Based on collective memories passed from generation to generation, there is a reminiscence of a time of innocence, a pristine childhood of humans. It was an epoch where humans were in tune with the flora and fauna in their environs.
The forbidden apple from the tree of knowledge and evil is scattered in various images and stories in Western culture. It became a symbol of innocence lost and paradise trapped in the misty streams of a place long ago where humans lived free from the burdens of drudgery and sorrow.
In the East it is not the apple, but the lotus which connects one to the past. The flower of day still catches the fancy of many people on this planet traversing the cosmos.
Its beauty is unsurpassed. Its meaning is like a dream whirling into the consciousness of the seeking traveller on their daily trek.
In Egyptian mythology the world emerged from Nun, a watery abyss or cosmic ocean. The world was divided between land and water with water being the dominant topographical feature.
Nun was graced by all types of flora, especially the water lilies and lotus. Out of the lotus Ra and Isis arose who brought forth life on the land.
As Ra looked about at their creation, tears of joys ran down his face and fell upon the rich loam soil which had been mingled with his sweat. To his amazement and delight man and woman formed. Isis breathed life into the earthen pair. Now Ra and Isis had humans to care for their creation.
It is said that Buddha was born on a lotus. The lotus’ roots are buried in the soil of this earthen vessel. The flower rests on top of the soil to remind humans of their climb from earth to the empyreal realm if they will embrace enlightenment.
In Hinduism the golden lotus was the first life form to emerge from the cosmic ocean before the earth was created. From its thousand petals all life in the cosmos was formed. So in each living being a part of the lotus exists to connect to the cosmic waters from which all life sprang.
The teaching of “Om mani padme hum“ (the jewel in the lotus) focuses on the Creator and the connectedness of humans and the cosmos. If everything is connected, then there should be harmony between humans since all derived from the same creative source—the lotus.
Like the apple is to Western culture, so the lotus is to the Eastern culture. Of course all of this symbolism stems back to the origins of life on this planet. As humans spread across the globe, the core of the origins story remained the same.
These origin stories share the common belief that human life came from divine fiat. World religions teach it as absolute truth.
To many these symbols are just that—symbols to explain mysteries which have occult significance to the ignorant and superstitious. To those who believe they are more than symbols they are a cosmic bridge to the past which links the future.
Do we have a lotus petal embedded in our genome? Is it a divine spark from the moment of creation?
G. D. Williams © 2013
Kew Gardens Royal Botanical Gardens
Bahman Farzad’s Lotus Photos
The Lotus Temple
“More people have died in the name of God and religion than in all the wars and natural calamities. But, the real purpose of any religion is to educate us about our spiritual unity. It is time for us to recognize that there is one truth and many approaches. The basic cause for all the world problems is the lack of understanding of our spiritual unity. The need of the hour is to know, respect, love one another and to live as one global family. Our humble aim in building the LOTUS is to spread this message.”
—H. H. Sri Swami Satchidananda, founder of LOTUS
Top Photo: Anne Machetto
G.A. Cooper @ USDA-NRCS PLANTS Database