Hindu mythology is replete with names of flowers. Most of them carry a mythological or spiritual significance. In fact because of their mythological significance, these flowers are inevitable during the worship of a deity. Let us have an insight on some of the flowers considered sacred because of the role they played in Hindu Mythology.
Kamal (Lotus): From times immemorial, lotus has been the most sacred flower in Indian culture and tradition. It holds a vital place in Indian rituals. The lotus is the abode of Lord Brahma-the Creator. Goddess Laksmi sits on a pink lotus. A white lotus embodies Goddess Saraswati. Lotus finds mention in the Bhagwad Gita where Lord Krishna commands mankind to emulate the attributes of lotus and strive for ‘Moksha’ or liberation from worldly matters.
Ashok (Sita Ashok): This flower symbolizes protection against grief. In the epic Ramayana, Goddess Sita, after her abduction by Ravana, spent her sorrowful days under the shade of an Ashoka tree in Ashok Vatika (garden of Ashoka trees). Indians believe that Ashoka flowers when immersed in water make the water pious and sacred.
Parijat (Night flowering Jasmine): Parijat is a holy tree brought to Earth by Lord Krishna for the happiness of his wives, Satyabhama and Rukmini. According to Hindu mythology, both of Lord Krishna’s consorts had a fetish for Parijat flowers. Therefore, to keep both of them happy, he planted the tree in Satyabhama’s garden in such a way that its flowers fell in Rukmini’s garden.
Neel Kamal (Blue water lily): As per Hindu Mythology, Lord Ram sought the blessings of Goddess Durga before commencing battle with Ravana. Lord Ram knew that Goddess Durga would be pleased if he offered her one hundred ‘Neel Kamal’ flowers. Therefore, he traveled all across the world in search of these flowers, but was able to gather only ninety-nine of them. He then decided to offer one of his eyes, which resembled the flower. Seeing his devotion, Goddess Durga appeared before him and blessed him.
Kadamb: The Kadamb tree yields magnificent golden balls of yellow flowers. These flowers have a captivating fragrance. Abundantly found in Vrindavan, Lord Krishna sang and dance in festivity with the milkmaids under the shade of this tree.
Japa Kusum (China Rose/Red Hibiscus): Japa flower is an extremely beautiful and an auspicious flower. During the worship of Goddess Durga, the offering of these flowers is inevitable. The red color of the flower enhances the ferocious look of the Goddess.
Hindu mythological stories are full of references to flowers. These flowers revered as sacred, will continue to hold a significant position in Indian tradition!