Swastika - A symbol of Auspicious KnowledgePrathakprathaktattriyam Sukshmamityabhishabdyate |
Sanjam Karomi Madhuram Vadayami Bruve Vacha¡ ||
The matrikas and (hence) the vowels and consonants were generated from the manifestation of the omnipresent, eternal sound (Nadabrahm). The different forms of ’voice’ - namely the pashyanti (voice of the inner self) madhyama (mental voice or the voice that one hears while thinking) and baikhari (usual voice used in speech) - also originated from the same Nada; each of them was further divided into the perceivable and subtle forms. Thus the six-fold manifestation of the Nadabrahm came into existence. The six line-segments of the swastika symbolize this occult knowledge. In this context, swastika is further regarded as a sign depicting the secret facets of the origin of Nature.
The vocal sound (baikhari vani), as we perceive it, consists of both -- the vowels and the consonants. Of this, the vowels are fundamental; they exist as natural expressions of sound, namely the swaras; the consonants can’t be perceived without the suffix of swaras. There are six basic swaras of musical notes. These are like the six major components of the spectrum of light that is referred in the scriptures as - "Yadevatatmakam suryarashmiktwam", and the ensemble of these six suryarashmi (sunrays) is called "swastika".
Apart from the scriptural descriptions, the archeological findings, especially inscriptions in the ancient caves indicate the popularity of swastika design in ancient times. The paintings and stone carvings found at Singhanpur area in Raigardh, Baniya Beri in Pachmari and several caves in the Chambal and Sagar-Bhopal regions are among the authentic proofs available today in this regard in India. Many of the designs depict both the dakshiñavarta (clockwise) and the vamavarta (counterclockwise) swastikas. Both the types are found engraved on the coins of the Age of Indus-civilization as well. However, only the clockwise swastika, which we have referred so far, is found in the pictures or inscriptions showing signs of religious rituals; it is indeed this type - the (vedic) swastika that is used and worshipped in the Hindu religious sacraments.
The counterclockwise swastika is supposed to be used in some tantrika practices; incidentally, the ’swastika’ symbol adopted by the Nazis is also of counterclockwise type. As per renowned scholars like Prof. Maxmuller, this anti-clockwise design of swastika was also favored in some orthodox Christian churches and was popular several hundred years ago in England, and then in some varied forms in Denmark, Norway and Sweden. For example, the related symbol in Sweden had the arms of the counterclockwise swastika design expanded and connected to each other along a circular contour; which appears like a cross embedded in a circle. It should be noted that in this article the main focus of our discussion is only the vedic symbol (the clockwise swastika).
Another scholar Mrs. Murray remarks in the volume entitled "Symbolism of the East and West" that the vedic symbols encompass deep and important meanings. It is mostly these symbols, which were propagated in different parts of the globe; some changes and diversions occurred and got adopted with the flow of time. These variations are reflected in several symbols used in different religions of the world. Swastika is a vedic symbol which has acquired a rich global tradition and significance.
According to Indian Philosophy, the four arms of swastika symbolize the four Vedas, four Varnas, four Ashrams, four Lokas and the four deities - Brahma, Vishnu, Mahesh (Shiva) and Ganesha. Eminent vedic scholar Pt. Ramchandra Shastri further cites that the design of swastika resembles a four-petalled lotus (chaturdala kamal) which symbolizes the abode of Lord Ganapati and is therefore worshiped in religious ceremonies and also enshrined at the places of worship. Several savants also regard swastika as the symbol of the Kaustubh Mani present on the chest of the embodied-manifestations of God Vishnu.