Friday, 18 November 2011

Swastika: What Does This Symbol Actually Mean?

Swastika: What Does This Symbol Actually Mean?

Swastika hbari

The Swastika (from Sanskrit svastika) is an equilateral cross its arms bent at right angles.It occurs today in the modern day culture of India, sometimes as a geometrical motif and sometimes as a religious symbol; it remains widely used in Eastern and Dharmic Religions as Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism.
The word naturally has roots in the ancient Indian language Sanskrit, which is considered to be God’s own language and hence sacred. Su’ means good, ‘asti’ means ‘to be’, so Swasti means well-being and ka means symbol. Thus, swastika means the well-being of all sentient beings.

Despite this usage, the symbol has become stigmatized and to some extent taboo in the Western World of its iconic usage by Nazi Germany, and it has notably been outlawed in Germany.

Swastika symbol has a lot of relevance for people in India. Though, Swastik sign is adopted by people of all religions, but it is especially popular amongst the Hindus. Swastika is considered to be a mark of auspiciousness and good fortune. Red Swastika is the sign of Hindus, which depicts a cross with four arms of equal lengths. The end of each of the arms is bent at a right angle. At times, dots are also added between the arms.

Swastika hbari
Swastika as a symbol, is a line design invented by the vedic sages. Its specific geometry is believed to have some relation with certain natural fields. It is drawn as a cross with equal arms when all the arms are continued as far far again at right angles clockwise. The sublime effects, in terms of cosmic energy currents superimposed in the unique pattern of SWASTIK, correspond to what the Swastik symbolizes - auspiciousness, well being. The CLOCKWISE (dakshinavarta) direction is of significant importance, as it also happens to be the direction of movement(as we see it on the Earth) of the Sun, which rises in the East and sets in the West. The four sides of the swastik thus represents four principal directions.

The four arms of the cross are known as `the four arms of Vishnu', the Supreme Deity in Vedic times who later became the `preserver' in the Hindu Trinity. Vishnu's role is to maintain order, balance, and cohesion throughout the created universe. This is the `mystic cross' which later found its way into all religions with certain modifications as the Egyptian Cross, the Chinese Tau, the Cross of the Rosicrucians and the Christian cross.

The 4 arms of the  swastika represent the four life-fulfilling aims of  life namely:

Swastika hbari

1. Dharma (religion),
2. Artha (meaning of life and how one’s material desires are   

3. Kaama (or legitimate sexual desires)
4. Moksha(ultimate salvation or liberation of the soul).

While, it is claimed that the path to salvation is to be sought by adopting and practicing any of the four aims, the truth is, that life can be rewarding and fulfilling only when all these are simultaneously practiced by striking a fine balance. The swastika symbol is symmetrical and thus signifies the need for a balance and harmony in life. Thus, the right field and right efforts give us our bread and other comforts.

It also replicates the four stages of man:

Hinduism advocates the four stages of a man’s life, wherein he performs certain duties at a certain stage of his life and is initiated into performing the next duty at the next stage.
Swastika hbari
The first stage being "Brahmacharya" or celibacy is when children are tutored about religion, duties, science, arts, and the know-how of the world. At this stage, the young mind free of cares absorbs much.Next Stage is  "Grihastashra" or the life of a householder, where the former student puts his studies into practice.The third stage is "Vanaprasthanam" or seclusion, where man devotes his time to studies, to ponder about his own life and those of others and takes time to understand the life gone by and learns things he has an inclination to.
The final stage called "Sanyasa" or renunciation is a time, when man after realizing the transience of life and its myriad hues, ultimately realizes God. He becomes spiritual and learns to seek the God within. His path is free only when it’s free of deterrents like lust, greed and other obsessions.

The Swastika is used to represent the Sun-the omnipotent giver and sustainer of life. The approach of dawn is awaited with hope, as a brand new day unfolds, and, in it lies the myriad possibilities of hopes renewed and tasks to be accomplished. As the sun rises, hundreds of birds begin a new day by their constant chirping, the farmer goes out into his field to monitor his crops and many others begin their day, to finish incomplete tasks of the previous day and make their mark in the world.

