Article Info

published: 1/29/07
updates: 12/10/13

The Lotus Symbol in Hinduism




Lotus symbol

White lotus
The lotus rises out of the mud with a pristine bloom. Photo: Lindley Ashline.


Pink lotus above the water. Photo: warryronin.

What does the Lotus mean?

In Hinduism, the lotus (Sanskrit: padma) primarily represents beauty and non-attachment. The lotus is rooted in the mud but floats on the water without becoming wet or muddy. This symbolizes how how one should live in the world in order to gain release from rebirth: without attachment to one's surroundings.

"One who performs his duty without attachment, surrendering the results unto the Supreme Lord, is unaffected by sinful action, as the lotus leaf is untouched by water."
-- Bhagavad Gita 5.10

A similar meaning is given to the lotus symbol in Buddhism.





The lotus is associated with several Hindu deities. Krishna is described as the "Lotus-Eyed One," referring to his divine beauty. Brahma and Lakshmi, the deities of potence and wealth, are often seen with the lotus symbol. Other deities associated with the lotus include Vishnu and Sarasvati.

Finally, the lotus is also a symbol for the centers of consciousness (chakras) in the body.




Sources

  1. John Bowker, ed., Oxford Concise Dictionary of World Religions (2000).
  2. Nelumbo nucifera - Wikipedia (January 2007)
  3. God's Favorite Flower - Lotus Sculpture