Solar Cross is the oldest religious symbol in the world, which can be observed appearing in Asian, American, European, and Indian religious art in multiple forms.
Its equivalent in Vedic culture is the ‘Surya Katari‘ which is seen in weapons of Lord Venkateswara in Tirumala hills.
The word, Surya Katari literally translates to Surya (Solar) + Katari (Sword).
Lord Vishnu’s sword is known as ‘Nandaka‘ and this sword is believed to be gifted by Sun God himself.
However, the present diamond studded Surya Katari is gifted is the 5th one gifted to this temple (in the year 2012).
Earlier, the first one was presented by Pallava queen Samavayi in the 4th century AD, second in the 7th century and then 3rd in the 12th century (by unknown donors) and the4th by King Krishnadevaraya in 16th century AD.
This Surya Katari is seen hanging from waist, between idol’s legs.
The story of how Lord Vishnu came got possession of this sword is found in the Agni Purana.
Brahma performed a Yajna on the banks of Ganga on a peak of Mount Meru. A demon named Lohasura decided to disturb the yajna and was heading towards the spot of the sacrifice.
To face the demon, from meditating Brahma appeared a man, who paid homage to Brahma. He was then greeted by the Devas and changed into a sword named Nandaka.
Devas asked Vishnu to lift up the sword Nandaka for defending Dharma which was threatened by Lohasura.
Lohasura reached the yajna spot and he had thousand handswith body which was dark blue in color. The demon’s body was hard like the diamond. Using a club he drove away the Devas.
Vishnu using the sword Nandaka took on the demon Lohasura. Those body parts of the demon that received a cut by the sword became metals on earth. Finally, the demon was killed by Vishnu.
After the fight, Nandaka received the human body back and became the deity of weapons on earth.
Brahma then completed the yajna for the welfare of all living beings.
The story has a hidden meaning of how metals formed on earth due to Sun.
Vishnu is rarely depicted in pictures of idols with a sword. Only his forthcoming avtar, Kalki, is depicted with a sword and as Lord Venkateswara or Balaji is believed to be protector of devotees in Kaliyug, he is seen with this sword.
Solar Cross (Odin’s Cross, Sun Cross, Wheel of Taranis) or Solar Sword
The Solar Cross is composed of a equal armed cross within a circle.
It represents the solar calendar, the movements of the sun, marked by the four solstices.
Sometimes the equinoxes are marked as well, giving an eight armed wheel.
The swastika symbol used in India and Germany is also a form of Solar Cross or Sword.
The cross in its most simplified form is known in Northern Europe as Odin’s cross, after the Chief God of the Norse pantheon.
It is often used as an emblem by Asatruar, followers of the Norse religion.
Swastika is a type of solar cross, with arms bent at right angles, suggesting a whirling or turning motion. Long before the symbol was co-opted as an emblem of Hitler’s Nazi party, it was a sacred symbol to Vedic Hindu, Jain, and Buddhist religions, as well as in Norse, Basque, Baltic, and Celtic Paganism.
The word Swastika in Sanskrit language means “su,” meaning “good,” and “vasti“, meaning “being” (together; well being).
In India, it is used as a fertility and good luck charm.
However, both swords or symbols have existed since ancient times and represented good’s win over evil.