I just like to say that im a buddhist and a peacelover aight? Then Havin a pretty large Swastika (positive) tattoo on my back and my arm, I live in hell here in Denmark. These people dont have the guts to open the history book read to see what the difference is. I dont care what they think, sure many people has been killed in Holocoaust, my friends you know how many people has been killed by Ashoka, Before he was a buddhist? And am I not aloud to walk with a symbols that displays: Peace and good fortune, the somethin is really wrong with the world. Just be in my shoes, i have swastika “printed” into my skin so I can remove it really. what the EU gonna do to me? Ban me? rip my skin off? am I not aloud to respect my beflief?
I hope I didnt sound to harsh, it was just questions. I wanna reclaim my culture. Its funny that everything what the people in the vest ban is a connection with what be going on in the East for centuries. Puttin buddha statues in a lingerie model shop? Seriously how many in here have seen this? without even knowin the teachings by Lord Buddha,, they put the satue on a underwear shop?
Im not joking here. By the way. Im happy so see this website to talk bout it Without fightin bout it .
The swastika is a universal symbol, but it has very different meanings depending on what historical and cultural context it is displayed in. If we agree that it is wrong to interpret the swastika as a Nazi symbol, will the next step be endless arguments about the “true” meaning of the symbol? Or can we accept the full historical background of the symbol, without censorship, but also without sentimentalism and romanticism?
Finland has been mentioned in the information parts of this site and also in these comments. Here are just a few minor details in the matter.
Like Wikipedia knows, the svastika was used as an emblem on the Finnish military airplanes until 1944 (not 1938), when at the end of the war Finland had to fulfill several demands dictated by the Soviet Union.
Also I found a funny detail in an article printed on Porilainen, a publication of the Finnish Army – http://www.mil.fi/maavoimat/joukot/porpr/porilainen4_02.pdf . There is a story about the Russian president Voroshilov (sp?) wearing a Finnish honorary medal with a svastika when attending a dinner while visiting Finland in 1956!
Many Finnish pages seem to say that the symbol is ‘ancient’ in Finland and that it has been used since the 19th century but it has been in everyday use as a decorative image and as one of the common carvings to confirm ownership or agreement even before the time of ink and paper but also after that.
In the late 19th and early 20th century there was an upsurge of new nationalistic art in Finland and one of the prominent artists, Akseli Gallen-Kallela used svastika in his art as well and not just when he designed the medals and emblems.
I applaud your efforts here, but I fear that perhaps you might need to be patient for another decade or so. There are still many holocaust survivors whose personal horrors are too easily revived by the sight of the swastika. When these poor, tortured souls have finally gone to their rest the swastika may finally be cleansed of the blood so unjustly sprayed on it.
If everyone was better educated, I don’t think the swastika would have the bad PR it has today. I agree with jyotirmaya in saying that the root causes of its contemporary perception should be dealt with.
That said, I think anti-semites and general ne’er-do-wells will cling to the swastika just as hard (if not more so) as anyone who wants to point out its true meanings.
Dada Ravi, it is good that you mention the ancient science of Yantra since, listening to the radio 4 interview the other day, it seemed that the religious leaders there had no clue as to the esoteric power of form.
Yantra science is still used today, in , e.g. Feng Shui or Steiner architecture where architects/designers with subtle minds are able to create flows of energy with structure.
The simplest and commonest form of a Yantra is just a cross – which incidentally predated the swastika as a spiritual symbol. The form of the cross has the effect on the mind of drawing attention/energy to the centre – the meeting point of the two axes. This is why it is used in e.g cross-hairs for sights.
Now add some dynamism to this symbol by adding some arms onto the ends of the cross to show movement toward the centre, the cosmic centre of the universe, and a swastika is born.
Its not just the swastika that needs reclaiming, it is the whole science of Yantra – a tremendous asset to humanity.
hello.Very pleased to see this site.my only suggestion is more information(that can be provided)on the use of the `swastika`in the northern european/germanic traditon.yes the nazi scum did not pluck it randomly out of the air but corrupted a symbol (the fylfot/hakkenkreuz)that has a long tradition of use amoingst the germanic tribes.Symbolic as it is of our arctic sun and the axis of the world in the heavens.Indeed in england what is credited with being one of the oldest rock carvings known is called simply `the swastika stone`.I chatted to a lady in her 80`s who reported it was known as that when she visited it as a child.I will get a photo to you.
keep up the good work! stop neo-nazi scum!Hail the swastika!
Thanks Jyotirmaya for your thoughts… your last sentence reveals the paradox of the whole matter, where you see divisive ISMs as the real problem and the solution:
The remedy – something universal, something permanently unifying, something spiritual symbolised by say… a swastika!!!
On BBC radio 4 interview, most of the panelists believed the swastika is “irredeemable” – cannot be “reclaimed”, because in the european mind it has come – and largely continues – to mean “holocaust”.
