Thursday, July 13, 2006

word origin: swastika

The swastika is an ancient symbol meaning, good luck. It wasn't until WWII that it became associated with hatred and bigotry. One person taking something ancient and turning it into a symbol of fear and hatred.
Several countries, mainly Middle Eastern, still display the swastika. However, it is meant as a symbol of good luck. Slowly taking the power of the word back to its original meaning.

The word swastika is derived from the Sanskrit svastika (in Devanagari, meaning any lucky or auspicious object, and in particular a mark made on persons and things to denote good luck. It is composed of su- (cognate with Greek "eu-"), meaning "good, well" and asti a verbal abstract to the root as "to be"; svasti thus means "well-being".
The suffix -ka forms a diminutive, and svastika might thus be
translated literally as "little thing associated with well-being",
corresponding roughly to "lucky charm", or "thing that is
The suffix -tika also literally means mark; therefore, a
sometimes alternate name for swastika in India is shubhtika (literally good mark). The word first appears in the Classical Sanskrit (in the Ramayana and Mahabharata epics).

courtesy of:


puerileuwaite said...

Oh no, I'm not falling for this one again, PG.

Last time was when I got drunk with that Goth chick in Accounting, with her suggestion that we both show up with arm bands the next morning.

No thank you.

Neil said...

There's an Indian health food restaurant near where I live that has a large swastika displayed because of it's original meaning. I'm not sure the original meaning will ever be recaptured in the West, because of the powerful negative memories it represents. Or would we want it to.