The Mirror Of The Self: [24] Leshya And Colour

Published: 06.03.2009
Updated: 06.03.2009

Leshya And Colour

It started raining. The people's faces radiated joy. The atmosphere became pure and invigorating. The colour of the sky changed. The plants and trees wore a different hue. Even man's complexion changed. After all it is colour that transforms everything. We talk about change. But what is it that effects a change? Is it not all a play of colours? With a change of colour, one's character stands modified. With a change of tone, the mind shifts. Colour is the biggest factor of change; without it no transformation is possible. The body, the mind and the spirit - all are affected by colour. Of all the external influences, colour is the most potent. Man is influenced by many other things, but he is most influenced by colour.

Three Colours

There are found three humours in our body - the bile, the phlegm and the wind. According to Ayurveda, it is these that keep the organism functioning. Let us take three colours the blue, the green and the red. The blue colour radiates tranquillity; it al­leviates heat and excitement. It is most suitable for summer. All the maladies caused by the excess of bile in the body grow quiescent in the presence of blue colour. The green colour purifies the blood; it drives out the heterogeneous elements. This colour is also very useful in relieving ailments produced by the excess of wind. The red colour is very lively; it invigorates the whole system, drives away sloth. For those who are afflicted with languor, keep dozing all the daylong and have become totally inert, the red colour is particularly good.

The Function Of Colours

The function of colours is to maintain the bodily equilibrium. One man may be very fat, heavy-limbed, with his corpulence ever on the increase; another may be lean and thin. What is the cause thereof? One cause may be the imbalance of colours. With the preponderance of the red colour, a man is likely to grow thin; whereas with the preponderance of the blue, he would grow fatter. The individual in whom both the red and the blue are balanced will neither be too fat nor too lean. His body will be equipoised, sturdy and well-formed.

The Influence Of Colours

Colours exercise a psychic influence. The predominance of the red stimulates anger, causes greater and still greater excite­ment. On the other hand, a deficiency of the blue would turn a man self-centred. He would only think in terms of grinding his own axe without the least consideration for others. The balance of colours is also crucial from the point of view of mental development

All parts of the body have appropriate colours. Outwardly, the skin appears to be of one uniform hue, but inside every part has a unique colour of its own. This fact is apparent to those who have looked deeply into the body. The effect of light and colour upon our body has today become a subject of scientific research.

Gautama's Query: Mahavira's Response

Gautama asked Lord Mahavira, "O illustrious one! Does krishna (black) leshya mixed with particles of neela (blue) leshya, itself turn into blue leshya?

Mahavira said, "Gautama! It does happen like that. Not only does krishna leshya change into neela leshya, it may also be transformed into kapota leshya (grey), tejoleshya (red), padma leshya (yellow) or shukla leshya (while). The infusion of a few  auspicious particles can turn krishna leshya into neela leshya. Mixed with a few yellow particles, krishna leshya may be trans­formed into padma leshya. Likewise, a few particles of tejoleshya might change krishna leshya into tejoleshya and the particles of shukla leshya might turn it into shukla leshya.

The Principle Of Transformation

What is the basis of the practice of leshya meditation? It is founded on the relevant chapter in the Prajnapana in which the doctrine of leshya transformation has been propounded. We can change leshya on the basis of colours. The visualization of white colour during meditation would mean that the characteristics of krishna leshya or any other leshya present at the moment will be replaced by those of shukla leshya.

This doctrine of leshya transformation is a very important doctrine. We often find that, faced with a particular situation, a man undergoes a complete transformation. We generally con­clude that a particular event has brought about the change. As a matter of fact, along with the gross event, the colours also change and a man's inner self too undergoes a transformation.

Maharana Pratap And Shakti Singh

Maharana Pratap and Shakti Singh, the two brothers, went hunting in a forest. It was on the occasion of Vijaydashmi. Both drew their bows and shot arrows and a deer was killed. That was an event - an arrow piercing a deer - but it raised a controversy. Pratap said, "The deer is mine; my arrow killed it!" Shakti Singh, however, held that it was his arrow that had killed the deer and, therefore, it belonged to him."

A dispute arose. Both the brothers were strong and power­ful. However, both were headstrong and full of pride in their valour. Haughty persons do not know how to compromise. They are not at all pliable. Both stuck to their point. Pratap said, "I killed the deer!", with Shakti Singh saying, "No, it was I!" Both were real brothers, both loved each other, but this controversy turned them into rivals. It seems both were affected by krishna leshya at the time. Both held their weapons ready to strike each other.

