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Vishnu holding the lotus, also sitting on it and wearing a lotus-bud crown

Sacred Lotus

Hindu goddess Lakshmi holding & standing on lotusHindus associate the lotus (Padma) blossom with creation mythology, and with the gods Vishnu, Brahma, and the goddesses Lakshmi and Sarasvati. From ancient times the lotus has been a divine symbol in Hindu tradition. It is often used as an example of divine beauty, for example Vishnu is often described as the 'Lotus-Eyed One'. Its unfolding petals suggest the expansion of the soul. The growth of its pure beauty from the mud of its origin holds a benign spiritual promise. Particularly Brahma and Lakshmi, the divinities of potency and wealth, have the lotus symbol associated with them. In Hindu iconography, deities often are depicted with lotus flowers as their seats. In Hindi it is called कमल (Kamal) which is used as a popular name for men, with the female version Kamala.

The lotus plant is cited extensively within Puranic and Vedic literature, for example:

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

Borrowing from Hinduism, in Buddhist symbolism the lotus represents purity of body, speech, and mind, as if floating above the muddy waters of attachment and desire. The Buddha is often depicted sitting on a giant lotus leaf or blossom. According to legend, he was born with the ability to walk and everywhere he stepped, lotus flowers bloomed.

Drawing in turn on these Hindu and Buddhist beliefs, the international Bahá'í community adopted this symbolism in the design of the Lotus Temple in New Delhi, India.

Lotus is native to Greater India, and was selected as the national flower of India and also Vietnam. BJP, a nationalist political party of India which claims to be the champion of India's cultural nationalism, uses the lotus as its election symbol. Lotus is widely depicted in various art forms of this region.

The Chinese revere the sacred lotus as a symbol of purity and elegance, and it is a common motif in ancient Chinese poetry. A famous statement about the lotus' symbolism in Chinese culture is made by Confucian scholar Zhou Dunyi: "I love the lotus because, while growing from mud, it is unstained".

Purity is one beloved child of mother Gratitude

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