Understanding the Swastika – Use and Abuse of a Sacred Symbol
The swastika (or svastika) has been used for thousands of years since Vedic times, in the Indus Valley civilizations, in ancient Troy and by Native Americans. The word swastika in Sanskrit means “that which brings good luck and well-being”:
su means “good” and asti means “is.” It appears in one of the most frequently used mantras of the Rg Veda [1.89.6], the
oldest scripture known to man.
The swastika is considered extremely sacred and holy by Buddhists, Hindus, Jains and Zoroastrians and remains very widely
used from ancient times to the present day. The symbol is engraved on sacred objects of worship as well as on doorways
of temples and homes.
It forms part of religious ceremonies to celebrate weddings, consecrations of new homes, embarking on new ventures or
any such auspicious undertaking. It is used to decorate books, vehicles, cash registers in stores and myriad other objects
in daily use in many Asian countries, especially India. Because the swastika has been so widely used for so long, it has been
interpreted in a variety of ways by practitioners of the Eastern Religions.
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