January 19th, 2007 by Menachem Wecker
Although to many, swastikas evoke Nazi anti-Semitism, they are actually Hindu symbols of peace. Many Hindus are trying to stress this publicly, as Germany, which is president of the EU, is calling for the banning of swastikas in the 25 EU member states.
Sanjay Mistry, a spokesman for the Hindu Forum of Britain, told the Herald (Scotland): “There was an attempt to extend the ban on swastikas throughout Europe in 2005. The UK government opposed that and we hope it will do so again. Outside areas with a large Hindu population, people do not know it as anything other than a Nazi symbol and we have been running workshops to make them aware of the history.”
Iconia contacted Mistry and asked him to clarify what exactly the swastika means to Hindus, and whether a symbol can ever get stolen. Here is what he had to say:
The swastika has been around for 5,000 years as a symbol of peace. In Sanskrit it means May Goodness Prevail.
This is exactly the opposite of how it was used by Hitler
In Hindu tradition, it is one of the religion’s most sacred symbols of peace. Also a symbol of wealth and good fortune.
In the Hindu version it is often decorated with a dot in each quadrant of the swastika.
It is also seen as pointing in all four directions (North, East, South and West) and thus signifies stability and groundedness. Its use as a sun symbol can first be seen in its representation of the god Surya.
The swastika is considered extremely holy and auspicious by all Hindus, and is regularly used to decorate all sorts of items to do with Hindu culture. It is used in Hindu religious designs.
Throughout India it can be seen on the sides of temples, written on religious scriptures, on gift items, and on letterhead. The Hindu god Ganesh is often shown as sitting on a lotus flower on a bed of swastikas.
It is used in all Hindu weddings, festivals, ceremonies, houses and doorways, clothing and jewelry, motor transport and even decorations on food items like cakes and pastries. Amongst the Hindus.
While Aum is representative of a single of creation, the Swastika is a pure geometrical mark and is one of the 108 symbols of Lord Vishnu and represents the sun’s rays without which there would be no life.
It’s hard to not find Mistry’s argument compelling: If swastikas must go, then so should crosses, which were hijacked by the KKK.