Padma or Lotus Flower is revered with the gods Vishnu, Brahma, Kubera, and the goddesses Lakshmi, Saraswati, Bala, Gayatri etc.
This is also considered as seed flower, from which the creator god Brahma was born.
But, only the second Brahma evolved out of lotus and that is why he is called Padmabhu (born out of lotus).
Other Brahmas like Swayambhu evolved by themselves.
Goddess Lakshmi is the most commonly associated one with Lotus Flowers. One of her incarnation is called Padmavati (who emerged from lotus) is also called Alamelu Manga, which means Alar (lotus) + Mel(aloft or up) + Mangai (lady) in tamil.
Lotus is a symbol of purity and enlightenment amid ignorance (smutty swamps in which it grows). This is clearly depicted by Lord Krishna in Bhagavad Gita 5.10 – One who does all work as an offering to the Lord, abandoning attachment to the results, is as untouched by sin (or Karmic reaction) as a lotus leaf is untouched by water.
Lotus in water never gets wet. Without being bothered about its surroundings, it blooms, performs its job and vanishes. The ultimate aim of living beings is to perform its karma without bothering about the external factors, which is signified by Lotus flower.
Lakshmi is goddess of materialistic weath, hence depicted on a red colored lotus. Vedic religion is full of allegories and red represents Rajo Guna (Rajas).
Lakshmi stays with the person permanently, who despite being surrounded by materialistic pleasures, stays detached with it and remains absorbed within the soul.
Just because Goddess Lakshmi is seated on lotus, ignorants are offering her 108 or 1008 lotus flowers but remaining impure within their mind.
Signification of Goddess Saraswati on Swan, playing Veena
Goddess Saraswati is depicted with white saree on White Lotus, travelling on White Swan and playing musical instrument Veena.
Here white color is Sattva Guna. Swan (Hamsa or Hansa) is the only bird which can seperate water from milk. That is why highest order saints in hinduism are called ‘Paramahamsa‘, as they can distinguish good and bad within a person just by a glance.
Saraswati represents knowledge and education (not mere literacy) and we are expected to reach that stage of Paramahamsa.
Brahma (Padmabhu) was created from Vishnu’s navel. Narayana or Maha Vishnu created multiverses from infinite pores of his cosmic body, during each of his exhale.
Later, Vishnu entered each of these universes in his second form as Garbhodak Saayi Vishnu.
He reclines on the Great Serpent Ananth (Ana-Anth i.e Without-an-End) and is the maintainer for his respective Universe.
This form is also known as Hiranyagarbha (Born-of-The-Golden-Egg) because he takes shape inside the Universal Egg or Brahmand.
After 1000 Maha-Yugas, a lotus bud emerged from the navel of the Lord, inside which is Brahma or Ka.
This Brahma is the first mortal being in this universe, who is destined to live for 100 years.
Stem of this cosmic lotus connecting Brahma to the Navel of the Lord, signifies the Umbilical Cord that binds a baby to its mother.
Brahms decided to explore the stem of the Lotus from which he had emerged but came to a dead-end. Thereafter, he went into meditation for a 100 Maha-Yugas.
To clear his confusion and provide him guidance, Lord Garbhodakasaayi Vishnu made Himself visible to Brahma.
Vishnu revealed Brahma his purpose of existence and offered him portions of his own body for beginning the process of creation.
Lotus flower is frequently mentioned in the ancient Sanskrit Hindu scriptures, as padma (pink lotus), kamala (red lotus), pundarika (white lotus) and utpala (blue lotus). The earliest reference can be found in the Rig Veda.
Lotus Flowers in Buddhism
In Buddhist symbolism the lotus is symbolic of purity of the body, speech, and mind as while rooted in the mud, its flowers blossom on long stalks as if floating above the muddy waters of attachment and desire. It is also symbolic of detachment as drops of water easily slide off its petals.
Lotus starts growing in the dank and stinky muck, much as base human nature has smelly origins.
The plant grows through the water, much as humans live the role of a regular householder in the unclear murk of material and social life.
The lotus emerges from the water into the light, much as man awakens to his spiritual nature.
The plant grows glorious flowers that are a pleasure to see, much as man can blossom beautifully into his higher energies and positivity that uplift and vivify his fellows.
Lotus leaves shed rain water and dirt, much as Buddha understands and does not react to what happens around him.
Spiritual signification of Lotus flower in Chakras and Kundalini
In Yoga Sastras, Kundalini is the energy which resides in Mooladhara (Root) Chakra, in the form of elephant which is sleeping with its trunk folded.
This is where Ganesha resides in our body. When a yogi manages to awaken kundalini, it travels up the spine through other chakras and reaches Sahasrara (crown chakra).
Lotus represents the highest level of consciousness, where enlightenment and purity dwels. In the postures of hatha yoga, padmasana (the lotus position) is assumed by those determined to reach for the highest level of consciousness, where crown chakra is activated and Lotus petals of that chakra open up.
Sahasrara chakra, the last in the Path of Activation of Spiritual Energy (Kundalini yoga) is also called Sahasradal (1000 petaled Lotus).
Just 20 out of 1000 petals, when activated in a human body, made a man into Swami Vivekananda.
Sapta Rishis like Vasishta have activated 100 petals out of 1000.
Spiritual experience arising from the lotus, that is from the energy of creation is called Brahma.
The lotus in Lord Vishnu’s hand symbolises that he can endow the highest spiritual experience from the Path of Yoga.
Vishnu offering 1000 lotus flowers to Lord Siva indicates that he crossed 1000 levels of himself spiritually.