Tantric Love: Why is the Male Blue & the Female Golden?

Via on Oct 6, 2011

In other words, why is Krishna blue and Radha golden?

The tantric explanation for the symbolic colors of Krishna’s blue and Radha’s golden bodies is that these eternal lovers represent the creative lightning flash of Shakti and the blue ocean of Shiva. Tantric lovers representing yogic nondual union.

When we look at the ocean from afar its surface appears to be blue, but if we cup some ocean waters in our hands, then the ocean is transparent. The same holds true if we come close to the transparent being of Consciousness, of Shiva, of Krishna.

He appears blue from a distant, but up close, through our nondual gaze of meditational ecstasy, the Blue Krishna becomes transparent, as transparent as Consciousness, as Shiva Himself.

Hence Krishna is the devotional aspect of Shiva, of Consciousness. In tantric philosophy, in yogic philosophy, the devotional Krishna is the same as Purusha, the same as Consciousness.

So, when we chant the name of Krishna during kirtan, we sing the praises of Consciousness. The heart-melting blue boy represents nondual awareness, nondual Consciousness, the nondual God Shiva, nondual Purusha. Many names, some devotional (Krishna), some tantric (Shiva), some philosophical (Purusha) for the same nondual aspect of reality.

The sensuous and captivating consort Radha likewise takes part in her divine play with her lover Krishna and represents the creative aspect of nondual reality, that which creates the world of form. She is Shakti, the Goddess of creation; she is Prakriti.

Together Radha and Krishna dance and merge into one single current of nondual delight. They are not two; they are One.

As per tantra, you cannot realize the Absolute Divine without dancing in the world of the relative. Without dancing, moving, expressing in the form of a human body; we cannot experience the ethereal and Divine. Thus the body too is Divine.

Likewise, you cannot truly understand the traps of relativity without knowing the vast radiance of the Absolute. Thus the arms flung ecstatically toward the sky and the feet firmly rooted on the earth are One Body.

Krishna’s love is focused on the sparkling eyes of Radha. And her loving being plunges into the vast ocean of Krishna’s gaze. Thus the Absolute Krishna is expressed through the eyes of the relative reality of Radha. Two cosmic beings, One Cosmic Love.

That’s the tantric story of the two radiant lovers—Radha and Krishna. Hence yoga, from a tantric perspective, is both worldly and otherworldly, both physical and metaphysical.

About Ramesh Bjonnes

Ramesh Bjonnes was born in Norway and lived for nearly three years in India and Nepal learning directly from the masters of tantric yoga. He has written extensively on tantra, yoga, culture and sustainability, and his articles have appeared in books and numerous magazines and newspapers in Europe and the US. His forthcoming book on Tantra will be published by Hay House India soon. He is currently contributing editor of New Renaissance and a columnist for Fredrikstad Blad, a Norwegian newspaper. He lives in an eco-village in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina. Visit his blog here: Eight Fold Path. His book Sacred Body, Sacred Spirit: A Personal Guide to the Wisdom of Yoga and Tantra can be purchased here.

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19 Responses to “Tantric Love: Why is the Male Blue & the Female Golden?”

  1. Thank you for these comments on why Krishna is bluish and Radha is golden, but please note that these explanations come from outside the Krishna traditions, particularly from those associated with Shakta and Tantric lineages. No doubt, it would be valuable to see what the various Krishna traditions themselves say about this subject, for these are the traditions that focus on Krishna and His consort. Ultimately, these traditions say that They are Their respective colors because of Their own sweet desire — They could be whatever color They want, inconceivably, but this is what They choose. Why? It is merely because of love: Radha wants to be golden-hued because that is the color of Her beloved's dhoti, and Krishna wants to be dark blue because it is the color of His darling's sari. It transcends logic and explanation. It is the color of transcendence.

  2. Steven Rosen says:

    Additionally, it should be noted that Krishna's color (and that of Radha) is not what we might expect — it is not a mundane color but rather its original spiritual prototype. As Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati writes in his commentary to Brahma-samhita (5.30): "The Śyāmasundara form of Kṛṣṇa is His inconceivable simultaneous personal and impersonal self-contradictory form. True devotees see that form in their purified hearts under the influence of devotional trance. The form Śyāma is not the blue color visible in the mundane world but is the transcendental variegated color affording eternal bliss, and is not visible to the mortal eye."

    • Ramesh says:

      Dear Steven, I appreciate very much your pointing out an "inside the Krishna tradition" point of view on this as well. From my vantage point, though, all who approach Krishna and Radha with devotion and deep philosophical perception are inside the Krishna tradition. Krishna is readily open for all. Still, as there are so many paths to the Divine, I appreciate your particular angle and "beyond logic" explanation. I have dear friends in both the Vaishnava school and Hare Krishna movement. Lovely people all.

  3. Sam Geppi says:

    Awesome, Ramesh

  4. Ramesh says:

    Thank you, Sam, I am glad you liked it!

  5. Hi Ramesh,

    Beautiful piece. I'm an Anusara Yogini (and fellow EJ contributor), so I loved your description of the nondual Shiva-Shakti images. Thanks for sharing your insight. Blessings,Jeannie Page

    • Ramesh says:

      Hi Jeannie, nice to receive your Anusara appreciation for the Shiva/Shakti embrace, which is central to your path as well. I will check out your articles here on EJ! And your blog!

  6. Tanya Lee Markul Tanya Lee Markul says:

    Just posted to "Popular Lately" on the Elephant Yoga homepage.

    Tanya Lee Markul, Yoga Editor
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  7. Tanya Lee Markul Tanya Lee Markul says:

    Beautifully written.

    Posting to Elephant Yoga on Facebook and Twitter.

    Tanya Lee Markul, Yoga Editor
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  8. Alyosha says:

    OK. Now explain why Hayagriva is dark red and Vajrayogini is blue in some sadhanas.

    • Ramesh says:

      Alyosha, tantric Buddhist deities are not my specialty, so I am not sure… but I do know that Hayagriva is also a deity in the Vaishnav tradition in India where blessings are sought when beginning study and in the Shakta tantric traditions and is often depicted with his consort Laksmi. and in Hindusim in general is considered an avatar of Vishnu.

  9. Shrimala says:

    Thanks for this piece and the explanation of the blue male….but why the golden female? I can't find anything about that.

  10. Ramesh says:

    Shrimala, you are right, it may not have been so clear as I only refer to the golden female representing the "creative lightning flash of Shakti" only once and also indirectly. The golden lightening is represented by Radha's yellow skin and symbolizes the flash of Shakti as she appears from the space of consciousness just like when a lightening strikes out of nowhere in the sky. I hope this helps!

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  14. Jenna B Wiser says:

    Beautiful!! Too experience such a love a would truly be heaven on earth!! It’s all begins in the eyes. Thanks for sharing!

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