A swastika is a cross with four arms that are bent at a right angle, all four arms are the same length and sometime there will be a dot or charm in the negative space. It is a common symbol throughout India and world wide. The name swastika comes from the Sanskrit word svasti, which means good fortune, luck and well-being. It has a variety of religious meanings such as a charm to bring good fortune and can be seen in two different versions, the right-hand and the left-hand swastika.
The right-hand swastika is one of the 108 symbols of the god Vishnu and is also a symbol of the sun and of the sun god Surya. The rotation of the arms is a imitates the course the sun takes through the sky as it passes from east south and west in the Northern Hemisphere.
The left-hand swastika sometimes called a sauvastika, usually represents the terrifying goddess Kali, night and magic. However, this form of the swastika is not "evil" as it has become known for its connection to Hitler. The left-hand swastika is the form most commonly used in Buddhism. Hindu art often shows the swastika as an auspicious symbol very commonly used in architecture and decoration. It can be seen on everything from temples, houses, doorways, clothing, cars, and even cakes. It is also a major part of the decoration for festivals and special ceremonies such as weddings.
The Nazis adopted the swastika because their understanding was that it was an Aryan symbol indicating racial purity and superiority. The Nazis propagated a theory that the early Aryans of India were white invaders. There is also a connection with the swastika's magical connections, for Hitler and other Nazi leaders were keenly interested in the occult.
For such a simple symbol the swastika's history is far reaching and controversial. It has been tainted by fear and hatred but the true meaning of the swastika will aways be one of good fortune, luck and well-being.
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