SWASTIKA Symbol: Is it Hate or Love?

By Annanya Dwivedi The Swastika comes from the Sanskrit term ‘Svastika’ meaning ‘May good prevail’. ’ It represents life, power, strength. A sacred representation of Hindu faith, swastikas can be found among Hindu temples, signs, altars, and pictures, in religious celebrations and festivals of India and Nepal. The symbol is also apparent in other distinct cultures1 by different names2 but has prime significance within Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism. . In Hinduism, It is the second most sacred symbol after the Om symbol. For Jainas, it is the emblem of their seventh saint and reminds the worshiper by its four arms of the four possible places of rebirth—in the animal or plant world, in hell, on Earth, or in the spirit world. In the Buddhist tradition the swastika symbolizes the feet of the Buddha. It is often placed at the beginning and end of inscriptions, and modern Tibetan Buddhists use it as a clothing decoration.3 The physical representation of this symbol consists of an equilateral cross with arms bent at right angle. The four lines coming out from the center point reach to the four cardinal directions and hence are often associated is with the Sun. The bent arms signify a form of blessing Hinduism marks a clear distinction in the arrangement of this symbol. The clockwise direction of ‘Svastika’ (卐) represents the solar cycle of the sun, health and good luck while the counterclockwise direction of ‘sauvastika’ (卍) is a negative connotation of bad-luck or misfortune as it stands for night, the terrifying goddess Kālī, and occult practices. At a symbolic level, the four-sided swastika is an archetype for the rotations of time and consciousness - moving clockwise and counter wise - in upward or downward spirals - allowing souls to experience many levels of reality simultaneously4. It depicts the whole story of the cosmos and man, their contrasting dual aspects, the four directions of space, the revolution of worlds, cyclic progression, and the union of spirit and matter at the heart of things5. However, in contemporary world the Swastika remains a core symbol of Neo-Nazi groups associated with Nazism, Fascism and white supremacy. In twentieth century, the National Socialist German Workers Party adopted the swastika or Hakenkreuz (hooked cross) that deemed them as a

master race of Aryans. It became a print of German nationalism as they cause of death for Holocaust movement. Once a holy and auspicious symbol now became a symbol of hate, anti-Semitism, violence, death, and murder6. Many scholars argue that the neo-Nazis symbol consisted of the sauvastika (counter-clock direction) to the holy symbol, which depicted misfortune and hence led to a terrible end of this phase. This inversion - whether intentional or not - might derive from a desire to prove that the Nazi's use of the right-handed swastika was expressive of their "evil" intent. But the notion that Adolf Hitler deliberately inverted the "good left-facing" swastika is wholly unsupported by any historical evidence7.

References:
1. The Swastika; Its History and Meaning, John Prince Loewenstein: Manol. 41,(May - Jun., 1941), pp. 49-55 Published by: Royal Anthropological Institute of Great Britain and Ireland Article Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2793344 2. Quinn, Malcolm. 1994. The swastika: Constructing the symbol. London: Routledge 3. http://www.religionfacts.com/hinduism/symbols/swastika.htm 4. http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/Holocaust/Swastika.html

5. http://www.crystalinks.com/swastika.html 6. http://history1900s.about.com/cs/swastika/a/swastikahistory.htm
7. 8. 9. 10.

http://reclaimtheswastika.com/history/ http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/576371/swastika http://www.theosophy-nw.org/theosnw/ctg/swas.htm http://www.sanskrit.org/www/Hindu%20Primer/swastika.html

FOOTNOTES:
1 http://reclaimtheswastika.com/history/

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The ancient city of Troy, in the northwest of present-day Turkey The Iron Age Koban culture of the Caucasus in Asia minor On prehistoric Vince artifacts from South-Eastern Europe Amongst the ancient Hittites who lived in the area of present day Syria In Ein Gedi, near Israel's Dead Sea In the Tang Dynasty of China In the 13th Century Amiens Cathedral in France In ancient Greek architectural designs On Native American Indian artifacts including those of the Navajo and Hopi On pre-Christian Anglo-Saxon and Druidic artifacts

http://history1900s.about.com/cs/swastika/a/swastikahistory.htm http://www.crystalinks.com/swastika.html

Here is a list of different names by which Swastika was represented in other parts of the world:
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China – wan, Falun Gong England - fylfot, meaning "four feet", chiefly in heraldry and architecture Germany - Hakenkreuz, "four legged", especially when composed of four conjoined legs Hooked cross Sun wheel - German Sonnenrad - a name also used as a synonym for the suncross Cao Dai of Vietnam Greece - tetraskelion and gammadion India – swastika Black Spider - to various peoples in middle and western Europe Crooked cross Cross cramponned - in heraldry, as each arm resembles a crampon or angle-iron Thor's hammer - from its supposed association with Thor, the Norse god of thunder Southwest Africa - Solar symbol among the Akan civilization

http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/576371/swastika http://www.crystalinks.com/swastika.html http://www.theosophy-nw.org/theosnw/ctg/swas.htm

To read more about the permanent effect of this negative connotation on our society log onto: http://www.sanskrit.org/www/Hindu%20Primer/swastika.html
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http://www.crystalinks.com/swastika.html

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