15. Why do we worship the kalasha?

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First of all what is a kalasha? A brass, mud or copper pot is filled with water.
Mango leaves are placed in the mouth of the pot and a coconut is placed over it. A red or
white thread is tied around its neck or sometimes all around it in a intricate diamondshaped pattern. The pot may be decorated wit designs. Such a pot is known as a kalasha.
When the pot is filled with water or rice, it is known as purnakumbha
representing the inert body which when filled with the divine life force gains the power to
do all the wonderful things that makes life what it is.
A kalasha is placed with due rituals on all-important occasions like the traditional
house warming (grihapravesa), wedding, daily worship etc. It is placed near the entrance
as a sign of welcome. It is also used in a traditional manner while receiving holy
personages. Why do we worship the kalasha? Before the creation came into being, Lord
Vishnu was reclining on His snake-bed in the milky ocean. From His navel emerged a
lotus from which appeared Lord Brahma, the creator, who thereafter created this world.
The water in the kalasha symbolizes the primordial water from which the entire
creation emerged. It is the giver of life to all and has the potential of creating innumerable
names and forms, the inert objects and the sentient beings and all that is auspicious in the
world from the energy behind the universe. The leaves and coconut represent creation.
The thread represents the love that "binds" all in creation. The kalasha is
therefore considered auspicious and worshipped. The waters from all the holy rivers, the
knowledge of all the Vedas and the blessings of all the deities are invoked in the kalasha
and its water is thereafter used for all the rituals, including the abhisheka.
The consecration (kumbhaabhisheka) of a temple is done in a grand manner with
elaborate rituals including the pouring of one or more kalashas of holy water on the top
of the temple. When the asuras and devas churned the milky ocean, the Lord appeared
bearing the pot of nectar, which blessed one with everlasting life.Thus the kalasha also symbolizes immortality. Men of wisdom are full andcomplete as they identify with the infinite Truth (poornatvam). They brim with joy and
love and respect all that is auspicious. We greet them with a purnakumbha ("full pot")
acknowledging their greatness and as a sign of respectful and reverential welcome, with a "full heart".

16. Why do we consider the lotus as special?

The lotus is the symbol of truth, auspiciousness and beauty (satyam, shivam,
sundaram). The Lord is also that nature and therefore, His various aspects are compared
to a lotus (i.e. lotus-eyes, lotus feet, lotus hands, the lotus of the heart etc.).
The lotus blooms with the rising sun and close at night. Similarly, our minds open
up and expand with the light of knowledge. The lotus grows even in slushy areas. It
remains beautiful and untainted despite its surroundings, reminding us that we too can
and should strive to remain pure and beautiful within, under all circumstances.
The lotus leaf never gets wet even though it is always in water. It symbolizes the
man of wisdom (gyaani) who remains ever joyous, unaffected by the world of sorrow
and change. This is revealed in a shloka from the Bhagwad-Geeta:
Brahmanyaadhaaya karmaani
Sangam tyaktvaa karoti yaha
Lipyate na sa paapena
Padma patram ivaambhasaa
He who does actions, offering them to Brahman (the Supreme), abandoning
attachment, is not tainted by sin, just as a lotus leaf remains unaffected by the water on it.
From this, we learn that what is natural to the man of wisdom becomes a
discipline to be practiced by all saadhakas or spiritual seekers and devotees. Our bodies
have certain energy centers described in the Yoga Shaastras as chakras.
Each one is associated with lotus that has a certain number of petals. For example,
a lotus with a thousand petals represents the Sahasra chakra at the top of the head, which
opens when the yogi attains Godhood or Realisation. Also, the lotus posture
(padmaasana) is recommended when one sits for meditation. A lotus emerged from the
navel of Lord Vishnu. Lord Brahma originated from it to create the world. Hence, the
lotus symbolizes the link between the creator and the supreme Cause.
It also symbolizes Brahmaloka, the abode of f Lord Brahma. The auspicious sign of the swastika is said to have evolved from the lotus.

contd..8.