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Spiritual meaning of Swastika

29 December 2006 YogiVishwaSpiritual

Types of Karma >
A recent experience happened with my friend made me to think and write this article to educate those people who are not fully aware of the Swastika symbol used by different cultures and traditions. The word “swastika” comes from the Sanskrit word Svastika. The true meaning is given as

(Svastika word is formed through joining and the transformation of "su asti ka")
 Su - means good,
 asti - means “to be”,
 ik – means “what is in existence, and will continue to exist “
 a – denotes feminine gender

So, Swastika simply means 'let good-prevail' and not to be destroyed and remains in a good condition. Its deeper meaning is permanent victory. In the context of the cultural origins of the swastika, this means the victory of dharma - the fundamental spiritual nature of humanity. The word Swastika also denotes blessings for everyone.

Swastika design and its direction
The swastika is an equilateral cross with arms bent at right angles, all in the same direction, usually the right, or clockwise. The swastika is a symbol of prosperity and good fortune and is widely dispersed in both the ancient and modern world. Swastika has undergone some changes in different regions and religious traditions.

The most common is the traditional Hindu Swastika with straight standing character, slightly angled individual arms and four dots inside the four squarish designs.It originally represented the revolving sun, fire, or life. The swastika is used in both direction, but in Indian culture, clockwise swastika symbolizes fortune, good health, life and progress whereas anti clockwise swastika is treated as misfortune and bad-luck.


Swastika in different cultures
Swastika symbol is found in numerous and diverse cultures around the world, including the cultures of Asia, the Middle East, Europe and North America. It has been prominently used and seen in India, Greece, Germany, China, Japan, United Kingdom, Argentina, France, Serbia, Iceland, Norway, Finland, Italy, Romania, Sweden, Czech, Latvia, Russia, Spain, Poland and North American countries. This symbol has religious meaning in Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism. However, cultures from other religions have mostly used this symbol for non- religious/spiritual purpose.

Difference between ancient Swastika and Nazi Swastika
The major difference between the ancient Swastika and the Nazi Swastika is that the Nazi swastika is at a slant (twisted by 45 degree angle), while the ancient swastika is rested flat. Because of lack of awareness, today, whenever the ancient symbol is used, it is automatically assumed by people that it is a Nazi symbol and that the people who use it are Nazis. So it is important to make people aware that swastika symbol does not belong to Nazis. The swastika existed as a symbol of good fortune thousands of years before the Nazis even existed.

Meaning and uses of Swastika
The Swastika is a sacred symbol in Indian tradition. It is the symbol of auspiciousness, prosperity, and good fortune. Hindus use the swastika to mark the opening pages of account books, thresholds, doors, and offerings. Among the Jains it is the emblem of their seventh Tirthankara. In the Buddhist tradition, the swastika symbolizes the feet or footprints of the Buddha and is often used to mark at the beginning of texts. Modern Tibetan Buddhism uses it as a clothing decoration. With the spread of Buddhism, it has passed into the iconography of China and Japan where it has been used to denote plurality, eternity, abundance, prosperity and long life. It is sometimes used in Japan to symbolize the Buddha's mind.

For Hindus, the four limbs of the swastika denote
  1. Four Vedas – Rig Veda, Sama Veda, Yajur Veda and Atharva Veda - Symbolizing auspiciousness
  2. Four Goals of Life - Dharma (righteous duty, virtue), Artha (material success, money, house etc.), Kama (pleasure, family, art, sex etc.) and Moksha (liberation, freedom etc.) - denoting prosperity in each area
  3. Four Stages of life – Brahmacharya(Student), Grihasta (Householder), Vanaprastha (Retired person) and Sanyasa (Ascetic) - signifying good fortune for each stage
  4. Four Yugas (era)  - Satya Yuga (Golden Age), Treta Yuga (Silver Age), Dvapara Yuga (Bronze Age) and Kali Yuga (Iron Age) - symbolizing the natural evolution of the universe
  5. Four Varnas (social classes) – Brahmans (Priests, Teachers, and Intellectuals), Kshatriyas (Warriors, Police, and Administrators), Vaishyas (Farmers, Merchants, and Business People) and Shudras (Artisans and Workers) – symbolizing the progress and synergy among social classes
  6. Four paths of Yoga – Jnana Yoga, Bhakti Yoga, Karma Yoga and Raja Yoga - symbolizing union with the divine
  7. Four Directions – North, South, East and West - symbolizing the Divine omnipresence
  8. Four Seasons - Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter - symbolizing the cyclic nature of time

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