Lotus Flower in Hindu Mythology
Lotus flower - a kind of water lily. In Hindi it is commonly called
Lotus. The lotus is the symbol of truth, auspiciousness and beauty
(Satyam, Shivam, Sundaram). The God is also of that nature and therefore,
His various aspects are compared to a lotus (ie lotus-eyes, lotus feet,
lotus hands, the complexion of blue lotus etc). The lotus blooms with
the rising Sun and closes at night. Similarly, our minds open up and
expand with the light of knowledge. The lotus grows even in slushy areas.
It remains beautiful and untainted despite its surroundings, reminding
us that we too can and should strive to remain pure and beautiful within,
under all circumstances. Besides the lotus leaf never gets wet even though
it is always in water, and in spite of being born in the mud, it is beyond
the mud. It symbolizes the man of wisdom (Gyaanee) who remains ever joyous,
unaffected by the world of sorrow and change. This is revealed in a Shlok
from the Bhagvad Geetaa -
Brahmanyaadhaaya karmaani Sangam tyaktwaa karoti yaha
Lipyate na sa paapen Padma patram ivaambhasaa
Meaning - He who does actions, offering them to Brahman
(the Supreme), abandoning attachment, is not tainted by sin, just as a
lotus leaf remains unaffected by the water on it.
Lotus the Cause of the Creation
Lotus is the cause of the Creation. A lotus flower emerged from the
navel of Vishnu and Brahmaa Jee was sitting over it. Brahmaa Jee then
created the world. Hence, the lotus symbolizes the link between the
creator and the Supreme Cause.
Characteristics of Lotus
It is found in dirt (Keechad or Pank) but stays above the dirt. It lives
in water but stays above the water. Thus in spite of born in dirt and
living in water, it always stays above both of them. It is said that if
the water level increases in the pond, the stalk of the Lotus (Lotus Naal)
also grows upward to stay above the water; while if the water decreases,
it does not decrease in its length. Even its leaf stays above water, never
they are inside the water.
(2) With the above characteristic, the Indian poets have used the simile
of lotus where ever the principle of "unaffected " or
"unattached" had to be projected, for example :
(3) Thus it is unaffected by anything and unattached to anything.
Some Stories About Lotus
(1) Raam and Lotus Flowers
When Raam was trying to cross the sea to go to Lankaa to invade Raavan, He
decided to establish a Shiv Ling before crossing it to please Shiv Jee. He
then started worshipping it with 1,000 lotus flowers. But when Raam sat to
worship, He found that one flower was short. In fact Shiv was very pleased
with His idea, but he thought to test His Bnakti, so he stole one flower
from among those 1,000 flowers. There were only 999 lotus flowers. He got
worried, because He Himself kept the flowers there after counting them.
They were 1,000, but now what? Where did one flower go? He searched everywhere
but could not find it. At last He thought - "People say that my eyes
are like lotus flowers (Kamal Nayan), so let me complete the number of
flowers by giving my one eye to Shiv." So as He got ready to take His
eye out, Shiv appeared before Him and blessed Him for His victory over
(2) Lakshmee Jee and Lotus Flowers
Lakshmee Jee came out from
Saagar Manthan. All Devtaa did her Abhishek. Then Samudra got ready to
marry Her. According to one version She chose Vishnu over Brahmaa Jee and
Shiv saying that - "Brahmaa was too old, and Shiv lived naked with lion
skin, and no home, and his body was smeared with ashes, only Vishnu was
handsome and rich." So Samudra married Her to Vishnu.
According to another version, Lakshmee Jee wanted to marry Shiv Jee but
Shiv Jee refused to marry Her saying that he was already married. So She
had to marry Vishnu, but still She did not leave loving Shiv. She daily
used to worship Shiv with 1,000 lotus flowers. One day Shiv wanted to
test Her love to him, so he stole two lotus flower from among those 1,000
flowers. When Lakshmee was worshipping Shiv, She found that two flowers
were short from Her flowers. Now what to do? She thought that Her breasts
were like bloomed lotus flowers, so She decided to offer them to Shiv.
