Why is Krushna "black" ?


Why is Krushna black?
Why are all current depiction of him are either blue or white ?

Until about 150 years ago, Krushna was generally depicted with black complexion - jet black or variations of black.  Even the folios from Akber's copy of Shrimaad Bhagvatam commissioned (1600s) and pic of ShriNathji prior to 1850s. Most stone and wooden statues of Krushna were also black at this point.  Metal images were the only ones that were "fair" or golden.

By the time of Pahari paintings (1800s), Krushna is light blue in colour and no longer black. 
Even in Rajasthan, Krushna becomes lighter shade of black.  Even Shrinathji becomes indigo blue in popular depiction.

Now-a-days, most stone statues of Krushna are made of white marble and he is depicted white - despite the fact that marble can be painted in shade of any colour they want.  Indeed, most marble statues are painted with clothes and jewels so they could paint it black if they want.  All current representation of Krushna, even on calendar art, is waterdown version of black / blue.

This "gorification" of our ancient heroes is mainly because society now values fair skin colour above a dark one.  This could be because we were ruled by fair and white skinned people for a number of centuries, making us - the commoners - consider fair skin to be a pre-requisite for power and position.  I know - a bit too much pseudo psychology that smacks of reverse racism but i can't explain it any other way. 

As to why Krushna is black –
* Krush + na = He who attracts.  Black colour absorbs heat.  Black colour absorbs energy.  As we know, black hole even attracts light !  So Krushna is literally, he who attracts and absorbs all things around him.  He attracted the souls of the good and the great and even wicked people when they died, merged with Krushna.  No one – not even the evil is rejected.  Such is the compassion of Krushna !

* Black is the colour of space and ether.  Krushna is as boundless and endless as space.

* Beauty is beauty.  Black or white.  Beauty come from within. Krushna's beauty come from within the soul - his soul which reflects our own soul !

* In the Bhagvatam and Mahabharata, Krushna, Veda Vyasa, Arjun and Draupadi are all refered to as Krushna - having dark complexion.

* Rama is dark, with an emerald tint.  Krushna is dark with a sapphire tint.  The blue is that of dark blue of peacock feather or rain charged clouds (Megha-Shyam).  That’s why his yellow dhoti is often described as thunder surrounding a rain cloud. 

Vishnu has come to earth in many hues and skin tones.  According to scriptures, he has even been white, golden, red and black.  God can taken on any form, so a specific colour is of no big deal.  God has come as a fish, boar, wild man with lionian head, brahmin, kshtriya, vaishya (Yadava) to show that divinity exists in any and every form.  Species, race, ethnicity, gender, colour, these are only lables.  God exists beyond them all.  God is reflected in the soul of every creature in the universe.  Let us embrace God in every hue possible.


Venu Gopal

© Bhagwat Shah


Main Courtyard of the Haveli.


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