January 31, 2005

Hindus Attempt To Reclaim The Swastika

No other symbol represents the darkest aspect of human endeavour than the Nazi swastika. Immediately, it invokes images of extermination camps and the vicious ideology of Hitler's Nationalism. Today, Hindus intend to remove this stigma and return it to the positive symbol it has been for more than 5000 years.

The swastika was noted by the Swiss psychologist, Carl Jung, as one of the great archetypes; a symbol which is shared by all humanity. Indeed, throughout the world, this symbol has manifested. In the ruins of ancient Rome, Greece, Troy and China the swastika can be found.

The Native Americans of New Mexico and Arizona, as well as the indigenous tribes of Mexico, also weaved it into their textiles and painted it on their pottery, as an amulet of good fortune.

For the Norse of Northern Europe, it was seen as a symbol of strength, in representing the mighty hammer of Thor.

In Buddhist and Hindu traditions, it is a symbol that stands for the Sun, the Wheel Of Life, as well as good luck. Throughout the temples of both religions, swastikas can be found adorning altars, walls and statues. The Buddha himself is said to have left swastika footprints as he walked.

The ancient symbol gets its name from combining two Sanskrit words, su which means good and asti meaning to exist.

After the controversy surrounding Prince Harry's ill-advised decision to wear a Nazi uniform at a fancy dress party, there have now been calls to have the swastika prohibited from all public gatherings in Europe.

British Hindus have decided to produce pro-swastika workshops, in the hope of educating people about the significance it holds for them, beyond the defiled image it received from Hitler's legacy. The symbol remains a potent and positive force for Hindus and Buddhists alike, and so it is necessary that its reputation is cleansed, so that they may continue to freely adhere to it.

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