In Sanatana-dharma, the color saffron is associated with sacrifice, religious abstinence, the quest for light and salvation. From the dresses worn by the sages to artists using it on the god’s idols and their dresses implies their qualities. So what makes this color so important to Hindus, Buddhists, and Sikhs? Let’s find out.
Importance of Agni(Fire)
It is said that the importance of fire has given rise to the importance of the color in Hinduism.Since the color of fire is saffron, a huge symbolical value has been attached to it.
For Hindus, fire symbolized everything about us. The fire destroys everything it comes across into a lump of ash – whether it is your precious dress or an inexpensive cloth, just as a king eventually meets the same end as the poorest pauper. The rich burns as well as the poor.
Fire burns away the darkness and brings light – symbolic of knowledge burning ignorance.
The first verse in the Ṛig Veda:
agnimile purohitam yajnasya devam ṛtvijam, hotaram ratna dhatamam
“I adore Agni, the god of fire, the priest of the sacrifice, the provider of the treasure of knowledge.”
Fire additionally demonstrates the soul of Yagna (Ritual of the sacred flame) which is critical to Self-knowledge.Fire is a symbol of sacrifice and renouncing ego/Ed. During Yajna (fire worship), we offer plenty of dear things to the fire as an act of renunciation.
The basic color of fire is yellow, orange/saffron and red. The bottom of the fire is usually red (where the coal is red hot), the middle is yellow, and at the top it is orange.Red is usually the color of worship; Yellow is usually worn by priests who are not monks while saffron is usually reserved for the highest – those who have renounced everything.
These three thus became the holiest colors of Hinduism.
A symbol of purity, it speaks to religious abstinence, cleansing, and resultant purity. It is the shade of holy saints and ascetics, the individuals who have renounced the world. Wearing saffron color symbolizes the mission for Knowledge of Godhead.
Symbolically speaking, Saffron contains the shades of Sun, Mars, and Jupiter that identifies with: Driving the Desire (Mars) for Truth or Salvation, freedom (Sun) with the help of information and one who dispels it (Jupiter).
It is said that when sages started moving from one ashram to next, it was standard to carry fire along. The inconvenience to carry a burning object over a long course of time led to the use of the symbolic saffron flag. Triangular and often forked saffron can be seen on most Hindu temples.