Definition - What does Padma mean?

Padma is the Sanskrit word for lotus. This aquatic flowering plant plays an important symbolic role in yoga and many Indian religions including Hinduism and Buddhism. It is often referred to as the “sacred lotus.”

Padma grows from out of the mud, but blooms in perfect beauty above the surface of the water. Thus, it is often seen as a symbol for those who overcome ignorance and suffering in order to find enlightenment and Self-realization. It can be seen as representing purity of body, mind and speech, as it rises above attachment and desire, liberated and full of bliss.

Padma lends its name to padmasana, a yoga posture often used for meditation.

Yogapedia explains Padma

Padma is cited in many yogic and spiritual sacred texts including the Bhagavad Gita, which teaches that students should be inspired by the lotus. The Bhagavad Gita guides yogis to perform their duties without attachment and without being affected by sinful action, in the same way that the lotus blossoms untouched by the water. The blossoming of the lotus is like the promise of the spiritual path; it represents the possibility to bloom even from the muddiest waters and find beauty and bliss through enlightenment.

In Hinduism, the gods, Vishnu and Brahma, and the goddesses, Lakshmi and Saraswati, are often depicted with lotus flowers or are associated with them. Vishnu, for instance, is sometimes described as the “lotus-eyed one.” Brahma is often depicted in padmasana, blooming from the petals of a lotus flower, with the unfolding petals symbolizing the expansion of the soul.

Many of the chakra symbols of yogic philosophy feature the lotus, and draw on it as a representation of purity and divine beauty. Padma is also one of the eight auspicious symbols of Buddhism, representing primordial purity.

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