibrant. It is the color of vibrance. Devi, or the feminine form of the divine is the most vibrant form of divine. Something nobody can miss. The reason why – even if there are other bigger temples in every village and every town in India, we will setup a Devi temple. You walk into the Devi temple – she hits you in the face – you can’t miss it. Because it’s vibrant. The color of vibrance is always red.
Devi is always red. Because red is the most vibrant color
It doesn’t matter what kind of a person you are. If you come dressed in full red clothes, suddenly people will think you are vibrant. Even if you are not. Yes or no? Red dress – suddenly sets you off, like you are vibrant. And to do certain type of Sadhana which is Devi oriented, red is needed. The most important things in you life are usually red. Your blood is red. If it’s not red enough…. go down. Flowers are red. The rising Sun can become, reaching towards red. Anything that you consider as vibrantly alive, you tend to paint it red. Because there is a connection between red and vibrance.
And Devi is manifestation of vibrance that you can not miss. So, the Devi temples always have very active involvement of red. In many ways – only red flowers are used, blood is spilled all over the place. We don’t do the blood business, but… One way or the other, it needs lot of spilling of life. Either you must know how to spill your life just like that without killing yourself. If you do not know the technology, you have to kill. We know the technology, so we don’t kill. Somebody else who do not know the technology of spilling life without killing the body, they will cut the body. Most Devi temples have daily sacrifice.
So colors have some impact. It definitely influences a few things. But it’s not everything.