You Stand Out
Sitting outside at a café table the neighbourhood woman spotted us coming on foot, “Is it festival season already?” referring to our summer Festival of Chariots. “That’s in two months from now,” I responded.
“Oh, I just assumed because I saw you in numbers,” she said.
“There’s only three of us here,” I remarked.
“Yeah, but it’s the colour you wear that makes you look like you have numbers.”
I never thought of it in those terms. The saffron can be loud as a colour. It can make you look larger than life. And yet here ego is not the aim. If anything, saffron cloth is meant to exemplify humility, not amplify ‘me’. It stands for and symbolizes simplicity. In fact, for thousands of years wandering mendicants and residential monks have been clad in this passive but lively colour. The cloth does stand out in any landscape.
And for anyone who can admire a sunrise or sunset, you will catch tints in the sky that glow like saffron cloth as if time stared you straight in the face. Frankly, when a monk is in the midst of people, he has a tendency to remind others of the need for change, or improvement, all on the strength of the colour. If ever there was a peaceful colour it would be this peach/rose hue.
As Jaya Keshava, a tall black African, Ramachandra, a family man, though sporting yellow with fine red print, and I took that one hour trek through Rosedale, we certainly did get noticed. The colour did light up passersby like I hadn’t seen in a long time.
Our guru, Srila Prabhupada, looked absolutely pure in the colour. In some respects he enhanced the beauty of the cloth by dint of his purity.