The four arms pointing to the cardinal directions signify stability and groundedness. The swastika also symbolises Surya, the sun god, and Ganesh is often depicted sitting atop lotus flower on a bed of swastikas. The symbol is also used in yantras (symbolic representations of divinity). The swastika can be found in Buddhism and Jainism. I preferred other designs, like the amiya (raw mango), shankh (conch shell), or other swirly, floral patterns.
But there was something about the swastikaâ€™s symmetry that I always liked. There are two types of swastikas â€” the right facing and the left facing swastikas, which are mirror images of each other. These two forms are said to represent the two forms of Lord Brahma, the creator: The right facing swastika indicates the evolution of the universe (Pravritti) and the left facing swastika symbolises involution of the universe (Nivritti, the process that allows creation to happen).
Iâ€™ve seen priests draw swastikas with vermilion and water. I considered the swastika as a religious signifier, blessing the ceremony with its auspiciousness. Itâ€™s common to see the swastika in many decorative designs like floor and wall paintings, and in temples as well.
I was aware of the swastikaâ€™s use by the Nazis. In Toronto, I realised how potent the symbol remains in the West. I once filled the alpana (painting) with a peacock design and drew other motifs like amiyas, shankhs, etc. When I ran out of ideas, I decided to draw swastikas.