The Philosophy of the Swastika
by Savitri Devi
Chapter 1 of Gold in the Furnace
Edited by R.G. Fowler
“Thou hast set every man in his place. Thou hast made them different in form and in speech, and in the colour of their skins. As a divider, Thou hast divided the foreign people.”
“Out of the corruption of women proceeds the confusion of castes; out of the confusion of castes, the loss of memory; out of the loss of memory, the lack of understanding; and out of this, all evils.”
“Alle großen Kulturen der Vergangenheit gingen nur zugrunde, weil die ursprünglich schöpferische Rasse an Blutvergiftung abstarb.”
A Movement such as National Socialism, destined to appeal to millions, does not attract every one of its adherents for the same reasons. That matters little, as long as the Movement is triumphant. Then, the more the better. Even the fellow who joins the Party for the material advantages he hopes to get out of it, can be made use of. And his children, at any rate—provided they be of irreproachable blood—can be trained into better Nazis than himself.
But, those alone who uphold the National Socialist Idea for the sake of something vital and fundamental—those alone who found in it the perfect expression of their own life-long philosophy—can be expected to cling to it under all circumstances whatsoever. I do not say they are the only ones likely to cling to it. A sense of duty, a chivalrous feeling of obligation towards their glorious past, a consciousness of gratitude towards a régime that gave them great privileges as long as it lasted, can, of course, prompt thousands of others to remain faithful in the midst of untold hardships. And those thousands are to be praised. Yet, no allegiance is worth that which is based upon the physical impossibility of betraying one’s own self. “One cannot kill a Weltanschauung—an outlook on the universe; a philosophy—by force, but only through the aggressive impact of another Weltanschauung.”4 These are the very words of the Founder of National Socialism. And how true they ring today, after twenty-five years! The real Nazis—those who can (and will) resist, and defeat, in the end, the coalesced forces of a temporarily triumphant world—are those to whom not merely the political side of National Socialism, but the National Socialist conception of man and life is so natural that no other “Weltanschauung” can possibly appeal to them, however cleverly advertised it be, by people who pretend to know the art of advertising in and out.
* * *
The National Socialist conception of man and life is anything but “new.” Its first exponents on this earth were probably the oldest seers of mankind, and the principles on which it is based are as ancient as life itself. Only the National Socialist movement is new. Not merely new, but unique of its kind. It is, in the whole evolution of the West, the sole systematic attempt to build a state—nay, to organise a continent—upon the frank acknowledgement of the everlasting laws that rule the growth of races and the creation of culture; the one rational effort to put a stop to the decay of a superior race and to the subsequent confusion. It is the movement “against Time” par excellence—the movement against the age-old downward trend of history—conscious of the one way out of the evils and ugliness of our degenerate epoch, back to the joy and glory of every great beginning, and boldly urging along that way the noblest people of the West.
But precisely in order to appreciate all its novelty, and all its beauty, one should bear in mind the eternity of the philosophy that lies behind it; of what I call the philosophy of the Swastika.
This is not the philosophy of any man. It is, in the clear consciousness of the really great Ones who are capable of feeling it—from the oldest Aryan lawgivers of Vedic and post-Vedic India, down to Adolf Hitler today—the wisdom of the Cosmos, the philosophy of the Sun, Father-and-Mother of the earth.
For man is but a part of the Cosmos—“a solar product,” as a brilliant English author put it!5 He cannot, with impunity, set up laws for himself, against those unwritten, everlasting laws that govern life as a whole. In particular, he cannot disregard the laws that regulate the art of breeding and the evolution of races, and expect to escape the consequences which automatically follow, sooner or later, that “sin against the will of the Creator”6 and which are “physical and moral degeneracy.”
