The swastika (卐) is a symbol that generally takes the form of an equilateral cross, with its four arms bent at 90 degrees. The earliest archaeological evidence of swastika-shaped ornaments dates back to the Indus Valley Civilization as well as the Mediterranean Classical Antiquity and paleolithic Europe. Swastikas have also been used in various other ancient civilizations around the world including Turkic, India, Iran, Nepal, China, Japan, Korea and Europe. It remains widely used in Indian religions, specifically in Buddhism, Hinduism, and Jainism, primarily as a tantric symbol that invokes Lakshmi - the Vedic goddess of wealth, prosperity and auspiciousness.
The word "swastika" comes from the Sanskrit svastika - "su" (meaning "good" or "auspicious") combined with "asti" (meaning "it is"), along with the diminutive suffix "ka." The swastika literally means "it is good." It is a common practice for Hindus to draw Swastika symbol on the doors and entrances to their houses during festivals, which is believed to symbolize an invitation to goddess Lakshmi. The name "sauwastika" is sometimes given to the left-facing arms symbol, which is a mirror image of swastika (卍).
The symbol has a long history in Europe reaching back to antiquity. In modern times, following a brief surge of popularity as a good luck symbol in Western culture, a swastika was adopted as a symbol of the Nazi Party of Germany in 1920, who used the swastika as a symbol of the Aryan race. After Adolf Hitler came to power in 1933, a right-facing 45° rotated swastika was incorporated into the flag of the Nazi Party, which was made the state flag of Germany during the Nazi era. Hence, the swastika has become strongly associated in many western countries with Nazism and related concepts such as antisemitism, hatred, violence, death, and murder, and is now largely stigmatized there due to the changed connotations of the symbol.
Notably, the swastika has been outlawed in Germany and other countries if used as a symbol of Nazism in certain instances. Many modern white nationalist and Neo-Nazi groups such as the Russian National Unity use stylized swastikas or similar symbols.