Why is Lotus Flower Considered Auspicious?•
Posted on February 13 2023
It is a customary practice to offer flowers to a deity during worship or a pooja. Although various flowers can be offered, the lotus flower is very significant because of its auspicious nature. The lotus is represented as a symbol of spiritual awakening and purity. The flower is also linked with tranquillity, wisdom, virtue and inner strength. All these make the lotus quite auspicious in Hindu culture along with giving it a status of power, purity and divinity. The lotus is additionally is a mark of one’s love for god or bhakti.
The lotus is associated with the supreme level of consciousness. This is why the lotus pose or padmasana is said to be the most favourable pose for meditation in hatha yoga to reach this level. The flower also highlights the movement of life force through the various chakras in the human body starting from the base chakra. When a person reaches the highest consciousness level, his/her crown chakra is activated and the lotus petals of that chakra open up. There is a popular Hindu Sanskrit mantra Om Mani Padme Hum that describes the lotus as a mark of spiritual enlightenment.
The lotus highlights the notion of primordial birth. It is also known as the flower of life because of its close association with the life, death and rebirth cycle. The flower thus represents a state of transcendence.
There are several references to the lotus that highlight various gods/goddesses either holding, standing or sitting on a lotus. All of them only stand testimony to why the flower is considered to be auspicious in one way or the other.
One main reason for the auspiciousness of the lotus flower is due to its pivotal connection with Goddess Lakshmi sitting or standing on a fully bloomed pink lotus with a lotus in one of Her hands and a garland of lotuses around Her neck. The goddess is associated with luck, wealth and fortune. The Mahabharata also talks about Lakshmi arising from a lotus that emerged from the forehead of Lord Vishnu.
Among the various stories revolving the origin of the creator, one of them stands out among the rest. According to this story, Brahma was born on a lotus flower that originated from the navel of Vishnu resting Himself on Adishesha. Lord Vishnu is also known by the name Padmanabha because of this lotus. This flower is said to represent the earth while the stalk symbolises Meru, the cosmic mountain and the central axis of the whole universe.
The flower is also considered to be one of the four attributes of Lord Vishnu who holds the lotus in His lower left hand. This lotus represents serenity, creation and procreation. It also denotes the lord’s relationship with the cosmic waters. The Padma Purana is one among the eighteen major puranas that is so called after this attribute of Vishnu. Most of the purana features praises dedicated to Him.
Goddess Saraswati, the goddess of education, music and creativity also has a close association with the lotus. She is portrayed sitting on a white lotus and signifies supreme knowledge. Similarly, Goddess Durga, the goddess of power who was created by Lord Shiva to defeat the demons in a war has a red lotus in Her hand as a symbol of eradicating negativity.
Lord Ganesha, the god of good fortune associated with success, fortune and prosperity is portrayed sitting on a lotus. Some variations also show the god with a lotus in one of His hands. The flower highlights the attainment of enlightenment along with the fulfilment a person receives on achieving it.
Some Hindus also believe that the sacred deity and plant soma used in Vedic sacrifices is the lotus itself. The soma is referenced in the Rig Veda as being worshipped for immortality. Apart from the Rig Veda, the lotus also has references in several forms of Hindu literature like religious legends, puranas and Upanishads to mention just a few.
In Hindu mythology, Lord Vishnu is said to have offered a thousand lotus flowers to Lord Shiva. This is an indication that the lord crossed 1000 spiritual levels of Himself. There is also a story in Ramayana about the lotus-eyed Lord Rama making a resolution to appease Goddess Durga with a hundred lotuses to seek Her blessings to win over the demon king Ravana. However, He was able to procure only a ninety nine flowers. He immediately offered one of His own eyes to match the count of hundred.
The lotus represents vairagya or detachment. It is important for an individual to develop a sense of detachment and always remain conscious about the supreme power. Just like the flower detaches itself from its surroundings, it serves as a reminder for a person to detach himself/herself from activities that tend to dishonour his/her mind and soul and focus on other aspects that matter such as relationships, wisdom and spiritual enlightenment.
The lotus is a symbol of spiritual enlightenment and self-realisation in the midst of ignorance. Irrespective of the muddy water and dirty environment in its surroundings, the flower stands out above them in full bloom facing the sun. This representation signifies the overcoming of materialistic worldly pleasures and finding one’s way towards reaching spiritual wisdom and enlightenment.
The lotus flower can also symbolise new beginnings in the life of an individual. The flower blooms in the morning at sunrise, closes at night when the sun sets and goes back into the water and begins a new cycle the next day. This associates the lotus with the Sun God or Lord Surya. Similarly, an individual should begin each day with a mindset to welcome new beginnings in his/her life and perform his/her karma without being affected by external factors.
The lotus is associated with cleanliness and being true to oneself. It emerges from the muddy waters without any dirt on its surface. The flower signifies the purity of the human mind. Just like it is remains grounded and proud of what it is irrespective of where it is, it makes the surroundings a beautiful place with its presence.
Written by - Deepthi K