Saturday, June 23, 2012

The Auspicious Sign

The swastika (Sanskrit "auspicious sign") is an ancient symbol which existed for thousands of years before its use by Nazi Germany. Carved swastikas, about 12 000 years old, have been discovered in Ukraine. It appears in cultures all over the world, and often, as is the case with this Amerindian sand painting, there appears to be no way of explaining this in terms of intercultural influence. It suggests that the sign is somehow hard-wired into the collective psyche of mankind.
Though stigmatised in the West because of its adoption by fascist political parties, in the East the swastika continues to be very popular and widely used, and is a religious symbol of Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism. The Nazi swastika is banned in Germany, however, it is legal to use the sign in a religious context.
For religions originating in India it is a sign of auspiciousness. Its four arms are symbolic of the four petals of the Mooladhara Chakra, the energy centre which forms the base of the subtle body. The Mooladhara is the abode of the qualities of innocence and wisdom in a person. In Hinduism, the Swastika represents Shri Ganesha, the elephant-headed aspect of the Divine who resides in the Mooladhara.
The Nazis used a black swastika and rotated it into an unstable diamond shape. The traditional Hindu swastika is drawn, with auspicious red paste, in a stable square shape.

Auspicious clockwise swastika
in stable square orientation

The reverse (anticlockwise) swastika is usually considered inauspicious in India. This form originated in pre-Buddhist Tibet, but was incorporated into Tibetan Buddhism, which spread it to China and Japan.

Elephant statue with swastika, Carlsberg building, Denmark, dating from pre-fascist times.

Thursday, June 21, 2012


Dear readers
I accidentally posted a bit of text from a book study totally unrelated to this blog. Sorry for that.
It's easy to do when you have multiple blogs on your Blogger dashboard.

Advaita metaphor

The sea whipped up by a storm.
The hundred thousand waves are each unique, but they are all water.

Shri Nanaka

Guru Nanak, founder of the Sikh religion, dedicated his life to dissolving the man-made differences between Hindus and Muslims. By teaching a form of Advaita (non-dualism) he showed that Hinduism is not, in essence, incompatible with the basic tenet of the monotheistic religions - the unity of the Divine. 

"That which is inside a person, the same is outside; nothing else exists; by divine prompting look upon all existence as one and undifferentiated;"
-Guru Granth Sahib

Guru Nanak and his companions once visited Mecca. An official was angered to discover them sleeping with their feet towards the Ka'ba, the sacred shrine. As they were dragged away, the Ka'ba appeared to move too.
Guru Nanak told him: "God does not live in one place. He lives everywhere."
The Sikh view is that spirit and matter are not antagonistic. Guru Nanak declared that the Spirit/Self is the only reality and matter is only a form of Spirit/Self.

"When I saw truly, I knew that all was primeval. Nanak (the person), the subtle (spirit) and the gross (material) are, in fact, identical."

Nanaka is an incarnation of Shri Adi Guru Dattatreya, the teacher/guru aspect of the Divine.
The Primordial Guru is associated with the ocean. As the ocean gradually wears away the rocks of the shore, so the teacher gradually wears away our ego and conditionings.