The Hexagram, or the six pointed star is a common symbol and popular by the name of Megan Davidor the Star of David. It is a considered to be a Jewish symbol and can be seen in the Flag of Israel. History tells that in Judaism, the symbol fi rst appeared in a Synagogue of Israel in 3rd or 4th century, where it was purely a decoration motif. Few other synagogues of same period bear a Pentagram (5 pointed star). More meaningful usage appears in 11th century to decorate manuscripts. Much later, this symbol became popular and was associated with Judaism offi cially. However, the Hexagram was used in many other parts of world much before it became popular in Israel.
THE ORIGIN: Th e Hexagram is a generic geometric shape. It is quite diffi cult to ascertain the very origin of this symbol, given the limited information about this shape. We can but study the oldest usage and appearance of the symbol. In an earlier article, we had discussed about the Swastika, which appears in various religions and communities with diff erent names. Similarly, the Hexagram also appears almost everywhere, and there is a possibility that the symbol was created by diff erent people with possibly no connection to each other. THE HINDU THEORY: In Hinduism, the Hexagram is more commonly known as Shatkon or Satkona (Shat = six, Kona = corner/ angle). It is the union of Shiva (Male energy) and Shakti (Feminine energy). Here,Shiva, or the Purusha, is represented by symbol “ ”, which is a symbolic representation of male organ.
Shakti, or Prakriti, is represented by symbol “fl”, which denotes the female womb. Th ey are both combined to form “fl”. Th is is called Shanmukha, which represents “Origin”, or the formation of life. Shanmukha literally means Six faced. Hindu deity Kartikeya, Shiva and Shakti’s progeny, is also represented with six faces, and is called Shanmukha. The Hexagram is also a mandala or crossaxial pattern, used in the Yantras of the Hindu religion, which are oft en made use of in rites and rituals. NAHAT CHAKRA OR PADMA SUNDARA: The Anahat Chakra or Anahatpuri is one of the seven chakras of Yoga, which is associated with well being, emotions, love and devotion. It contains a lotus fl ower with twelve petals and an encircled hexagram.
IN JAINISM & BUDDHISM: Vajrayogini, the highest yoga-tantra Ishta-Devi, is practiced to avoid ordinary death and for reaching higher spiritual paths. She is a high spiritual fi gure in Tibet and other areas where Buddhism is practiced. In Tibetan Mandalas, she is drawn in a Hexagram. Some old versions of Tibetan Bardo Th olo (Book of Funerary Texts) contains a Hexagram with a Swastika. In Tibetan, it is called the “Origin of Phenomenon” (choskyi ‘byung-gnas). Th e Hexagram is also to be seen at many places in Jain and Buddhist texts. JUDAISM AND CHRISTIANITY: The Hebrews consider the Hexagram as the Star of David. While the symbol was used in Judaic and Christian texts for centuries, the offi cial use of the Hexagram to represent the Jewish community began with the First Zionist Congress, that took place in 1897. Soon aft er, it was being widely used in everything related to Judaism. It became pop-ular to such an extent that the fl ag proposed in fi rst congress later became the offi cial fl ag of Israel, with minor modifi cations. Th e Hexagram may be seen in many churches, where it is part of the architectural patterns and motifs employed. However, in a few places, Jesus Christ is also depicted in the Hexagram. One important thing to note about the “Star of David” is that it usually goes unnoticed that it is not two triangles overlapped. Megan David is actually two triangles “interlocked”. In almost all other cases, it is the overlapped triangles. THE HEXAGRAM IN ISLAM: If you have been to Saudi Arabia, you would know the diff erence between a Pentagram and a Hexagram. A 5-pointed star has been widely accepted by modern Islamic fundamentalists and they discourage the use of the 6-pointed star. However, this move is more political than religious. Islam considers Moses as one of its prophets and his name appears more than any other prophet in the holy texts of Islam.
Judaism, Christianity and Islam are all Abrahamic religions, and share common roots and beliefs. In South Asia, the Hexagram can be seen on almost all ancient Islamic structures, from tombs to mosques. In the examples below, we have the name “Allah” written inside a Hexagram. It can be seen in the Mosque of Makhdoom Sabzwari in Mayfair Garden near Hauz Khas, New Delhi. Th e wall on right side is from an unknown tomb in Lado Sarai area of Delhi, where Hexagrams and regular hexagons are used as decorative geometric patterns. Below, on the left is the Tomb of Sheikh Yusuf Qattaal in Khirki village of New Delhi. Th is tomb is known for its intrinsic Jaali work. Th e patterns are derived from Hexagrams. On right, we have the Mehrab of the Mosque of Jamali Kamali in Mehrauli Archaeological Park (Delhi). Th e mehrab has Hexagrams as medallions. Here, to the left , you can see the Hexagram motif on Humayun’s Tomb, Delhi, and to the right, the Hexagram inside the Alai Darwaza, one of the oldest surviving true dome gates of South Asia inside the Qutub Complex. SHINTO (JAPANESE): Th e Hexagram is a common symbol in Shinto as well. Th ere, it is known as the Kagome Crest, and can be found in almost all Shinto shrines, dating back to 5th century BC. THE RASHTRAPATI BHAWAN, DELHI: The Rashtrapati Bhawan and South Block – North Block (Secretariat), designed by Lutyen and Baker, is an amazing example of the amalgamation of South Asian and European architecture. Th e Hexagram can be seen almost everywhere in these structures.
THE SEAL OF UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: Notice the 5-pointed stars in the US Seal. Th ese stars form a Hexagram.