The Lotus

I have recently noticed a lot of interest when I share pictures of lotus flowers.

Lotus flowers are a very common sight in southern India, where I currently am. We often see lotus ponds when driving around and the flowers are a popular offering when conducting prayers at the temples. People can buy the flowers from local markets, such as the famous Madurai flower market or from vendors just outside the temples.


The lotus plant has a long and interesting history. For centuries it has been used for food. The roots are fried into chips or made into curries and the seeds, being rich in nutrients and antioxidants, after being roasted, are stirred into many dishes.  

I personally love the symbolism of the lotus. Every night it submerges itself in the mud, with the stalks reaching close to the surface of the water. In the daylight the lotus flower emerges from the mud and water, free of dirt and mud in all its glory, thus symbolising purity, and rebirth. It also symbolises transcendence as well as the human ability to triumph over darkness and evil. I believe that these are the reasons that the lotus is considered one of the most sacred plants in the world.


The lotus is also the national flower of India, where it has served as a symbol within India’s arts, culture, and religions for centuries. Yoga practitioners use the lotus to help themselves connect with negative emotions as it reminds us that negative emotions may feel bad at the time, but they often serve as a foundation for something beautiful.


In countries such as Egypt, India and Vietnam, divine figures are often seen alongside lotus flowers. In Hindu culture, gods and goddesses are depicted on top of lotus flowers. Ancient Egyptians believed that lotuses had the ability to resurrect the dead. Buddhists believe that a white lotus symbolises purity, and a yellow lotus is associated with spiritual ascension. One of the most important teachings of Buddhism, The Lotus Sutra, teaches that every being can reach full enlightenment.


“As a lotus flower is born in water, grows in water and rises out of water to stand above it unsoiled, so I, born in the world, raised in the world having overcome the world, live unsoiled by the world.” – Buddha