Monday, 19 January 2009

the lotus - much more than a flower

The Nelumbo nucifera or the sacred lotus is to my mind, one of the most beautiful flowers in the world. It may not be as exotic as say, the flower of the cannonball tree or as flamboyant as the flowers of the Curcuma or Heliconia, but there is something about it which makes it very stunning and alluring.

The beauty of the lotus lies in its simplicity. The flowers in particular, exude a sense of purity and well-being. This explains why the lotus is considered sacred to many people and regarded as one of the world's most celebrated and revered flowers. From time immemorial to the present day, it has always been in folklore, religion and the arts and literature in one form or the other. It has great religious significance and many symbolic meanings in both Buddhism and Hinduism.

In Buddhism, the lotus is symbolic of perpetual life while for the Hindus, it is symbolic of all that is good and beautiful. Fertility and rebirth are other symbols which have been ascribed to the flower. Incidentally, it is also the national flower of India and Vietnam. Such is the enduring power of the lotus. As they say, the proof of the pudding is in the eating, or in this case, the photos taken below.

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