By Benazir Ahmed Siddique. An expat in Hoa Thanh, Tay Ninh City, Vietnam
The analogy “water in the lotus leaf” expresses any uncertain state of life. In the evening, if anyone upset about the uncertain situation of life then he/she should take a boat ride in the lotus pond or lake. Every worst situation in the mind will fly away when anyone see the beautiful pink-white lotus among the deep green leaves all around. Besides, the deep aroma of lotus will fascinate them.
In Vietnam, usually during the monsoon and at the beginning of fall, the queen of the captivating aquatic flower “Lotus” starts blooming in the pond or lake just before sunset. Throughout the night, the lotus flowers spread their deep fragrance. Therefore, a pond or lake of lotus has become reservoir of profound elegance.
The lotus flower grows in the deep mud, far away from the sun. But, sooner or later, the lotus reaches the light becoming the most beautiful flower ever.
Lotus symbolizes the elegance, purity and holiness. It has been used in various religious ceremonies since ancient period. Hence, it is called ‘Sacred Plant’ or ‘Holy Tree’. It is regarded in many different cultures, especially in religions, as a symbol of purity, enlightenment, self-regeneration and rebirth.
Its characteristics are a perfect analogy for the human condition: even when its roots are in the dirtiest waters, the lotus produces the most beautiful flower. In this continent, the petals of each layer of the lotus flower carry different meanings in religious education or reform. The Buddhist consider lotus as sacred. The lotus flower is considered as the symbol of the destiny of Buddhists in many countries of the world. The pink lotus is reminiscent of the legendary history of Gautama Buddha.
According to Buddhism, every person has the potential to become perfectand enlightened, and it is just a matter of time until each human reaches the light. The Buddhist believe that it is necessary to be reborn thousands of times, polishing one’s being through many incarnations, until one reaches nirvana –the highest state of consciousness that humans can access. So, the Buddha is sometimes depicted sitting on a lotus flower, symbolizing the one who overcame the pain of that prevails in the material world and became enlightened, just like the lotus flower which starts to grow in the dirty and muddy water but manages to surpass the water and produce a perfect flower.
To Hindus, lotus symbolizes life, fertility and holiness. In Hinduism, the seat of Padma Brahma emanating from the navel of Narayana and the seat of Goddess Saraswati. In Hinduism, it is said that the holy spirit of lotus is present in every human being. Many people believe that the lotus flower buds are as tender as the touch and vision of God. Many Hindu gods are depicted sitting or standing on a lotus flower for the same reason.
There is a myth about the lotus flower; snake hides behind the leaves and enjoys the fragrance of the flower. Although the matter is a myth, but it is not to be thrown away at all. In fact, snakes come to lotus for the greed of rats. There are seeds in the base of the lotus flower. Rats come to eat these seeds and occasionally snakes come to catch the rats. However, ignoring the pain of the lotus thorn, those who once eat the seeds they may still feel the taste. Lotus seeds are quite tasty and contain some good fats, minerals and trace elements, which are beneficial for health. These seeds can quickly quench hunger. During the war in Vietnam, guerrillas and ordinary people ate this seed for sustaining their lives.
The aquatic plant lotus, which spreads fragrance with purity and charm, has many medicinal properties. These following properties exist in the Herbal and Ayurveda scriptures:
* Lotus leaf extract is effective in vitiligo. Lotus leaves were used in ancient time to reduce various types of inflammation and fever. If you go to villages, you can see children lying on lotus leaves in case of fever.
* Lotus leaves and roots are used in hemorrhoids.
* Extract of lotus petals reduces the pain of angina pectoris and helps in healing prolapse of uterus after delivery.
Along with Basak leaves and honey it gives good effect in dry cough.
The roots and seeds of lotus are very useful in irregular menstruation of women.
* Lotus seeds eliminate the harmful wastes from the body. Its seeds contain protein and carbohydrates (low in glycemic index); so it is beneficial for diabetics and helps in weight loss.
These seeds help in relieving gastritis and bleeding problems.
* Some ophthalmic medications are prepared from lotus honey.
* Lotus leaves, flower petals and seeds have various roles to make the skin beautiful.
* In addition, lotus has been used in the cosmetic industry as ‘perfume’ or ‘aroma’.
Not only in Vietnam but also in entire Southeast Asia and South Asia, various parts of the lotus plant are commonly used for cooking, baking, and adding flavor to beverages. In many areas, shopkeepers used to tie foods, powdered spices, molasses, sugar, salt and other things. Its use is remarkable because it is environment friendly. Still, in many areas of Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia, according to the traditional way, food is served on lotus leaves and its leaves and flowers are used in various daily activities.
Fortunately, aquatic plant lotus is sufficient in various lakes, ponds and other water bodies in Vietnam than many countries of the world. So, elegance of lotus is still alive profoundly in Vietnam.