Friday 15 November 2013

Don't be alarmed by the Swastika!

The Swastika.  A symbol for everything that was bad about World War 2. A symbol that has been banned in much of the western world as a supposed emblem of the Aryan race. A symbol that conjures up hatred, extreme bigotry, suffering and death.


In India (or indeed Asia) this ancient Sanskrit symbol is found everywhere, and therefore has none of the western connotations.  In fact - upon closer inspection - you will notice that the Nazi version has been flipped horizontally from the original. Here in India, it is a tantric symbol evoking Shakti - or the sacred symbol of 'auspiciousness' - and is used by the followers of Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism.

According to Wikipedia (what would we do without Wikipedia?): "The word "swastika" comes from the Sanskrit svastika - "su" (meaning "good" or "auspicious") combined with "asti" (meaning "it is"), along with the diminutive suffix "ka." The swastika literally means "it is good." The name "sauwastika" is sometimes given to the left-facing arms symbol, which is a mirror image of swastika

You will commonly see the symbol on the outside of temples, on front doors, inside notebooks and anywhere else where 'auspiciousness' (i.e. luck or well-being) needs to be invoked! 

I found this Swastika made of clay on the wall of an ornament shop in Goa

Outside a Hindu temple in Mumbai

I was going to give this hand-bound notebook to a friend's son in the UK - until I saw the back page!

On a front door, coupled with a horseshoe - also a sign for good luck!
A bit random...
A plaque on the front of a truck - these truck drivers definitely need good luck!

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