The word swastika is derived from the Sanskrit word svastika (in Devanagari, स्वस्तिक), 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 ευ-, eu-), meaning \"good, well\" and asti, a verbal abstract to the root as \"to be\" (cognate with the Romance copula, coming ultimately from the Proto-Indo-European root *h1es-); svasti thus means \"well-being.\" The suffix -ka either forms a diminutive or intensifies the verbal meaning, and svastika might thus be translated literally as \"that which is associated with well-being,\" corresponding to \"lucky charm\" or \"thing that is auspicious.\" The word in this sense is first used in the Harivamsa.
The Hindu Sanskrit term has been in use in English since 1871, replacing gammadion (from Greek γαμμάδιον).
Alternative historical English spellings of the Sanskrit word include suastika, swastica and svastica. Alternative names for the shape are:
* crooked cross
* cross cramponned, ~nnÃƒÂ©e, or ~nny (in heraldry), as each arm resembles a crampon or angle-iron (German: WinkelmaÃƒÅ¸kreuz)
* ugunskrusts (fire cross), also pērkonkrusts (thundercross), kāÃ…Â¡krusts (hook-cross), Laimas krusts (Laima\'s cross), fylfot, is a central element in jewelry, national clothes in Latvian, Lithuanian, Old-Prussian culture, symbolizing as a element of life. It is used in a Latvian Seven-Day Ring. The ring has 7 symbols, each representing a day of the week, where fire-cross represents the symbol for Thursday, and its motto is: \"Domā un rīkojies krietni\" (Think and do honorable actions.)
* double cross, by Bishop Fulton J. Sheen, on the April 6, 1941 edition of his radio program The Catholic Hour, not only comparing the Cross of Christ with the swastika, but also implying that siding with fascism was a \"double-crossing\" of Christianity
* fylfot, possibly meaning \"four feet\", chiefly in heraldry and architecture (See fylfot for a discussion of the etymology)
* gammadion, tetragammadion (Greek: τέτραγαμμάδιον), or cross gammadion (Latin: crux gammata; French: croix gammÃƒÂ©e), as each arm resembles the Greek letter Γ (gamma)
* hook cross (German: Hakenkreuz);
* sun wheel, a name also used as a synonym for the sun cross
* tetraskelion (Greek: τετρασκέλιον), \"four legged\", especially when composed of four conjoined legs (compare triskelion (Greek: τρισκέλιον))
* Mundilfari an Old Norse term has been associated in modern literature with the swastika.
* Thor\'s hammer, from its supposed association with Thor, the Norse god of the weather, but this may be a misappropriation of a name that properly belongs to a Y-shaped or T-shaped symbol. The swastika shape appears in Icelandic grimoires wherein it is named ÃƒÅ¾ÃƒÂ³rshamar.
* The Tibetan swastika is known as nor bu bzhi -khyil, or quadruple body symbol, defined in Unicode at codepoint U+0FCC ࿌.
* The buddhist sign was standardised as a Chinese character 卍 (pinyin wan), and as such entered Japanese 卍字 (Manji)
Geometrically , the Nazi swastika can be regarded as (the area inside of) an irregular icosagon or 20-sided polygon. The proportions of were fixed based on a 5x5 diagonal grid.
Characteristic is the 90Ã‚Â° rotational symmetry and chirality, hence the absence of reflectional symmetry, and the existence of two versions of swastikas that are each other\'s mirror image.
The mirror-image forms are often described as:
* clockwise and counterclockwise;
* left-facing and right-facing;
* left-hand and right-hand.
\"Left-facing\" and \"right-facing\" are used mostly consistently. In an upright swastika, the upper arm faces either the viewer\'s left (卍) or right (卐). The other two descriptions are ambiguous as it is unclear whether they refer to the direction of the bend in each arm or to the implied rotation of the symbol. If the latter, whether the arms lead or trail remains unclear. However, \"clockwise\" usually refers to the \"right-facing\" swastika. The terms are used inconsistently (sometimes even by the same writer), which is confusing and may obfuscate an important point, that the rotation of the swastika may have symbolic relevance, although little is known about this symbolic relevance.
Nazi ensigns had a through and through image, so both versions were present, one on each side, but the Nazi flag on land was right-facing on both sides and at a 45Ã‚Â° rotation.
The name \"sauwastika\" is sometimes given to the left-facing form of the swastika
The ubiquity of the swastika symbol is easily explained by its being a very simple shape that will arise independently in any basket-weaving society. The swastika is a repeating design, created by the edges of the reeds in a square basket-weave. Other theories attempt to establish a connection via cultural diffusion or an explanation along the lines of Carl Jung\'s collective unconscious.
The genesis of the swastika symbol is often treated in conjunction with cross symbols in general, such as the \"sun wheel\" of Bronze Age religion.
Another explanation is suggested by Carl Sagan in his book Comet. Sagan reproduces an ancient Chinese manuscript (the Book of Silk) that shows comet tail varieties: most are variations on simple comet tails, but the last shows the comet nucleus with four bent arms extending from it, recalling a swastika. Sagan suggests that in antiquity a comet could have approached so close to Earth that the jets of gas streaming from it, bent by the comet\'s rotation, became visible, leading to the adoption of the swastika as a symbol across the world.
In Life\'s other secret, Ian Stewart suggests the ubiquitous swastika pattern arises when parallel waves of neural activity sweep across the visual cortex during states of altered consciousness, producing a swirling swastika-like image, due to the way quadrants in the field of vision are mapped to opposite areas in the brain.
Alexander Cunningham rejected any connection of the Indian swastika symbol with sun-worship, and suggested that the shape arose from a combination of Brahmi characters abbreviating the word su-astÃƒÂ.More about Swastik in different religions