The Christian philosophy—nay, the philosophy of all those international religions whose adherent “any person” can become, on a level of equality with all other adherents—puts stress upon the mind, the “soul,” the “immaterial” side of man (supposed to be everlasting and all-precious) at the expense of that transient thing: the body. It forgets that, as the one vehicle of transmission of life, the body also partakes of divine everlastingness; that it is not merely the “temple of the Holy Ghost,” but the creator of that consciousness which is the Holy Ghost, in the individual, in the individual’s progeny, in the race at large.
The oldest religions in the world—none of which were “international,” but all of which applied to the folk in the midst of whom they sprang the one, superhuman wisdom—stressed the primary importance of the physical side of man; the holiness of the act of life; the duties and the responsibilities of the body not only towards the individual “soul” of which it may be considered as an instrument of development, but towards past and future generations; towards the race, that is to say, towards the Cosmos, of which the race is a part. They upheld the private cult of each man’s ancestors and the public cult of each folk’s heroes, and forbade objectionable marriages as a sin against the dead and against the unborn—against Life eternal. They admitted as a matter of course the fundamental inequality of human beings, rooted in imponderable causes; the inequality of human races, and the absolute differentiation of the sexes.
We have not copied the Ancients. No living thing is ever a “copy.” And the National Socialist movement, if anything, is living; nay, is, in spite of the temporary triumph of its enemies, the one real force of life and resurrection in the half-dead world of today. No, we have not copied the Ancients. But we have, under the inspiration of that god among men—Adolf Hitler—become once more aware of the wisdom of all times without which life is bound to decay; of the wisdom, to the gradual forgetting of which is to be traced, from the dawn of history onwards, the increasing degeneracy of mankind and, in particular, the decline of the Aryan nations. We have become once more conscious of the fact that “only in pure blood does God abide.”7 And from the man-made religion and man-centred morality that had dominated Western consciousness for the last fifteen hundred years at least, we have come back to a life-centred religious outlook, to a morality based upon the inequality of rights and the diversity of duties among both individuals and races, and to a political conception proclaiming the right and the duty of the superior races—and of the superior personalities in every race—to rule. And we have set out to make this world first a safe place for the best—for the racial élite of mankind—and then a safe place for all the living, under the protection of the best.
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This is so true that the intelligent and orthodox representatives of the one part of the world in which the aristocratic tradition of the Aryans, fossilised as it may have become in the course of centuries, was never submerged—Hindu India—have more than once judged National Socialism with a clearer insight than most Europeans outside Germany. It would astonish many German National Socialists to know what enthusiasm greeted the Führer’s victories, in that distant land, during the recent war. There was, undoubtedly, a great deal of enmity towards British rule expressed in it. But there was in it also, something else, something deeper, much deeper. There was the expression of six thousand years of unflinching allegiance to the fair, strong, truly superior Race, the Aryans, or “noble ones,” worshippers of the Sun and of the Northern Lights, who once brought the Vedas from their long-forsaken Arctic home,8 and founded the civilisation which, to this day, in India, still bears their stamp; the recognition that the spirit of those ancient hallowed Aryans had at last awakened in their most genuine modern descendants, in far-away Europe, and was triumphing.
India would soon no longer be “the last stronghold of Aryan culture,” as some Hindu revivalists had called it. For Aryan culture would reconquer Europe under the rule of one of those men who appear once in the history of the world. But that Man’s victory—the victory of the Aryan over the “Mlechha”9; of the ideal of racial hierarchy over that of democratic uniformity; of inspired leadership over the vanity of the obstinate herd—would be India’s victory also, for the best of India’s tradition was the age-old gift of that Man’s eternal Race. And although not everyone could express this, many felt it, more or less dimly. Already more than one high-caste Hindu, aware of the real nature of the European conflict—not Germany versus England, but National Socialism versus all forms of democracy; the true Aryan outlook versus the Jewish—already more than one, I say, had acclaimed in the promoter of the western resurrection, Adolf Hitler, a “devata,” i.e., a “shining one,” a being above mankind, and the modern incarnation of the ever-recurring Saviour. I have heard them say so, some of them in public.
