‘Swastika’ is an equilateral cross bent at ninety degrees on all sides.
The word Swastika is a Hindi pronunciation of the Sanskrit word ‘Su-Vastik’-सु-वास्तिक representing the same in meaning and values. The word ‘Su’ meaning ‘good/ auspicious/ all’ and ‘Astika’ अस्तिक means ‘being / may always be’. ‘Astika’ also means ‘believer’ which enhances the meaning of the Swastika to mean ‘Good-Believer’.
The four sides of the Swastika also symbolize four important aspects of Sanatana Dharma:
– Dharma धर्म (the Duty/Ethic)
– Artha अर्थ (wealth generation and wise usage of it)
– Karma कर्म (action and result of it)
– Moksha मोक्ष (liberation from cycle of death and re-birth)
The Vedic civilization was highly advanced. The sages that oversaw its development, through their Mystic insight and deep meditation, discovered the ancient symbols of spirituality – The Aumkara ( ॐ ) and The Swastika ( 卐 ). They also discovered many scientific principles that they applied to develop highly advanced technology.
They gave the atom its Sanskrit name ‘Anu’-अणु, millennia before modern scientists discovered the atom.
For the followers of Sanatana Dharma, the Swastika represents a Universe in their our own spiral galaxy on the fore finger of Lord Vishnu विष्णु. This carries immense significance as it establishes the ‘creation of the Universe’-(सृष्टि की रचना), and the arms as ‘kaal’ काल, or time, a calendar that is seen to be more advanced than the lunar calendar (symbolized by the lunar crescent common to Islam) where the seasons drift from calendar year to calendar year. The luni-solar solution for correcting season drift is used to adjust an extra month in certain years to restore the lunar cycle to the solar-season cycle. In Hindu calendars these months are called ‘Adhik-Maas’ अधिक मास meaning ‘extra month’.
– There is a school of thought that the Swastika shape represents a monogram formed by interlacing of the
letters of the auspicious words ’su’ and ‘astí’ – (svasti) स्वस्ति written in Ashokan characters. However,
this can’t be true because the symbol pre dates the Ashokan era by a few millennia.
– Swastika is at times, in certain sects, also considered a symbolic representation of Ganesha-गणपति. In
rituals and rites, Ganesha is presented with the first offerings in every ‘pooja’.
– The swastika is made with Vermilion powder -‘Sindoor’-सिन्दूर or ‘Roli-रोली’ during Hindu religious rites.
– Almost throughout, the usage of Swastika has been most widely accepted as a symbol of the Sun. (These
are used in many cultures to present date).
Swastika has two variations: one has an opening towards the right, while the other variation has an opening towards the left. (卍 and 卐)
There are many schools of thoughts which argue and debate about one being the right symbol or the other. However, it is quite clear that the Swastika with opening towards the right is predominantly used by the followers of Sanatana Dharma, the Hindus, where as the one with left opening is used by the followers of Buddhism (as shown in the pictures below).
In another school of thought it is believed that the right opening represents a masculine sign while the left opening represents a feminine one. There are some mentions in the Vedas however, which literally prohibit the use of left opened Swastika.
The twin motifs symbolize the two aspects of the creation of the universe by God Brahma. The right opened symbol represents the evolution of universe (Pravritti-प्रवृत्ति) whereas the left opening represents the involution of universe (Nivritti-निवृत्ति).
The four angles of Swastika cross point towards the four directions, the North-उत्तर (uttar), the East-पूर्व (poorv), the South-दक्षिण (dakshin) and the West-पश्चिम (paschim) representing wealth, stability, firmness and strength. Within the openings, a dot is used as a motif and also signifies the four other direction, the north-east and the north-west, the south-east and the south-west.
The Swastika is:
– Auspicious! So it is used as a motif and good luck symbol on every door or entrance of a house, temple, work place and even on important documents like letterheads etc.
-Found in virtually every important art and architecture of Hindus
-It adorns an important place at the either side of \ in every temple and household place of worship
-On the auspicious‘Dhan-teras’ धन तेरस – two days before ‘Diwali, it is written on the first page of the account books for good luck
-Used as the symbol of Sun, thereby representing ‘Surya-Deva (the Sun God) सूर्य-देव ‘
-Regarded very sacred and therefore this motif is used to adorn almost all the things associated with the Hindu religion
-Is considered very holy and so it is used in all the Hindu ‘Yantras’ यंत्र in the form of a religious symbol
-Virtually all religious scriptures start with the symbol of Swastika
-God Ganesha is depicted as sitting on a lotus flower kept on the bed of Swastikas
-Swastika is one amongst the 108 symbols of God Vishnu भगवन विष्णु
– Swastika is a symbol of good fortune. On many festivals like Diwali, Holi, Dassehra etc. many Hindus draw this symbol on every object of importance such as doors, utensils used for rituals, ‘Rangolis’ and even on the bonnets of their cars. It symbolizes Wealth and prosperity. Many business enterprises, commercial and residential buildings, areas and colonies are named ‘Swastika’ especially in India.
It is drawn for protection from evil forces and to ward off ill-luck, on every vehicle owned by the Hindus and its sects, on every important festival.
Most houses have a Swastika on their doors as a sign of welcome for the guests, and piety.
After ‘Aum’ ॐ, Swastika is considered the most pious sign because it is considered a sign of Divinity. Many business documents have the symbol of Swastika for Good luck
The logo of Ahmedabad
– The ‘Ahmedabad Stock Exchange’ in the state of Gujarat in western India, has Swastika as its logo.
Logo of the Nepal
Chamber of Commerce
-In Nepal (predominantly a Hindu country) Swastika is considered very auspicious. So much so that ‘Nepal Chamber of Commerce’ uses this symbol as its logo.
The seal used for stamping
on the ballot paper
-The circular Swastika is used as a symbol for stamping on electoral ballots in India. The electronic voting machines which have replaced the ballot paper also has this symbol as stamping sign.
The Origin / History of Swastika
Although many historians and archeologists in the west believe that the first sign of Swastika originated and was used in ancient Troy era dating back 4000 BCE (citing excavations with Swastika artifacts in the late nineteenth century by renowned archaeologist Heinrich Schliemannn. He speculated that is was an symbol use by his own ancestors.)
However, as the name itself signifies, it has Vedic origins and thus it is far older than 4000 BCE. The earliest mentions of Swastika are found in the Vedas वेद Puranas पुराण and the Upanishads उपनिषद् .
Artifacts from the excavations of the Indus Valley and from the Sindhu-Saraswat सिन्धु -सरस्वत civilizations prove that the Swastika was as important a symbol and motif in those times as it is today. These artifacts prove that the Swastika was an important symbol even before12000 BCE.,
The more famous ancient civilizations of Harappa हरप्पा Mohenjo-Daro मोहन -जो -दड़ो in the Sindh state of Pakistan also confirm these facts. Though these sites are relatively newer (dating back to 2000 BC) these are significant.
The word ‘Swastika’ is first found as a word, mentioned in the ‘Valmiki Ramayan’ वाल्मीकि रामायण .
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