SWASTIKA

design: an equilateral cross with arms bent at right angles, all in the same rotary direction, usually clockwise. The Hindu and Buddhist swastika goes in the opposite direction.

meaning: a symbol of prosperity and good fortune, a sun symbol of universality.

derivation: from the Sanskrit svasti: "conducive to well-being, happiness." In India, a distinction is made between the right-hand swastika which moves in a clockwise direction and the left-hand swastika ( more correctly called sauswatika), which moves in a counterclockwise direction. The right hand swastika is a solar symbol and imitates in the rotation of its arms the course of the Sun, which in the Northern hemisphere appears to pass from east then south to west. The left-hand swastika more often stands for might the terrifying goddess Kali and magical practice.

In India , 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 mind.

In Nazi Germany, the swastika (G: Hakenkreuz) it became a national symbol. A poet, and nationalist ideologist Guido von List had suggested it as a symbol for all anti-Semitic organizations and when the National Socialist party was formed in 1919 -20 it adopted it. On Sept. 5, 1935, a black swastika on a white circle on a red background became the national flag of Germany. This use ended in May 1945 with the German surrender.

Other uses of the symbol: in ancient Mesopotamia it was a favorite symbol on coinage, In Scandinavia it was the symbol for the god Thor's hammer.. In early Christian art it was called the gammadion cross because it was made of four gammas. It is also found in Mayan and Navajo art.

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