But out of the hazy consciousness of the illiterate masses of India, sprang also, in those days, remarkable intuitions. I shall always remember a young servant—a boy of fifteen or so—telling me, in glorious ’40: “I too, admire your Führer.” And as I asked him if it were only because he was triumphant that he admired him, the boy replied: “Oh no! I admire him, and love him, because he is fighting to replace, in the West, the Bible by the Bhagavad-Gita.” He had got that extraordinary piece of information from a talk in the Calcutta fish market. I was dumbfounded. For the information, though literally fanciful, was perfectly accurate in spirit.10
And I recalled in my mind the words of the old Sanskrit Scripture: “Out of the corruption of women proceeds the confusion of castes; out of the confusion of castes, the loss of memory; out of the loss of memory, the lack of understanding; and out of that, all evils,” or, in modern language: out of indiscriminate breeding proceeds the mixture of unequal races (always to the detriment of the superior race); from that mixture, comes the loss of racial memory—the ignorance of who one’s ancestors were, and of who one is one’s self—and from that, the lack of understanding of one’s rights and of one’s duties—of one’s natural place in the world—and the consequence: “all evils,” decay; death.
Yes, it was true that the “New Order in Europe” meant the restoration of the Aryan outlook expressed in this immemorial text, as opposed to all the religions and ideologies of equality; the triumph of the Philosophy of the Swastika over that of either the Cross or the Crescent or the Hammer and Sickle, and the end of that primordial cause of “all evils”: shameful breeding. And it was true that Adolf Hitler was conducting the war to defend this New Order against the agents of disintegration who had planned to crush it. And it was true also, that, for centuries, no great man of action in the West or in the East had lived and struggled in absolute selflessness and detachment—actually according to the teaching of the Bhagavad-Gita—as he had. The marvel is that simple people, so far away, had found a forceful sentence to formulate that truth.
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The central idea of National Socialism is that in the natural nobility of blood alone, source of the inherent qualities of the race, lies the secret of greatness. It is no use asking why one race is more gifted than another; why one has creative genius and others not. It is as silly as to wonder why a plane tree is not an oak tree. The Sun Himself, responsible for all differences among men as among other living species, has decreed from eternity which was to be, on this planet, the creative race par excellence. And that is why the immemorial solar Symbol—the Swastika—has become identified with the National Socialist Movement. Behind the will of Adolf Hitler, who decided that it should be so, was the divine will of the Sun.
It is, in particular, amazing, how historically sound are all Hitler’s statements concerning the supremacy of the Aryans all over the world, throughout the ages—all the more so that, at the time he wrote his famous book, the Führer had seen nothing of the world outside Germany (save the battlefields of Ypres and other places where he had fought as a soldier during the First World War) and had never had the time to become a scholar.
He wrote from his heart. Yet, at the other end of the earth, outlandish monuments, raising their majestic lines out of coconut groves, under strange skies; hymns and poems in outlandish languages; atavistic memories and hallowed traditions of strange peoples—some, perhaps unknown to him in 1923—proclaim the truth of what he wrote. Paintings and sculptures in South Indian temples, sacred dance dramas on the coast of Malabar; friezes upon the ruined walls of Angkor Wat; stories repeated to this day all over India, Java, Bali, perpetuate the glory of the fair Aryan hero, Rama, whose deeds once filled the East and the South with wonder and whom the descendants of the subjugated races still revere as a god. And as one recalls the inspiration behind those works of art and those traditions, one cannot but marvel at the exactitude of that bold summary of the evolution of mankind written by the modern champion of the Aryan race in the fortress of Landsberg am Lech: the eleventh chapter of the first part of Mein Kampf. Indeed, wherever one admires the tangible remnants of a great culture (provided one takes the trouble of going far enough back into the past) one finishes by tracing that culture to the glorious creative Race from the North to which belong both the fair warriors exalted in the Sanskrit epics (and portrayed in the technique of their Southern worshippers, on the walls of Dravidian temples and Cambodian palaces) and the author of Mein Kampf himself, and his beloved people.
