The symbol of the Swastika and its 12,000-year-old history

有一萬兩千年歷史的卐字符號

The swastika is a symbol used by of one of the most hated men on Earth, a symbol that represents the slaughter of millions of people and one of the most destructive wars on Earth.  But Adolf Hitler was not the first to use this symbol. In fact, it was used as a powerful symbol thousands of years before him, across many cultures and continents.

 

「卍」(Swastika)曾被地球上一個最可恨的男人、以及他的同黨使用,這個符號代表了對數百萬人的屠殺,以及地球上其中一場最具毀滅性的戰爭。但是阿道夫·希特勒並不是第一個使用這個符號的人。事實上,在比希特勒的時代早數千年的時候,「卍」字曾被視為具有力量的符號,流傳在許多不同文化中與不同土地上。

 

For the Hindus and Buddhists in India and other Asian countries, the swastika was an important symbol for many thousands of years and, to this day, the symbol can still be seen in abundance – on temples, buses, taxis, and on the cover of books. It was also used in Ancient Greece and can be found in the remains of the ancient city of Troy, which existed 4,000 years ago. The ancient Druids and the Celts also used the symbol, reflected in many artefacts that have been discovered. It was used by Nordic tribes and even early Christians used the Swastika as one of their symbols, including the Teutonic Knights, a German medieval military order, which became a purely religious Catholic Order. But why is this symbol so important and why did Adolf Hitler decide to use it?

 

對印度和其他亞洲國家的印度教徒和佛教徒來說,「卍」在過去的數千年間被視為一個重要的符號,一直到今天,這個符號還是出現在許多地方:廟宇、公車、計程車、書本封面。同時它也被古希臘使用,在有四千年歷史的古城特洛伊遺跡中也可以看到它。古德魯伊人和古凱爾特人也使用這個符號,在許多被發現的文物中能看到它。北歐部落也有使用,甚至早期的基督教徒也有使用「卍」符號,並將它作為他們的其中一個符號,例如條頓騎士團(Teutonic Knights,正式名稱:耶路撒冷的德意志弟兄聖母騎士團),「卍」被用在中世紀的德國軍令狀上,這軍令狀其實就是純宗教性的天主教教令。

 

但是,為什麼這個符號這麼重要呢?為什麼希特勒選擇這個符號呢?

 

The word ‘swastika’ is a Sanskrit word (‘svasktika’) meaning ‘It is’, ‘Well Being’, ‘Good Existence, and ‘Good Luck’. However, it is also known by different namesin different countries – like ‘Wanin China, ‘Manji’ in Japan, ‘Fylfot’ in England, ‘Hakenkreuz’ in Germany and ‘Tetraskelion’ or

Tetragammadionin Greece.

 

svasktika 字是梵文文字意思是「本質」、「平安」、「美好生活」、「好運」。這個符號在不同的國家有不同的稱呼,在中國叫  Wan」,在日本叫「Manji」,在英國叫「Fylfot」,在德國叫「Hakenkreuz」,在希臘叫「Tetraskelion」或「Tetragammadion」。

 

A Sanskrit scholar P. R. Sarkarin 1979 said that the deeper meaning of the word is ‘Permanent Victory’. He also said that as any symbol it can have positive and negative meaning depending on how it is drawn. So in Hinduism, the right-hand swastika is a symbol of the God Vishnu and the Sun, while the left-hand swastika is a symbol of Kali and Magic. The double meaning of symbols is common in ancient traditions, like for example the symbol of the pentagram (five pointed star), which is viewed as negative when pointing downwards, and positive when pointing upwards.

