I remember from my college days that there was a beauty cream called Fair and Lovely, which was targeted towards young girls who felt that their darker complexions denied them their fair share of the marriage market. Well, now the manufacturers have become even smarter; they have brought a new Fair and Handsome cream but this time it is targeted towards boys.

We have an obsession with the fair complexion. This is one topic that everyone in India is well aware of and has some strong personal views but no one is willing to admit them in public. However, when Facebook, the popular social networking portal offered a special application for their Indian users there was a hue and cry of protests. All Facebook did was to offer a special application for Indian members who wanted to look fairer in their Facebook profiles. If that is the hidden desire of many Indians then Facebook should be congratulated for helping them out. But that was not the case.

Curiously enough, the Supreme Personality of Godhead is described as having a blackish complexion. The Sanskrit word Krsna actually means “black.” But at the same time Lord Krsna is also described as supremely attractive. The Vedic literature state that all the young gopis of Vrndavana  as well as the queens of Dvaraka and all other women became attracted to Krsna. Therefore this blackness of Lord Krsna is not at all ordinary. Lord Brahma (the secondary creator of this cosmic manifestation, and who himself has a handsome body) has described Krsna’s beauty as kandarpa-koti-kamaniyam (the beauty that can defeat the combined beauty of millions of Kamadevas or Cupids).

In fact just before the advent of Lord Krsna the demigods offered this prayer: “Dear Lord, when You appear in Your different incarnations, You take different names and forms according to different situations. Lord Krsna is Your name because You are all-attractive; You are called Syamasundara because of Your transcendental beauty. Syama means ‘blackish,’ yet it is said that You are more beautiful than thousands of Cupids. Although You appear in a color which is compared to the blackish cloud, because You are the Transcendental Absolute, Your beauty is many, many times more attractive than the delicate body of Cupid. Sometimes You are called Giridhari because You lifted the hill known as Govardhana. You are sometimes called Nandanandana or Vasudeva or Devakinandana because You appear as the son of Maharaja Nanda or Vasudeva or Devaki. Impersonalists think that Your many names or forms are given according to a particular type of work and quality because they accept You from the position of a material observer.”

Trying to improve the outer complexion is a futile endeavor. It is a sign of being entrenched in the bodily concept of life. Krsna consciousness is above the skin. The very first lesson taught in the Bhagavad-gita is that we are not the body but the soul. The soul is the actual living force. If one is curious only about the clothing of a person then that is not taken as a sign of great intelligence. We have had many bodies in the past and will have many in the future (if we remain in the darkness of ignorance). Therefore to be absorbed in our present body, whether it is black, white or yellow, is to be simply cheated by the manufacturers of these creams. (Syamananda Dasa)