Meaning of Lotus Flower
The Lotus Flower Meaning
The lotus flower is an old and significant symbol in many religions, especially Hinduism and Buddhism. While there are slight variations to the lotus flower meaning in the different faiths, the general concept is the same. The meaning of the lotus flower comes from the way the flower grows in nature. It starts off as a bud underwater, often in murky ponds, and grows until it emerges from the muddy waters in a beautiful blooming flower.
Symbol for Spiritual Enlightenment: The meaning of the lotus flower symbol comes from an analogy derived from the flower's life cycle, where all humans are born into a world of suffering where they must learn to overcome difficult times so that they can become a better person and reach spiritual enlightenment. The muddy waters represent the struggles of life, the bud of the flower represent a person that has not yet reached their full potential, and the blossoming lotus flower above the water represents someone who has achieved nirvana and let go of worldly suffering.
Symbol for Purity: The lotus flower emerges from murky waters perfectly clean and beautiful, so it is also a symbol for purity. The meaning of the lotus flower holds such power because it can offer hope and strength to people struggling in their daily lives. It is a symbol that shows that no matter where you start off in life and no matter what you're going through, you have the ability to rise above, overcome all negativity and find bliss as you emerge from your struggles.
Throughout the process of the bud pushing through the murky waters, the petals of the flower are never touched or affected by the water, so the centre remains uncontaminated throughout its unpleasant journey. This is symbolic of the purity of the human soul and how nothing we experience could ever taint it.
Symbol of Personal Progress: The physical aspects of the lotus flower have also contributed to its meaning. The lotus flower has many petals that surround the centre in multiple concentric layers. As the petals open, more petals are revealed until the lotus is in full bloom and all the layers are revealed. This process is seen as a metaphor for the progress made in gradual stages to ultimately reach spiritual enlightenment and self-realization.
While the petals of different lotus flowers bloom in different colours, the centre of the flower is typically a yellow colour, sometimes with a greenish hue. This central part of the flower represents the goal of one's soul reaching enlightenment and connecting the Ultimate Conscious. In some faiths, the lotus flower meaning is also representative of the seven chakras.
History of The Lotus Flower In Ancient Egypt
While it's difficult to trace back the earliest depictions of the lotus flower, its use has been dated back to Ancient Egypt. The lotus flower was known as "Seshen" in Egypt and was actually cultivated in ponds due its significant meaning and association with their gods. It was believed that the lotus flower offered strength and power. Lotus flower remnants have even been found in Ramesses II's tomb. It was also common practice for Egyptian women to wear lotus flower amulets depicting Heqet, the goddess of fertility, during childbirth.
The Ancient Egyptians also believed in the lotus flower as a symbol of rebirth as it closed its petals at night and would bloom again in the morning. This was believed to symbolize the process where the dead would enter the underworld to be reborn.
In Ancient Egypt, the meaning of the lotus flower was of creation, rebirth and the sun, while in Ancient Greece, the lotus flower meaning was of innocence, modesty and purity.
The lotus flower also has roots in many Indian religions, particularly Hinduism and Buddhism. The lotus can be traced back to about 1400BC through Verdic texts and many Hindu gods are depicted holding lotus flowers or standing on them.
The Lotus Flower in Buddhism
The meaning of the lotus flower in Buddhism comes from that central analogy of being born into a world of struggle (murky water) and opening up to or reaching spiritual enlightenment (the blossoming lotus). In Buddhism, the lotus flower symbolizes purity of the mind, body and spirit, as the flower, or soul, blossoms above and moves freely over murky waters, which represents the struggles of life, attachment and desire.
The flower also symbolizes detachment as water rolls off the petals easily, meaning that the purity of the soul, having reached enlightenment, can't be tainted. The lotus flower meaning in Buddhism also refers to rebirth and the core belief of reincarnation.
Different coloured lotus flowers represent different things in the Buddhist faith.
The white lotus flower symbolizes purity, both of the mind and soul. The blue lotus symbolizes common sense, wisdom and knowledge. The pink lotus represents the history and essence of Buddha. Red represents love and compassion as it relates to the heart and connects to the root chakra. The purple lotus flower is mystical and spiritual and it's eight petals signify the Noble Eightfold Path to self-awakening. Lastly, the gold lotus flower symbolizes the achievement of true spiritual enlightenment.
The Lotus Flower in Hinduism
In Hinduism, the lotus flower is very significant as it relates to the sacred Padma lotus, and is associated with numerous gods, including Vishnu, Lakshmi and Brahma. In many ancient works of art, the gods are depicted with lotus flowers as they represent purity and divinity.
It is believed that the unfolding of the lotus flower petals represents the progress being made to reach a more spiritual state of mind. The unfurling petals symbolize the human soul expanding. Padma is thought to be a part of every person's soul and drives people, like an instinct, to work towards spiritual enlightenment despite their struggles, much like the lotus flower as it rises out from muddy depths and blossoms into its full potential.
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