Swastik: Meaning and Significance in Hinduism

Swastik: Meaning and Significance in Hinduism

Swastik: Meaning and Significance in HinduismSwastik: Meaning and Significance in Hinduism

A geometrical figure and a religious figure since ages,  Swastik has its own significance in Hindus. The word Swastik has its origin from Sanskrit and means “conducive to well being or auspicious”. It has been Sanatana Dharma’s symbol of auspiciousness since time immemorial.

Origins

The word has definite lexemic origin in Sanskrit. Swastik is derived from the roots Su meaning ‘well’ or auspicious and as meaning ‘being’. Hence, it is a symbol through which everything auspicious happens. Talking about its cosmic origin, Swastika represents the creation of the Almighty in the whole cosmos. The Hindu astronomy experts make twenty-seven divisions known as Nakshatras to divide the ecliptic circle of Cosmos. Each of them has been given a name after a prominent start or asterism in the respective part of the zodiac.

The last and twenty-seventh asterism, opposite Chitra nakshatra, lies Revati having presiding deity as Pusha. In the Midway between Chitra and Revati, lies the twenty-second asterism-Shravan Nakshatra. Represented by vehicle Garud, its presiding deity is Vishnu. Midway from Revati to the direction of Chitra lies the eighth nakshatra, Pushya having its presiding deity as Bruhsapati. In this way, across forms in four directions in the celestial sky. The center of this cross represents is Dhruva. Forming a line from Dhruva, the stars known as Saptarishi can be observed.

The Hindi term Saptarishi means Seven Rishis. In the present times, the seven rishis are Gautam, Bhardhvaj, Vishwamitra, Kashyap, Jamadgani, Vasistha, and Atri. By joining the line formed by the cross and Saptarishis, Swastik is formed.

Swastik in Rituals

  • Being an auspicious symbol, the Swastika is significant during religious rites and religious Pujas by Hindus. In Hinduism, it is very common to see people imprinting this swastika sign on new articles, appliances, the entrance of a new vehicle or business.
  • This symbol of Swastika represents mangal– peace, auspiciousness, success, and harmony in all ventures embarked on a life.
  • The Swastik is symbolic of Aum-Kar.
  • Moreover, Swastik is a symbol of sacredness which wards off evil elements and brings good fortune.
  • Also, this auspicious symbol is imprinted on the doors of the house and ingrained in the floor of temples as a symbolic form of auspiciousness.
  • Swastika also depicts Surya, “the wheel of life” in all four directions

Moreover, in India Swastika has eternally embodied the following sentiments

  • Kalyan i.e. the ultimate liberation
  • A man’s quest to attain spiritual knowledge
  • Prayer for all living beings to attain moksha
  • Encompasses the whole cosmos
  • Symbolic of Lordess Lakshmi- the emblem of Wealth
  • Symbolic of Vishnu- The four bars of Swastika represents the four hands of Lord Vishnu. And, Vishnu is the protector of the four directions.
  • Protection from all four directions
  • Symbolic of Sanatan Dharma and its sentiment of peace and moksha for all living beings.

Significance in other cultures

Not only in India, but the symbol of Swastika also has significance for ages in various other lands like Egypt, Greece, Italy, Japan, England, and the USA. The oldest painting of swastika appears in a Paleolithic case which dates back to 10.000 years.

One can also see it on early Christian tombs and on 2000 years-old Jewish temples of Palestine. However, though the swastika may have been a religious symbol in these religions. But, it does not have the same meaning of being redemptive (kalyankari), as it does in Hinduism. Moreover, Swastika is one of the sixteen auspicious symbols that one can find on the lotus feet of Supreme personality-Parabhram Purshottam Narayan, the Supreme God.

In the Padma Purana, Lord Brahma describes this to Lord Narad. Also, the swastika is one of the eight signs present in the right sole.

Also, you may like to read The Religious Significance of Solah Shrinnghar

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