How does the saffron flag relate to Indian religion, and why is it worshiped as a Guru?

Special article on 13 July 2022 Guru Purnima

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Author: Prahlad Sabnani, Retired Deputy General Manager, SBI

Most Holy Saffron Flag

For people who have faith in Indian Sanatan Hindu culture, the Guru place is considered the highest in their life. Param Pujya Gurudev (Master) not only overcomes various crises in life but also teaches the art of living this life so that this life can be lived smoothly. Therefore, every year on Vyas Purnima, a unique festival of Guru Puja, is celebrated in India’s monasteries, temples, and gurudwaras. On this auspicious day, the Gurus are worshiped, so their blessings remain on their devotees. In many temples, many songs are sung at the time of Guru Puja and Dhwaja Vandana, such as “We will sing the song Sanatan, we will wave the saffron flag.”  

The Swayamsevaks of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh considers only the saffron flag as their guide and Guru rather than any person or book. When His Holiness Dr. Hedgewar started the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, many volunteers wanted him to become the Guru of this organization as the founder; Because the personality of Dr. Hedgewar was very respectable and inspirational for all of them. Despite this pressure, Dr. Hedgewar decided to consecrate the saffron flag as a symbol of Hindu culture, knowledge, and renunciation. According to the Hindu calendar, on the day of Vyas Purnima (Guru Purnima), all the volunteers gather at the Sangh place and worship the saffron flag duly. The Sangh organized Guru Puja for the first time in 1928, three years after its establishment. Since then, this tradition has continued unabated, and the saffron flag occupies the highest position in the Sangh. The Sangh’s philosophy behind consecrating the saffron flag as a guru is that by making a person a guru, he may have some weaknesses in the past, or his virtues may be eroded over time. Still, the flag will be permanent with the best qualities. Can continue to inspire.

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Keshav Baliram Hedgewar, founder of RSS

There are many religious, and spiritual organizations in India and many other countries where there is a tradition of worshiping the founders of these organizations as gurus. The idea of ​​adopting the saffron flag instead of Dr. Hedgewar as the Guru in the Sangh, in a departure from the prevailing practice, is a unique initiative in the world’s contemporary history. The organization, which has become the world’s largest voluntary organization, holds its highest rank by the saffron flag. Later, many organizations like Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad, Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh, Vanvasi Kalyan Ashram, Bharatiya Kisan Sangh, and Vishwa Hindu Parishad adopted the saffron flag as their Guru. This saffron color has made a special place in the minds of crores of people of India as a national symbol.

This question often arises in mind as to why the flag was chosen only in saffron color. The answer to this question is as follows according to Advance Color Therapy, saffron color is considered a symbol of prosperity and happiness; this color not only gives extraordinary relief and peace to the eyes but also helps in controlling anger along with balancing the mind. Increases happiness. In astrology, saffron is the color of the planet Jupiter. It enhances knowledge and spreads spirituality. Saffron is a sacred color used for ages in our religious ceremonies and in the attire of saints. Our ancestors have been bowing before the saffron flag. The fire present in the sun and the fire emanating from the cemetery of the Vedic sacrifice is also saffron in color. Wars against foreign invaders and invaders in India have also been fought under the saffron flag. Saffron color is associated with nature; at sunset and sunrise, it appears as if nature is being reborn. This redness of the sun cleanses the negative elements.

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Saffron Flag

Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh’s Maharashtra Prant Karyavah Shri NH Palkar has written an exciting book on the saffron flag. Originally written in Marathi, this book was published in 1958. Later its Hindi version was published. According to this, the tradition of hoisting the saffron flag has been in Sanatan Dharma since the Vedic period. This saffron flag, described in the Vedic literature as ‘Arun Ketu’, has always been prestigious in the Hindu way of life. This flag has been inspiring the Hindus to fight against foreign invasions and emerge victorious at all times. It has been used deliberately to inculcate the spirit of struggle for the nation’s protection among the Hindus. The famous Bhakti movement of the medieval period and its renaissance, along with the epoch-making reforms in Hinduism, had an inspiring role in saffron and ascetic colors. The saffron flag is hoisted on many monasteries in India, as this color is considered a symbol of virtues like bravery and renunciation.

In the early period of modern India, the saffron flag was presented as the flag of India. In the year 1905, Sister Nivedita made a flag on which Vajra (the weapon of Indra Devta) was inscribed. Its color was red and yellow. The flag made by Sister Nivedita was displayed at the Calcutta session of the Congress in December 1906. This convention was presided over by Dadabhai Naoroji. After this, in 1929, again, there were efforts to make the saffron flag the national flag of India. Actually, in Lahore of the year 1929, In the convention, the Sikh community Hindus raised the demand that saffron color should also get a place in the flag. In the session held in Karachi on 2 April 1931, a committee was formed to decide the color and size of the flag. Seven members were included in it – Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, Maulana Azad, Sardar Tara Singh, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, Kaka Kalelkar, Dr. Pattabhi Sitaramayya and Dr. Hardikar. This committee presented its written opinion in the meeting of the All India Committee in Mumbai on 6,7,8 August, in which there was talk of making the saffron flag the national flag. “We all agree that the national flag should be of one color. If all Hindi people are to be mentioned together, then the most acceptable color for everyone is Kesari. It is a color of a more independent nature than other colors, and it seems to this country as its own from the past tradition.

Dr. Hedgewar Ji was most pleased with this committee report because, on Vijayadashami in 1925, inspired by the tremendous noble aspiration of the revival of the Hindu nation, he started the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh by hoisting the saffron flag.

However, the said report was not accepted by Congress. But, something favorable changed in the circle of the flag committee. Earlier, in the tricolor flag, the order of colors from top to bottom was accepted as white, green, and red, now saffron, white and green, this order was fixed, and the earlier red color was removed, and the saffron color was included. Thus the colors of the national flag were approved. Today, along with the saffron flag, it is also hosted by the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, giving full respect to the national flag.

(The author is solely responsible for the views presented in this article.)

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