In Alberuni’s India Volume 2, page 132 , about Brahmans , is said :

...the blue color is impure for him, so if it touches his body , he is obliged to wash himself

Albiruni, writing about 1030 c.e., notes that Brahmans were forbidden to wear or touch the color blue. Someone knows why?

  • 1
    Can you add a source to that quote? – TheLittleNaruto May 26 '20 at 9:15
  • @LittleNaruto Alberuni’s India , written by Dr.Sachau in 1910. Volume 2 page 132 . – Lucky Pashu May 26 '20 at 12:41
  • 1
    You can find a digital copy here archive.org/details/alberunisindiaedwardsachauvol2_355_y – Lucky Pashu May 26 '20 at 13:15
  • 1
    If it is the case that blue color can not be created without the use of indigo then of course the prohibition is on the use of blue but otherwise the prohibition is only on the use of indigo. If blue color can be created using something other than indigo then touching it should not be a problem @LuckyPashu – Rickross Jul 3 '20 at 13:01

I don't think it's about touching the blue color or wearing blue color clothes. It's about Indigo, that is used to create dyes etc. of the blue color.

If you go through the entire Manu Smriti, you won't find any restrictions in it regarding the Brahmins and the blue color.

But, regarding the use of indigo-dyed clothes, the cultivation of the same there are strict prohibitions in the scripture.

Quoting verses from the 1st chapter of the Angirasa Smriti:

.... regulations relating to the use of clothes dyed with indigo. There is no sin [in using them] while lying down on bed for co-habiting with one's wife. (12)

By rearing up indigo plants, by selling them, and acquiring his livelihood therefrom, a Vipra becomes degraded ; and he is freed from the sin by three distressing penances. (13) [Sacrificial] bath, charity, recitation [of Mantrams],

the offering of oblations to the Sacred Fire, Vedic study and the offering of oblations to the departed Manes as well as the [Five] great Yajnas (Sacrifices) become profitless to a person, from the use of a cloth dyed with indigo. ( 14).

If one, out of ignorance, puts on a cloth dyed with indigo, one, after fasting for a day and night, becomes purified with the Panchagavya* (15)

If by his carelessness an indigo wood pierces the body of a Brahmana, and if blood is seen there, the twice- -born person should perform the Chandrayana. (16)

If a twice-born person eat boiled rice with the sticks of indigo plant, he should, by vomitting out the food be purified 'with the Panchagavya. (17)

The three Varnas should perform the Chandrayana if twice-born persons, carelessly and out of error, eat indigo : for this is the rule. (18)

The food, that is brought by a person putting on a cloth dyed with indigo, stands the- giver in good stead, [but] the partaker thereof merely eats sin. (19)

Fasting for a day [is laid down! for Vipras fed with the rice which is boiled by [a person putting on] a raiment dyed with indigo. (20)

Some further verses are as given below. The ground on which indigo has been cultivated is rendered impure for all purposes for as long as 12 years. So, indigo is considered as something very impure.

The husband of the woman, who on te demise of her consort, puts on a raiment dyed with indigo, goes to hell. The woman, too, [goes to hell] thereafter. (21)

The corns, which one grows on a field sullied with the sowing of indigo, are unworthy of being eaten by the twice-born. By eating [them, one] should perform the Chdndrayana. (22)

Such a place [i.e., where indigo has been sown] should never be used for a procession with idols, for the dedication of a bull, for celebrating a sacrifice or for nicking gifts; for the earth [there] has become contaminated. (23)

The ground, where indigo has been sown, remains impure for twelve years and becomes pure thereafter. (24)

So, in my opinion, the prohibition is not regarding just the blue color but regarding the use of indigo and the blue color derived from it.

  • 1
    That’s very interesting, thank you for your work on it! As i searched by side by some studies , may identify Jainas but others speculates for their Buddhist character ,which the Subahupariprccha appears to support. Albiruni, writing about 1030 c.e., notes that Brahmans were forbidden to wear or touch the color blue, and this may be related to the “blue-clad” behavior which relates to the Nilapatas Buddhists sect. Maybe are correlated somehow. They cannot touch blue because was representing some rival sect? – Lucky Pashu Jul 3 '20 at 13:09
  • 1
    If Brahmins are really prohibited to touch blue color because of some Buddhists then I don't think that reason will be mentioned in scriptures. @LuckyPashu It is something that is developed in history. But if there is really a scriptural prohibition then use of indigo must be the reason for it. – Rickross Jul 3 '20 at 13:13
  • 1
    probably it is . I was reading about this on various text and happened to saw it to Albiruni’s one. from the 7th to the 9th century situation in the North Indian Region was very compromising from many historical aspects, the growing of the Vajrayana Esoteric Buddhism was creating sacks of antagonism between the traditional Vedantists , Saivites and Buddhists. Probably the indigo aspect reflect precisely the tradition, so thanks for your time in answering! – Lucky Pashu Jul 3 '20 at 13:20
  • 1
    Thanks and no problem :). I liked your question the moment I saw it. Because it's giving me the the opportunity to let others know about this prohibition on indigo. Although we had the indigo revolution, I don't think the reasons for it were religious. So, many people might not be aware about these restrictions on indigo @LuckyPashu – Rickross Jul 3 '20 at 13:23

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .