History of the Swastika – Origin, Meaning, Significance (2023)

The swastika (卐 or卍) is an age-old symbol in religions across Asia, Europe and Africa, having positive connotations like good luck, life or prosperity. It is also infamous for being the symbol of Nazism, Aryan supremacy and anti-Semitism during World War II. Found in ancient Indian religious texts millennia ago, archaeological artefacts found across the world corroborate the swastika’s existence. Due to its corrupted and controversial meaning, many countries across the world have now banned the use of swastika. But the symbol is still used by people and religions across the world, mostly in a positive sense.

The Origins of the Swastika

The actual swastika symbol (as a hooked cross) was first used about 15,000 years ago on a bird figurine found in Ukraine. Thereafter, it has been one of the most widely used icons in human history. Archaeologists and historians have found the swastika on several artefacts like pottery, jewellery, weaponry, artwork as well as in archaeological ruins, historical buildings, temples, churches, etc. around the world. The swastika symbol, called by different names, was used throughout the Neolithic period, Indus Valley Civilization in the Indian sub-continent, Bronze Age in China, ancient Greek civilization, Byzantine era, early Christianity period of Ethiopia, Iron Age in Eurasia, and the Migration Period, Viking and Gothic ages in Europe. It has also held different meanings in different cultures, sometimes as the sun, the North Pole, or even a comet. Making its foremost appearance in the written form in the ancient Indian religious text, the Vedas, the swastika symbol also entered several East-Asian languages like that of China and Japan by means of script and characters in their writing systems.

History of the Swastika – Origin, Meaning, Significance (1)Image Source:https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Swastika

Meaning of Swastika

Swastika is derived from the Sanskrit word ‘swastik’, which is composed of ‘su’ which means ‘good, well’, ‘asti’ meaning ‘to be’, and ‘ka’ as a suffix – all of which combined ultimately mean ‘well-being’. Swastika is mentioned quite often in the ancient Indian religious texts, Vedas, to signify prosperity, success and good luck.

Religions such as Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, Christianity, and Greek and Roman mythology, etc. have attributed varied meanings to the swastika. In Hinduism, the clockwise swastika (a swastika that has its arms pointing outward, clockwise) is called ‘swastika’ and represents the sun god ‘Surya’; it depicts the sun’s movement across the sky – from east to west. Its counter-clockwise symbol, the ‘sauvastika’ depicts the opposite notion; that of the night and Tantric rituals associated with the terrifying goddess ‘Kali’.
In Buddhism, the swastika stands for prosperity, spirituality and good fortune. In Jainism, it is a symbol for one their spiritual teachers – the ‘Suparshvanatha’. In Christianity, as a hooked version of the Cross, it represents the victory of Christ over death.

(Video) History of Swastika | Understanding It’s TRUE Meaning

The Phoenicians referred to the swastika as a sacred symbol of the sun. The ancient religions of Europe have used the swastika as a symbol of the lightning bolt, which depicts the Norse god ‘Thor’, Roman god ‘Jupiter’, and Greek god ‘Zeus’. Some Native American tribes also used the swastika symbol to denote ‘good luck’.

The growing interest of Europeans in Eastern religions and philosophies led to a renewed popularity of the swastika. The discovery of archaeological artefacts in Troy that had swastika motifs on them further fuelled the fascination of certain racist groups in Germany. A modified version of the swastika was ultimately adopted as the symbol of the Nazi Party in 1920. This unfortunately changed the meaning of the swastika forever as it represented the oppression and genocide of millions of Jews during World War II; it soon became a symbol of hatred the world over. However, the Nazi party was not the first one to use the swastika as a party logo in Germany. Since it was linked to the idea of a ‘pure race’, many nationalist groups in Germany had begun using it after World War I.

History of the Swastika – Origin, Meaning, Significance (2)Image Source:https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Swastika

Significance of Swastika During Nazi Rule

The unearthing of swastika-emblazoned artefacts in Troy by German archaeologist, Heinrich Schliemann, coupled with the discovery of similarities between Indian-Sanskrit and German languages, led many German nationalists to believe in a link between the two cultures, probably an ancient dominant race called the ‘Aryans’. Very soon, the swastika became an icon of German nationalist pride, and in 1920, the Nazi party adopted an angled version of the swastika (called the ‘Hakenkreuz’ or a ‘hooked cross’) as its official logo.

Designed by Adolf Hitler himself, the Nazi party logo was created using the swastika and beloved German colours (red, black and white) symbolic of the country’s superior history. Rotated at a clockwise angle of 45 degrees, with the hooks pointing outward, and placed on a while circle against a red background, the modified swastika became the Nazi party’s emblem; it was seen on all party paraphernalia like armbands, uniforms, election posters, flags and badges. It was also widely used across all military and government organizations under the Nazi rule in Germany. Hitler even had a personalized version of the swastika made for him.

(Video) History of the Swastika | Holocaust Education | USHMM

Out of fear or respect, by 1933, most products in Germany carried the Nazi party’s swastika symbol – from cigarettes to coffee to cake pans! Soon, a law was passed to prohibit the commercial use of the swastika in Germany. Adding a racist twist to it, the law stipulated that Jews could not use the swastika symbol, display the national colours or raise the new German flag.

The swastika findings at the archaeological site in Troy led the Nazis to believe in the superiority of the Aryans over other races, especially the Jews. This subsequently gave way to the passage of racially abusive Nuremberg Race Laws of 1935.

During the course of the war, as a slap in the face of the Nazi party, pilots of the Allied forces often marked their victories over Germany with a swastika on the fuselage of their planes.

History of the Swastika – Origin, Meaning, Significance (3)Image source:https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Swastika

Ban on the Use of the Swastika After World War II

Where the swastika had been used to signify a positive meaning since ages immemorial, its misinterpreted and corrupted usage by the Nazi party led to its shameful decline as a symbol of racism, White supremacy and Holocaust, after World War II. After Germany’s defeat at the hands of the Allied forces in 1945, the swastika became one of the most hated symbols of all time; its use was outlawed in post-war Germany and all propaganda containing the swastika was destroyed. Most European states, including Germany and Austria, passed laws prohibiting the use of swastika in any form, on any medium.

(Video) The swastika was a symbol of peace until Hitler stole it

Other Western countries, like the United States, were able to pass slightly less stringent laws regarding the use swastika and other neo-Nazi symbols, on account of their free speech laws.

Subsequently, any reference to the swastika in any form by any entity, individual or corporation, was heavily investigated and penalized. The apparel corporation, Espirit Holdings, and the publication house, Reichsbahn, were two such examples in Germany.

What Does the Swastika Mean Now?

In spite of the hatred and disdain received from the Western world, the swastika continues to be a sacred symbol in many religions like Hinduism, Jainism, and Buddhism. Across India, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Indonesia, it is still widely used as a good luck symbol in homes, temples, and small establishments and on auspicious occasions like weddings and births. Various versions of the swastika have also found a place in modern-day spiritual organisations in India, China, and Eurasia.

As recently as 2013, in order to revive a positive interest in their ancient past, some Scandinavians have tried to raise awareness about the swastika as an ancient Norse mythological symbol, which has no negative meaning or any fascist connotation.

In stark contrast to Nazi imagery, these modern viewpoints cause significant confusion in contemporary society. And for those who have experienced the horrors of Holocaust, the swastika, unfortunately, continues to stand for evil.

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History of the Swastika – Origin, Meaning, Significance (4)Image Source:https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Swastika

Does the Direction of the Swastika Matter?

What the swastika means to each individual is quite open to personal interpretation. Generally, a swastika is an upright cross with the edges of its equal-length arms bent at a right angle in the clockwise position. But as per some scholars and historians, the direction of the swastika can lend a positive or negative meaning to the symbol. A clockwise ‘swastika’, in Hinduism, stands for good luck and prosperity, whereas the counter-clockwise ‘sauvstika’ stands for night, terror and Tantric magic. Many other cultures too have attached similar meanings to the direction of the swastika. But in ancient Bon religion and Buddhism too, a left-facing swastika is considered holy.

What the swastika traditionally meant – well-being, good luck and prosperity – has been widely misunderstood, misinterpreted and used to mislead people in the last century. As recently as March 2019, an ancient Russian-Polish version of the swastika was seen on one of the dog tags of the perpetrator of the mosque shootings at Christchurch, New Zealand.

With the passage of time and a little education, the honour and reputation of the swastika can be restored to once again symbolize life, good luck and prosperity.

(Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Swastika,
www.bbc.com/news/magazine-29644591, http://www.newworldencyclopedia.org/entry/Swastika#cite_note-0 )

(Video) The Swastika: A Symbol of Auspiciousness | Hindu American Foundation (HAF)


What is the significance of swastik? ›

The swastika as a symbol of prosperity and good fortune is widely distributed throughout the ancient and modern world. The word is derived from the Sanskrit svastika, meaning “conducive to well-being.” It was a favourite symbol on ancient Mesopotamian coinage.

What is the origin of swastik? ›

The Origins of the Swastika

The word swastika comes from the Sanskrit svastika, which means “good fortune” or “well-being." The motif (a hooked cross) appears to have first been used in Eurasia, as early as 7000 years ago, perhaps representing the movement of the sun through the sky.

What is the swastika in ancient Greece? ›

In several major Indo-European religions, the swastika symbolises lightning bolts, representing the thunder god and the king of the gods, such as Indra in Vedic Hinduism, Zeus in the ancient Greek religion, Jupiter in the ancient Roman religion, and Thor in the ancient Germanic religion.

What is the meaning of swastik in English? ›

swas·​ti·​ka ˈswä-sti-kə also swä-ˈstē- : a symbol or ornament in the form of a Greek cross with the ends of the arms extended at right angles all in the same rotary direction. : a swastika used as a symbol of anti-Semitism or of Nazism.

What is Swastik symbol in Buddhism? ›

The word “swastika” has Sanskrit roots and means “the mark of well being.” It has been used in prayers of the Rig Veda, the oldest of Hindu scriptures. In Buddhism, the symbol is known as “manji” and signifies the Buddha's footsteps. It is used to mark the location of Buddhist temples.

What does the 3 symbol mean in Buddhism? ›

The Three Jewels, or Triratna

One of the oldest Buddhist symbols, the three jewels or Triratna. The symbol came to represent the three aspects of Buddhism: Buddha, Dharma (teachings of Buddhism), and Sangha (monastic community).

How many lines does a swastik have? ›

Top Courses for Class 7

Zero '0' lines of symmetry are there in a swastik.

What is the most important symbol in Buddhism? ›

The Dharma wheel also represents the Dharma (Buddha's teaching, the ultimate truth). The main idea of this symbol is that the Buddha was seen as a person who "turned the wheel", which signifies a great and revolutionary moment in history (i.e. the teaching of the Buddha's Dharma at Varanasi).

What is the 3 symbol in Hinduism? ›

The number 3 is a symbolic depiction of Ohm (Aum) in Hinduism.

What did the swastika mean to the Vikings? ›

The swastika symbol in the Germanic Iron Age has been interpreted as having a sacral meaning, associated with either Odin or Thor, but the Indoeuropean tradition associates the four-fold swastika with solar deities and deities preceding Thor are rather associated with three-fold or more often six-fold symbology.

What is the sacred triangle of Greece? ›

The most commonly referred to Sacred Triangle in Greece consists of 3 temples. These temples are the Parthenon, Temple of Poseidon at Cape Sounion, and the Temple of Aphaia in Aegina. When seen on a map, these three temples seem to form an isosceles triangle.

What does the triangle symbol mean Greek? ›

Delta (/ˈdɛltə/; uppercase Δ, lowercase δ or 𝛿; Greek: δέλτα, délta, [ˈðelta]) is the fourth letter of the Greek alphabet. In the system of Greek numerals it has a value of 4. It was derived from the Phoenician letter dalet 𐤃. Letters that come from delta include Latin D and Cyrillic Д.

What is the meaning of swastik in Hinduism? ›

1) In Sanskrit, the word swastika is a combination of 'su' (meaning 'good') and 'asti' (meaning 'to exist') Popularly, this gets translated as 'all is well.

What is the difference between OM and Swastik? ›

Swastik is known for good fortune and well being. it is a sacred symbol in Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism. Aum symbol refers to soul and ultimate reality, entirety of the universe, truth, divine, supreme spirit, cosmic principles, knowledge.

What is the Indian symbol for peace? ›

The equilateral cross with its legs bent at right angles is a millennia-old sacred symbol in Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism that represents peace and good fortune. Indigenous people worldwide used it similarly.

Do Buddhists believe in god? ›

Siddhartha Gautama was the first person to reach this state of enlightenment and was, and is still today, known as the Buddha. Buddhists do not believe in any kind of deity or god, although there are supernatural figures who can help or hinder people on the path towards enlightenment.

What is the symbol of Christianity? ›

The Crucifix / Cross

The main symbol of Christianity is the cross; a symbol of the crucifixion of Jesus and his passion. In the Bible, Jesus walks with and carries the heavy cross a long way on his way to his crucifixion.

What is the symbol of universe? ›

The “AUM” symbol (or OM – the symbol in the center) symbolizes the Universe and the ultimate reality. It is the most important Hindu symbols.

Which finger to use for Swastik? ›

A very simple and most *powerful remedy* that will help all of you. Its rarest and *Vedik vidhi* of making Swastik in your Home or Work Place. Draw it with your *Right Ring finger* OR U can use all *Five fingers* to draw it.

Which direction is right for Swastik? ›

You should know that swastik should be made in the north-east direction to attract positive vibes and form a deep connection with the self.

What are the 3 main Buddhist beliefs? ›

Buddhism. Buddhism is a religion that is based on the teachings of Siddhartha Gautama. The main principles of this belief system are karma, rebirth, and impermanence.

What is the Buddhist symbol for karma? ›

In Buddhism, Hinduism and Chinese culture, the most common symbol for karma is the Wheel of Life (also known as the Bhavacakra). The wheel has eight spokes representing the eight steps of life: birth, youth, aging, sickness, death, rebirth, dukkha (suffering) and nirvana (enlightenment).

What is the Buddhist symbol for the universe? ›

A mandala is a symbol of the universe in its ideal form, and its creation signifies the transformation of a universe of suffering into one of joy.

What is the symbol of Jesus? ›

cross, the principal symbol of the Christian religion, recalling the Crucifixion of Jesus Christ and the redeeming benefits of his Passion and death. The cross is thus a sign both of Christ himself and of the faith of Christians.

What is the oldest religion? ›

The word Hindu is an exonym, and while Hinduism has been called the oldest religion in the world, many practitioners refer to their religion as Sanātana Dharma (Sanskrit: सनातन धर्म, lit.

What is the number 7 in Hinduism? ›

Hinduism. References to the number seven in Hindu knowledge and practice include: Seven worlds in the universe and seven seas in the world in Hindu cosmology. Seven sages or Saptarishi and their seven wives or Sapta Matrka in Hindu mythology.

What is opposite swastik? ›

It takes on a liturgical function in Jainism, and in Hinduism the clockwise symbol (the swastika as we know it, with the arms pointing right) and the counterclockwise symbol, the sauvistika, pair up to portray opposites such as light and darkness.

What is the Viking symbol for peace? ›

The peace symbol consists of the rune of Yr enclosed in a circle, where a runic circle is often representative of a woman or a mother.

What does the symbol of Valhalla mean? ›

The Valknut, a symbol of three interlocking triangles, is one of the most commonly appearing symbols in the Viking world. It always appears in combination with Odin or the dead, which has led many to believe that it was a symbol of Valhalla. Valhalla is Odin's hall in Asgard.

Why is the triangle a symbol of God? ›

The Eye of God in a triangle is still used in church architecture and Christian art to symbolize the Trinity and God's omnipresence and divine providence.

What is the main symbol of Greece? ›

The national emblem of Greece, also known as the coat of arms of Greece, consists of a blue crest with a white cross totally surrounded by two laurel branches. The first Greek national emblem was provided for by the Constitution of Epidaurus of 1 January 1822.

What is the Greek key pattern called? ›

Greek key, also referred to as meander, is in its most basic form a linear pattern. The design is made up of a long, continuous line that repeatedly folds back on itself, mimicking the ancient Maeander River of Asia Minor with its many twists and turns.

What does delta △ mean? ›

Symbol. Δ (mathematics, sciences) Alternative form of ∆: change in a variable. (chemistry) Used on the reaction arrow in a chemical equation, to show that energy in the form of heat is added to the reaction.

What does the triangle mean in Bible? ›

Description. Bible O.T. Genesis 1.1-2. God is represented as a triangle, symbolising the Trinity; the sacred tetragrammaton "Yahweh" is written in the centre.

What does delta mean spiritually? ›

It is clear through the Bible that we are called to be disciples and to make disciples. That is the core of Delta. The letter in the center of the diagram is the lower case Greek letter, "delta." It provides the visual reference points for the spiritual journey of discipleship. A disciple is a follower of Jesus.

Where should Swastik be placed at home? ›

Vastu suggests that making a swastik at the entrance of the house will help get rid of negativity. You must be wondering how to make swastik on main door. You should know that swastik should be made in the north-east direction to attract positive vibes and form a deep connection with the self.

What are the 3 main symbols of Hinduism? ›

Some of the more popular Hindu symbols are the aum/om (letters), the swastika (ancient religious symbol), the trishula (trident), the Shiva Linga (an abstract representation of Shiva), and the Nataraja (dancing Shiva). Most Hindu rituals are performed in the presence of many of these symbols.

What is the importance of Swastik in Vastu? ›

When we do Navagraha Pooja at home, we make the symbol of Swastik to represent the 'start of life' as it has a direct relation with Lord Ganesha. We also write Swastik on currency notes as well. In Hindu tradition, we mark the auspicious sign of Swastik at the entrance of our homes or offices.

What are the benefits of wearing Swastik locket? ›

Sphatik Locket with Swastik is easy to Recognizing , the stone is associated with a great deal of clarity, and transparency as well. The key property that the sphatik crystal has is to allow a wearer to get rid of all the negativity in the environment, so that the positive vibes reach him in a more enhanced manner.

Which god should be placed at home? ›

It's auspicious to keep white Ganesha Idol at home. Apart from Lord Ganesha, you can place Goddess Lakshmi and Saraswati. The trinity Lord Ganesha, Goddess Lakshmi, and Goddess Saraswati are considered auspicious to place in Pooja room at home.

Where should we keep God in house? ›

According to Vastu experts, god should be placed in either east or north-east direction in the house. The idols or deities must be kept at a certain height from the ground. The setting should be such that the face of God must be towards west and the face of worshipper should be towards east.

What is the benefit of Swastik pyramid? ›

Swastik is drawn on the gates to prevent houses from evil eyes. The ashtadhatu Swastik which you can paste or hang on your doors or outer walls of your houses to prevent your home from evil eyes and bring positive energy in the home. Swastik Pyramid for siddhi, success in undertakings, and buddhi, intelligence.

What does swastik symbolize in Hinduism? ›

In the ancient Indian language of Sanskrit, swastika means "well-being". The symbol has been used by Hindus, Buddhists and Jains for millennia and is commonly assumed to be an Indian sign. Early Western travellers to Asia were inspired by its positive and ancient associations and started using it back home.

What is swastik pyramid? ›

Swastik is the sign of lord Ganesha and pyramids are embossed on it. (total pyramid =153 in all) This is an auspicious item to keep in the home. You can fix it on the outer wall of your house or room.

What is the most important symbol in Hinduism? ›

Om (pronounced Aum)

Om (or Aum, ॐ) is the sacred sound symbol that represents Universe; the ultimate reality (Brahman).

Can a girl wear Shiva locket? ›

You can be a man, woman, boy, girl, or still in your school, this locket of Lord Shiva can we wear with a chain made with white gold, gold, silver, or any metal. Also, some people can wear a red or black thread. It is manufactured and designed with pure dedication, divinity, and sanctification towards a lord.

Can we wear Swastik ring? ›

If you are suffering from job issues and want to be successful in job then you can wear a Swastik made up of gold or silver. Keep Swastik on your working place or study place to improve focus in your work and study place.

Can we wear Swastik bracelet? ›

Swastika is a very important Hindu Symbol. It is important in many other parts of the world. In Hindu religion, Swastika is the most auspicious symbol that stands for peace, prosperity and good luck. The Ethereal Swastika bracelet in silver is best for daily wear.


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