Efforts To Effect A Rapprochement

The royal priest of Mewar accompanied the two princes. He saw that a great tragedy was in the offing. It would be catastrophic. Both were powerful and armed. There would be attacks from both sides and both would meet with an untimely death. The whole of Mewar would be plunged into grief. So the priest tried to bring about a rapprochement. He said, "Princes! You do not seem to be aware of what you are about! The land of Mewar lies surrounded by enemies; we are already facing a great many difficulties; our foes lie in ambush, waiting for an oppor­tunity to strike. If you quarrel among yourselves, what will happen to our kingdom? We might lose our freedom!" The royal priest did his best to bring them round but they continued adamant. A drop of water is totally ineffective against a burning griddle.

The Sacrifice

The continuing discord between the princes heavily weighed on the priest's mind. Now a change of leshya is essential for effecting a mental transformation. It is a fact that whenever some individual has undertaken a fast or some penance for the sake of truth, a change of leshya has come about. Under its powerful impact, the other person stands transformed; his leshya undergoes a change. It changes its colour and there occurs a mutation in the mind. At times even the heart of a very ruthless person is touched. Even those people who never entertained the thought of quitting India, and who did not want to leave, were moved by compassion, and India achieved independence. Something big transpires with a change in leshya; the very aspect of things stands altered.

The loyal priest realised the futility of his persuasions. The situation demanded much more. So he said, "If you are bent upon shedding blood, let it be mine! Kill me if you like, but for God's sake be reconciled!" And when he saw that the princes were still unmoved, he stepped forward, took out his dagger and thrust it into his chest, leaving the princes stunned at his self-immolation. This great sacrifice instantly changed their hearts; they stood chastened.

Theory Must Be Coupled With Practice

A particular event proves so powerful as to change an individual's heart. A major transformation calls for a big renun­ciation or sacrifice. That is how leshya undergoes a change. Something immense comes to pass; a mutation occurs; krishna leshya changes into shukla leshya. The inward spirit changes with a change in leshya and the man is transformed. Otherwise, no transformation is possible. A change in leshya is effected by a change of colour. Theoretically, it is true, but mere theory would not do. To be effective, the principle must be acted upon. It is necessary to put it into practice for bringing about a change.

The Real Purport Of The Vedic Prayer

A yogi wrote: "The man who properly performs the Vedic prayer, enjoys physical and mental health." In the Vedic prayer, there is provision for three colours - the red, the blue and the white. These are the colours of the divine trinity (of Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh). In fact, krishna means blue though it is interpreted as black. The colour of Vishnu is blue, of Brahma red and of Mahesh white. The purport of the Vedic prayer is the contemplation of these three colours while praying. The true worshipper is rewarded with physical and mental well-being.

In The Context Of Namaskar Mahamantra

The meditation of the Jain Namaskar Mahamantra is done with five colours. If a person practises this meditation for half an hour daily with the prescribed colours for a period of three months, he would experience a tremendous sense of well-being. He would feel as if he was improving in every way and that his health, happiness and tranquillity were growing day by day. Let us not turn the recitation of the Namaskar Mahamantra into a stereo­typed convention; rather let us view it from a scientific angle and give it a practical form. Today, the telling of beads has become a kind of ritual which the performer wishes to get done with-in the shortest possible time. Some people even say that telling beads does not occupy much time. Some others even boast of having completed iheir japa within five minutes. "I can recite the Namas­kar Mahamantra 108 times in five minutes," they say. But is that the right way of telling beads? We like to make it appear as if we are acting faster than even a computer. But to complete japa in a hurry cannot be the right way of using the rosary. Many people complain, "Sir! We regularly do beads-telling but to no effect." Now, how can japa be fruitful if our method of doing it is faulty. Only that japa is fruitful which is performed rightly and with devotion.

What Matters Is The Achievement

Let us make use of colours with the recitation of the Namas­kar Mahamantra. This would ensure an equilibrium of leshya and colour and make for physical, mental and emotional balance. What is really important is not the number of times the mantra is recited, but the manner of recitation. Let us not be preoccupied with the number of times a rosary is told; rather whatever time we devote to it, let us do it with total mindfulness. Eating something without relish can do us little good. If we practise japa or medita­tion without experiencing the ecstasy thereof, such meditation or japa is altogether worthless. The right kind of japa should fill our mind with peace; it should purify our heart. If the mind is restless and our feelings are impure, there is something wrong with our japa. A japa performed rightly with single-minded devotion can never fail; it awakens in the sadhak a distinct awareness that he is progressing ahead and that the fountain of purity and peace has exploded in him.

