Lotus Flower Meaning
Anybody who has ever observed a lotus flower emerging from a murky pond cannot fail to see the beauty of this exquisite plant.
The flower always looks so clean and pure against the background of the dirty pond.
Because of this the lotus flower has come to be associated with
purity and beauty in the religions of Buddhism and Hinduism
respectively; the ancient Egyptians scholars observed that in the
night-time the lotus closed its flowers and sank into the water, and
came up with a different association with the flower related to rebirth
and the Sun; in actual fact the Lotus slowly emerges from a pond over a
three day period and then blooms in the morning until mid-afternoon.
It can therefore be assumed that the lotus flower meaning is
different between cultures, though in fact they share many similarities.
I would like to explain how some of these associations came about,
and I will therefore split up this article into three main sections,
based upon the three main groups, that is to say that of the ancient
Egyptians, the Buddhists, and Hinduism.
Meaning Of The Lotus Flower To The Ancient Egyptians
Anybody who has taken a look at Egyptian culture cannot fail to have
noticed the significance of the meaning of the Lotus flower in their
In ancient Egypt there were two main types of lotus that grew, the
white, and the blue. Further to this another type, the pink lotus flower
was introduced into Egypt sometime during the late period of their
civilization. If one is to observe the many hieroglyphics, it is easy to
see that the blue Lotus flower is the most commonly portrayed.
This Egyptian artwork shows the Priest Nebsini holding a blue lotus flower
As mentioned in the introduction above about the meanings of the
lotus flower, this plant is known to be associated with rebirth. This is
a consequence of it supposedly retracting into the water at the night,
and emerging a fresh in the Sun the next day (see the introduction for
how a lotus plant actually comes into bloom). The Egyptians therefore
associated the lotus flower with the sun which also disappeared in the
night, only to re-emerge in the morning. Therefore the lotus came to
symbolize the Sun and the creation. In many hieroglyphics works the
lotus is depicted as emerging from Nun (the primordial water) bearing
the Sun God.
As something that is associated with rebirth, it is no surprise that
the lotus flower is also associated with death, and the famous Egyptian
book of the dead is known to include spells that are able to transform a
person into a lotus, thus allowing for resurrection.
Another interesting fact about the lotus flower meaning to the
Egyptians was the way that it was used as a symbol for the unification
of the two Egyptian kingdoms, that is to say the bonding of upper and
lower Egypt. For a long time the lotus had been used in the
hieroglyphics and art of upper Egypt, whereas in lower Egypt the Papyrus
plant was notably in abundance. Therefore pictures of lotus and Papyrus
that had grown up together and become inter-wound with each other came
to be a symbol of the bringing together of the two kingdoms.
Lotus Flower Meaning In Buddhism
In Buddhism the lotus is known to be associated with purity,
spiritual awakening and faithfulness. The flower is considered pure as
it is able to emerge from murky waters in the morning and be perfectly
clean. Therefore in common with Egyptian mythology the lotus is seen as a
sign of rebirth, but additionally it is associated with purity. The
breaking of the surface every morning is also suggestive of desire, this
leads to it being associated with spiritual enlightenment.
Buddha atop a Lotus Flower
As Buddhism stems from a different part of the world to Egyptology,
there are many more colors of lotus to be seen. So it is not too
surprising that the many different colors have come to be associated
with different aspects of Buddhism. The main symbolism of the lotus
flower and their meanings are given here.
1.Blue Lotus: The blue Lotus is associated with a victory of the
spirit over that of wisdom, intelligence and knowledge. If you get to
see it a blue Lotus in Buddhist art you will notice that it is always
depicted as being partially open and the centre is never observed.
Lotus: this color lotus is known to symbolize Bodhi (being awakened),
and represents a state of mental purity, and that of spiritual
perfection; it is also associated with the pacification of one’s nature.
This lotus is considered to be the womb of the world.
Lotus: known to be Mystic and is associated with esoteric sects. It can
be shown depicted as either an open flower or as a bud. The eight petals
of the purple Lotus are representative of the noble eightfold path; one
of the principal teachings of the Buddha. Following this path is
thought to lead to self awakening, and is considered one of the noble
4.Pink lotus: this is the supreme lotus and is considered to be the true lotus of Buddha.
5.Red lotus: this is related to the heart, and the Lotus flower meaning is associated with that of love and compassion.
The Lotus Flower And Its Meaning In Hinduism
Perhaps one of the strongest associations of the lotus flower with
religion is that that is observed in Hinduism. In this religion the
lotus flower meaning is associated with beauty, fertility, prosperity,
spirituality, and eternity.
The most common form seen in Hinduism is the white lotus flower. Many
of the gods and goddesses of Hinduism are linked to the flower, for
example the goddess of prosperity, Laxmi, is usually depicted as being
seated atop a fully opened lotus flower. Likewise Brahma, the god of
creation is depicted as emerging from a lotus that crawls from the Naval
of the sustainer Lord Vishnu.
As a lotus is able to emerge from Muddy Waters un-spoilt and pure it
is considered to represent a wise and spiritually enlightened quality in
a person; it is representative of somebody who carries out their tasks
with little concern for any reward and with a full liberation from
It is very interesting how the open flower and the unopened Lotus bud
forms are associated with human traits. The unopened bud is
representative of a folded soul that has the ability to unfold and open
itself up to the divine truth.
It is hoped that you now have a better understanding of the lotus
flower meaning across the three major cultures in which it is known to
play (or have played) a major role. It is no wonder that these
civilizations, have found wonderment in such a beautiful flower.
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