Tuesday July 17, 2018

The symbol of Lotus Flower is significant to Buddhism and Hinduism, Find out why!

Lotus is originated from the naval of Lord Vishnu with Lord Brahma sitting on it.

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Lotus Flower. Image source: www.tigerscursebook.com
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  • Lotus means ‘rebirth’ or ‘reincarnation’ in Buddhism
  • Lotus also symbolizes state of self consciousness
  • Lotus is originated from the naval of Lord Vishnu with Lord Brahma sitting on it

Lotus flower is significant both in Hinduism and Buddhism. they are an integral part of all decorations. Lotus flowers are used in all kinds of rituals ranging from a birth of a newborn to marriage.

As Lotus grows in muddy water, environment teaches us the first lesson. Lotus grows and blooms above the gloom to achieve enlightenment. Purification is the second lesson, which means absolving a spirit that is born with murkiness. Last one is faithfulness; it requires being faithful to grow from dirt.

Goddess Lakshmi standing of Lotus flower. Image Source: Wikimedia Commons
Goddess Lakshmi standing of Lotus flower. Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

In Buddhism, Lotus holds a unique place. It is one of the 8 sacred symbols in Buddhism. A closed Lotus denotes the time when Buddha was not there to guide his followers. While a fully opened flower represent that follower of Buddha has met his master. As a Lotus unfolds, each petal denotes a stage to achieve enlightenment and self awareness.

It also symbolizes meaning of life. The mud in which lotus grows represents the sufferings. As we all know, humans are born with sufferings and grow in sufferings. This signifies that suffering is also a part of life. It gives us experiences which are further used to gain more experiences to live life.

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Moreover, Lotus itself means ‘rebirth’ or ‘reincarnation’ in Buddhism. The definition of rebirth not only involves taking birth as a child but also the morning after the darkest day, change of ideas or following Buddha.

In Hinduism, a Lotus represents fertility, prosperity and beauty. It also resembles divinity, purity and eternity. According to Bhagvad Gita, a lotus resembles a man who works without any attachment, who stands out of failure and sufferings and who is far away from any sin.

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Lotus is originated from the naval of Lord Vishnu with Lord Brahma sitting on it. Goddess Lakshmi is also found sitting or standing on Lotus while carrying a small one in her hand. A lotus flower is said to wake and bloom on first ray of sun.

Lotus also symbolizes state of self consciousness. In Hinduism, each petal of Lotus represents the potential of an individual spiritually and describes each petal as levels for achieving self consciousness. A lotus is said to present deep in heart and located deep in lotus is ‘Atman’ which human search in their life to attain ‘Moksha’.

Lotus also holds significance in Yoga. Padmasana, lotus like pose, is done by those who want to attain highest level of self consciousness which is found in Lotus Chakra present at top of the head.

-prepared by Aparna Gupta, an intern with NewsGram. Twitter @writetoaparna99

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  • devika todi

    it is always good to know more about the symbolic representations of natural objects like lotus in the various religions. it is interesting, how we can take lessons from all that surrounds us and apply it in our daily life, like yoga asanas.
    great article!

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Shankaracharya: A remarkable genius that Hinduism produced (Book Review)

The irony is that most leading scientists, particularly outside India but also within, have little knowledge of the structure of Shankara's philosophy and the transparent interface it has with scientific discoveries today.

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He was greatly influenced by three basic texts of Hindu philosophy: Upanishads, the Brahma Sutra and the Bhagavad Gita
He was greatly influenced by three basic texts of Hindu philosophy: Upanishads, the Brahma Sutra and the Bhagavad Gita.

Title: Adi Shankaracharya: Hinduism’s Greatest Thinker; Author: Pavan K. Varma; Publisher: Tranquebar Press; Pages: 364; Price: Rs 699

This must be one of the greatest tributes ever paid to Shankaracharya, the quintessential “paramarthachintakh”, who wished to search for the ultimate truths behind the mysteries of the universe. His genius lay in building a complete and original philosophical edifice upon the foundational wisdom of the Upanishads.

A gifted writer, Pavan Varma, diplomat-turned-politician and author of several books including one on Lord Krishna, takes us through Shankara’s short but eventful span of life during which, from having been born in what is present-day Kerala, he made unparalleled contributions to Hindu religion that encompassed the entire country. Hinduism has not seen a thinker of his calibre and one with such indefatigable energy, before or since.

Shankara’s real contribution was to cull out a rigorous system of philosophy that was based on the essential thrust of Upanishadic thought but without being constrained by its unstructured presentation and contradictory meanderings.

He was greatly influenced by three basic texts of Hindu philosophy: Upanishads, the Brahma Sutra and the Bhagavad Gita. He wrote extensive and definitive commentaries on each of them. Of course, the importance he gave to the Mother Goddess, in the form of Shakti or Devi, can be traced to his own attachment to his mother whom he left when he set off, at a young age, in search of a guru and higher learning.

The irony is that most leading scientists, particularly outside India but also within, have little knowledge of the structure of Shankara's philosophy and the transparent interface it has with scientific discoveries today.
Shankara wrote hymns in praise of many deities but his personal preference was the worship of the Mother Goddess.

Against all odds, Shankara created institutions for the preservation and propagation of Vedantic philosophy. He established “mathas” with the specific aim of creating institutions that would develop and project the Advaita doctrine. He spoke against both caste discriminations and social inequality, at a time when large sections of conservative Hindu opinion thought otherwise.

Shankara was both the absolutist Vedantin, uncompromising in his belief in the non-dual Brahman, and a great synthesiser, willing to assimilate within his theoretical canvas several key elements of other schools of philosophy. He revived and restored Hinduism both as a philosophy and a religion that appealed to its followers.

Also Read: Hinduism: The Nine Basic Beliefs that you need to know

Varma rightly says that it must have required great courage of conviction as well as deep spiritual and philosophical insight for Shankaracharya to build on the insights of the Upanishads a structure of thought, over a millennium ago, that saw the universe and our own lives within it with a clairvoyance that is being so amazingly endorsed by science today. The irony is that most leading scientists, particularly outside India but also within, have little knowledge of the structure of Shankara’s philosophy and the transparent interface it has with scientific discoveries today.

Shankara wrote hymns in praise of many deities but his personal preference was the worship of the Mother Goddess. The added value of the book is that it has, in English, a great deal of Shankara’s writings. Unfortunately, most Hindus today are often largely uninformed about the remarkable philosophical foundations of their religion. They are, the author points out, deliberately choosing the shell for the great treasure that lies within. This is indeed a rich book. (IANS)