She cut one breast and offered to Shiv, but as She was going to cut the
other breast, Shiv moved with Her love. He appeared before Her and stopped
Her to do so. he converted the cut breast into Bel fruit (Aegle marmelos)
and sent it with blessings to Earth to flourish near his temples. Her cut
breast was replaced.
(3) Raavan and Lotus Flower
There is s popular story about Raavan, that he used to pluck Lotus
flowers for his daily worship. One day when he went to pluck the
flowers, he found a baby girl in a lotus flower. As he was very fond
of children he brought her home. Read this story at
How Could he Lift
(4) Lakshmee Sits on Lotus Flower
Lotus flower, especially the red one, belongs to Lakshmee Jee. She sits
or stands on it.
(5) Gajendra Offers Lotus Flower
Gajendra offered a Lotus flower to Hari to save him from Graah (crocodile)
and prayed Him. Read this story in
Lotus Flower and the World
Lotus flower blooms with the sunrise, and closes its petals as the Sun sets.
Bhramar (bumble bee) loves Lotus flowers. When it opens its petals in the
morning, Bhramar start coming to collect honey from them. But when their time
comes to close their petals, Bhramar does not know, so when the Sun sets and
the lotus flower closes its petals, he is also imprisoned in them. When, in
the morning, the lotus opens its petals again, Bhramar is dead by then; thus
he loses his life in the love of lotus flower.
Lotus Flower Used as Simile in Literature
Lotus flower is used as simile for several body parts of the human being in
--For feet - Charan Kamal (Padaambuj, Padaarvind) - the feet which are as
soft as lotus flower
--For eyes - Kamal Nayan (Ambuj Lochan, Padm Lochan, Raajeev Lochan, Raajeev
Nayan, Pundareekaaksh) - Eyes are also given the simile of lotus - "His
eyes are like Lotus"
----Its another meaning is "the one with eyes like lotus that see everything
but are affected by nothing"
--For arms - Kamal Naal - Arms are given the simile of lotus's stalk (Naal means stalk)
--For feet - Padaambuja - the feet that support the whole universe, but are
unaffected by the universe
Lotus Flower Used in Hindu Philosophy
In Hindu philosophy one is advised to live like a Lotus in this world -
live in the world, still live without any attachment with world, as Lotus
lives in the dirt and water still it stays above the dirt and water. That
is why, regarding living in this world, two similes are given - one of
tortoise and another of Lotus. As a tortoise takes in its hands and feet
from outside world and sit quietly, in the same way a person should also
live in this world by taking his interest in the outside world in. As a
Lotus stays in the water and dirt being born from them but still stays
above the water and dirt, in the same way a person should live separate
from this world in spite of being born here and living in this world.
Lakshmee and Saraswatee sitting in a lotus: The one who is affected by
Lotus Flower Used in Yog
One of the Yog Aasan - the lotus posture (Padmaasan) is recommended when
one sits for meditation.
Lotus Flower Related to Chakra in the Body?
Our bodies have certain energy centers described in the Yog Shaastra as Chakra.
Each one is associated with lotus that has a certain number of petals. For
example, a lotus with a thousand petals represents the Sahastra Chakra at the
top of the head, which opens when the Yogee attains Godhood or Realization.
Lotus: a Flower of Deities
One of the favorite flowers of all gods - no need to think twice if one gets
Lotus flower to offer to god.
--Vishnu, Ganesh, Lakshmee, Saraswatee, Gayatri hold it in their hand.
--It is Lakshmee Jee's favorite flower and She is seen sometimes in sitting
position and sometimes in standing position on it.
--Many other Devee Devtaa either carry this flower or sit on it or love its
offering, for example Shiv loves its offering.
Synonyms of Kamal
Indeevar (blue lotus),
Jalaj (born from water), Jalajaat (born from water),
Nalin, Neeraj (born from water),
Padm, Pankaj, Pundareek, Pushkar,
Raajeev, Saroj, Saroruha, Utpal