Understanding the Use of Pictorial Puns in Sacred Art Portraiture: Hari, Radha & Bala…Gold, Red & Blue


Understanding the Use of Pictorial Puns in Sacred Art Portraiture: Hari, Rhoda and Bala…Why Does Krishna Wear Gold/HR, Radha Wear Red/RD and Baladeva Wear Blue/BL ?

Out of high school, based upon my portfolio I was accepted at a famous school of fine arts and crafts in Detroit.  Because of my great interest in icons and sacred art, I started out studying these and portraiture.  Later this background was very helpful to me when I was interviewing sacred art experts, including murti, thangka and icon makers in Japan, Sri Lanka, India, Nepal and Athens as part of my Master’s Degree studies.

From here in the USA I learned that Srila Prabhupada gave very specific instructions regarding the painting of Sri Sri Radha-Krishna and Baladeva and the various Forms of Vishnu and Shiva and Their Shaktis.  As with Traditional Icons in cCatholic Christianity, there was to be no deviance or innovation in the Form or Coloring of the Lord and His Shakti.

One of the first things that I learned was that Srimate Radharani should have a RED DRESS, Sri Krishna should have GOLDEN CLOTH and Lord Baladeva should wear BLUE. NO explanation was given for this, but due to my linguistic root studies and studies of pictograph and hieroglyphic word-picture ‘pictorial puns’, I realized that Krishna’s Gold Cloth said His Name HARI (Gaura also means GOLD) and that Srimate Radha-Rani’s s Red Dress was a pictorial Pun for HER Name Radha/Rhoda.

If this was correct then Lord Baladeva’s Blue clothing should also be a pictorial pun on one of His important Names.

He is NILAMBARA meaning clothed in BLUE, but what else does this Dress reveal about His Name?  He is obviously the MZRYM blue-NILE God and the NHRYM God of Naharaim NARAYAN (Mesopotamia) and the NZRYN Nazarean sect of the Jews,.  His “Royal” Blue is associated with His Basileos or Vasudeva Sacred Anointed incarnation King.  His Sacred ‘Sky’ Blue and Nighttime deep blue or black with stars is, of course, associated with the Supreme and Transcendental Sky GOD, or Heavenly Father God.

In the ancient world the Supreme Father God was often depicted as BLUE.  Even in Christian Sacred Art, God, Jesus and Mary were sometimes depicted as Blue, ‘representing the Purity of Heaven’!  BUT, other than the probable association of His Name NILAmbara with the Blue of the Sacred Waters and Blue of the Sky, is there another Holy Name that is revealed as a pictorical pun on His Nama-Rupa Form, always to be dressed in BLUE?  What might that Name be?

B L or V L,  BAL or VAL the Descending Savoir God

the word BLUE is “from Proto-Indo-European base *bhel- (“to shine”)”

Remembering that after pictographs and symbols were used, and before letters for vowels were widely used, words were often written with letters/characters for the consonent sounds only.  Thus the very ancient Proto-Indo-European word for the color BLUE would probably  have first been written as B L.  But, Baladeva’s Body is White and HE is the Shining Glory or effulgence of Sri Krishna! Yes, but as His external Forms of Vishnu, Vasudeva, Narayana and Shiva, His Form IS BLUE!

Thus  Transcendentally (or ‘confidentially’) on Goloka Vrindavan with the Gopis, as Kouros Helios-Dionysos in His Bucolic Gokula Paradise of Rhoda and Rhodos, BAL-Yahu is white-bodied, but externally in the Vaikuntha Heavens and saha worlds, He is generally blue-bodied.  In His ‘Highest Heaven’ He is the eternal Youth and Beauty, Second Person of the Godhead, and in the saha worlds He is the Prajapati of the universes.

B L is Yahu-BAAL, BEL, the VALiant and chi-VALorous descending Savior God the the entire ancient world!  Lord Sankarshana, the Second Person of Sri Krishna is called BALA, Pra-BALA. BALA-Deva, BALA-Rama, BALA-Bhadra, Sukla-BALA, Su-BALA, BALA-keli (a different meaning to BL ).  Also the root BALA can mean WHITE or Shining, Glorious.  Baladeva is also called SUKLA BALA ‘White Bala’.

Balarama’s Names: # 109 “He is dark-complexioned Lord Kåñëa (çyämé).” Syame

Sri Krishna’s Name SYAMA in Sanskrit means Dark Blue.

Compare Greek Kyanos (Syanos) with Sanskrit Syama and Note:


“Friday, February 09, 2007cyan / kyanos

Last night I pronounce the color cyan as “kyan,” and I am corrected, being told it is pronounced “syan.”

I was then informed by the person making this claim that it is based on some Greek god Kyanos, also the color blue κυανός. “‘Kyanos?’ With the ‘K’ sound?”


“But we say ‘Syan’ instead of ‘Kyan?'”


