Some collective information found in various places on the Internet and different reference books:
The Nazi version is a distortion and not the same as the original. The Nazi swastika is tilted as opposed to the Indian (Asian) symbol being more of a horizontal and vertical cross. They are not one and the same and do not have the same meaning.
It means spiritual victory, sentient victory as compared to dark victory. Its proper representation is this, that all lines are joined and of equal length
This is its strict original structure. It origins are 7,000+ years old and derives from tantric spiritual philosophy which evolved 10,000 years ago to become a systematic practical science about body, mind and soul about 7,000 years ago.
The first tantrics (spiritual practitioners/scientists) observed the horizon and drew a horizontal line to represent the Supreme Cognitive Principle (Shiva). Then the vertical line crossing it represents the causal matrix or Supreme Operative Principle (Shakti). The cross later entered the Brahmi Khraosti scripts as the symbol for the sound "ka". The English letters "k" and "ka" when used in Hindi and Sanskrit scripts also have similar structures like a cross. When clockwise handles were added to the cross, the swastika of India was formed. It symbolizes the preservation of Creation. The arms represent the anti-clockwise movement of "kundalinii"(spiritual energy and awakening).
The swastika in terms of its Sanskrit meanings, is also that the cross represents the place in which all things meet and from where all things are possible (in the tantric philosophy this is the Universal Nucleus of the Cosmos and that Universal Nucleus is in all things at all times - the center of all - Brahma - the Supreme Consciousness). The horizontal line represents Shiva, pure consciousness and the vertical line represents Shakti, or the creative principle. The handles represent the cosmic motion or turning of these universal principles.
The handles are placed so that the cross rotates in a counterclockwise motion. This movement represents evolutionary movement towards the Supreme Consciousness - i.e. merger of unit consciousness with Cosmic Consciousness and so symbolizes the Spiritual Victory. This is the reason why certain collective spiritual dances (called Akhanda Kiirtan) are done in a counterclockwise motion.
It can also be said that the horizontal bar of the spinning cross is a symbol of the Nirguna state (i.e. Non-Attributional Cosmic Consciousness) in the tantric philosophy and the upright is the expressed Saguna state (Attributional Cosmic Consciousness), i.e. influenced by the Qualifying Operative Principle (Prakrti or Shakti). When the qualifying force of creation (Shakti) is allowed to qualify the Non-Attributional Cosmic Consciousness, this is the origin of the Attributional Cosmic Consciousness or the endless qualification of the universe from Oneness to multiplicity - and so the expressed creation or universe arises.
This fits with a beautiful posture adopted as a mudra (posture) by Lord Buddha and Lord Anandamurti (a tantric yogic preceptor of this century), in which He lays on His side fully extended, one hand gracefully holding up His head, so that a swastika image is perceived in that style. Several yoga books also suggest that a good sleeping position is to place arms, body and legs in a quasi-swastika posture.
To the Jains of India the swastika symbolized their seventh saint. The swastika is also a Hindu symbol meaning good luck.
The Nazi's reversed the direction of the tips to pervert it into the 'dark' swastika.
Look at what the Oxford dictionary says about swastika:
Sanskrit - svasti wellbeing (su- good, asti- being).
Thus "swastika" is a Sanskrit word and a very old symbol used all over Asia to generally mean good fortune and spiritual victory. Many Asian temples have swastikas all over them. Hitler turned the swastika around and used it to mean worldly victory, but because he misused it, it rebounded onto him.
The word swastika (svastika) is a complete Sanskrit word of itself. Sanskrit being a language of the Indian subcontinent, although not a language or ordinary discourse and conversation, but primarily a language for spiritual purposes. There are many reasons for this as each sound of the language equates with a particular propensity (tendency) of the human mind and its associated vibration. It is an intricate science and very subtle.
Strictly, the symbol is of tantric origins. Hinduism is only a word invented by the British and of very recent origin (compared to the culture of India as a whole). Hindu is a conglomerate word invented as a result of British imperialism (as is the Hindi language).
