The color of a Mother

पीली सरसों, नीली नहरें
जाते जाते कहीं तो ठहरे|
काली बदली, बंजर गौरी
दुनिया के उलट फेर में बस माया ठहरी|
बिन बदली गौरी बाँझ है तू
संग काली साक्षात् अन्नपूर्णा है तू |
रंग कब से सही गलत बताने लगे ?
जैसी भी है, सबसे पहले माँ है तू|

This poem dwells on the perception of skin color. Goddess Kali is black and mostly associated with death and destruction, or rather protection from evil. Gauri is another version (?, for the lack of a better word) of her, who is fair skinned and associated with fertility and love. Both are different names for the same Goddess- Parvati, who is Lord Shiva’s wife. She is known by many other names as well one of which is Annapurna – Goddess of abundance and food/nourishment. Parvati was born dark skinned and Shiva loved her for that. She was considered the most beautiful amongst all the Goddesses, despite her skin color. For some reason, she wanted to be fair skinned like Shiva (I’m not entirely sure of the mythology behind this, there are many stories.)

Down the ages, we have accepted that the measure of beauty is skin color and that too, a lighter skin color. In Ancient India, skin color was never a measure of beauty. At least I have not come across any such reference during my limited reading of mythological literature. Lord Ram, Lord Krishna were both avatars of Lord Vishnu and were always dark skinned.

Eitherways, skin color does not serve as a measure of right and wrong. One does not judge the action of his mother based on the color of her skin.

Gist- Without the black clouds (Kali), the fair land (Gauri) is barren, but with Kali, Gauri yields fruit and turns into Annapurna.In this world of illusions, colors do not tell right from wrong. Whatever your color maybe, you are a mother  first.


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