I mentioned that I will continue to pronounce it Kyan, and if anyone corrects me, I will tell them that they need to convince a Greek God that it’s OK to pronounce it otherwise. I’ll be saying it very tongue-in-cheek, but I will be saying it.

Posted by Sean Arenas at 5:03 AM

Labels: blue, color, cyan, god, greek, kyanos Reactions:


Fred Cowie said…

It is interesting that cyan comes from Greek, yet its chemical formula is CN, which is almost alliterative for the color, and cyanide (CN) was first separated out from the dye of Prussian blue

6/09/2008 6:36 AM

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So Greek for a Dark Blue god, KYANOS, is obviously cognate with Sri Krishna-Balarama’s Name Syama, Dark Blue.

What ELSE can we learn about Sri Krishna-Balarama’s Holy Name BLUE?




“from Proto-Germanic *blēwaz (“blue”), from Proto-Indo-European *bhlēw-, *bhlāw- (“yellow, grey, blue”), from Proto-Indo-European base *bhel- (“to shine”). Cognate with Old High German blāo (German blau, “blue”), Dutch blauw (“blue”), Old English blāw (“blue”). More at blue.”


“EtymologyFrom Middle French, from Old French blöe, bleve, blef (“blue”), of Germanic origin, from Low Frankish *blāo (“blue”), from Proto-Germanic *blēwaz (“blue”), from Proto-Indo-European *bhlēw-, *bhlāw- (“yellow, grey, blue”), from Proto-Indo-European base *bhel- (“to shine”). Cogante with Old High German blāo (German blau, “blue”), Dutch blauw (“blue”), Old English blāw (“blue”). More at blue.

[edit] Adjectivebleu m. (f. bleue, m. plural bleus, f. plural bleues)


Le ciel est bleu. – The sky is blue”



Odissi Art features Lord Blarama with the Blue Coloring of Lord KrishnaFrom the 1000 Names of Balarama…

He is Nara and Narayanashrama, the Refuge Who is the Lord of All of the Holy Rivers and Waters!…


Text 59

prayäga-tértha-räjaç ca     sarayüù setu-bandhanaù

gayä-çiraç ca dhanadaù

paulastyaù pulahäçramaù

He visited Prayäga, the king of holy places (prayäga-tértha-räja), and He also visited the Saräyu river (sarayü), and Setubandha (setu-bandhana). He touched His head to the holy city of Gaya’ (gayä-çira). He gives wealth in charity (dhanada). He visited the sage Pulastya (paulastya), and He visted the äçrama of the sage Pulaha (pulahäçrama).


Text 60



veëé bhimärthé godä

tämraparëé vaöodakä

He visited Gaìga’-sägara (gaìgä-sägara-saìgärthé). He is the master of the seven Godävarés (sapta-godävaré-pati). He is the Veëé (veëé), Bhémarathé (bhémarathé), Goda’ (godä), Tämraparëé (tämraparëé), and Vaöodakä rivers (vaöodakä).

Text 61

kåtamälä mahä-puëyä

kaveré ca payasviné

pratécé suprabhä veëé

triveëé sarayüpamä

He is the Kåtamälä, (kåtamälä), Mahä-puëyä (mahä-puëyä), Kaveré (kaveré), Payasviné (payasviné), Pratécé (pratécé), Suprabhä (suprabhä), Veëé (veëé), Triveëé (triveëé), and and Sarayüpamä rivers (sarayüpamä).

Text 62

kåñëä pampä narmadä ca

gaìgä bhägérathé nadé

siddhäçramaù prabhäsaç ca

bindur bindu-sarovaraù

He is the Kåñëä (kåñëä), Pampä (pampä), Narmadä (narmadä), Gaìgä (gaìgä), and Bhägérathé rivers (bhägérathé). He is all sacred rivers (nadé). He is Siddhäçrama (siddhäçrama), Prabhäsa (prabhäsa), Bindu (bindu), and Bindu-sarovara (bindu-sarovara).

Text 63

puñkaraù saindhavo jambü


kurukñetra-paté rämo

jämadagnyo mahä-muniù

He is Puñkara (puñkara), Saindhava (saindhava), Jambü (jambü), and Nara-näräyaëäçrama (nara-näräyaëäçrama).


About Collected Works of Sri Bhakti Ananda Goswami

This site is a repository of the written work of Bhakti Ananda Goswami managed by one of his students, Vrndavan Brannon Parker. Bhakti Ananda Goswami is a practicing Catholic Hermit under private vows, and a Vedic Monk in the Brahma-Madhva-Gaudiya-Vaishnava Lineage Tridanda Sannyasi and Siksha (Instructing) Master. His research provides the evidence proving that at the ultimate source there is only One Religion and Divinity yet there are multiple expressions of that religion and Divinity. Read the various collected articles on this site revealing that ancient Humanity was highly evolved and motivated by transcendent and life affirming impulses leading to High Civilization. (Please Note that this site is not maintained and updated by Bhakti Ananda Goswami himself but is managed by one of his students. Though he does scan the site he is not always able to respond to messages or comments.)

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