Other cultures have used the swastika or variants as well.
The Native American Indians used it. The symbol was used by the Navajo. However, the Asian Indian symbol is at least 7,000 year old (from the time of Shiva). Although it is believed that several tribes in North America used the symbol with the arms bent the other way from the way the Nazis had it. It is a symbol of the earth turning like a cross in a circle and so is a symbol of the earth. It was an earth symbol common in the south west of North America, particularly. It has nothing to do with superiority over other races. The symbol was used by Hopi and some Plains tribes. The Hopis of the southwestern USA have used the swastika for hundreds if not thousands of years. Its not used any more because of the association with Nazi Germany during WWII, to avoid confusion that may occur. But the symbol is still used (with the arms bent the other way) by the Cherokee. To the Native Americans the cross represented the four directions. The swastika to the Hopi also represents purity and is female, a producer of life.
In the New Mexico State University it was the cover of their yearbook. The yearbook symbol was derived from the southwestern American Indian usage of the symbol. Only recently (1985 or so) was the yearbook cover dropped due to too much "controversy". But people felt that Hitler should not have been allowed to "appropriate" a bit of culture, and that they did not want to "give" it to him and his evil Nazi party. There was even a Canadian hockey team that used it on their uniforms in the early 20th century.
The Nazis gave it a wrong representation. For North American Indians it can also be a good luck or religious symbol. It is not much seen nowadays because of its association with Nazi Germany. A web site that describes a variety of North American Indian symbols is http://www.collectorsguide.com/fa/fa040.shtml
In addition the symbol was also used by some ancient Egyptians to represent the Sun [Sun God] and its rotation around the earth. So it was in use for other reasons, long before Hitler usurped it for Nazi so-called superiority. Accordingly, the symbol was only a spiritual symbol of good. That is why it will also be found in many spiritual sites, cultures from Egypt, Greco-Roman, and right across South East Asia. It is important to understand that the swastika has been in use amongst the Greeks, the Vikings, The Egyptians, and the Indians and so on for thousands of years. . It is an old spiritual archetype, but which was exploited, misused and twisted by Hitler.
It seems that the Nazis also picked it up due to its being an ancient Viking symbol. On a ship called the Oseberg, found in Norway, there are swastikas in the front of the ship. In Denmark you can find it in several places, amongst one is a runestone with the swastika and an inscription explaining who put the stone there. Hitler then further explored its Eastern origin - where in fact it is found the most in public places, temples, etc and that clearly shows that it has the strongest heritage on the Indian sub-continent.
In Ireland it was even used during the war as a symbol for a washery and never there was it seen upon as being controversial. In the swastika (fylfot cross) of the Celts the members, of equal length, are bent at the ends. It is in mosaics in European castles from 1300.
So, the swastika, with the ends of its cross bars bent to the right, was common in both the Old World and the New World. It originally represented spiritual victory, spiritual good, creation, the revolving sun, fire, or life and later, by extension, good luck.
Prior to the 1930s swastika-like symbols were fairly common. They can be found on old china patterns. Many things like this became unpopular after the 1940s.
Interestingly, if you get a good book on the Jewish Kabbala, you will discover that the swastika is the symbol used for the topmost controlling point of the Sepherraiha. This point is called the Kether, and is the point for the link to Godhead. Visit a Kabbala study group and in some texts this can be immediately verified, i.e. that indeed the Jewish Kabbala uses the swastika as a symbol.
The Kabbala is very fascinating and points again to the universal origin and acceptance of many symbols. The late Father Thomas Merton, a Roman Catholic monk deeply influenced by Eastern religion, and in particular Zen Buddhism, wrote a very interesting article called "Symbolism: Communication or Communion." He writes: "...often the symbols of different religions may have more in common than have the abstractly formulated official doctrines." And: "The true symbol does not merely point to something else. It contains in itself a structure, which awakens our consciousness to a new awareness of the inner meaning of life and of reality itself. A true symbol takes us to the center of the circle, not to another point on the circumference. It is by symbolism that [humanity] man enters effectively and consciously into contact with [her] his own deepest self, with other [people], and with God."
