Symbolism of the Lotus Flower and A Story of Creation

Symbolism of the Lotus Flower and A Story of Creation

The symbolic Lotus flower, in shades of white, pink and purple.  An aquatic plant, beauty growing from the depth of muddy waters.  An iconic symbol in Hinduism, used as the throne of many deities. Definitely one of my favourite flowers, there is something so majestic about the beauty and symbolism of the lotus.

The lotus is the foremost symbol of beauty, prosperity and fertility. According to Hinduism, within each human is the spirit of the sacred lotus. It represents eternity, purity, divinity, and is widely used as a symbol of life, fertility, ever-renewing youth. The lotus is also used to describe feminine beauty.

In the Bhagavad Gita,  a human is adjured to be like the lotus; they should work without attachment, dedicating their actions to God, untouched by sin like water on a lotus leaf, like a beautiful flower standing high above the mud and water.

In the postures of hatha yoga, the lotus position, “padmasana”, is adopted by those striving to reach the highest level of consciousness, which itself is found in the thousand-petalled lotus chakra at the top of the head. (Ref: Lotus Scripture)

The story which has been told through generations is that Hindus believe that there is one supreme spirit of the universe. This spirit is god. Hindus also believe that god can be seen in many different ways, so for Hindus god can take on different forms of gods and goddesses. There are several creation stories in Hinduism. Here is one of the stories of creation, The Jai Jais way.

Before time began, there was no heaven, no earth and no space between. A vast, dark, ocean flowed upon the shores of emptiness. A giant cobra swam in the waters. Asleep in the endless coils of the serpent’s body lay the Lord Vishnu, he was watched over by the mighty cobra.

Everything was so peaceful and silent that Vishnu slept undisturbed by sound or movement. From the depths a humming sound began to tremble, the sound we know as Om. It grew and spread, filling the emptiness with its energy, and vibrations.

The night ended, Vishnu awoke. As the dawn began to break, from Vishnu’s belly button grew a magnificent lotus flower. In the middle of the blossom sat Vishnu’s servant, Brahma. He awaited his command. Vishnu spoke to his Brahma, ‘It is time to begin.’ Brahma bowed. Vishnu requested, ‘Create the World.’ A wind swept up the waters. Vishnu and the serpent vanished.

Brahma remained in the lotus flower, floating and tossing on the sea. He lifted up his arms and calmed the wind and the ocean. Then Brahma split the lotus flower into three. He stretched one part into the heavens. He made another part into the earth, with the third part of the flower he created the skies.

The earth was bare. Out of loneliness, Brahma split himself into two to create a male and a female and from this all beings were created. Brahma set to work. He created grass, flowers, trees and plants of all kinds. To these he gave feeling. Next he created the animals and the insects to live on the land. He made birds to fly in the air and many fish to swim in the sea. To all these creatures, he gave the senses of touch and smell. He gave them power to see, hear and move. The world was soon bristling with life and the air was filled with the sounds of Brahma’s creation.

It is important to note that, the 'hymn of creation' from the Rig Veda concludes that nobody knows how the universe came into being.

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