We recently posted this image below on our Facebook wall and it stirred up a lot of controversy, so we wanted to provide some information to clear the air. Below is the true history of the Swastika from our friends at Wikipedia.
Taken from Wikipedia: The swastika (Sanskrit: स्वस्तिक) is an equilateral cross with its arms bent at right angles, in either right-facing (卐) form in counterclockwise motion or its mirrored left-facing (卍) form in clockwise motion. Earliest archaeological evidence of swastika-shaped ornaments dates back to the Indus Valley Civilization of Ancient India as well as Classical Antiquity. Swastikas have also been used in other various ancient civilizations around the world. It remains widely used in Indian religions, specifically in Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism, primarily as a tantric symbol to evoke ‘shakti‘ or the sacred symbol of auspiciousness. The swastika is also a Chinese character used in East Asia representing eternity and Buddhism.
Following a brief surge of popularity in Western culture, the counter clock motion swastika was adopted as a symbol of the Nazi Party of Germany in 1920. After Adolf Hitler’s rise to power in the 1930s, a swastika was incorporated into the Nazi party flag, which was made the State Flag of Germany. As a result, the Swastika became strongly associated with Nazism and related ideologies such as Fascism and White Supremacism since the 1930s in the Western world and is now largely stigmatized. It has notably been outlawed in Germany if used as a symbol of Nazism. Many modern political extremists and Neo-Nazi groups such as the Russian National Unity use stylized swastikas or similar symbols.
What’s in a name?
The word swastika came from the Sanskrit word suastika, meaning any lucky or auspicious object, and in particular a mark made on persons and things to denote auspiciousness. It is composed of su- meaning “good, well” and asti “to be” suasti thus means “well-being.” The suffix -ka either forms a diminutive or intensifies the verbal meaning, and suastikamight thus be translated literally as “that which is associated with well-being,” corresponding to “lucky charm” or “thing that is auspicious.”
How it’s Shaped
Geometrically, the swastika can be regarded as an irregular icosagon or 20-sided polygon. The proportions of the Nazi swastika were fixed based on a 5 × 5 diagonal grid.
Characteristic is the 90° rotational symmetry and chirality, hence the absence of reflectional symmetry, and the existence of two versions of swastikas that are each others mirror image.
Another early attestation is on pottery from the Samarra culture, dated to around 4000 BC. Joseph Campbell in an essay on The Neolithic-Paleolithic Contrast cites an ornament on a Late Paleolithic (10,000 BC) mammoth ivory bird figurine found near Kiev as the only known occurrence of such a symbol predating the Neolithic.
Historical Use in The East
The swastika is a historical sacred symbol both to evoke ‘Shakti’ in tantric rituals and evoke the gods for blessings in Indian religions. It first appears in the archaeological record here around 2500 BC in the Indus Valley Civilization. It rose to importance in Buddhism during the Mauryan Empire and in Hinduism with the decline of Buddhism in India during the Gupta Empire. With the spread of Buddhism, the Buddhist swastika reached Tibet and China. The symbol was also introduced to Balinese Hinduism by Hindu kings. The use of the swastika by the Bön faith of Tibet, as well as later syncretic religions, such as Cao Dai of Vietnam and Falun Gong of China, can also be traced to Buddhist influence.
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