Meaning of the lotus flower
The lotus is a beautiful flower, generally associated with purity, inner strength, and tranquility, but its symbolic meaning is further away. This flower has a symbolic meaning in various religions, such as Hinduism, Buddhism, Sikhism, and Jainism. In view of its deep symbolic significance and its connection to religion, the lotus is considered one of the most sacred plants.
Origins of lotus symbolism
Lotus flowers were symbolically represented as early as Ancient Egypt, where white and blue lotuses are more common. In Egypt, the flower was known as Seshen and was associated with the Egyptian gods. By the way the lotus came out of the water, followed the movement of the sun and then closed and returned to the water, to repeat the process the next day, the lotus was associated with the sun god, Ra.
In ancient Egypt they believed that lotuses symbolized creation, rebirth, strength and power. Perhaps for this reason, during childbirth Egyptian women used to wear lotus amulets with the image of Heqet, goddess of fertility. Lotuses were present in art, hieroglyphs, and paintings to represent fertility, a new beginning, and purity.
Other historical references to the lotus are found in ancient Greece and Indian religions. In ancient Greece, the flower represented innocence, modesty, and purity.
References to lotuses in Hinduism date back to at least 1400 BC through Vedic texts depicting Hindu gods holding or standing on lotuses. Early references are also found in the Buddhist religion, and the Buddha is often depicted sitting on a lotus.
The lotuses symbolize resurrections and new beginnings. The flower emerges in the morning, to close at night and disappear into the water. In the morning, a new outbreak reappears and the cycle continues. This representation makes the lotus a common flower at funerals. For this reason, the flower was very popular in Egyptian symbology.
The lotus flower blooms slowly, petal by petal, resembling the gradual steps required to achieve spiritual enlightenment. In this sense, the lotus is a symbol of personal progress. Regardless of the color of the petals, the central one is usually yellow, which represents the goal of lighting.
The lotus has also been associated with nature and femininity. Some cultures use a lotus bud to symbolize a virgin. Instead, a fully developed flower symbolizes a mature, sexually experienced woman.
The lotus is also an excellent example of staying true to yourself and what you are. Regardless of the murky waters and surroundings, the lotus remains down-to-earth, proud of what it is and yet being part of its environment. It beautifies and enhances it simply by being there.
The symbolism of the lotus in some religions
The lotus is an important religious symbol, especially for Eastern religions. Although many of the symbolic meanings are similar, each religion also has its own associations.
Buddhists see the lotus as a representation of life. The mud is the suffering, the challenges and the obstacles that we face, and the flower symbolizes the overcoming of those obstacles. This growth can be seen as progress towards a state of purity or the path to enlightenment. Also related to life, Buddhists consider the flower to represent rebirth and reincarnation. The flower also signifies purity, spirituality and self-cleaning.
The Wonderful Law Lotus Flower Sutra is an essential Buddhist scripture that highlights the Buddha's teachings on the lotus. The lesson affirms that without mud there can be no lotus, but the lotus remains unsullied by the mud. This scripture serves as a reminder that suffering and happiness are not mutually exclusive. Without one, you cannot have the other.
Within Hindu symbolism, the lotus is associated with prosperity, fertility, and beauty. The lotus is also associated with various Hindu gods and is related to the sacred lotus Padma. Padma is the part of the soul that propels people towards spiritual enlightenment even through struggles. This momentum is similar to the way the lotus flower works its way through mud and dirt to reach the surface.
The lotus is associated with various Hindu gods, such as Lakshmi, Brahma, and Vishnu, known as the Lotus Eye and known for its beauty and purity. Other gods are depicted with lotuses in works of art because of their association with purity and divinity.
Another association given to the lotus, according to some followers of Hinduism, is creation. Just as the lotus blooms in sunlight, Hindus believe that the world flourished at creation in the presence of consciousness.
The lotus flower is used as an analogy for how to live life, as explained by Bhai Gurdas Ji, an influential Sikh figure and writer. These writings are considered keys to understanding the Gurbani and understanding the fundamentals of Sikhism.
Consequently, just as the lotus remains immaculate in the water, you must remain unaffected by the evils of the world. Another important point is the idea that, just as the lotus loves the sun and blooms for it, so will the person who, through loving devotion, knows the Lord.
These are just two of the many references he makes to the lotus flower throughout his teachings. It is estimated that it is mentioned 420 times as a representation of the human soul.
Other meanings of the lotus in Sikhism can be considered equal to the general symbolism of the lotus. However, it should be noted that the lotus flower is not commonly used as a Sikh symbol today.
The lotus is not a primary religious symbol of Jainism, a self-help-centered faith, but it is an identifying symbol for some Jains. The blue lotus is the symbol of Nami. The red lotus represents the sixth Jain, Padmaprabha.
Breaking down the colors of the lotus
Lotuses naturally have various colors. Hinduism mainly uses the white lotus to express itself, while Buddhism uses a series of lotus colors, each color having its symbolic meaning.
Blue: Blue represents the importance of spirit over knowledge. It also represents common sense, wisdom, and knowledge.
White: White symbolizes Bodhi, which is a state of enlightenment. White lotuses are also known as the belly of the world and represent purity of mind and soul.
Purple: The eight-petalled lotus is shown in purple and represents the Buddha's eightfold path to noble truth, also known as the path of self-awakening. Due to its association with the path, the purple lotus is considered mystical and spiritual.
Red: Red represents the heart, so the red lotus symbolizes pure love and compassion.
rose: The most important lotus, the true Buddha lotus, is depicted in pink. From this title, the pink lotus represents the history and essence of Buddha.
Golden: When true spiritual enlightenment has been achieved, it is represented by the golden lotus.
Lotus in jewelry and fashion
Today, the lotus flower remains one of the most popular symbols in the world of jewelry and fashion. It is usually worn on pendants, rings, bracelets, and earrings, or is simply kept as charms. Images can be styled in a variety of ways, such as open flowers or closed buds. It is also very popular in Buddhist or spiritual jewelry.
As a gift for someone who comes of age, it's a reminder to keep your feet on the ground and be true to yourself, while still striving to move up.
For someone who is going through a difficult period in his life, the lotus is a symbol of overcoming adversity and difficulties, while keeping the spirit intact.
As a romantic gift for a loved one, the lotus represents the tenacity to maintain the relationship and the willingness to grow together.
A few final words about the lotus
The lotus flower is a beautiful and powerful symbol. The many religious meanings and connections of the lotus make it an excellent choice for artwork, jewelry, clothing, and as a decorative motif.
Although the symbolism of the lotus is ingrained in various religions, the symbol has transcended to become universal and can be worn by anyone, regardless of religious affiliation. After all, no one can claim the lotus, one of the most beautiful and symbol-rich flowers in the natural world.