The Cultural Significance of the Chakra in India’s national emblem

The oldest evidence for the use of the spoked wheel in India can be found in the Mesolithic cave paintings of Mirzapur in Uttar Pradesh.

Several Indus valley seals with chakra designs have been found.

The Rig Vedic Indians not just rode chariots fitted with spoked wheels but also gave symbolic imagery to the wheel. They imagined the wheel as a part of the Sun’s chariot.

By virtue of its association with the fiery flaming disc in the sky, the chakra became symbolic of time and seasons, the Rtachakra, the wheel of time.

As the turner of the wheel and keeper of the cosmic order, kings and emperors became Chakravartins,

In Buddhism, the chakra became representative of Buddha’s teachings and the universal moral order. Emperor Ashoka used the chakra to propagate not just Buddha’s Dhamma but also to establish his eternal rule.

From the cart wheel in the Mirzapur cave art to the Ashoka chakra in our national flag and emblem, the chakra has covered a long journey and has conveyed Indian thought through the ages.

Watch the video for the whole story of the Chakra and the a song that best conveys the idea of India’s unity in diversity,

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