A spiritual symbol is thus an object pointing toward our inner subject, our inner being. Its significance and power is awakened in accordance with our own understanding of its deep significance.
However, as we have seen with Hitler, spiritual symbols can be given twisted interpretations or negative/evil connotations that can have destructive consequences. Furthermore, symbols are also expressions of the collective consciousness of a society or group of people. That Hitler slightly altered the swastika is not insignificant in terms of its effect on the psyche of him and his followers and also ultimately of the destruction of the Third Reich.
Clearly, the symbol was in common use by a lot of people/societies/cultures prior to Adolf Hitler capitalizing on it. The swastika is a very ancient symbol
The Boys Scouts used it before WWII. Baden Powell spent time in India and used the symbol. The problem now is that Hitler has turned that symbol into a symbol of evil. The original swastika of Asian Indian original always meant, and continues to mean spiritual victory and is of spiritual significance. The Nazi's, in a sense, depicted it backwards. Baden Powell used it as a symbol for the Boy's Scouts well before WWII and Rudyard Kipling was familiar with it. Old Boy's Scouts buildings had the floor littered with swastika tiles. Old copies of "The Jungle Book", have swastikas decorating the faceplates and title page. The book had been printed way before Hitler corrupted the symbol, back when it still meant good, health, and prosperity
The Buddhist temple in Wollongong in Australia also uses it - it is the biggest Buddhist temple in the Southern Hemisphere. This carries over from other traditions; e.g. you will find it in Burma also where it is used in relation to Buddha. In many temples and indeed in public buildings all over Asia it is found.
Several spiritual organizations still use it today. Given its positive symbolization and strong inner meaning, it should really be flying over the United Nations. It is a pity that the Nazis bastardized it. Several texts will tell you that Hitler briefly had an interest in eastern mysticism and that is how the symbol got distorted
If one explores there is much to discover and learn about the svastika.
There is an anecdotal story about a meditation group in London who had a meditation center (jagrtii) in the late 1970s which was located in a Jewish predominant area. Some of the Jews didn't welcome people doing meditation there. During some days the meditators seem to have felt some interference of something unpleasant, uncomfortable, but didn't notice it much.
One day a Rabbi came to visit the center as a neighbor, and he was shown the place and when seeing the meditation hall and the huge symbol (yantra) the inner part of which included the swastika (the other parts of the symbol being one upwards and one downwards pointing triangle over each other so as to form a star and in the middle in the top half there is a rising sun (in which was placed the swastika)). The Rabbi said something like some hostile jews were using black magic to expel the people living in and visiting the meditation center from the area, and that it didn’t work due to the positive powerful symbol of the yantra in the hall. He was supportive of it.
Hitler scouted out occult (not spiritual) power wherever it could be found, and co-opted it in whatever way he felt would work, toward his own ends. The problem with the swastika is that Hitler was not appropriating something in the sense that it belonged to someone else. Many people have used or discovered a symbol like the swastika. It’s a different issue from going outside of one culture and appropriating another's. Although the strongest historical claim to the origins of the swastika is that of the ancient Indian (Asian) tantrics. Basic geometric symbols have been repeated by all cultures. It is true that variations of this symbol may be found in a great many cultures, so some may say that Hitler didn't co-opt it in the sense of stealing someone else's intellectual property. But he did co-opt it in the sense of perverting its intended purpose. The design suggests variously: the sun, turning toward the good, realization of one's God-nature, etc. But Hitler took that design and used it for something bad.
Although the sight of a Nazi swastika still gives people a jolt, if they look deeply and try to remember that the older meaning is benevolent, it will be very uplifting.
The swastika as follows is a spiritual symbol of good, spiritual victory, betterment.