The Svastik Symbol:The The Most Ancient Depiction of AUM – Acharya VirjanandDevkarni (including PDF of his groundbreaking Hindi book – Svastik Chinn (AUM KaPracheentamRoop)
In the dharmic tradition of India (or Aryavart to give its ancient name), the marking of the Svastik symbol has been going on since very ancient times.The symbol has been found mainly and repeatedly on India’s ancient coins, seals, utensils and homes.At India’s most ancient, historical sites – MohenjoDaro, Harappa and Lothal, seals bearing the anticlockwise left handed facingsymbol
have been found at excavations. Evidence in the form of pictures of these ancient seals can be seen at the end of this article.
In addition to this, the Svastika symbol can be found formed on ancient Indian stamped (punch marked) coins, cast metal copper seals, seals of Ayodhya, Arjunayangan, Eran, Kaad, Yaudheya, Kuninda, Kaushambi, Takshashila, Mathura, Ujjaini, Ahichhatra, Agroha, ancient statues, cooking vessels, rubies, prayer ritual vessels (such as the yajnakund – a vessel for the performance of yajna a purificatory fire ceremony), spoons, ornaments and weapons. The Svastika symbol can be found in abundance on ancient historical artefacts belonging to the Maurya and Shunga Dynasty. On a Buddhist statue obtained from Japan the Svastika symbol can be seen drawn on its chest. Even today in the life of ordinary Indian people one can see that the symbol’s use is widespread. Every day one can see the symbol on houses, temples, cars etc. and on other types of vehicles. Even Hitler had made this symbol his own.
The Svastika symbol has also been found in its many forms outside India on ancient remains in countries such as China, Japan, Korea, Tibet, Babylonia, Austria, Chaldea, Persia, Phoenicia, Armenia, Laconia, Greece, Egypt, Cyprus, Italy, Ireland, Germany, Belgium, America, Brazil, Mexico, Africa, Venezuela, Assyria, Mesopotamia, Russia, Switzerland, France, Peru, Columbia etc.
A question worth pondering over now is; what is the real nature of the Svastika symbol which has been found in such great numbers over such extensive areas of land?
After much confusion, discussion, debate and deep research, I have arrived at this conclusion that the Svastika symbol is an amalgamation of two “AUM” signs written in an artistic style in the ancient known script of Brahmi.
The greatest distinguishing feature of the Svastika symbol is that if looked at from any of the four sides it always reads ‘AUM’.
In ancient India there were sixty four writing systems of which the Brahmi script was one of them. The way in which “AUM” was written in this script was as follows –
If this AUM sign is also written twice in an artistic manner then its form becomes as shown below-
The AUM form in Figure 1 can be seen on Arjunayangan and Ujjaini seals (see the AUM (Svastik) form on page 20 of the pdf Hindi book). The AUM (Svastika) form in Figure 2 and the clockwise right handed form like this are seen nowadays throughout India.
Due to ignorance of the script, writers have changed it during the interval of thousands of years from the left handed to the right handed form. Of the Svastika symbols drawn by artists today only fifteen percent of the symbols are left handed which is interesting as only a few right- handed examples of Svastika have ever been found.
As the writing of the ordinary script changed, other prevailing customary writing styles also changed. However among ordinary people the deeply ingrained AUM (Svastik) word remained unchanged. For thousands of years it has existed in its ancient form having been given a spiritual wrapping. Nevertheless as seen below, from the fifth to fourteenth centuries the symbolused to depict AUM changed and the examples given below are very different from the ॐ symbol which is currently used –
This symbol ॐrepresenting AUM is its changed form.Some ignorant people call it the “pauranik AUM” and regard ‘ओ३म्’ as the AUM belonging to the Arya Samaj. The only difference however is in the scripts. Ordinary people continue to this day to write the ॐ symbol which is about a thousand years old. There are nevertheless those who depict the symbol ॐ by writing ‘ओ३म् in the modern day prevailing script, like these examples of AUM being written in different modern-day scripts–
In this way the difference between ॐ and ओम् is only that of scripts used over a passage of time and not one rooted in sectarian differences. The left handed AUM symbol was changed to the right handed AUM symbol due to ignorance and in some places its anusvar has been removed. Similarly today the symbols ऊँ and the invertedare written on both sides of some cars, houses, doors. This dual method of writing seems to have been adopted when writing AUM in its Svastika form.
