Srila Prabhupada and his movement have fulfilled
the real import of the Indian tricolor.

A Real Tricoloured Indian

As India approaches 26 January, the sale of the Indian flag in the market reaches its peak. The tri colored flag, for which many freedom fighters and soldiers gave their lives, many non-resident Indians drape it over their overseas homes we salute it two times a year, on 15 August and 26 January. But do we really ponder over what these colors represent?


The saffron color on the Indian flag represents renunciation and spiritual culture, considered to be the highest quality in India by many. It is part of the real culture of India. Even the kings used to stand up when a renunciant would visit them. It is said that if one’s son takes up the sannyasa order, even his father must offer him obeisances. Today India has lost this culture. Son does not respect his father and parents don’t take efforts to instill this rich culture in the minds of their children. Few people respect the renunciants and the principle of renunciation. Materialistic culture has taken over India and has tainted the saffron on the tricolor.

The next color on the tricolor is white which represents peace. Where is the peace? Everyday we hear of riots, murders, and curfews. There are fights between states, fights between communities, and fights within families. The whole year we hear of terrorist attacks: bomb blasts, massacres, and shoot-outs. The epitome of terror was the attack on Mumbai. Forget social peace, even mental peace is missing.

The green color on the flag signifies the green revolution in India. With the concrete jungle prevalent in the cities, it’s very difficult to find the “green.” Previously, farmers would work all day in the farm, and in the evening, they would gather to hear stories from the Mahabharata and Ramayana. When they would hear the love between Rama and Bharata, who were offering each other the kingdom of the world, it would create selflessness in their hearts. In this way, they would remain in harmony and help each other.

A Real Tricoloured Indian

But nowadays murders related to property issues are rife. Many farmers commit suicide as the rains don’t come on time or the rains come anytime. Irregular rains are a cumulative reaction of the sins society commits, such as abortions, killing cows and other innocent animals for meat, etc. The farmer and the farming occupation suffer in this whole process. During the reign of Yudhisthira Maharaja, it would rain on time and just enough for the needs of the entire society.

The ashoka wheel on the flag indicates progress. I really don’t know what progress they are talking about.  The population, unemployment, and inflation are progressively increasing. If this is progress, then, yes, we are “progressing.” Therefore, many Indians are progressively leaving this country and going overseas. When we visit foreign countries, we find the Indians there embracing the materialistic culture leaving behind the rich Indian heritage.

Srila Prabhupada was one of those few Indians who carried the rich holy Indian culture and heritage with him. When I think of the colors of the Indian flag, I can only think of Srila Prabhupada as the real representative of tri colored India. In regard to the saffron color, Srila Prabhupada taught all of us to renounce the dirty sense gratification and live like cultured human beings. For the white color, representing peace, Srila Prabhupada gave us the supreme peace formula: to accept Krishna as our eternal father and all living beings as our brothers and sisters. Where then is the question of terrorism? He also promoted the green revolution through the farm communities he established all over the world. He taught us that real progress and advancement is to show all the wandering living beings the way back home, back to Godhead. Which other Indian is preaching these principles represented on our Indian tri colored flag? So next time you salute the Indian flag, remember the divine principles it signifies and also Srila Prabhupada who took these principles all over the world. He is a real Indian who lived by the instructions of Lord Caitanya:

bharata-bhumite haila manusya-janma yara
janma sarthaka kari’ kara para-upakara

A Real Tricoloured Indian

“One who has taken his birth as a human being in the land of India [Bharata-varsa] should make his life successful and work for the benefit of all other people.” (Cc. Adi 9.41)

Srila Prabhupada used to say, “I am just one Indian and see how much I have done. If all of you join me we can make the whole world Krishna conscious.”

So come on Indians, you have seen many die to keep the tricolor afloat. Now let us live by the three colors.

Yugavatara Dasa is a lecturer in Anatomy in a medical college in Mumbai. He is a regular contributor to BTG.