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Bali Lotus Flower of Earth

By Nadja

Few flowers are as important to Eastern cultures as the lotus, and each culture describes a slightly different meaning to the flower.

The Lotus is a delicate flower with many layered petals arrayed around a central core. In Sanskrit, the word for lotus is the Padma. So the next time you are in Jalan Padma, you will know that you are on Lotus Street!

The lotus also has a close connection with Balinese culture. In Balinese scripture, Danghyang Dwijendra stated Bali as Padma Bhuwana, or “lotus flower” of this planet. The lotus flower is the king of all flowers (Raja Kesuma) and referred to in various stories.

Balinese temples contain many structures and one of the most important is the Padmasana or Lotus Throne. The Padmasana is a tall sculptured stone tower upon which the empty stone seat, or lotus throne, is reserved for Sanghyang Widi Wasa (the Supreme God).

The Padmasana is located so that it faces away from the holiest mountain, Gunung Agung. In southern Bali, it is located in the northeast corner of a temple, in northern Bali located in the southeast corner of a temple. The throne is usually two meters above the ground so that it is above the heads of worshippers. In larger versions of the Padmasana, there are steps leading up to the throne to enable people to make offerings. The whole structure signifies the entire cosmos from the demons to the heavens. Around the base, there are representations such as mountains to indicate the physical world of man. The godly seat is placed well above these.

Lotus plants are symbolic in both the ancient and modern world, and are celebrated for their beauty both in art and religion and have an obvious cultural connection with Bali, so why not grow some in your own garden?

All the lotus flowers exude beauty and grace. Most varieties grow in the water of ponds and creeks, lending them an otherworldly quality that makes them mystical enough for religious ceremonies.

The color of the lotus certainly affects its general meaning as well. The white and pink lotus flower from the Nelumbo family represent purity and devotion. More passionate colours like red, purple, and blue take a spiritual meaning of enlightenment or rebirth. And green lotus flower represents a gift for anyone trying to improve their lives and start good habits.

Bali Pocket Magazine