“Symbols are powerful because they are the visible signs of invisible realities”
– Saint Augustine
The concept of harmony, balance and peace is an age-old one. Since the beginning of civilization, mankind has delved into the spiritual and philosophical understanding of balance and harmony.
In some form or the other, every religion, culture, or society has developed its definition of harmony. The process of attaining balance in life, bringing peace into the community along with understanding and aligning yourself to the rhythm of life – has been the ideation topic for philosophers of every age of mankind. These ideas have been passed through the generations in the form of symbols. These symbols carry the meaning of harmony- the ideal balance – of masculinity and femininity, good and evil, growing and grounding and essentially of the harmony of our universe and our lives. Enlisted below, you’ll find 5 symbols of harmony, taken from different cultures around the world, with their perspective and origin story.
1) Every discussion about balance and harmony inevitably brings up the famous Yin and Yang symbol. It finds its origin in ancient China and is a Taoist symbol which signifies an equilibrium between light and dark- the masculine and the feminine. The black and white are present in equal amounts – which add up to a perfectly balanced whole.
2) The Endless knot – a symbol which has been found across several religions like Hinduism, Jainism and Buddhism – derives its origin from the age of the Indus Valley Civilisation. Its most common interpretation describes it as the interplay and interaction of the opposing forces in the world, leading to their union and thus resulting in harmony in the universe. In the realm of Buddhism, it is often said to be the intertwining of wisdom and compassion which leads to a harmonious state of being. It also symbolises how we are connected as a society and how our actions affect everybody along with ourselves.
3) The Dharma Chakra is a symbol present at the core of the teachings of Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism. It is one of the oldest South Asian Symbols. It is connected to the eightfold path (Buddhism) of reaching a harmonious state of living. It is one of the primary symbols depicting balance, rhythm, and harmony in how the human mind and the universe operate.
4) This symbol is known as the Star of David in Judaism. However, in Hinduism, it is known as Shatkona. In Hinduism and several other pagan religions, it represents the divine balance between male and female energies. We can observe that the symbol is the intersection of two triangles, wherein the upward-facing triangle represents the masculine half and the downward facing represents the feminine half. It represents the synthesis of the male and female energies of the universe.
5) Another famous symbol is ‘Ouroboros’, which depicts a serpent eating its tail. It is considered to be a part of ancient Egyptian iconography and the Greek magical tradition. It symbolises the equilibrium between the phenomena of creation and destruction. It depicts harmony and rhythm in life cycles and how it keeps ending and regenerating. It shows how life and death, creation and destruction balance each other out and are ultimately the forces that maintain stability and harmony in this world.
If we closely inspect our past and present, we realise that these symbols of harmony have intrigued as well as guided mankind on the path to harmonious and peaceful living.
Harmony in its every form is essential to our lives to progress and grow. These symbols have time and again reiterated the presence of harmony in nature and depicted balance as the way of the universe. They bring to us several riveting truths about our existence. In conclusion, symbols of harmony, peace and symmetry are found all around us. To observe the way of the world and inculcate the idea of a “perfect balance” in our lives, we must move forward with a stable mind and a steadfast heart.
– Prisha Gangwar, Amity International School Noida7 Likes