The whole of Asia owes more or less its culture to the influence of Indian thought. And Indian thought—Sanskrit thought—is but the flower of the Aryan, or Nordic soul, in a tropical environment. And if, as some scholars believe, one can also prove that the same influences have given birth to the cultures of old America, to which the Swastika was also sacred—and that the same fact, namely “the gradual disappearance of the original creative race” through mixture of blood, has caused their downfall—then, one will only have proved how extraordinary Hitler’s intuition of history is, and how solid is the rock on which he founded National Socialism.
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Some have said that Adolf Hitler’s greatness lies in the fact that he roused German patriotism as none had done before. Those who hate Germany—those who have, or think they have, some interest in trying to keep her down—hate him for that very reason. But in reality his greatness lies in far more than that. For the German patriotism which he roused is not the conventional patriotism that every European child is taught at school ever since there were separate states in Europe. It is a particular aspect of a broader and deeper—and more natural—feeling. It is the expression, in the German people—the first to have the privilege of regaining it in the West—of the world-wide Aryan consciousness, which is above frontiers; of the collective pride of all those who, however far they be living, now, from their original Nordic home, claim to belong to that truly noble and beautiful race to whom the world owes the best of its culture.
An upheaval such as no nation had yet experienced—an outburst of regained triumphant youth; a song of joy and freedom, on a scale of millions—was actually witnessed in Germany under the spell of Hitler’s magnetic personality, and that, in spite of over fifteen hundred years of demoralizing influences. But there lies not the whole of the “German miracle.” It lies also—it lies perhaps even more—in the fact that Aryans all over the world (few, admittedly, but the very best) hailed Hitler and Germany with him as the champion of their rights, as the Man and the country destined to fulfil, at last, their age-old aspirations. It lies in the fact that, during this war, Englishmen were happy to suffer in concentration camps in their own country for the National Socialist idea; that people of several foreign nations at war with Germany—including one or two Frenchmen11—have died for it; that, in far-away India, in 1942, some men and women were waiting with joy to see the German army march down from Russia through Afghanistan on the triumphal road the first Aryan conquerors had taken, six thousand years before—the Khyber Pass—and meet in Delhi its Japanese Allies; that, after this war, there remained (and still remains) a minority of non-German Aryans ready to face torture and death for the pleasure of defying the persecutors of National Socialism upon the very soil of occupied Germany.
This world-wide appeal of Adolf Hitler shows sufficiently that, although in its modern form it originated in Germany—and could not possibly have originated anywhere else—the National Socialist doctrine transcends Germany. As I have said, it is the everlasting truth about the laws of life and the evolution of human races, apprehended from the angle of the Nordic race.
That this Nordic race is a natural aristocracy, there is no doubt. First a physical aristocracy. To make sure of that, one need only look at its representatives, especially the purest Germanic types among the Germans and the Swedes, outwardly, perhaps, the finest men on earth. An aristocracy of character also, as a whole. One only has to live with Scandinavians, Germans, or real English people, after spending years amidst less pure Aryans, or totally different races, in order to find that out. An aristocracy of kindness, too—its most attractive sign of superiority. And this is a fact. The best proof of it is to be seen in the spontaneous sympathy which most pure-blooded Nordic children show towards animals, even before being taught to do so. Compare that with the spontaneous cruelty of the children of other races, with few exceptions! A five year old young German or young Englishman will stop to caress a cat, or offer something to eat to a dog in the street. A five year old child from the Mediterranean lands—or the Middle East—will throw a stone at the dog, pull the cat’s tail, or do something worse, many a time. The indifference of the grownups to animal suffering, anywhere in the world save in the few lands where Nordic blood obviously prevails, is appalling enough, not to speak of the inborn nastiness of the majority of children.
