Ethiopian News, Current Affairs and Opinion Forum
2 posts • Page 1 of 1
The Swastika of Lalibela Bete Maryam Church
Even Muslims have Swastika's on there MosquesThe Swastika did not originate as a Nazi Symbol of hatred. For more than 3,000 years, the swastika meant life and good luck.
Swastika is derived from the Sanskrit word: Svastikah, "su" meaning "good", "asti" meaning "to be" (well being, good fortune), and "ka" as a suffix.
The swastika is an equilateral cross with arms bent at right angles, all in the same direction, usually the right, or clockwise. The swastika is a symbol of prosperity and good fortune and is widely dispersed in both the ancient and modern world. It originally represented the revolving sun, fire, or life. The swastika was widely utilized in ancient Mesopotamian coinage as well as appearing in early Christian and Byzantium art, where it was known as the gammadion cross. The swastika also appeared in South and Central America, widely used in Mayan art during that time period.
In North America, the swastika was a symbol used by the Navajos. The swastika still continues today to be an extensively used sign in Buddhism, Jainism, and Hinduism. In Buddhism, a swastika represents resignation. It is usually found in the images of Buddha on His chest, palms, soles of feet. In Jainism, it delineates their seventh saint, and the four arms are also used to remind the worshiper of the four possible places of rebirth; the animal or plant world, in Hell, on Earth, or in the spirit world. To Hindus, the swastika with the arms bent to the left is called the sathio or sauvastika, which symbolizes night, magic, purity, and the destructive goddess Kali. In both Hinduism and Jainism, the swastika or sathio is used to mark the opening pages or their account books, thresholds, doors, and offerings.
In ancient times, the direction of the swastika was interchangeable as can be seen even on ancient Chinese silk drawings.
Some cultures in the past had differentiated between the clockwise swastika and the counter-clockwise sauvastika. In these cultures the swastika symbolized health and life while the sauvastika took on a mystical meaning of bad-luck or misfortune.
But since the Nazis use of the swastika, some people are trying to differentiate the two meanings of the swastika by varying its direction - trying to make the clockwise, Nazi version of the swastika mean hate and death while the counter-clockwise version would hold the ancient meaning of the symbol, life and good-luck.
The swastika was a symbol for the Aryan people, a name that in Sanskrit means “noble”. The Aryans were a group of people who settled in Iran and Northern India. They believed themselves to be a pure race, superior to the other surrounding cultures. When the Germans looked for a symbol, they looked for a symbol, which represented the purity, which they believed they contained. The Nazis regarded themselves as “Aryans” and tried to steal the accomplishments of these pre-historic people.
In Nazi Germany, the swastika with its arms turned clockwise became the national symbol. In 1910, a poet and nationalist Guido von List suggested that the swastika as a symbol for all anti-Semitic organizations. When the National Socialist Party was formed in 1919, it adopted the ancient symbol, the swastika, giving it the worst meaning possible, destroying the good symbolism, which the swastika had held for thousands of years prior.
In 1920, Adolf Hitler decided that the Nazi Party needed its own insignia and flag. For Hitler, the new flag had to be “a symbol of our own struggle” as well as “highly effective as a poster.” (Mein Kampf)
On August 7, 1920, at the Salzburg Congress, this flag became the official emblem of the Nazi Party.
In Mein Kampf, Hitler described the Nazis’ new flag: “In red we see the social idea of the movement, in white the nationalistic idea, in the swastika the mission of the struggle for the victory of the Aryan man, and, by the same token, the victory of the idea of creative work, which as such always has been and always will be anti-Semitic.”
Because of the Nazis’ flag, the swastika soon became a symbol of hate, antisemitism, violence, death, and murder.
In 1935, the black swastika on a white circle with a crimson background became the national symbol of Germany.
The major difference between the Nazi swastika and the ancient symbol of many different cultures is that the Nazi swastika is at a slant, while the ancient swastika is rested flat.
Although it was known to Germanic tribes as the “Cross of Thor”, and it is interesting that the Nazis did not use that term, which is consistent with German history, but instead preferred to “use” the Indian term “swastika”. As the “Cross of Thor”, the symbol was even brought to England by Scandinavian settlers in Lincolnshire and Yorkshire, long before Hitler.
Even more interesting, the sign has been found on Jewish temples from 2000 years ago in Palestine, so Hitler was (inadvertently?) “stealing” a Jewish symbol as well as an Indian one.
Today, whenever the ancient symbol is used, it is automatically assumed by most people that it is a Nazi symbol and that the people who use it are Nazis. When the Nazis took the ancient symbol, they erased the good meaning of the swastika, the symbol of purity and of life.
Because most people are ignorant to the fact that the swastika was not a Nazi symbol, symbolizing death and destruction. The Nazis destroyed the meaning of the symbol by adopting it as their own.
The swastika symbolizes so much more than what the Nazis planned. The swastika existed as a symbol of good fortune thousands of years before the Nazis even existed. The symbol is to many cultures an important one, representing their history and beliefs. The Nazis, by taking the swastika, annihilated the significance of the ancient symbol. Today, the swastika is to most people a symbol of evil, a symbol of demise, and a symbol of ruination. It is extremely depressing to find that although the swastika is a symbol of life, and symbol of joy, it has been made a symbol of evil, something the people of the ancient world never intended it to be.
Adolph Hitler adopted the left-handed symbol. Hence, the icon causes confusion to many people to think it was a similar icon used by the Eastern faiths (Buddhism, Hinduism and Jainism). The right hand (clockwise) Swastika used by these religions which practice ahimsa (non-violence) since ancient time. It should never be mistaken as the left-hand (counterclockwise) Swastika.