The swastika is a benedictory or auspicious mark in the form of a cross, the four arms of which are bent at right angles. Besides Hindus, other communities and religions also consider this mark auspicious. It is therefore customary to make this mark before any auspicious ceremony or function.
In the Ganesh Puran it is said that the swastika is a form of Lord Ganesha. It is necessary that this be made before beginning any auspicious work. It has the power to remove all obstacles. Those who ignore it may fail. It is therefore customary to make all beginnings with the swastika.
The Swastika is also known as ‘Satiya’, which is a symbolic of the Sudarshan Chakra. People also consider it as a symbol denoting plus (+). That makes it a symbol of prosperity. The four dots around the swastika are symbolic of the four directions around us.
Religious texts explain that the eight arms of the swastika are symbolic of the earth, fire, water, air, sky, mind, emotions and feelings. The four main arms point in four directions. They represents the four eras- Satyug, Tretayug, Dwaparyug and Kalyug. They also represents the four castes – Brahmins, Kshatriyas, Vaishyas and Shudras. They represents the four ashrams of life too – Brahmacharya, Grihast, Vanprasth and Sanyas. The four arms are also symbolic of the four basic aims of human pursuit – dharm (righteousness), arth (prosperity), Kaam (passion) and moksha (salvation). They are also symbolic of the four faces and four hands of Brahma and of the four Vedas – Rig-Veda, YajurVeda, Sam-Veda and atharva-veda. They are also symbolic of the four constellations – Pushya (8th), Chitra (14th), Shravan (22nd) and Revti (27th).
In one of the hymns in the Rig-veda it is said that the swastika is symbolic of Surya (Sun). In the Amarkosh, it is referred to as a pure and auspicious blessing.
In this way, the swastika is really symbolic of all the directions and of Gods and auspicious circumstances. One must appreciate its importance and adopt it as a part of everyday life.