The Sun’s rays that radiate warmth and hope and the sun never withholds its light from anyone and dutifully returns to shine every new dawn, even as it sets at dusk. The arms of the swastika thus signify hope and the ongoing cycle of good luck after a rough patch. It assures one, that good cheer will fill the seeker, after a spell of despair. It also acts as a reminder to the complacent not to rest with recent laurels, but to strive to maintain his position!

Scholars of vedic literature also interpret the Swastika symbol as the coded design of the electromagnetic/magnetic energy fields around the solar system's nucleus.
Sant Shri Asaramji Bapu also emphasizes on concentrating at the center of Swastika for at least 6 min, Daily to raise your energy level.

Many more aspects of knowledge, deeper meanings and philosophical teachings and feelings and effects might have been folded in the distinctive and comprehensive design of Swastika. But at the core of it lies the spirit of auspiciousness and well being of every individual, every family, society, nation and the whole creation. It therefore continues to be of universal significance and reverence. What is required is that we grasp its implications and adapt them in all walks of life. Let the auspicious sentiments and teachings encoded in the Swastika be expressed in our aspirations, thoughts and deeds.

The vedic form of the famous Gayatri mantra

The vedic form of the famous Gayatri mantra

The vedic form of the famous Gayatri mantraAum bhur-bhuvah-swah tat savitur varenyam
bhargo devasya dheemahi dhiyo yo nah Prachodhayat
Summary of the Mantra:

May we meditate on the Glory of the Lord, the Remover of pains and sorrows, the Bestower of happiness, Who has created the universe, and Who is the embodiment of knowledge and light. May the Lord, enlighten our intellect in the right direction by destroying all our sins and ignorance.

Meaning of each letter in mantra:

OM = Almighty God
BHOOR = Embodiment of vital or spiritual energy
BHUVAHA = Destroyer of suffering
SWAHA = Embodiment of happiness
TAT = That (indicating God)
SAVITUR = Bright, luminous, like and sun
VARENIYAM = Supreme, best
BARGO = Destroyer of sins
DEVASYA = Divine
DHEEMAHI = May receive
DHIYO = Intellect
YO = Who
NAHA = Our
PRACHO DAYAT = May inspire

Gayatri is a Mantra(vedic hymn) which inspires righteous wisdom its meaning is that the Almighty God may illuminate our intellect which may lead us to righteous path. This is most important teaching. All the problems of a person are solved if he is endowed with the gift of righteous wisdom. Having endowed with far sighted wisdom, a man is neither entangled in calamity nor does he tread wrong path. Righteous wisdom stars emerging as soon as a methodical recitation of this Mantra is performed.

"May we meditate on the Glory of the Lord, the Remover of pains and sorrows, the Bestower of happiness, Who has created the universe, and Who is the embodiment of knowledge and light. May the Lord, enlighten our intellect in the right direction by destroying all our sins and ignorance."

The Gayatri Mantra is the form of eternal truth. It is the heart of all beings and the eternal Ved Mantra. Gayatri destroys the sins of the world. All the four Vedas have originated from this mantra:

This can be translated:
Aum. Let us contemplate the spirit of the divine of the earth, the atmosphere and heaven. May that inspire our minds. Savitri is the Sun and this mantra is recited at the three junctions or twilight of the day. Here is described how the mantra Aum hums in the base or Muladhara chakra, and moves through seven stages to the chakra above the head Sahasrara.

Maha Vishnu describes Aum as consisting of the following. Bhur is existence, Bhuvah is the elements, Svah is the Atma of everything, Maha is greatness and light, Tat is Brahman (the absolute). Tapah is all knowledge, Satyam is supremacy and internal wisdom. This tantra connects the three letters of Aum to the seven worlds.