That alone would be sufficient to confirm one’s belief in the superiority of the pure Aryan, and to strengthen one’s hopes that, after three or four generations of proper training—and enlightened breeding—the race could be made a race of supermen, creators of a new golden-age culture worthy of Nietzsche’s dreams, worthy of Hitler’s love. It would be enough to confirm one in one’s conviction that the task which National Socialist Germany had undertaken—the systematic strengthening of the master race in Europe so that it might carry on an unparalleled super-civilisation—was, and still is, well worth its while.
* * *
That task was begun in Germany, as everyone knows, by the promulgation of a certain number of wholesome laws, intended to stop all objectionable breeding (and thereby to prevent the further physical and moral deterioration of the race), and by a wide-scale new education. When one remembers that Adolf Hitler took the government in hand in 1933, and that England, as a docile instrument of international Jewry, declared war on him in 1939, one can but marvel at the enormousness of what he accomplished within six years. No god could have done better in so short a time.
Yet, the measures actually taken would not have been sufficient to keep the people in the desired path for centuries without a new—or very old—religious outlook, expression of the reborn Nordic soul, coming into being and growing up side by side with the National State. The prominent men of the Movement—Adolf Hitler more than any other—were aware of this. And not merely theoreticians like Alfred Rosenberg,12 and professors of the new thought like Ernst Bergmann13 and others, but cool and practical-minded thinkers such as Dr. Goebbels,14 have stressed over and over again the necessity of putting an end to the influence of the Christian Churches of every persuasion if National Socialism is to enjoy a lasting triumph.
Indeed the fact that, owing to the war against the foreign agents of Jewry, not enough attention could be paid to the struggle against the Churches and especially against the Catholic Church—that bitterest of all the opponents of National Socialism at home—that fact, I say, must be counted as one of the main causes of the loss of the war. The Churches have proved only too well, by their attitude towards defeated National Socialism after the war, what a responsibility they had in its defeat and what an amount of power they expected to enjoy upon its ruins.
But there is more than that in the instinctive dislike we all feel for them, to the extent we are conscious of what we stand for. The Churches, as temporal organisations, commercialised and power-grabbing, are bad enough. The Christian “Weltanschauung” itself is far worse an enemy of National Socialism. It is of no use trying to hide the fact in order “not to frighten” people: one cannot be at the same time a Nazi and a Christian of any description. It is nonsense to say one can. It is wasting time to point out concrete instances of men and women who actually are. Such people are either bad Christians or bad Nazis or both; sincere but illogical people, deceiving themselves, or clever rogues, trying to deceive others.
One only has to think five minutes to realise that a doctrine centred around race and personality cannot possibly go hand in hand with a teaching that proclaims all human souls equally precious in the eyes of a God who hates pride. The Churches would perhaps, one day, contemplate the possibility of compromising with us, if they judged it expedient. But there can be no compromise whatsoever between Christianity—or, by the way, between any man-centred religion of equality—and the Philosophy of the Swastika. If we are to triumph in the end, then, Christianity must go—whether that pleases or not all our friends who still today bear the stamp of a Christian upbringing. Christianity must go, so that the Nordic soul, which it crushed over a thousand years ago, might live and thrive once more in the strength and pride of its renewed youth; so that Germany, and all the countries in which the Aryan blood is still alive, might evolve their own religious consciousness—the consciousness they would have had if Rome and Jerusalem had never interfered with them.
The religion of the reborn Aryans must naturally have much in common with that of the pre-Christian European North, and with that, of similar origin and spirit, kept alive to this day, in India, in the tradition of the Vedas. It must be, before all, the religion of a healthy, proud, and self-reliant people, accustomed to fight, ready to die, but, in the meantime, happy to live, and sure to live forever, in their undying race; a religion centred around the worship of Life and Light—around the cult of heroes, the cult of ancestors, and the cult of the Sun, source of all joy and power on earth. Indeed, it must be a religion of joy and of power—and of love also; not of that morbid love for sickly and sinful “mankind” at the expense of far more admirable Nature, but of love for all living beauty: for the woods and for the beasts; for healthy children; for one’s faithful comrades in every field of activity; for one’s leaders and one’s gods; above all, for the supreme God, the Life force personified in the Sun, the “Heat-and-Light-within-the-Disk,” to quote the expressive words of the greatest Sun-worshipper of Antiquity.15 The religion of the regenerate Aryans must be one in which the Christian idea of “conception in sin” gives way to that of conception in honour and joy within the noble race, the only “sin” being (along with all forms of cowardice and faithlessness) the sin of shameful breeding—the deadly sin against the race.
