The lotus is India’s national flower and rightly so. Not long ago, the lakes and ponds of India were full of many hued lotuses. The lotus is the symbol of truth, auspiciousness and beauty (satyam, shivam, sundaram). The Lord is also that nature and therefore, His various aspects are compared to a lotus (i.e. lotus-eyes, lotus feet, lotus hands, the lotus of the heart etc.). Our scriptures and ancient literature extol the beauty of the lotus. Art and architecture also portray the lotus in various decorative motifs and paintings. Many people have names of or related to the lotus : Padma, Pankaja, kamal, Kamala, Kamalakshi etc. The Goddess of wealth, Lakshmi, sits on a lotus and carries one in her hand. 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. The lotus leaf never gets wet even thought it is always in water. It symbolises the man of wisdom (gnaani) who remains ever joyous, unaffected by the world of sorrow and change. This is revealed in a shloka from the Bhagavad Geeta:
"Brahmanyaadhaaya karmaani Sangam tyaktvaa karoti yaha Lipyate na sa paapena Padma patram ivaambhasaa"
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. From this, we learn that what is natural to the man of wisdom becomes a discipline to be practiced by all saadhakas or spiritual seekers and devotees.
Our bodies have certain energy certain described in the Yoga Shaastras as chakras. Each one is associated with lotus that have a certain number of petals, For example, the Sahasra chakra at the top of the head, which opens when the yogi attains Godhood or Realisation, is represented by a lotus with a thousand petals, Also the lotus posture (padmaasana) is recommended when one sits for meditation.
A lotus emerged from the navel of lord Vishnu Lord Brahma originated from it to create the world. Hence, the lotus symbolizes the link between the creator and the supreme Cause. It also symbolizes Brahmaloka, he abode of Lord Brahma.
The auspicious sign of the swastika is said to have evolved from the lotus. From the above, we can well appreciate why the lotus is India’s national flower and so special to Indians.
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