Tat, refers to the first cause of all substance, as fire in the circle of the sun and is supreme Brahman. Savituhu is the source of all living beings. Varenyam is the excellent one who receives adoration.

Bharga destroys sin. Devasya means it is full of light, while Dheemahi refers to knowledge being golden and always within the sun. Dhiyo means Buddhi. Yo stands for energy (tejas).

The mantra is divided into three sections of eight letters and four sections of six letters.

A dhyana (meditation) - Gayatri as having four faces, which are white, yellow, red and black. Yet the tantrik tradition has different views of the Gayatri. For example, in the Matrikabhedatantra, there is a couplet, which says a person who knows the Brahman (the absolute) is a Brahmin.

Gayatri is mother of Vedas. Sadhana of Gayatri mantra is the essence of all Vedas. Even God like Brahma mediates on and performs Jap of Gayatri at the time of twi-light.

Gayatri Jap performed daily for three years realizes God and like air, acquires the power of going where the person wants to go. Merely by offering water to the Sun and performing Jap of three thousand Gayatri mantra at the time of twilight, a person becomes adorable by God.

By Gayatri Sadhana the person may get salvation, wealth, victory in battle, and freedom from disease. A man may know all the four Vedas very well but all his labour goes waste if he does not know Gayatri mantra. A person who worships mantra other than Gayatri cannot get success even if he takes millions of birth.

Rishis, Saints say that there is no other mantra like Gayatri mantra in all the Vedas. Ved, yagya, dan (donation, charity), tap are not equivalent even to a small fraction of Gayatri mantra. Whether a man is pure or impure, he is sitting or walking, in whatever condition a wise man may be, he should perform Gayatri Jap. A man gets rid of all sins by this Jap. Nothing is greater than GAYATRI MANTRA in this as well as other loks for the success of daily work; fulfilment of desires and for development of tapas.

The following guidelines are provided for the Sadhaka:

In Bhavanopanishad, one witness within oneself the effulgent figure of Divine Mother with the different phases of the waxing and waning Moon.

The Devi is to be meditated upon as of a ruddy complexion, with eyes expansive, as an ocean overflowing with waves of grace, with noose, goad, arrows of flowers and a twig of sugar- cane in her hand, surrounded by Anima and other deities and ultimately as one´s own self.

1. Complete faith unflinching loyalty backed by a clear heart towards the deity is required for Sadhana.

2. Do not start Mantra Shakti under any pressure. Trust in God, kindness and patience should be the virtues of a Sadhaka.

3. Avoid harsh speech, lust, anger, restless thoughts, evil company and egoism. Do not get emotional. Mantras on hearsay should be avoided, as they must be authentic.

4. Sadhana done without any specific aim bears fruits early. In case you see any miracle, do not fear. Keep your WILL POWER strong and continue your Sadhana. All troubles will vanish.

5. Brahmacharya or celibacy should be observed during Sadhana. In case of failure, do not lose heart. Try it again and again and you will be crowned with success.


One´s subconscious mind can help to find the solution through meditation and recitation of Mantras.

1.Purity of thoughts, words and deeds, sincerity and deep seated. Belief in repeating Mantras systematically and without any stress or strain on the brain or body is the keynotes for the efficacy of Mantras.

2. Concentrate and Meditate without having any desires in mind. The Mantra should be recited softly so as to be audible only to be person concerned and not to others. Mantras should be recited in a pleasing musical tone, which will help in concentration.

3.Continuous Sadhana will enable the Sadhaka to find solutions to the problems, attaining peace of mind, reducing mental strain.

4.The Sadhaka should have a light meal, hot and well cooked and in small quantity, as over eating leads to the excitement of the sensory organs which aggravate passions. Onions, Garlic and Meat have stimulating effects on the sensory organs and will do harm to the body than good. Intoxicates and smoking of any kind should be avoided. Lack of control in the diet is a great obstacle to progress. Small quantities of wholesome food purify the mind and a pure mind retains the memory of God.