Sri Aurobindo and the Lotus

"The literal meaning of ‘aravindh’ ( the root word for Aurobindo ) is divine fragrance. Another meaning is the flower, the divine lotus." [1] Aravindaksha. which means 'Lotus-Eyed', is one of the 1000 names of Vishnu.
Sri Aurobindo's Symbol: A Lotus on 7 waves
within ascending and descending triangles.

Vishnu and Lakshmi on Sheshnag and the Cosmic Ocean;
The four-headed Brahma emerges from Vishnu's Navel on a Lotus.

The connection between 'lotus' as the root meaning of Sri Aurobindo's name, the lotus of his symbol and the lotus of Vishnu and his consort Lakshmi seems to be largely missed by those discussing or dismissing Sri Aurobindo's position an avatar of Vishnu. Perhaps in time the living symbols of the Earth and cosmos and the reality of Vishnu's evolutionary dasavataras will be better understood. [2] Below are some descriptions of Vishnu and the lotus and some links that readers can follow if wanting to dive deeper into the significance of the lotus etymology of Sri Aurobindo's name, the lotus of his symbol and the lotus of Vishnu.

'Vishnu is one of the three great gods of Hinduism, the others being Brahma and Shiva. Vishnu is the preserver, with creation occurring when Brahma emerged from the navel of Vishnu on a lotus. As the preserver of creation, Vishnu has taken on both human forms and other forms at intervals in order to rescue the world from some great evil, or to provide some great benefit. These forms are called avatars. Vishnu has taken ten avatar forms.' [3]

'When Vishnu contemplated the creation of mankind, a lotus sprang out of his navel. Seated on it was the four-headed Brahma, illuminating all the directions with his brightness. Vishnu is therefore also known as Padmanabha or the one with the lotus-navel.' [4]

Vishnu seated on a lotus, holding a lotus

The lotus 'represents spiritual liberation, Divine perfection, purity and the unfolding of Spiritual consciousness within the individual. The lotus opening its petals in the light of the Sun is indicative of the expansion and awakening of our long dormant, original spiritual consciousness in the light of god. The lotus in Vishnu's hand symbolizes that god is the power and source from which the universe and the individual soul emerges. It represents Divine Truth or Satya, the originator of the rules of conduct or Dharma, and Divine Vedic knowledge or jnana. The lotus also symbolizes that Vishnu is the embodiment of spiritual perfection and purity. Also that He is the wellspring of these qualities and that the individual soul must seek to awaken these intrinsic Divine qualities from Vishnu by surrendering to and linking with Him.' [5]

Sri Aurobindo's Lotus Symbol in the heart of the Mother's Temple,
as found in Thea book, The New Way, Vols. 1&2 (misconstructed in Auroville)

Click HERE to see the 9-6-3 number pattern of Sri Aurobindo's Lotus as discussed in Robert E. Wilkinson's 'The Triune Forumula of the Supramind'.
Click HERE to see the Mother's hand-written explanation of the Symbol.
Click HERE to see the Mother's explanation of the Symbol typed out (easier to read).
Click HERE to see Sri Aurobindo's Lotus symbol in the Matrimandir (as designed by the Mother, not built as such in the Auroville temple).
Click HERE to see the ascending and descending triangles of Sri Aurobindo's Symbol in the Matrimandir (again, as designed by the Mother, not built as such in the Auroville temple).
More INFORMATION about Sri Aurobindo's Lotus Symbol in the Mother's Temple can be found in the The New Way, Volumes 1 & 2.

Lotus Blossom by Elena Segatini Bloom

Lotus Leaf

The top right image beside Sri Aurobindo's photo is:
'Lotus flower fully opened' by Svenning B. Jenson


  1. Hi Lori,
    Enjoyed your very nice informative blog

    Am doing research on lotus (Nelumbo) versus waterlily (Nymphaea) for my page at and just wanted to tell you that both of your photos of the flower bloom are of water lily not lotus.


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