Updated: Dec 5, 2018
According to Hinduism, within each human is the spirit of the sacred lotus. It represents eternity, purity, divinity, and is widely used as a symbol of life, fertility, ever-renewing youth. The lotus is used to describe feminine beauty, especially female eyes. One of the most common metaphysical analogies compares the lotus' perennial rise to faultless beauty from a miry environment to the evolution of consciousness, from instinctive impulses to spiritual liberation. In the Bhagavat Gita, a human is adjured to be like the lotus; they should work without attachment, dedicating their actions to God, untouched by sin like water on a lotus leaf, like a beautiful flower standing high above the mud and water.
Padmasana is adopted by those striving to reach the highest level of consciousness, which itself is found in the thousand-petalled lotus chakra at the top of the head.
For Buddhists, the lotus flower symbolises the most exalted state of human; head held high, pure and undefiled in the sun, feet rooted in the world of experience. In the Hindu mythology it is said that the lotus arose from the navel of God Vishnu, and at the centre of the flower sat Brahma. Trilok Chandra Majupuria of Tribhuvan University, Kathmandu, explains in Religious and Useful Plants of Nepal and India (1989, M. Gupta, Lashkar, India): "The Taittiriya Brahmana describes how Prajapati, desiring to evolve the universe, which was then fluid, saw a lotus-leaf, pushkara parna, coming out of water. It is described that when divine life-substance was about to put forth the universe, the cosmic waters grew a thousand-petalled lotus flower of pure gold, radiant like the sun. This was considered to be a doorway, or an opening of the mouth of the womb of the universe. Hindu texts describe that water represents the procreative aspect of the Absolute, and the cosmic lotus, the generative. Thus, lotus is the first product of the creative principle." The role of Lord Brahma was to re-create the universe after the great flood on this planet. In order to create the universe, He used different parts of the lotus plant. Goddess Lakshmi, patron of wealth and good fortune, sits on a fully bloomed pink lotus as Her divine seat and holds a lotus in Her right hand. It is also mentioned in the Mahabharata that Lakshmi emerged from a lotus which grew from the forehead of Lord Vishnu, and a garland of 108 lotus seeds is today used for the worship of Lakshmi.
The Goddess of Power, Durga, was created by Lord Siva to fight demons and was adorned with a garland of lotus flowers by Varuna.
Goddess of Wisdom, Saraswati is also associated with the white Lotus.
Beside Sirsasana, Padmasana is the most important (no, no, not handstand ;) ) yoga pose, to be able to create a firm base for Pranayama & Pratyahara (& of course for the other two limbs of Yoga). When you work towards lotus pose, do not rush the process, keep in mind that the goal is to go through of all that sludgy stuff before seeing the light. The length and intensity of this journey is different for everybody. Be patient, observe and breath.