The symbol Swastika has earned quite some credit in the history books. For religious buffs, it is a symbol that denotes peace and harmony, while some others might remember it as Hitler’s Nazi party emblem. Nevertheless, thousands of people from around the world draw the swastika symbol with devotion and high faith. But what is the history behind this auspicious sign?
The Swastika is a Sanskrit symbol with its roots of origin in the Indian subcontinent. It is made from two words, Su and Asti, wherein the former means good, and the latter means to exist, translating to ‘all is well.
Its imagery can be traced to the 5000-year-old Indus Valley civilization. The symbol displays four arms emerging from a center and swirling clockwise, resembling a rotating disk.
Regardless of its perception, the swastika symbol is about divinity and spirituality in Indian religions, including Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism, until Hitler made it his party’s symbol. Since then, Swastika came to be associated with anti-Semitism and racism. Truth be told, history has played quite a role in popularizing and educating the people around them about the symbol.
But if you were to talk about Swastika and learn more about its existence, would you know anything?
Here we discuss the 10 hidden facts about the symbol Swastika, which history books don’t discuss and religion doesn’t tell you.
So, let’s begin.
10 Hidden Facts About the Swastika Symbol
1. The swastika symbol is the most enduring character in humanity
There are different versions as to when the swastika symbol appeared. Some say that the simple Swastika appeared in the Neolithic culture in South-Eastern Europe around 7000 years ago. However, the oldest origins are traced back to the Ice Age. Moreover, the swastika symbol has been used by the Balkans for almost 8000 years. Archaeological evidence collected from the Indus-Saraswati civilization shows that the swastika symbol has been used since 4000 BCE.
The deep roots of the swastika symbol illustrate the belief humans had in it and how deeply it has affected civilizations. It also shows the passing down of the emblem from generations and scripts a compelling story for its modern adoption.
2. Hindus adorn the entrances of their house with the symbol swastika
Swastika holds immense value in the Hindu culture. The Swastika is included in every auspicious occasion. People decorate their entrances with the Swastika symbol, removing the old one or reapplying over it. Every Hindu prayer precedes with a swastika symbol drawing made from dyed powders, flowers, rice, and grains to form a patterned decoration on the ground. It is said to bring good luck into the house and to ward off any evil vibes.
3. The Swastika represents the power of four
The Swastika is a geometric figure that shows four elements. The dynamic solar symbol has four different symbolics for its four arms. Distinct civilizations have different perceptions for the four arms depiction. Some say the four arms represent the four primordial elements- earth, water, fire, and air. Others associate the four arms with four directions- north, south, east, and west, while the rest say it represents the four Vedas- Rigveda, Atharvaveda, Yajurveda, Samaveda. Regardless of what four elements we consider, Swastika believes in the power of the No.4 and so do the religions that adopt it.
4. Other faiths originating around the world also use Swastika
Although the Indian culture has too much symbolism and association with the swastika symbol, other religions also use it. For example, the Buddhists signify the swastika symbol with Buddha’s footprint and heart. For Jains, it is a symbol for their 7th Tirthankara, meaning the ford-maker- a liberated soul that shows others the path to salvation. The four arms in Jainism represent the four places a soul can be reborn in the eternal cycle of birth and death.
5. It resurfaced in the 19th century in Europe and North America
Before being used by the Nazis, the symbol was resurrected in Europe and the North America. It started being used on the Coca-Cola bottles, boy scouts uniforms, and other groups. Even the US Army’s 45ht infantry division used it as their sleeve symbol during the 1920s before the Nazis made it their SS Army symbol.
6. The Nazis poorly translated their emblem to the Swastika
Around the 1925s, the Hitler-led army considered themselves a master race, known as the Aryans, some of whom invaded the Indian subcontinent. The literal meaning of Aryan means noble, but per their conduct, not per birth or blood. However, there is a mass migration of people to India even before the Aryans came to the continent. Moreover, no historical texts or scriptures suggest or hint at the invasion from the outside during this time. The Nazis, however, referred to their emblem as the Hakenkreuz, which was poorly translated to Swastika. Instead, it meant a hooked cross, as mentioned in Hilter’s book Mein Kampf.
7. For Jews, the symbol denotes fear and horror
The German nationalists adopted the black Swastika on their red flags on a white circle of the Third Reich. It came to stand for hatred, fear, racial discrimination, anti-Semitism, genocide, and intolerance from that time. In a matter of years, the swastika symbol becomes corrupted and instilled fear in the hearts of the Jews. A sign that represented good fortune and prosperity, for the Jews, it became a symbol of suppression and extermination.
8. The swastika symbol represents the universe
The universe continuously spins, rotates, and revolves. Like planets that rotate around the sun and revolve on their axis, everything in the universe does the same. Therefore, it is the principle of aggregation that the Swastika represents. With the four arms moving away from the center, the ancient swastika symbol denotes our galaxy and the four elements- air, water, fire, and land revolving around it.
Even the advanced astronomical instruments suggest that our Milky Way galaxy is a spiral disc with four primary arms radiating from the center, suggesting the swastika symbol’s universal significance.
9. Swastika reaffirmed its positive status in 2008
Hitler’s 25-year rule destroyed the importance of the swastika symbol. Since the Holocaust, the symbol instilled fear and hatred. However, a second Hindu-Jewish Leadership Summit in 2008 reaffirmed the reputation of the swastika symbol as a sacred and auspicious one. The participants, mainly Jews, agreed on the ancient significance of the sign before the Nazis misappropriated it.
10. The modern swastika symbol is associated with good luck and prosperity
One of the most ancient symbols in the world adopted by numerous cultures and ancient civilizations, Swastika is used worldwide for its luck and prosperity factor. While there are different interpretations for the sign, they all direct towards one primary aspect: its symbolism with religious deities. Despite all the bad history associated with the character, it now represents what it has been doing for several generations.