What is the Significance of Swastika in Hinduism

These days swastika has become an evil symbol associated with the Nazi ideology of Hitler. A lot of Hindus therefore have stopped associating with this symbol. Here we must understand that when an idiot interprets something auspicious in a wrong way then it does not make that thing inauspicious, he only proves his ignorance. Therefore, we should feel absolutely no shame in endorsing this symbol. In this article I would explain the significance of Hinduism as a symbol, so that you can understand its true beauty.

Swastik as a word comes from Swastha, which as we all know means healthy. Actually a deeper meaning of Swastha is well being and so this symbol actually is an auspicious symbol of well-being. In order to understand this symbol, we must first understand two very important things

1 The symbol of swastika actually represents Sun. We generally show the swastika as a static image, but in reality, it must be pictured as rotating clockwise. If you start rotating it clockwise you will see that it starts representing a circle, this circle represents the sun.

2 Sun has multiple meanings in Hinduism. At the materialistic level sun represents prosperity as it is the sun who is the basic source of energy on earth. At, the spiritual level sun represents inner illumination and wisdom which helps us in living a fulfilling life.

This whole symbol of Swastika in Hinduism can be broken down into various parts, let’s have a look at that. As I mentioned that you must interpret this symbol as a circle. The most important part of the circle is the center, which in this symbol represents Brahman. Brahman is the source of our existence. Now in order to experience Brahman you need mind. In our tradition mind is broken down into four parts, which are Manas, Buddhi, Chitta and Ahankara. The four lines coming out of the center represent these four aspects of human mind. Let’s understand these four aspects

Manas — This is our cogitating Mind, that inner dialogue inside us all, through which we make decisions.

Buddhi — This is our determinative faculty, which provides us the Intellectual capacity to understand what we observe and form an impression in our mind.

Chitta — This is our Memory Bank, that is thought reproduced from memory that we have stacked up in our mind through our experiences

Ahankara — This is our Ego or our sense of I-ness

So these four lines here are indicating our mind. Now as I mentioned in many of my videos, only a disciplined mind can be a healthy mind. Therefore, for our well-being we must develop a disciplined mind and, in our tradition, a disciplined mind is cultivated through Sadhana. These four lines indicate four paths of Sadhana, which are Jnana, Bhakti, Karma and Raja yoga.

Just performing the Sadhana however is not enough you need to perform it with strong convictions, which involves cultivating Shraddha through Samarpan, Dhairya, Vishwas and Vivek. So now if you picture this whole thing rotating then you see that this will form a circle with Brahman in the center realized by a disciplined mind, which is cultivated by performing Sadhana with full Shraddha.

Finally, we see these four dots in these four sections, as you can see these four dots are separate from the entire structure of Swastika in Hinduism. The whole structure as we have already discussed is a gradual growth from inside to outside, indicating the realization of inner divinity inside us through external actions. These four dots represent the result of this realization of divinity. These four dots are the four 4 muktis that we attain after following the path indicated in the basic structure of swastika. The four muktis are:

  1. Salokya — Going to the same ‘loka’ as that of the deity worshipped.
  2. Sameepya — Being in the proximity of the deity worshipped.
  3. Sarupya — Taking on the form that looks alike the deity worshipped.
  4. Sayujya — Getting into the ‘body’ of the deity worshipped.

Personally, I believe in only one mukti that has been explained in different ways here, however I just mentioned them here to explain the Swastika.

Living your life according to the ideals presented in this symbol of swastika will optimize your well-being, that is why it is called Swastik in Hinduism. Now that you understand the true meaning of this symbol, whenever you look at it, it will instantly shows you how to live an enlightened life. This is why this is considered an auspicious sign. If you look at the etymology of the word Shiva then its meaning is the one who is auspicious. So, Shiva is also associated with the auspicious sign of swastika, which rotates clockwise.

To compliment this, we have the counterpart of swastika, which is the counterclockwise rotating Suwastik. From the point of view of the sun this represent night and from the point of view of the Shiva this represents goddess Kali. At the higher-level swastika represents the Purusha and Sauvastik represents Prakruti and at the center of both of them lies Brahman. I hope after reading this article you will now understand the significance of Swastika in Hinduism.

Originally published at https://stoicsadhu.com on August 1, 2020.

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