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Panchabhootam – Five Elements And Color In Hinduism

Life is made up of five elements (Panchabhootam) and depends on them for its sustenance. The earth, according to Tarakashastra, has seven colors in it, for a grain of sand alone can be held in the hand, while the other elements cannot be contained in the palm. The seven colors are white (shukla), blue (nila), yellow (pita), red (rakta), green (harita), grey (kapisa), multicolor (chitra).

Earth is yellow in color and is represented by square. The color suggests stability and perfect balance. The precious gold and the auspicious turmeric share this color, Goddess Lakshmi is dressed in golden hue, and turmeric powder and paste is offered to the village guardian deities in many regions.

Water is white or silver in color and is represented by the shape of a crescent. Sometimes water appears blue when the sky is reflected on it. Without water, life is at a standstill. All great civilizations have developed on the banks of rivers.

Fire is red and takes the shape of a triangle. The movement of the flame is generally upwards but flickering. Heat is essential for life to go on.

Air is blue and the all pervading element is represented in circle, which is the symbol of completion. Air within and without is the breath of life.

Space is black and is symbolized by a point (bindu), the beginning and end of all manifestation. It is the infinite and endless into which all things lose their distinction. Similarly, all colors, all light, lose their distinction in black.