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Swastika - What the Symbol Really Means

The swastika (Sanskrit: स्वस्तिक) is an equilateral cross with four arms bent at right angles.

The earliest archaeological evidence of swastika-shaped ornaments dates back to the Indus Valley Civilization of Ancient India as well as Classical Antiquity. Swastikas have also been used in various other ancient civilizations around the world. It remains widely used in Indian religions, specifically in Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism, primarily as a tantric symbol to evoke shakti or the sacred symbol of auspiciousness. The word “swastika” comes from the Sanskrit svastika - “su” meaning “good,” “asti” meaning “to be,” and “ka” as a suffix. The swastika literally means “to be good”.

In East Asia, the swastika is a Chinese character, defined by Kangxi Dictionary, published in 1716, as “synonym of myriad, used mostly in Buddhist classic texts”, by extension, the word later evolved to represent eternity and Buddhism.

The symbol has a long history in Europe reaching back to antiquity. In modern times, following a brief surge of popularity in Western culture, a swastika was adopted as a symbol of the Nazi Party of Germany in 1920. The Nazis used the swastika as a symbol of the Aryan race. After Adolf Hitler came to power in 1933, a right-facing and rotated swastika was incorporated into the Nazi party flag, which was made the state flag of Germany during Nazism. Hence, the swastika has become strongly associated with Nazism and related ideologies such as fascism and white supremacism in the Western World and is now largely stigmatized there. Notably, it has been outlawed in Germany and other countries if used as a symbol of Nazism. Many modern political extremists and Neo-Nazi groups such as the Russian National Unity use stylized swastikas or similar symbols.

The second picture above shows the swastika on the uniforms for the San Francisco YMCA Swastika team of 1908 in California.  This was before the symbol took on its negative connotation with Hitler and the Nazi Party.

Source for San Francisco picture:  http://hoopedia.nba.com/index.php?title=San_Francisco_YMCA_Swastika

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    I wish people would learn the original meaning!
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