The conflict between National Socialism and the Christian Churches in our times, is but an aspect of the age-long struggle between the creeds of Life which accept the natural hierarchy of human races—and individuals—no less than of animal species, and which treat man as a part and parcel of living Nature, and the man-centred creeds which deny the irreducible differences in quality between one human race and another while postulating, on the other hand, an artificial abyss between “mankind” as a whole and the rest of creation. The par excellence man-centred creed of today—Communism—is but the natural and logical outcome of Western Democracy based upon “the voice of the majority,” as Adolf Hitler has himself pointed out a number of times. But Western Democracy, in its turn, is but the natural and logical outcome of centuries of Christian teaching. All Rousseau’s sentimental twaddle and the subsequent nonsense about the “equal rights” of all human beings, to which the French Revolution owes its prestige both at home and abroad, would have been unthinkable in a Pagan Europe, unaffected from the start by the original Jewish twaddle about the equal rights of all human souls and the subsequent “dignity of all men” in the eyes of a man-loving God.
Those of us who fully realise this, and to whom what I have called the Philosophy of the Swastika—expression of their own deeper aspirations—is the only satisfactory one, can face with calm the present and the coming hardships. No democratic, humanitarian, or Christian propaganda, whether outspoken or in disguise, can alter them. They form that chosen minority of real Nazis around whom, one day—after the coming crash—the remnants of the undaunted Aryan race will gather to start a new historical cycle, under Hitler’s undying inspiration.
1 Longer Hymn to the Sun, circa 1,400 BC.
2 Bhagavad-Gita, 1:41-42; based on Eugène Burnouf’s nineteenth century French translation—Ed.
3 “All great cultures of the past perished only because the originally creative race died of blood poisoning” (Mein Kampf, I, xi, p. 316; cf. Mannheim, p. 289) [Trans. by Ed.].
4 This is a paraphrase of ideas expressed in Mein Kampf I, v, pp. 186-89; Mannheim, pp. 170-72.—Ed.
5 Norman Douglas, How about Europe? Some Footnotes on East and West (London: Chatto and Windus, 1930).
6 Mein Kampf, I, xi, p. 314; cf. Mannheim, p. 286.
7 Wulf Sörensen [Heinrich Himmler], Die Stimme der Ahnen. Eine Dichtung (Magdeburg: Nordland, 1936), p. 36. [In English: The Voice of the Ancestors: A Poetical Work by Wulf Sörensen, trans. anonymous (Hammer, 1993), p. 39.—Ed.]
8 Lokamanya Bal Gangadhar Tilak, The Arctic Home in the Vedas: Being Also a New Key to the Interpretation of Many Vedic Texts and Legends (Poona: Kesari, 1903).
9 The word used, in ancient Sanskrit Scriptures, to designate the inferior races.
10 For a more complete telling of this story, see Savitri Devi, “Hitlerism and the Hindu World,” The National Socialist, no. 2 (Fall 1980): 18-20.—Ed.
11 Such as Robert Brasillach, shot on 6 February 1945.
Author of the famous Myth of the Twentieth Century, Der Mythus des 20. Jahrhunderts (Munich: Hoheneichen, 1930).
13 Professor at the University of Leipzig under the National Socialist régime, author of Die 25 Thesen der deutschen Religion.
14 See the numerous passages of the Goebbels Diaries attacking the Churches.
15 King Akhnaton of Egypt, circa 1,400 BC.