Why Do Monks Wear Orange?
Questioner: Sadhguru, why do monks in India wear orange clothes?
Sadhguru: The monks in India do not wear orange clothes; they largely color their clothes with the soil (red earth) because they want to exist here with the existential and experiential understanding that the body is just an outcrop of the planet.
There is a tradition in India of going and meditating near anthills. Generally, in a tropical country, the anthills grow vertically and for a long time people believed that this is a snake house because snakes go inside in search of some protein. The termites are super rich in protein. They build this structure by mixing the soil with their saliva which is a very high quality protein. It withstands any kind of weather, including the monsoon. It is architecturally fantastic and, in a way, our buildings in the Isha Yoga Center in India are also designed like a termite hill. I learnt engineering from them; I also went into the termite hills for various reasons.
Staying in Touch with the Earth
The idea is to always be conscious that your physical self is just an outcrop of the land that you walk upon. Keeping the body well is important, not to flaunt it to other people but so that it does not come in your way. If your body becomes troublesome because of some health issue, then all your attention will be only on the body and taking care of the body will take a hundred percent of your time and life. The body should be kept in such a way that if you sit here, you are not even aware that the body is here. Otherwise, the various compulsive cycles in the body will keep you busy all the time. The body should not be an impediment, but a platform upon which you can stand.
The same goes for the mental structure because your mental structure and your physical structures are very connected. If you keep your physical structure and the cycles in the body at a certain level of stability, psychological stability is a consequence. People will argue that the mind is a separate world by itself, but your brain is also body. Today, you know that if you have psychological problems, you do not inject something into your head – you put a pill into your stomach and it works. So obviously the physiological and chemical stability in the body is vital for how your mind is.
Sanyasis wear clothes that are washed in soil because the best way to make the body stable is to be connected to the Earth. Especially for one who is focused on something beyond the body, he does not want his body to come in the way. So this is like covering yourself by Earth because your clothing has the quality of the Earth. It connects you in so many ways and you are always conscious that your body is a part of this Earth. Even when death comes, you do not have a great amount of struggle because you know that the body was always a part of this Earth.