Known for its ability to thrive through shallow and murky waters, the lotus flower closes its beautiful petals into a bud every night sinking into the muddy pool from which it grew. And each morning, with the rise of the sun, the lotus blooms again, without any trace of the dirt it slept in.
The lotus’s ability to float above the mud easily translates into metaphors about human life and is used across teachings in many cultures to describe the perseverance required in human existence. Specific to South Asia, its importance in both Hinduism and Buddhism as a sacred symbol has landed the lotus as the national flower of India.
Siddhartha Gautama, the Buddha himself, is quoted as saying “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.” It is this ability to be “unsoiled” by its environment that makes the lotus the most powerful symbol for living unattached to one’s environment while achieving fulfillment in one’s life. For Buddhist this detachment is also synonymous with enlightenment, as the heart of a person that is not enlightened is a lotus bud, while that of an enlightened heart is a lotus in full bloom.
In the Hindu scriptures of the Puranas, it is depicted that Brahma is born out of the lotus flower that sprouted from Vishnu’s navel. It is also the favorite flower amongst the gods and goddesses as the lotus is repeatedly pictured as the base upon which they meditate. The Padma (lotus) with its many unfolding petals is synonymous to the expanding of the soul (atma), in which human’s search for their entire lives, within themselves, to achieve Moksha (liberation).
As a scared symbol, the lotus can be found in many of the artworks and ideologies across South Asia. Most popular in the modern day is the lotus in jewelry and ornamentation. In India by Thread’s collection, you will see many version of the lotus, as it is my favorite symbol for its connection with the attainment of knowledge, and the power of our goddesses. Each color in which the lotus is represented stands for a different version of one stage in life; white for purity, red for love, blue for wisdom, and pink for the young Buddha, purple for spiritual wisdom, and gold for the achievement of enlightenment. I hope that you are able to find the right version of this beautiful symbol for you, in which that it will bring enlightenment into your life, and style.