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Swastika Symbol and its Thousand-Year History

Swastika Symbol and its Thousand-Year History

In the modern times, the Swastika symbol is among the most negative symbols for its direct connection with one of the most destructive wars. Adolf Hitler, during his time, used the symbol presenting his army. Yet, Adolf Hitler was not the only one that used this symbol. The truth is that, prior to Nazi, many people had used Swastika symbol.

Swastika Symbol and Its Widespread Use

Tribes across continents used the symbol. For the Hindus, Buddhists, and many of Asians, Swastika has always been a symbol of abundance and well-being. It appeared in Ancient Greece and Roma as well as the remains of Troy the Ancient city. Many artifacts dating back to the times of ancient Druids and Celts revealed that Swastika used to be there. Nordic tribes also applied the symbol as well. But why is the symbol so important?

Swastika was a positive symbol from the beginning

As a Sanskrit word, “Swastika” means “Well-Being”, “Good Existence”, and “Good Luck”. Another language also has a word for “Swastika”, for example, “Wan” in China, “Manji” in Japan, and “Fylfot” in English.

According to the scholars, the word is a compound word: “su” (good), “asti” (exists, there is, to be) and “ka” (make). Together, it does mean “Making of Goodness” or “Maker of Good Things”.

According to Sanskrit scholar, P. R. Sarkat, whether the symbol presented the negative or positive meaning depends on the way people draw it. And the deeper meaning of Swastika is “permanent victory”. The “right-hand” swastika illustrated below is the symbol of God Vishnu and the Sun while the left-hand one presents Kali and Magic.

The phenomenon of double meaning also appeared commonly in the ancient traditions. For example, the symbol of five-pointed star Pentagram when drawn upwards was positive and downwards negative.

Thousand-Year History

Mezine, Ukraine was the earliest place that archaeologists found the Swastika symbol. It appeared on an ivory figurine which dated back to 12,000 years ago. Neolithic culture in the Southern Europe was the first culture recorded to have used the symbol dating back to roughly 8,000 years ago.

Swastika symbol on a mammoth bone jewel from Mizyn
Swastika symbol on a mammoth bone jewel from Mizyn

In Buddhism, the Swastika symbol appeared on the chest of Amitabha Buddha the celestial Buddha in Pure Land. The symbol presents the Infinite Light, prosperity, abundance, and eternity. Many people believed that the symbol contained the Buddha’s mind.

The swastika symbol appearing on the chest of Buddha
The swastika symbol appearing on the chest of Buddha

In Ancient Greece, Pythagoras, ancient people used the Swastika as the symbol of connection between the Earth and the Heaven with right arm pointing to the left for sky and left arm to the right for the earth.

Phoenicians also used the Swastika as the symbol of priestess and the Sun.

Swastika symbol in the belief of the Phoenicians
Swastika symbol in the belief of the Phoenicians
Swastikas on the design of this bronze belt buckle from 6th century Spain.
Swastikas on the design of this bronze belt buckle from 6th century Spain.
Anglo-Saxon artifacts with carvings of Swastika symbol
Anglo-Saxon artifacts with carvings of Swastika symbol dating back to circa 5th – 6th century

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