Swastika

The swastika (Sanskrit: स्वस्तिक) is an equilateral cross with four arms bent at 90 degrees.

The earliest archaeological evidence of swastika-shaped ornaments dates back to the Indus Valley Civilization of present day Pakistan/Ancient India as well as Classical Antiquity. Swastikas have also been used in various other 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 word "swastika" comes from the Sanskrit svastika - "su" meaning "good," "asti" meaning "to be," and "ka" as a suffix. The swastika literally means "to be good". Or another translation can be made: "swa" is "higher self", "asti" meaning "being", and "ka" as a suffix, so the translation can be interpreted as "being with higher self".

In East Asia, the swastika is a Chinese character, defined by Kangxi Dictionary, published in 1716, as "synonym of myriad, used mostly in Buddhist classic texts", by extension, the word later evolved to represent eternity and Buddhism.

The symbol has a long history in Europe reaching back to antiquity. In modern times, following a brief surge of popularity as a good luck symbol in Western culture, a swastika was adopted as a symbol of the Nazi Party of Germany in 1920, who used the swastika as a symbol of the Aryan race. After Adolf Hitler came to power in 1933, a right-facing and rotated swastika was incorporated into the Nazi party flag, which was made the state flag of Germany during Nazism. Hence, the swastika has become strongly associated with Nazism and related ideologies such as fascism and white supremacism in the Western world, and is now largely stigmatized there due to the changed connotations of the symbol. Notably, it has been outlawed in Germany and other countries 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.

Read more about Swastika:  Name, Geometry, Origin Hypotheses, Archaeological Record, Historical Use in The East, Native American Traditions, African Traditions, Historical Use in The West, Western Use in The Early 20th Century, As The Symbol of Nazism, Post-WWII Stigmatization in Western Countries, New Religious Movements

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Famous quotes containing the word swastika:

    Loss of freedom seldom happens overnight. Oppression doesn’t stand on the doorstep with toothbrush moustache and swastika armband—it creeps up insidiously ... step by step, and all of a sudden the unfortunate citizen realises that it is gone.
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