Naturally found in marshes and growing in abundance even in muddy ponds, the Lotus flower is considered the sacred flower of many Gurus or Ascended Masters. It is a symbol of sanctity, willpower, and most importantly of awakening & rebirth. A popular offering to the Gods of all cultures, it has varied medicinal, culinary and beauty benefits. Growing, harvesting and selling lotus blooms is also an important source of livelihood for many families in South-East Asia.
The origin of this blossom can be traced back to almost every religion known to man. In Hinduism, it is believed that Lotus emerged from ‘The Preserver’ Lord Vishnu’s navel and on it gracefully sits ‘The Creator’ of the Universe Lord Brahma. Mahalakshmi or the Goddess of Wealth enjoys standing on a pink lotus and is often portrayed as pouring gold coins from her palms. Saraswati or “the Goddess of Knowledge” is found seated on a white lotus while she blesses her devotees with gifts of knowledge, art & music.
Even in Buddhism, the Lotus is highly revered and represents all the teachings of ‘The Enlightened One’ Gautam Buddha in the holy text Lotus Sutra. It is an important part of all prayer ceremonies in Asian communities and each of its hues represent a different attribute – white for the silent state of Bodhi, red for love & compassion , blue for wisdom, pink for enlightenment and golden represents the knowledge of the realms & worlds beyond. Egyptians consider lotus as a symbol of the sun & rebirth while in Islam, a person who dies during the purification prior to his pilgrimage, he/she is bathed in waters perfumed by its petals.
What makes the Lotus so dear to spirituality is the beautiful qualities it represents. The lotus joyfully blooms in the murkiest of waters and yet remains fragrant, its petals remain clean & untouched by dirt, and it retains its purity even in slimy swamp conditions. It teaches us to remain rooted & grounded wherever we are and in touch with our sanctity while we play our role in the cosmos. It reminds us to remain unsoiled and humble within while we ascend looking outwards towards the sun & remain constant as we encounter myriad experiences with other beings.
The lotus also symbolizes The Heart Chakra, the 4th Energy Centre in the subtle body of every being. Its believed that the heart unfolds like the gradual opening of the lotus petals, as we learn to forgive, grow in love & compassion and rediscover the innocence within, the true nature of our soul…pure & divine. The Lotus is also used to represent the 7 chakras with different number of petals and colors, with the thousand petaled lotus being the Sahasrara or the Crown chakra, representing nirvana or the ultimate union of energies.
Many artists have tried to capture its earthy beauty through their works, and it majorly appears in many Asian creations, paintings, mosaics, glass paintings, and even sculptural representations in religious idols, temple walls, mandalas, monasteries and even palatial structures. The lotus blossom is also popular in jewelry designs, mystic totems, charms and tattoos.
The lotus blossom is found in many wellness spaces as decor and as part of skin, body and soul therapy. Its extracts are used in parfum oils, body washes, scrubs, soaps and even in pot pourri. Lotus extracts carry purifying, hydrating and nourishing qualities as its packed with natural antioxidants, Vitamins A,B and C. Using lotus based products or using its extracts in a hair rinse can improve hair elasticity, strength and volume.
Lotus stems are edible and considered a delicacy lovingly cooked by chefs and homemakers around the globe. Crunchy in texture and earthy in taste, many popular recipes include lotus root chips, healthy salads, tangy pickles, seafood accompaniments and vegetable curries. It has multiple health benefits – consuming it can cure digestion, stimulate blood circulation,regulate B.P, control weight and also strengthen the heart.
Lotus leaves, pods, seeds and petals are also essential to herbal medicine. They are used to cure a host of illnesses including premature ejaculation, diarrhea, sunstroke and fever. Lotus tea is brewed and consumed by many people who are seeking respite from anxiety, stomach ailments, heat, restlessness and hemorrhages.
The lotus flower is also a favorite for floral arrangements in wedding decorations. A single lotus or many lotuses in different hues are often used as a bridal bouquet as they represent grace, perfection, purity, devotion and divine beauty. As an offering or personal motif it indicates a person attempting to change his/her habits and transforming his shadows to light. Stay humble, innocent & untouched by maya while blossoming towards the Sun, remains the message to mankind by the lovely lotus.
Deesha Kriplani is a Freelance Writer & Editor with creative interests in spirituality, food & fashion. Connect with her on https://deeshakriplani.wordpress.com/