Friday, 29 October 2010

The Sacred Lotus

Nelumbo nucifera, known by a number of names including "Indian Lotus", "Sacred Lotus", "Bean of India" or simply "Lotus", is a plant in the Nelumbonaceae family.  This plant is an aquatic perennial.  Under favourable circumstances, its seeds may remain viable for many years.  The oldest recorded lotus germination was from that of seeds 1,300 years old recovered from a dry lake bed in northeastern China.  [see Wikipedia]

This is not a water lily.  It is an entirely different plant.  It is easy to tell the difference if you look at the centre of the flower as the Sacred Lotus has a distinctive circular seed pod while water lilies usually have a pointed cone in the centre.

This plant is native to "greater India" and Bangladesh.  It is commonly cultivated in water gardens.   It is the national flower of India and Vietnam.

The Lotus has the remarkable ability to regulate the temperature of its flowers to within a narrow range just as humans and other warmblooded animals do.  Scientists suspect the flowers may be doing this to attract coldblooded insect pollinators.

Almost every part of the Lotus plant can be and is used in various oriental dishes and even eaten raw although there is a danger of parasite transmission.  The plant parts are also used extensively in Asian herbal medicine.

Most Buddhist, Chinese, Hindu, Japanese and other Asian deities are depicted as seated on a Lotus blossom.  In Buddhist symbolism, the Lotus represents purity of the body, speech and mind as if floating above the muddy waters of attachment and desire.  In the classical written and oral literature of many Asian cultures, the Lotus is present in figurative form, representing elegance, beauty, perfection, purity and grace.  In this same way, it is often used in poems and songs as an allegory for the ideal feminine attributes.  [see Wikipedia]

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

"I love the Lotus because while growing from mud, it is unstained." -- Confucian scholar Zhou Dunyi.

Personally, I can say that I love the look of this flower because it really seems to have an inner light coming from that circular seed pod.  Speaking of the Lotus and light, take a look at the following solarization of my original drawing.

I find it really amazing that simply increasing the colour saturation gives you, the viewer, a real sense of light and energy.  It really looks as though there are candles burning at the centre of each flower.

I really would be interested in your comments about the original drawing as well as this second version with its software adjustment.

Next I want to show you some photographs wherein Nature seems to be making statements all her own.

Legend has it that this "face" of the Devil was formed naturally; however, I would really have to wonder about the truth in that statement.  No matter how this "face" occurred, it presents an amazing likeness to mankind's common understanding of the face of evil.  The Devil (or diablo in Spanish) always expresses all that we think of as wickedness or evil.  Another name for the Devil is Satan.  Do you believe in Satan?

This photograph of trees grown together over a path through the woods is beautiful in the daylight, but just think how sinister and frightening it might seem as daylight fades.  In daylight, I can imagine Hobbits and fairies all over the place, but come darkness, I would have to have a big fire to sit next to -- and believe you me, I would be very close to that fire at all times!

Finally, I want to finish with a photograph of perfect tranquility.  While the previous two photos might be helpful to get you in the mood for Hallowe'en, this one should make you want to sit under one of those trees and watch the life around you.  If you sit still long enough, the life of the forest begins to reveal itself ... the deer come out from hiding, the little field mice return to searching for food, the frogs come out from under the Lotus leaves...

I hope everyone who reads this is blessed by it and that you will feel refreshed after looking at such interesting and lovely images.

May peace be with you.

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