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The word first appears in the Classical Sanskrit (in the Ramayana and Mahabharata epics).Alternative historical English spellings of the Sanskrit word include suastika and svastica.As an argument ex silentio, this point has little value as a positive proof.
The ubiquity of the swastika has been explained by three main theories: independent development, cultural diffusion, and external event.The symbol of the 4-sided swastika is an archetype for the rotations of time and consciousness - moving clockwise and counterwise - in upward or downward spirals - allowing souls to experience many levels of reality simultaneously. The swastika is an equilateral cross with its arms bent at right angles either clockwise or anticlockwise.It is traditionally oriented so that a main line is horizontal, though it is occasionally rotated at forty-five degrees, and the Hindu version often has a dot in each quadrant.Swastikas appeared on the spines of books by the Anglo-Indian writer Rudyard Kipling, and the symbol was used by Robert Baden-Powell's Boy Scout movement.Since the rise of the National Socialist German Workers Party, the swastika has been associated with fascism, racism, World War II, and the Holocaust in much of the western world.
Before this, it was particularly well-recognized in Europe from the archaeological work of Heinrich Schliemann, who discovered the symbol in the site of ancient Troy and who associated it with the ancient migrations of Indo-European (Aryan) peoples.