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Lotus Flower in Hindu Mythology
See also   Flowers

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 Raavan.

(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 Lakshmee Jee?

(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 Bhaagvat Puraan, 8/2.

Other Topics

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 Hindi literature
--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 nothing......

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
Ambuj, Aravind,
Indeevar (blue lotus),
Jalaj (born from water), Jalajaat (born from water),
Nalin, Neeraj (born from water),
Padm, Pankaj, Pundareek, Pushkar,
Raajeev, Saroj, Saroruha, Utpal



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Created by Sushma Gupta on 5/9/09
Updated on 10/03/13