It Is Difficult To Maintain Balance

There is a motto "Struggle is life." It is a maxim of progress. Life indeed is a challenge, a battle. One must fight and forge ahead. Society at present is ridden by conflict - to pull each other's leg, to knock one another down! Crookedness is the order of the day. One has to move forward in midst of all these distortions. How difficult it is to maintain one's balance under these circumstances! It is certainly not easy.

Conflict Of Choice

A man appeared to be very upset. A friend of his asked him, "What's the matter? What ails you?"

He said, "I'm in trouble."

The friend said, "What kind of trouble can you have? Both your sons are prosperous. They are making good money. You lack nothing."

He said, "You are right. My sons are well-to-do. But they are responsible for my present predicament."

"Well what's your trouble?"

"You know, I gave my sons a good education. One of them is a doctor, the other a lawyer. My present confusion flows from their respective professions."

"Their professions! What have they got to do with it. I don't follow."

"Well, you see, I had an accident as a result of which my foot is wounded. My doctor-son says, "Father! This wound must heal up soon or it would grow septic and the entire foot might have to be amputated."

"That's good advice. Why should it upset you?"

"But listen! My other son, who is a lawyer, says, "Father! Endure a little pain. Let the wound grow worse and I would then file a suit and get you maximum compensation!"

Leshya Offers A Solution

Life is a conflict, a confrontation. An individual finds himself pulled from opposite directions. One son says, "Get all right!" The other says, "Let's exploit the situation, let the wound fester!" It is a queer world. Each man here is caught in conflict. There is strife in the family, bad blood between brothers, friction between husband and wife, and clash of interest in society. In the field of politics, there is nothing but conflict. Is it possible to live a peaceful and balanced life in the midst of conflict and competi­tion? That is our problem, and leshya meditation is the answer. Let us practice japa of Namaskar Mahamantra along with the visualisation of five colours, and a peaceful and balanced life would materialize of itself. Conflict and confrontation in the world outside might continue, but within the individual all con­fusion would cease. It is the inner conflict, which poses a problem. For keeping the mind tranquil and balanced and for keeping one's passions under control, the exercise of leshya meditation or colour-visualization is very important.

External Foe And The Enemy Within

One man said' "I often get flared up and I am much worried on that account." In fact, a man is himself responsible for his situation. There are external foes, but there is also the enemy within that is far more troublesome. Let us do away with our inner complications and air-condition our mental atmosphere. When the mind is air-conditioned, there would be no occasion for outside influences to plague us. A house is air-conditioned with a view to protecting it from the effects of the outer atmosphere. People spend lakhs of rupees over it. They do so for keeping their house cool, but no one is prepared to do anything to ensure that the head remains cool. What is more important - the air-conditioning of the house or that of the brain?

The Science Of Air-Conditioning

As a matter of fact, a man has no time to think about it. He is too much concerned with the outer atmosphere and wants to secure his house from external heat, but he is utterly indifferent to the fire that is consuming his mind and makes no efforts to extinguish it. The science of leshya and that of colours can play a significant role in air-conditioning the inner atmosphere. Let us appreciate its importance and make full use of it. This would ensure a balanced atmosphere and prove a great blessing to us.


3rd Edition 1995

Jain Vishva Bharati Institute
Ladnun -341 306 (Rajasthan)

Muni Dhananjay Kumar (Hindi)
Muni Mahendra Kumar (English)

Translated by:
Late Prof. R.K. Seth

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Page glossary
Some texts contain  footnotes  and  glossary  entries. To distinguish between them, the links have different colors.
  1. Anger
  2. Ayurveda
  3. Body
  4. Brahma
  5. Brain
  6. Contemplation
  7. Gautama
  8. Japa
  9. Kapota Leshya
  10. Krishna
  11. Krishna Leshya
  12. Leshya
  13. Mahavira
  14. Mantra
  15. Meditation
  16. Mewar
  17. Namaskar Mahamantra
  18. Padma Leshya
  19. Pride
  20. Sadhak
  21. Science
  22. Shukla
  23. Shukla Leshya
  24. Tejoleshya
  25. Vedic
  26. tejoleshya
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