 

一位梵文學者P. R. Sarkar1979 年時表示:卍字的深層意義是永恆的勝利如同任何符號,它同時有正面和反面的意義,不同的描繪方式代表不同的意義。所以,在印度教中,向右的卍字是代表毗濕奴神和太陽,向左的卍字則是代表迦梨Kali)和魔法。卍字的雙重意義在古代傳統中很常見,例如,五角星符號,如果它朝下,那就代表負面的意義,如果它朝上,那就代表正面的意義。

 

The earliest swastika ever found was uncovered in Mezine, Ukraine, carved on an ivory figurine, which dates an incredible 12,000 years, and one of the earliest cultures that are known to have used the Swastika was a Neolithic culture in Southern Europe, in the area that is now Serbia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, known as the Vinca Culture, which dates back around 8,000 years.

In Buddhism, the swastika is a symbol of good fortune, prosperity, abundance and eternity. It is directly related to Buddha and can be found carved on statues on the soles of his feet and on his heart.  It is said that it contains Buddha’s mind.

 

目前發現的卍字符號中最古老的是在烏克蘭的Mezine發現的卍字被刻在象牙雕像上這個文物可以被追溯到12000 年前。南歐的新石器文化是目前所知使用卍字的最古老文化之一此文化分佈在現代的塞爾維亞地區、克羅地亞地區、波斯尼亞地區、黑塞哥維那地區被稱為文卡文化Vinca Culture它可以被追溯到8000 年前。

 

在佛教中,卍字符號代表好運、繁榮、豐富、永恆。它直接和佛連結,並可以在佛像的腳部和心的位置發現卍字雕刻。卍字被認為包含佛祖的心靈意志。

 

On the walls of the Christian catacombs in Rome, the symbol of the Swastika appears next to the words ZOTIKO ZOTIKO” which means Life of Life”. It can also be found on the window openings of the mysterious Lalibela Rock churches of Ethiopia, and in various other churches around the world.

 

 

 在羅馬的基督教地下墓穴的牆上,卍字符號出現在文字「ZOTIKO ZOTIKO」旁,這些文字的意思是「永生」。埃塞俄比亞有一座神秘的拉利貝拉岩石教堂,在教堂敞開的窗戶上,也可以找到卍字符號。在世界上其他不同的教堂裡也可以發現它。

In Nordic Myths, Odin is represented passing through space as a whirling disk or swastika looking down through all worlds. In North America, the swastika was used by the Navajos. In Ancient Greece, Pythagoras used the Swastika under the name ‘Tetraktys’ and it was a symbol linking heaven and earth, with the right arm pointing to heaven and its left arm pointing to Earth.

It has been used by the Phoenicians as a symbol of the Sun and it was a sacred symbol used by the priestesses.

 

北歐神話中,奧丁以旋轉圓盤或是卍字的型態穿越空間,俯瞰世界。在北美,卍字符號被納瓦霍人使用; 在古希臘,畢達哥拉斯將卍字稱為「Tetraktys」,並且將它與天堂和地球連結,卍字的右臂指向天堂,左臂指向地球。卍字被腓尼基人視為太陽的符號,並且被女祭司作為神聖符號使用。

 

The swastika, the Phoenician sun symbol, on the Phoenician Craig-Narget stone in Scotland, and on the robe of a Phoenician high priestess. (Source)

卍字符號,腓尼基的太陽符號它也出現在腓尼基人的Craig-Narget石刻上、腓尼基大祭司的長袍上。  來源

 

 

How and why did so many diverse countries and cultures, across many eras, use the same symbol and apparently with the same meaning?   

It is ironic, and unfortunate, that a symbol of life and eternity that was considered sacred for thousands of years has become a symbol of hatred.

Featured Image: Ancient Roman Mosaics in Villa Romana La Olmeda(Wikipedia)

 

為什麼有這麼多位在不同地區的國家和文化使用相同的符號,並且具有同樣的意義呢?諷刺的是,一個數千年來被視為神聖的生命與永恆的符號,變成了仇恨的象徵。

 

首圖來源Ancient Roman Mosaics in Villa Romana La Olmeda(維基百科)

 

 

 

BBC The Story of the Swastika

卍字符號的故事BBC

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E_reuMKpgow

 

 

「語音合成由賽微科技提供」

 

來源:ancientorigins