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The Swastika, the Earliest Known Symbol, and Its Migrations Thomas Wilson

The Swastika, the Earliest Known Symbol, and Its Migrations

Thomas Wilson

Published August 21st 2014
ISBN : 9781500900892
Paperback
282 pages
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 About the Book 

The swastika is a symbol that generally takes the form of an equilateral cross, with its four legs bent at 90 degrees. It is a symbol among the ancient Celts, Indians, and Greeks, as well as in later Buddhism, Jainism, Hinduism, and Nazism, amongMoreThe swastika is a symbol that generally takes the form of an equilateral cross, with its four legs bent at 90 degrees. It is a symbol among the ancient Celts, Indians, and Greeks, as well as in later Buddhism, Jainism, Hinduism, and Nazism, among other cultures and religions. The word swastika derives from the Hindi roots su (Good), asti (to be), and ka (making) The older term gammadion cross derives from its appearance, which is identical to four Greek gamma letters affixed to each other. Its use in India dates back to the Indus Valley Civilization city of Harappa, and came to represent Vishnu in Hinduism. In Chinese Taoism, the swastika is a symbol of eternity. For Tibetan Buddhism, it is emblematic of the element of Earth. It is a common practice for Hindus to draw Swastika symbols on the doors and entrances to their houses during festivals, which is believed to symbolize an invitation to goddess Lakshmi. The word swastika came from the Sanskrit word svastika, meaning any lucky or auspicious object, and in particular a mark made on persons and things to denote auspiciousness, or any piece of luck or well-being. It is composed of su- meaning good, well and asti being. Suasti thus means well-being. The suffix -ka either forms a diminutive or intensifies the verbal meaning, and suastika might thus be translated literally as that which is associated with well-being, corresponding to lucky charm or thing that is auspicious. The Sanskrit term has been in use in English since 1871, replacing gammadion. Alternative historical English spellings of the Sanskrit phonological words with different meanings to include suastika, swastica, and svastica. The word does not occur in Vedic Sanskrit. As noted by Monier-Williams in his Sanskrit-English dictionary, according to Alexander Cunningham, its shape represents a monogram formed by interlacing of the letters of the auspicious words su-asti (svasti) written in Ashokan characters.