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The swastika was a universal symbol of the sun long before Hitler appropriated it. The word is derived from the Sanskrit swasti or well-being and the symbol first appears in the Indus-Saraswathi civilisation. To the Vedic Aryans, it represented the sun, the arms signifying the solar rays and moving in a clockwise direction. It was an attribute of the Greek Zeus and the battle axe of the Scandinavian Thor, besides being found elsewhere in Europe, Asia and the Americas. It is one of the eight symbols of good luck in Buddhism, a symbol of the sacred fire of Zarathushtra and the sun-worshipping magi of ancient Persia, and of the gammadion in early Christianity. The swastika was so popular in Persia and Central Asia that many mosques in Persia and Central Asia were decorated with swastikas by the image-eschewing Moslems.
There is a large mosque in Central Samarkhand, overlooking the ancient Silk Road. On the top of its façade is a huge round-faced three-eyed sun, with rays blazing wide, flanked by two large Bengal tigers. The walls are decorated with swastikas. Timur built the mosque after his incursions into northern India, and it is believed that he took back Indian and Persian artisans who designed and constructed the mosque. The popularity of the solar symbolism outweighed Islamic considerations.
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