Some people are under the misconception that the Svastika symbol should only be drawn in its right handed form like this: because it is a spiritual symbol and being so it should only face the right. The main argument is that if it were left-handed it would be inauspicious. In the spirit of good will it is humbly asserted to the proponents of such an argument, that this supposed difference between the left and right is pure fantasy and it bears no connection with any auspicious and inauspicious form. The left handed form is adopted also in the Arya writing style. While starting to write the symbol from the right occurs in the Kharosthi, Arabic/Urdu, Farsi, Sindhi etc. scripts which are derived from the scripts of non-Arya, Ashura countries.
The prevalence of the Svastika symbol was such that the rulers Sher Shah Suri, Islam Shah Suri. Ibrahim Shah Suri and even a Mughal ruler marked their coins with this symbol. It can also be found on the seals of the Maharaja of Jodhpur Jasvant Singh’s contemporary, the ruler of Pali, Hemraj.
On numerous ancient Indian inscriptions, copper plates and manuscripts, the line ‘AUM svasti” is written. Moreover the traditional blessings that are given at the end of the yajnas which are part of Indian rituals are “AUM svasti, AUM svasti, AUM svasti”. In such places the AUM form is regarded as being one that lends auspiciousness and it is supposed to bring good fortune. The meaning of AUM and Swasti have become so intertwined that it has become difficult to identify the difference between the first and second. For this reason in religious rituals the meaning of ‘AUM svasti’ is on the one hand ‘in the remembrance of AUM, Paramatma (Supreme Spirit), the bestower of good fortune’ and on the other hand it is ’may AUM, Paramatma look to our welfare’.
Maharishi Yaskacharya writes in the ‘Nirukta’ that:
Svasti – ityavinashinam
This sukta from Nirukta means that Svasti is the name of the indestructible. There are three indestructible things in this universe – matter, the soul and God (prakriti, jeev and Ishvar). Matter cannot by itself be for the welfare of the soul because, matter is inert. The soul is not the embodiment of well-being as it can only wish for its own well-being. What cannot be attained from within can be taken from others. For this reason Isvar, God, the embodiment of well-being, who acts for our welfare and so delivers all remaining justice, is the only accomplished one, after whom ‘svasti’ and its representation ‘AUM’ can be named. This explains why the ancient Aryans at the beginning of each auspicious deed remembered God in their oral and written depiction of the ‘svasti’ form. AUM Svasti in its written form has gradually over time become just a religious symbol, and its written script-related form has become largely forgotten. God acts for our well-being, he makes us happy, keeps us healthy and in order to explain these kinds of sentiments, the word AUM was changed into the Svastika symbol. So in fact it is a symbol depicting God. In India today, five forms of the Svastika symbol are prevalent. For instance –
Indian civilisation until 5,000 years ago was spread throughout the whole world. It is for this reason that among many relics discovered the Svastika symbol has also been found in many different places and in many places it has also been seen that the symbol is still in everyday customary use. The Svastika symbol and its different forms as seen throughout the world are as follows –
In Figures 10 to 13 this type of circle ० represents the anusvar of AUM, in other words (•) represents the ‘m’ sound.
The greatest distinguishing feature of the Svastika symbol is that whichever of the four sides you look at it from it still reads ‘AUM’ in the Brahmi script. In this way this beautiful unparalleled symbol really succeeds in expressing God’s omnipresence.
In Ahichatra (modern day Bareilly), the capital of ruler Maharaja Drupad’s and Guru Dronacharya’s kingdom of Panchal, a pendant from a necklace has been found. In the middle of the pendant there is a circle like this ०and in the middle of that circle formed in the Brahmi script is = the ‘AU’ sound. Around it there is a circle formed out of = ‘m’ symbols. This is another clear example of AUM in the form of a Svastika. This type of AUM has also been written like this –
1 2 3
Nowadays AUM can be written in Devanagari and Roman letters like this –
२ओम् = ३OM
The above brief description establishes to a higher degree that the Svastika AUM symbol was spread throughout the world over an extensive area and even today it is still being used everywhere in India. However those that draw and use this symbol today are altogether unaware of the secret that this symbol was once the ancient form of AUM.
