Symbols are a means of bringing subtle, inner realities to a focus in outward expression. Within the fundamental unity of consciousness, certain symbols, such as the lotus lifting itself in purity above the muddy water, possess universal relevance and power.
Lotuses are perhaps the most spectacular plants in aquatic environments. The sacred lotus, Nelumbo nucifera, a species of water lilies, also known as the East Indian lotus, is native to southern Asia and can grow at altitudes of up to 1,600 meters. The lotus flowers have color ranging from red, pink, pale yellow to white and blue.
The sacred lotus is an important spiritual symbol in Hindu religion and art. It represents purity, divine wisdom, and the individual’s progress from the lowest to the highest state of consciousness.
Spiritual Awakening or Transformation
The blossomed lotus flower symbolizes spiritual growth, an awakening or transformation. The lotus grows out of mud, our ignorance, to blossom above the water, into enlightenment. As it grows upward in aspiration toward the light, its petals open out into a beautiful flower. The lotus represents purity.
The eight-petaled lotus that is used in yantra art symbolizes the eight directions and cosmic harmony. The thousand-petaled lotus of the sahasrara or crown chakra represents spiritual illumination.
Lotuses appear in Hindu mythology. Hindus refer to the god Brahma as “lotus-born ” for he is said to have emerged from a lotus that was the navel, or center, of the universe. A lotus flower rises from the navel of Vishnu, the maintainer in Hindu cosmology.
An ancient Indian text refers explicitly to a wonderful quality: The white lotus, born in the water and grown in the water, rises beyond the water and remains unsoiled by the water. We are born in the world, grow up in the world, after having conquered the world through right techniques and spiritual guidance, remain unsoiled by the world.
The Lotus Flower and its Symbolism in Hindu Art
Hindu deities are associated in some manner with the lotus, either being seated upon a lotus in full bloom or holding one in their hands symbolizing purity, receptivity, and the flowering of consciousness or enlightenment.
Colors of the lotus are symbolic. A white lotus represents the state of spiritual perfection and total mental purity. Pink symbolizes the supreme lotus, generally reserved for the highest deity. A red lotus signifies the original nature and purity of the heart. It is the lotus of love, compassion, passion and all other qualities of the heart. A symbol of the victory of the spirit over the senses, the blue lotus, signifies the wisdom of knowledge.
The influence of a lotus flower painting is to open us up to beauty and light. A good lotus flower painting can act as a reminder of transformation and the miracle of beauty, light and life.