Their tacit assumption may well be: “why not find another symbol”. Of course, the whole discussion so far as eskewed the vital point about the intrinsic and inherent potency / power, of certain geometric forms – symbols. In yoga science such things are called “YANTRA”
It was not just that Hitler suddenly came into power and used the swastika as a symbol for his evil ends, the swastika had allready become extensively associated with German nationalism prior to the 1920′s, as the following quote from http://www.about.com shows
” A Change in Meaning In the 1800s
Countries round Germany were growing much larger, forming Empires; yet Germany was not a unified country until 1871. To counter the feeling of vulnerability and the stigma of youth, German nationalists in the mid-nineteenth century began to use the swastika, because it had ancient Aryan/Indian origins, to represent a long Germanic/Aryan history.
By the end of the nineteenth century, the swastika could be found on nationalist German volkisch periodicals and was the official emblem of the German Gymnasts’ League.
In the beginning of the twentieth century, the swastika was a common symbol of German nationalism and could be found in a multitude of places such as the emblem for the Wandervogel, a German youth movement; on Joerg Lanz von Liebenfels’ antisemitic periodical Ostara; on various Freikorps units; and as an emblem of the Thule Society.
HITLER and the NAZIS
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, pg. 495).
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.” (pg. 496-497).
Because of the Nazis’ flag, the swastika soon became a symbol of hate, antisemitism, violence, death, and murder. ”
The real evil here is nationalISM and antisemitISM, both taken to their disgusting end. Hitler was just the vehicle for these narrow human sentiments and the scapegoat for all their horrible consequences. Any “Ism” that separates human from human and sets up superiority or inferiority complexes in the mind of any particular group is the real evil we must fight.
The remedy – something universal, something permanently unifying, something spiritual symbolised by say………
The Swastika was used extensively as a symbol of good luck and good will in Germany and Europe before the second world war. There are existing greeting cards with this symbol on it. In fact, this is the reason why the German Nationalist party adopted it in the first place as their emblem (similar reasons, I guess to the current dove for the Liberal Democrats may the dove never come to represent such hatred!!!).
It was Hitler’s misuse of his power and control of the Nazi party which has led to all the negative associations of the symbol. But I think it is important to separate a symbol which dates back at least 10 000 years (please see the earliest artifacts in the British Museum from Mohendajaro with swastika engraved….) with a fascist who Devastated europe for a few decades.
If we want to learn from History, we should look at the whole spectrum of history, not just the last century
Can anyone verify why the nazis later tilted the swastika on a 45 degree angle? On the BBC radio 4 interview of 26th september, it was suggested that it was to symbolise that the third reich (Nazis) were on the move, and hoped to lead to a shift in the fortunes of the nazis in the war…
Thanks, Ralph, for your comments showing the Brahmin and Buddhist connections…
Regarding Rob’s idea about the reversing of the swastika by the Nazis, check out the Symbolism page on this site where the negative and positive swastikas are presented. Photos of the nazi swastika seem to show that they were the positive swastika, that is, with the tails flying back in an anti-clockwise direction.
The movement of the swastika is in anti-clockwise direction. I have heard from Indian yogiis that it represents the movement of the kundalinii (the coiled spiritual “energy”) in the base of the human spine which un-coils in an anti-clockwise direction when awoken with the power of an authentic mantra used in meditation…
After Finland gained independence in 1917 a Swedish Count presented the new country with
its first aircraft. The Count’s family symbol was the
swastika so this was adopted, blue on white (the
new Finnish colours – sky on snow) by the Finnish
air force. The German Baltic Corps was aware of
this usage and this may have been the route by which it became adopted by the Nazi party a few
years later. The Finnish air force ceased using the
symbol in 1938.
People should emphasise the fact that ancient swastika was not only upright but with its ‘arms’ rotating clockwise. It is a symbol of the sun, of time moving forward. The Nazi swastika is a perversion of this. Not only was it at an angle but the ‘arms’ are rotating counter-clockwise. It is a deliberate symbol of darkness.
On a radio programme on BBC Radio 4 broadcast on September 26, 2005 there was a Jewish panellist took offence over the mere possibility of the swastika being reclaimed. The swastika, he said, was a symbol that was beyond reclamation because of its association with the holocaust. I think the creator of this website, when he was being interviewed, didn’t mention the clockwise/ anticlockwise dimension to the swastika. The original symbol was not the same as the Nazi swastika. This should be publicised more if people are serious about reclaiming this symbol.
I am from a very old Brahmin family, and am myself a buddhist, the swastika has always been part of our symbolic beleive, if Moslems, and jews are aload to use their symbols then equally all faiths, be it Hindu, Buddhist, jew, moslems, christians, shaman whatever it is should be allowed to use there symbols. Also very important that the public understand the value of the swastika.