In order to establish the antiquity of the Svastika symbol, photographs of seals obtained from excavations from ancient historical sites in India have been given from which the reader will see and understand its various forms very easily (for more details and for the photographs mentioned in this article please see the pdf book SvastikChinn -AUM KaPracheentamRoopby Acharya VirjanandDaivkarnibelow).
Shri VirjanandDevkarni was born at home to his mother ShrimatiSariyandevi and father Shri DevkaranYadav on 2 December 1945 in the village of Bhagadyana in the Mahendragadh district of Harayana. Having completed the eighth standard at Yadavendra High School, Mahendragadh, he entered GurukulJhajjar in 1951 and was awarded subsequently the titles of Siddhantvachaspati, Vyakaranacharya, Darshanacharya and Itihasacharya.
He has through GurukulJhajjar’s Haryana Literature Institute (HarayanaSahityaSansthan) edited books on subjects such as the Ved, Darshan and Upanishad. Under the close guidance of Swami OmanandSaraswati he has collected artefacts belonging to ancient India for GurukulJhajjar’sHarayana State Archaeological Museum and has provided praiseworthy assistance in publicising them. In the current Arya “world” there is no-one who can match his expert status in deciphering and analysing scripts such as Brahmi, Kharosthi and Yavnani. The Government of India’s Department of Archaeology invites him to decode what is written on coins and seals that have been found during its archaeological excavations. Some of his important works are –
- Maharishi DayanandaurUnkaSiddhant (Maharishi Dayanand and his Principles)
- PrachinBharatiyaItihaskeSrota (The Source of Ancient Indian History)
- QutbMinarEkRahasyaudghatan (An Uncovering of the Secret of QutabMinar)
- MahabharatYuddh, Mahatma Buddh, Shankaracharya, Sikanderaur Harsh adikeKalkram Par VisheshRachnaye (Special works on eras such as the Mahabharat War, Mahatma Buddha, Shankaracharya, Alexander and Harsh)
- SvastikChinn – AUM KaPracheentamRoop(The Swastik Symbol: The most Ancient depiction of AUM)
- Agaroha’skiMrinmurtiyan (Agaroha’s Clay Sculptures)
- PrachinTamrpatraevamShilaLekh (Ancient Copper Plates and Stone Inscriptions)
- Bharat kePrachinMudrank (India’s Ancient Mint (Part 1))
He is the founder of the Ancient Indian History Research Council based at GurukulGautamnagar, Delhi. He has through the Council edited and published the following books –
- Prachin Bharat me YaudheyGanrajya (The Yaudheya Republic in Ancient India)
- Panchal RajyakaItihas (The History of the Panchal Kingdom)
- Maharishi DayanandkeDharmopdesh (The Teachings of Maharishi Dayanand)
- AadimSatyarth Prakash Aur Arya SamajkeSiddhant (The First Satyarth Prakash and the Principles of the Arya Samaj)
- Vedaaur Arya Samaj (Ved and the Arya Samaj)
- AumkarNirney (The Aumkar Judgment)
He has with the help of Paropkarini Sabha Ajmer compared Maharishi Dayanand’s famous book Satyarth Prakash with the original manuscript of this book and got the most correct version published. Swami Omanand gave him his full support when he got the Satyarth Prakash inscribed on copper plates. This copper plate version of the Satyarth Prakash is now in the Gurukul Jhajjar Museum. He has contributed through GurukulGautamnagar to the excavation of copper plates concerning the Yajurved, Samved, Ashtadhyayi, Linganushasan and Phitsutra.
The translator of Shri VirjanandDevkarni’s work “The Swastik Symbol: The most Ancient depiction of AUM” is Vinita Arya, a Freelance English Translator and Teacher committed to the Vedas and bringing its message to everyone through translating key Vaidik works into English.