The symbol of the Swastika, an equilateral cross with four arms bent at right angles, is used in many cultures of the world but more so in the eastern religions and cultures. The Swastika is widely used in main three Indian religions of Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism. All these religions use it as a symbol to evoke pure consciousness as well as the sacred symbol of auspiciousness.
IN JAINISM, Swastika is a symbol of the seventh Tirthankara, Suparshvanath. In the Svetambara traditions of Jainism, it is also one of the symbols of the ashtamangala. Most Jains believe that all auspicious places and holy books must contain the swastika and all auspicious ceremonies must begin and end with creating a swastika mark several times with rice around the altar. Often, Jains use rice to make a swastika in front of statues in a temple to put an offering on it, usually a ripe or dried fruit, a sweet or money.
It is essential to understand the means of the words, Jain and Swastika, which originate from Sanskrit language. The word Jain is derived from the Sanskrit word "jin" meaning a ' victor' - the one who has conquered over vices of mind such as anger, pride, hatred, intrigue, greed, desires, etc. Thus, essentially, the followers of Jin concept or victors of mind and senses are called Jains. Those who become 'victors' and establish the path to become Jin are called ‘Arihants’, Tirthankars’, or ‘Jineshwars'.
The word ‘swastika’ is derived from two Sanskrit words 'su' and 'asti'. Here, ‘su’ meaning ‘good’, ’asti’ meaning ‘to be’, and "ka" as a suffix for an act. Thus, the word 'swastika' literally means "to be good" or '”eing with higher self". In Jainism, the word ‘swastik’ has assumed the meaning "may good come to you" and the visual aspects of the symbol represents the cosmic cycle of birth and death with an intent to look for nirvana.
The four arms and dots of the symbol represents four virtues: Daan (charity), Shil (virtues), Tapa (austerity), and Samveg (nobility).Thus, in Jainism, the Swastik is a constant reminder to the fathfuls to break out of the birth and death cycle to achieve nirvana.
In Jain symbolism, the ‘siddha shila’ is placed at the top of the swastik. When the soul is liberated from the cycles of birth and death, i t reaches this place. Three circles on the ‘shila ‘symbolize the three aspects of righteous living, viz., Right Faith; Right Knowledge; and Right Conduct. There is deep meaning of Swastika symbol in Jainism and it needs to be imbibed in life.