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Humans (at least Asians) are wheatish-brown in color. Why was Krishna portrayed as blue? Is it just to show his purity, or is there some story background of it (e.g. is it based in reality)?

  • Check this out - ajitvadakayil.blogspot.com/2010/12/… – Naveen Jun 13 '15 at 4:39
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    @Naveen That's an absolutely ridiculous blog post. Vishnu has been described as dark blue long before the birth of Krishna. – Keshav Srinivasan Jun 26 '15 at 17:22
  • @KeshavSrinivasan But is there any physical/meta-physical significance or spiritual allegories linked with the concept of Blue Avatars and Deities? – Naveen Jun 27 '15 at 21:52
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    @Naveen No, I'm not aware of any scripture that gives any physical or metaphorical signifance to it. I think that's just the way Vishnu looks. – Keshav Srinivasan Jun 28 '15 at 3:56
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Krishna's color is quoted from scripture to be like the hue of newly formed rain clouds. See Brahma Samhita 5.30:

veṇuṁ kvaṇantam aravinda-dalāyatākṣam-
barhāvataṁsam asitāmbuda-sundarāṅgam
kandarpa-koṭi-kamanīya-viśeṣa-śobhaṁ
govindam ādi-puruṣaṁ tam ahaṁ bhajāmi

For the full word for word translation, see Bhaktivedanta VedaBase. An overall translation is below:

I worship Govinda, the primeval Lord, who is adept in playing on His flute, with blooming eyes like lotus petals with head decked with peacock's feather, with the figure of beauty tinged with the hue of blue clouds, and His unique loveliness charming millions of Cupids.

  • Good answer and good practice to quote directly from scriptures but it is not always possible due to limited online availability . – Learner Jun 18 '14 at 21:34
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    Thanks! This answer is helpful, but it doesn't explain why Krishna is portrayed in the texts as being blue-skinned. I'd love to see an answer that delves a little further about the cultural/religious meaning of blue skin. Why rain clouds in specific? Are there other examples of Hindu figures with skin in that color? – Anirvan Jun 18 '14 at 23:43
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    @Anirvan, I feel that delves more into speculation rather than answering the question. Why is Krishna blue? Maybe it's because that's His favorite color. The rain clouds are directly mentioned in the word for word in the link above. I'm not trying to screw out some sort of cultural anthropomorphism out of it, I'm just giving the answer out of the scriptures. – cheenbabes Jun 19 '14 at 0:23
  • @cheenbabes I think you should add that comment into the answer. Think about how this question could be different from the question about Shiva being called Neelkanth. I understand that it's defined in the scriptures and quoting from them is valid, but it's a good idea to mention what you mentioned in the comment directly in the answer in the first place. For instance here, the scripture does not provide any reasoning for the color, just a mention. – Aditya Somani Jul 10 '14 at 5:32
  • Rain clouds are not blue is it ? if color of Krishna was of rain clouds i think he was similar to most of us - dark colored Indian guys . Somebody made it blue sky cloud !! – zod May 24 '16 at 20:31
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Krishna is not the only avatar/deity to be represented as a blue figure. He's accompanied in this by Rama and Kali to name just two.

The blue color is a symbol. Both Rama and Krishna are considered to be shyama varna aka of 'dark color'. According to Amara-kosa: trisu shyamau harit-krishnau - the word shyama means harit (“green”) or krishna (“black or dark blue”).

So, in terms of 'actual skin color', these folks were probably supposed to be very dark skinned (also something very very possible in the Indian subcontinent - possibly even more so than the wheatish complexion), with Krishna possibly supposed to have a blue undertone to skin.

After all, the Jagganath representation of Krishna is portrayed as 'black' not 'blue'.

To be extremely mundane, possibly, blue came to be used as a symbol because it's easier to portray blue skin in visual representations than really dark / black skin.

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Excerpts from a talk by Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:

See Krishna is always depicted in blue colour. You know why in blue colour? It means that the body is transparent as if it was not there. He was not a blue baby, certainly! Even Shiva is depicted in blue. That doesn’t concern the physical body but inside is infinity. Whatever is infinity is represented by blue: sky is blue, ocean is blue, the great, the big, enormous depth and that bliss, that being- the soul. The soul is never born, but still it is born when the mind and the prana and the body come together.

http://smile-ashish.blogspot.in/2012/08/krishna-janmasthami-talk-by-sri-sri.html

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The same question was asked by a saint in a school to kids. No body was able to answer except one.

That kid said, 'All infinite and limitless things are blue, sky is limitless is blue, the sea whose depth is limitless is blue, similarly God is limitless and infinite and thus is shown blue too'. The saint was pleased with the answer.

Well the name of the saint was Swami Vivekananda and the kid who answered was Lal Bahaddur Shastri ji!

I came across the above story in a marathi book named Jeevan Geeta by author Ram Keshav Ranade. He was a judge and was a famous Krishna devotee in the state of Maharashtra. Krishna used to come in his dream and used to bestow him with His grace.

I personally like this reasoning of Lal Bahaddur Shastriji.

Hare Krishna!

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