The Hindu Swastika

Jan 19, 2010 by

The swastika is a four arm cross which are bent at a right angles.  All four arms are of the same length and at times decorated with a dot or charm in the negative space in the middle.

It is a common symbol throughout world, though most prevalent in Indian culture.

The name swastika comes from the Sanskrit word svasti, which means good fortune, luck and well-being. It has a variety of religious meanings as a charm to bring good fortune made in a right-hand and the left-hand version.

The right hand swastika is one of the many symbols of Vishnu also associated with the symbol of the sun and of the sun god Surya. The rotation of the arms is imitates the course the sun takes through the sky as it passes from the east, to south and then to the west in the Northern Hemisphere.

The left hand swastika is sometimes called a sauvastika, which typically represents the terrifying Hindu goddess Kali, night and magic. However, this form of the swastika is not evil per-se, as it has much more recently been connected to the Nazi’s and Hitler’s use of it for the Third Reich.  The Nazis adopted the swastika based on their understanding that they believed it was an Aryan symbol that they took to mean racial purity and superiority.  Over time, the Nazis propagated an idea that the early Aryans of India were white invaders which gave the swastika’s magical connections to power from their conquest.  It was for these reasons that,  for Hitler and other Nazi leaders, thought it had powers and had adopted for their own.

Ironically, this left hand form is most commonly used in Buddhism.

Hindu art often shows the swastika as an auspicious symbol very commonly used in architecture and decoration. It can be seen on everything from temples, houses, doorways, clothing, cars, and even cakes. It is also a major part of the decoration for festivals and special ceremonies such as weddings.

It is a shame that his once beautiful symbol of peace and luck has been so perverted and mangled such that the mere sight of it has been tainted by fear and hatred while the true meaning of the swastika will always be one of good fortune, luck and well-being.

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