NB: An interesting and cogent response from the chat program.

ChatGPT wrote:

In Hinduism, the deities are often depicted in various forms and colors, and their representations carry symbolic meanings. The depictions of Vishnu as dark or black and Shiva as white are attributed to their respective symbolism and mythology.

  1. Vishnu: Vishnu is often depicted with a dark or bluish complexion. This representation is associated with his divine nature and cosmic role as the preserver and sustainer of the universe. The dark blue color is believed to symbolize infinity, depth, and the vastness of the cosmos. It represents the transcendent aspect of Vishnu’s divinity.
  2. Shiva: Shiva is commonly depicted with a pale or white complexion. This representation is linked to his association with purity, enlightenment, and asceticism. The white color signifies spiritual illumination, transcendence, and the transformative nature of Shiva’s energy. It is also associated with his role as the lord of meditation and yoga.

It is important to note that these depictions are symbolic and metaphorical, aiming to convey deeper meanings rather than indicating literal skin colors. The colors assigned to deities in Hindu iconography often represent their divine qualities, cosmic attributes, and mythological narratives. The symbolism of Vishnu being dark or black and Shiva being white helps to convey their unique characteristics and roles within Hindu cosmology and mythology.