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The blue color of God’s skin (Krishna)

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linum-perenne

Some years ago I read Ravidra Svarupa Prabhu’s blog post titled Flowers of Devotion, wherein he described different important flowers in the Vedic literature.  The atasī is said to be similar to Lord Kṛṣṇa’s skin complexion.   He writes:

Atasī

In the Bhāgavatam (11.5.27) the yogendra Karabhājana tells King Nimi that the Lord descends in Dvāpara-yuga with a complexion of dark blue color (śyāma). This statement is amplified in the purport: “The Lord’s transcendental body in Dvāpara-yuga can be compared to the color of a dark blue flower.” We may wonder, “What dark blue flower?” It turns out that this same Bhāgavatam verse is quoted by Mahāprabhu to Sanātana Gosvāmī, and there Prabhupāda comments: “The śyāma color is not exactly blackish. Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Thākura compares it to the color of the atasī flower.”

Monier-Williams tells us that the atasī is the “common flax, Linum usitatissimum.”  This highly useful, long cultivated plant provides the fiber that are the source of linen fabrics. Its seeds are rich in lignans and Omega-3 fatty acids, beneficial to health. The flower of the common flax, it turns out, is light blue. However, there is one variety of flax (Linum perenne, the “perennial flax”) that does bear a dark blue flower. This, then, seems to be the śyāma in Śyāmasundara (“dark blue and beautiful”) Kṛṣṇa:

Yesterday I was reading Baladeva Vidyābhūṣana’s Bhagavad-Gītā commentary Gītā-bhūṣana.  Therein there is a description of the Paramātma, the Supersoul:

I, the size of seven inches, with four arms holding cakra, conch, club and lotus, with complexion of the atasī flower, reside in the hearts of all jīvas.