Re: Is the Swastika evidence of a common origin?
phil. Felton (email@example.com)
Mon, 27 Jan 1997 14:32:58 -0500
In article <firstname.lastname@example.org>,
> In <email@example.com> "Kevin McCarthy"
> <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
> >The Nazi swastica is a reversal of the original jewish symbol, which tracks
> >the movement of the pole star around the north pole. Quite simply, any
> >other speculation is bollocks.
> Yet "swastika" is a Sanscrit word....
Indeed it is, the following extract from Encyclopaedia Britannica seems to
the origins of the swastika quite fully.
equilateral cross with arms bent at right angles, all in the same rotary
direction, usually clockwise.
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. In
left-hand swastika was the sign for the god Thor's hammer. The swastika
also appeared in early
Christian and Byzantine art (where it became known as the gammadion cross,
or crux gammata,
because it could be constructed from four Greek gammas [ ] attached to a
common base), and it
occurred in South and Central America (among the Maya) and in North
America (principally among
In India the swastika continues to be the most widely used auspicious
symbol of Hindus, Jainas,
and Buddhists. Among the Jainas it is the emblem of their seventh
Tirthankara (saint) and is also
said to remind the worshiper by its four arms of the four possible places
of rebirth--in the animal or
plant world, in hell, on Earth, or in the spirit world.
The Hindus (and also Jainas) use the swastika to mark the opening pages of
their account books,
thresholds, doors, and offerings. A clear distinction is made between the
which moves in a clockwise direction, and the left-hand swastika (more
correctly called the
sauvastika), which moves in a counterclockwise direction. The right-hand
swastika is considered a
solar symbol and imitates in the rotation of its arms the course taken
daily by the Sun, which in the
Northern Hemisphere appears to pass from east, then south, to west. The
left-hand swastika more
often stands for night, the terrifying goddess Kali, and magical practices.
In the Buddhist tradition the swastika symbolizes the feet, or the
footprints, of the Buddha. It is
often placed at the beginning and end of inscriptions, and modern Tibetan
Buddhists use it as a
clothing decoration. With the spread of Buddhism, the swastika passed into
the iconography of
China and Japan, where it has been used to denote plurality, abundance,
prosperity, and long life.
In Nazi Germany the swastika (German: Hakenkreuz), with its oblique arms
became the national symbol. In 1910 a poet and nationalist ideologist
Guido von List had
suggested the swastika as a symbol for all anti-Semitic organizations; and
when the National
Socialist Party was formed in 1919-20, it adopted it. On Sept. 15, 1935,
the black swastika on a
white circle with a red background became the national flag of Germany.
This use of the swastika
ended in World War II with the German surrender in May 1945, though the
swastika is still
favoured by neo-Nazi groups."