DISCUSSION TOPIC:  THE SWASTIKA AS SACRED SYMBOL


Some Questions

To what extent can the swastika be used as a thematic entry point into discussing Eastern religions?  What role does it play in Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism?

Trace the history of the swastika as a symbol.  What is most interesting about that history?

How would you account for such a wide dispersion of the swastika symbol across time and space?

To what extent is it possible to reconcile the importance of the swastika for Hindus, Buddhists and Jains with its Nazi associations in the West?

Compare and contrast the Nazis' use of the swastika with, for example, the use of the Cross by the Ku Klux Klan?

How would you account for the apparent similarity between the swastika and such other cross-associated religious symbols as the Star of David, the Christian Cross or the ankh?


Dan's All-Star Recommendation

  "Reclaiming The Swastika," Documentary Archive, BBC Radio 4, October 24, 2014.


Other Possible Starting Places

"The Story Of The Swastika," BBC:  A 30-minute documentary from the British broadcaster.

  Swastika -- Wikipedia:  An entry from the on-line encyclopedia.

  Mukti Jain Campion, "How The World Loved The Swastika -- Until Hitler Stole It," BBC Newsmagazine, October 22, 2014.


Swastika In Hinduism

  "The Meaning And Significance Of Swastika In Hinduism," Hinduwebsite.com.

"Swastika -- Auspicious Symbol In Hinduism":

Gautam Chatterjee, "The Sacred Swastika":  A small GoogleBooks extract from Sacred Hindu Symbols.

Aparita Bhandari, "Reclaiming The Swastika," BeliefNet.

  "Hinduism/Religious Symbols Of Hinduism," Wikibooks.


Swastika In Buddhism

The Swastika And Buddhism:  Concise information and comments from a London,Ontario Buddhist-oriented web-site.

  The Swastika In Japan:


Swastika In Jainism

Swastik  In Jainism:  Concise information from Colors Of India website.


Articles

  Catherine McIntyre, "Why The Swastika Can't Be Rehabilitated," Maclean's (September 15, 2017).

  James M. Skidmore, "How The Nazis Twisted The Swastika Into A Symbol Of Hate," The Conversation, August 31, 2017.

Anna Russell, "The History Of A Controversial Symbol," New Yorker (August 21, 2017).

Amba Choate, "Reclaiming The Swastika: Now Is Not The Time," Patheos, April 21, 2017.

  Lorraine Boissoneault, "The Man Who Brought The Swastika To Germany, And How The Nazis Stole It," Smithsonian (April 6, 2017).

Mat McDermott, "10 Things You Need To Know About The Swastika," Hindu American (November 3, 2016).

John Black, "The Symbol Of The Swastika And Its 12,000-Year-Old History," Ancient Origins, February 6, 2014.

  "Me And My Swastika," BBC News Magazine, October 29, 2008.

Jane Srivastava, "The Auspicious Swastika," Hinduism Today (April/May/June 2005).


The Swastika In The News

Carl Campanile, "Jews, Hindus And Buddhists Host Event To Discuss The Meaning Of The Swastika," New York Post, November 10, 2020.

Melissa Lopez-Martinez, "'We Made A Gigantic Mistake': Retailer Shein Apologizes For Selling Swastika Necklace," CTV News, July 10, 2020.

Claudia Allen, "Finland's Air Force Quietly Drops Swastika Symbol," BBC News, July 1, 2020.

Sangeetha Thanapal, "Can Symbols Be Reclaimed From Evil?: The Swastika And The Problem Of Cultural Appropriation," ABC Religion And Ethics, December 18, 2019.

  Raymond Lam, "Japanese Monk Seeks To Shift Perceptions Of The Buddhism Swastika," Japan Today, December 19, 2018.

Joshua Hammerman, "The Good Swastika," Religion News Service, January 26, 2018.

  Shrenik Rao, "Hitler's Hindus: The Rise And Rise Of India's Nazi-Loving Nationalists," Haaretz, December 14, 2017.

  "Canadian Town Refuses To Remove Swastikas From Park," BBC News, August 24, 2017.

  Kimberly Winston, "Can The Swastika Ever Be Redeemed?," Religion News Service, February 9, 2017.

  Douglas Todd, "Hinduism, Diwali And Swastikas: Explained," Vancouver Sun, November 2, 2016.

  Rafferty Baker, "Swastika Flags At Vancouver Home Spark Cultural Dialogue," CBC News, July 9, 2016.

  "Japan's Plan To Drop Swastikas As Temple Symbol Sparks Backlash," BBC News, January 19, 2016.

  Jorg Luyken, "Dresden Buddhists Drop Swastika To Keep Peace," The Local, September 28, 2015.

  Matt Soniak, "Why Did The Nazis Hijack The Swastika?," Mental Floss, June 24, 2014.

  Frank Jordans, "Indiana Jones Plot Comes To Life As Nazi Buddha Revealed To Be Carved From Meteorite," Christian Science Monitor, September 28, 2012.

  Matt McGrath, "Ancient Statue Discovered By Nazis Is Made From Meteorite," BBC News, September 27, 2012.

  "Carved From Meteorite, This Thousand-Year-Old Statue Was Taken From Tibet By The Nazi SS," Smithsonian, September 27, 2012.

"Hindu Outrage Over Play Featuring Ganesh," ABC News, September 19, 2011.

  "Hindus Opposing EU Swastika Ban," BBC News, January 17, 2007.

  "Hindus Want To 'Reclaim' Swastika," BBC News, January 19, 2005.

"Origins Of The Swastika," BBC News Magazine, January 18, 2005.

Anuradha Varma, "What The Swastika Means," Times Of India, January 18, 2005.

Simon Jeffery, "Swastika Shock," Guardian, January 13, 2005.

  Sarah Boxer, "One Of The World's Great Symbols Strives For A Comeback," New York Times, July 29, 2000.


Web-Sites

  "Meaning Of The Swastika In Buddhism And Hinduism," Lotus Sculpture.

  Lucy Plummer, "What Does The Swastika Symbol In India Represent?," Culture Trip, February 9, 2018.

  "Swastika," Crystalinks:  A detailed introduction to the symbols in its various incarnations.

  Catherine Beyer, "Swastika," About.com:

Jennifer Rosenberg, "Learn The History Of The Swastika," ThoughtCo.

"Swastika: The Power Of A Symbol," The Human Journey.

"The History Of The Holocaust," Holocaust Encyclopedia.


Miscellaneous Sources

"Symbol: Should We Still Fear The Swastika?," Scorpion TV, 2010 (Available through NIC and Films On Demand):

  "Diwali Dilemma: My Complicated Relationship With The Swastika," Code Switch, All Things Considered, NPR, October 28, 2016.

Steven Heller, Swastika -- Symbol Beyond Redemption?:  A GoogleBooks link.

Malcolm Quinn, Swastika -- Constructing The Symbol:  A GoogleBooks links for a 1994 Routledge Press monograph that focuses upon the 19th-and-20th-century history of the symbol.


 

 

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