The Swastika is the sign of wisdom

In his final blog, Anil Bhanot explains the foundations of Hinduism including how the Swastika is th

Hinduism is an ancient religion which has its foundations at the beginning of time as we know it. It’s almost as if God the creator revealed His pure knowledge to his children from the time of their arrival on the planet.

The Hindu creation story actually starts from the inception of the universe. God, the ultimate reality, called Brahman (Brahmm), created the universe and the first sound then heard was AUM.

This is the most auspicious sound in prayer as it represents a link from nature to that indefinable reality Brahman. AUM is used before every Hindu prayer. AUM is a pure sound, it is not a Sanskrit word, it is known as a syllable and could be adopted by any religion and Hindus have adopted it as their most auspicious symbol.

Hinduism, of course, is full of symbolism but the next symbol in order of importance is the Swastika which is a sign of our solar system. The Swastika also known as the sign of wisdom has been found all over the world including North and South America where the Hopi and Mayan civilisations used it as part of their sun worship ceremonies.

It has also been found in the Middle East where side by side a modified symmetrical cross was found to be used also. It is associated to the God of wisdom, Lord Ganesh, and it carries auspicious power but if used for selfish or evil purposes it will ultimately destroy such a person as was the case with Hitler.

Brahman, the one God, is the reality beyond our mind, we cannot comprehend it, we cannot relate to it. Brahman is the creator of the universe, everything there is, and therefore our finite mind, which is a small part of the creation, can never hope to describe or define the creator. For this reason Brahman created the trinity of creation (of nature), preservation (of world) and destruction (of ignorance).

These three manifestations of God, the Brahman, are the realities that Man can relate to. They are the link that we can understand with our mind. These supreme Gods are Lord Vishnu as the preserver of order and righteousness in the world, Lord Brahma as the creator of the solar system and life ( together these two things are called “Srishtie” ), and Lord Shiva who constantly destroys ignorance in the world. Lord Shiva is also know as the Lord of Dance whose dance brings about a cataclysmic change of cycles on Mother Earth which may well go through extreme climatic changes but in Hinduism are the 4 cycles of Satyug, Tretayug, Dwaparayug and Kaliyug. Lord Vishnu incarnates on earth to re-establish righteousness whenever there is an imbalance in favour of the dark forces and in each cycle (Yug) he takes birth with divine powers to help mankind preserve the world.

The first Satyug, a true age of enlightenment, was when through the seven original Seers (Rishis) the creator Brahma imparted the knowledge of the eternal Vedas for mankind. Tretayug when Lord Rama showed mankind how to live an ideal way of life. In Dwaparyug Lord Krishna re-established rightful order and gave mankind the most profound knowledge of spirituality in the Bhagwad Gita. In the Kaliyug Lord Buddha came and moved people away from superstition and asked them to follow the middle path.

Kaliyug is the age of materialism which is still running. After this age the age of enlightenment (Satyug) will return where hopefully Man will see that God loves all equally and religious differences are man made ideologies to keep those religious systems alive and in power. I believe in the UK we have a great opportunity to harmonise those differences and allow the spirit of each religion unite while discarding the man made dogma in some of the religions.

Anil Bhanot read Actuarial Science at university but then qualified as a chartered accountant. He was one of the founding members of Hindu Council UK in 1994 and was first elected as general secretary in 2003.
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How tribunal fees silenced low-paid workers: “it was more than I earned in a month”

The government was forced to scrap them after losing a Supreme Court case.

How much of a barrier were employment tribunal fees to low-paid workers? Ask Elaine Janes. “Bringing up six children, I didn’t have £20 spare. Every penny was spent on my children – £250 to me would have been a lot of money. My priorities would have been keeping a roof over my head.”

That fee – £250 – is what the government has been charging a woman who wants to challenge their employer, as Janes did, to pay them the same as men of a similar skills category. As for the £950 to pay for the actual hearing? “That’s probably more than I earned a month.”

Janes did go to a tribunal, but only because she was supported by Unison, her trade union. She has won her claim, although the final compensation is still being worked out. But it’s not just about the money. “It’s about justice, really,” she says. “I think everybody should be paid equally. I don’t see why a man who is doing the equivalent job to what I was doing should earn two to three times more than I was.” She believes that by setting a fee of £950, the government “wouldn’t have even begun to understand” how much it disempowered low-paid workers.

She has a point. The Taylor Review on working practices noted the sharp decline in tribunal cases after fees were introduced in 2013, and that the claimant could pay £1,200 upfront in fees, only to have their case dismissed on a technical point of their employment status. “We believe that this is unfair,” the report said. It added: "There can be no doubt that the introduction of fees has resulted in a significant reduction in the number of cases brought."

Now, the government has been forced to concede. On Wednesday, the Supreme Court ruled in favour of Unison’s argument that the government acted unlawfully in introducing the fees. The judges said fees were set so high, they had “a deterrent effect upon discrimination claims” and put off more genuine cases than the flimsy claims the government was trying to deter.

Shortly after the judgement, the Ministry of Justice said it would stop charging employment tribunal fees immediately and refund those who had paid. This bill could amount to £27m, according to Unison estimates. 

As for Janes, she hopes low-paid workers will feel more confident to challenge unfair work practices. “For people in the future it is good news,” she says. “It gives everybody the chance to make that claim.” 

Julia Rampen is the digital news editor of the New Statesman (previously editor of The Staggers, The New Statesman's online rolling politics blog). She has also been deputy editor at Mirror Money Online and has worked as a financial journalist for several trade magazines.