Our true nature – the lotus in the pond

“I am spotless, tranquil, pure consciousness, and beyond nature. All this time I have been duped by illusion.” – Ashtavakra Samhita, a classic Advaita text

No mud, no lotus

Like the lotus in the pond. This is the closest metaphor we can think of to describe our true nature and that is one reason why we chose the name for this website: the lotus in the pond. The lotus starts its growth from a tuber, the lotus root, grows upwards seeking the light to bloom, finally able to bask in the nourishment of the sunlight. Here it starts to mature and insects like bees and dragonflies come to partake in its beauty and fragrance. Pond skaters and tadpoles inhabit the waters below. As the lotus plant grows, it continues to draw its nourishment from the mud below where its roots are firmly anchored. No mud, no lotus.

The golden centre

Day by day, the petals unfold bit by bit to finally reveal a golden centre that bears the seeds for the next generation. And then one day, all the petals would have fallen off and the seed pod ripen to a dark brown, begins to dry up and the weight of it causes it to bend and the seeds to fall out into the waters below. And there a new plant starts. The lotus plant isn’t just a thing of beauty to be admired. It’s also very useful as a food source because almost all its parts can either be eaten or used in food preparation – rice steamed in its leaves, lotus root soup, lotus seed dessert, and lotus flower tea.

Our divine nature

We are just like the lotus. As a flower that seeks the sun, we seek the Divine Source in us, slowly working our way back ‘home’ to realise the true Self in us which has been there all along. As the petals unfold, we too would unfold in our spiritual practice if we had made it a habit to meditate consistently and to live by universal spiritual laws and principles. As the lotus draws sustenance from the mud, we too draw our nourishment from the world we live in but we know how to stand unsullied above the murky waters, and allow our spiritual practice to anchor us in the material world but not of it, deepening our quest and fervour for self-realisation. Nothing ever sticks to the lotus bloom. Everything just rolls off.

Ascend the lotus throne

And if you were to look at most spiritual paintings, inevitably you would see a deity sitting on a lotus with its stem reaching down into a pond. This is the lotus ‘throne’ we aspire to ascend and dwell within. No matter if you are Buddhist, Christian or any other religion, the lotus throne symbolises our end goal. This is the spot when we realise who we truly are once we drop all the filters and biases created by the ego. The self is not us, the body is definitely not, and the mind is certainly not. Our true self can only be experienced and realised if we continue to do the necessary inner work.

Self-realisation

There are many ways up the same mountain of self-realisation. For us, the tradition of Advaita Vedanta and the yogas – Raja, Tantra, Bhakti, Karma, Jnana – this is our chosen route. To know more, we encourage you to take a deeper look at the teachings of Sri Ramakrishna and Swami Vivekananda. Let them augment rather than alter your chosen faith and religion. All they teach is that we do our best to realise our true nature and our fullest potential in this lifetime. Here’s a link to some free downloads from the web if you want to hear from the Masters themselves.

And remember, no matter how painful life can get sometimes, when we don’t understand why God allows suffering to happen, well, if it’s any comfort, know that there is always a reason for everything. There is always a cause to the suffering and our job is to understand the cause and to eradicate the effect. This is the universal Law of Cause and Effect that governs everything. Remove the cause and you will remove the effect.

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