वसुधैव कुटुम्बकम् (vasudhaiva kuTumbakam)
1. Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam (Sanskrit: वसुधैव कुटुम्बकम. from “vasudha”, the earth; “iva”, is ; and “kutumbakam”, family) is a Sanskrit phrase that means that the whole world is one single family.So here the Vedic sages are saying that the entire world is truly just one family. The world is like a small, tightly knit, nuclear family.
2. The words वसुधैव कुटुम्बकम् (vasudhaiva kuTumbakam) come from the mantra VI-72 in Maha Upanishad which belongs to sAmaveda tradition. The mantra reads:
अयं बन्धुरयंनेति गणना लघुचेतसाम्
उदारचरितानां तु वसुधैव कुटुम्बकम् ॥
Meaning: The distinction “This person is mine, and this one is not” is made only by the narrow-minded (i.e. the ignorant who are in duality). For those of noble conduct (i.e. who know the Supreme Truth) the whole world is one family (one Unit).
(The meaning of words like ‘family’ etc. should be understood in the context of what the Upanishad is talking about. It is describing the quality of a man who understood the Truth, transcending the multiplicity of the world).
The Upanishad mantra is not a geo-politico-socio-cultural statement. It is a matter of fact.
3. Hitopadesha, 1.3.71:
‘ayam nijah paroveti ganana laghuchetasam
udaracharitanam tu vasudhaiva kutumbhakam’ |
’This is my own and that a stranger’ – is the calculation of the narrow-minded
For the magnanimous-hearts however, the entire earth is but a family’
4. Tamil Poem written 2500 years ago :
Tamil Poet Kanian Poongundranar on the concept similar to ‘Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam’ (Song 192, Purananuru, Sangam literature)
‘யாதும் ஊரே; யாவரும் கேளிர்;
“Yathum Oore Yavarum Kelir”
‘Every place is my home town; Everyone my kith and kin
It is a fact that emerged from the observation and analysis by the Scientists of the day and recorded in their reports. The Scientists were the Seers, Rishis. Their reports were the Upanishads. Each Scientist used to teach with care and affection sitting close to his students (upa + nisha). The Upanishads were the foundation stones on which the magnificent edifice called sanAtana dharma developed. What they taught was not under any IPR regime, because their authors never considered them to be their brainchildren. They felt that it was a Knowledge revealed when their individualistic ID, the sense of “I am a separate person” was totally lost. A sense of “me” was not there to claim ‘ownership’ rights.
What would remain when an “I” in me is not conscious of my separate body-mind but is fused with the totality of “Whatever-actually-IS”? There cannot be an answer for this question. The nearest comparison that can be given is the dreamless deep sleep condition. It does not matter who you are – a prince or a pauper; an angel or a devil; an illiterate ignoramus or an intellectual giant – all differences and separations dissolve in deep sleep. Only one stark naked truth remains then. “Whatever-that-Truth-is,” “It” must be existing to be present. So what we can at the most say about it is, it “EXISTS.” That basic ‘Isness’ is called “Beingness” or “Existence.” In Sanskrit, the word is sat (सत्).
taittIriyopanishad gives two more of its features in the mantra (II-i-1) — सत्यं ज्ञानमनन्तं ब्रह्म (Beingness, Knowingness, and Infiniteness). It’s something deep sleep-like and space-like. That’s about all we can say. brahman is the word used as a pointer to It.
And of all the philosophical thoughts ever expressed anywhere in the world, only Advaita Vedanta boldly declares, That brahman Alone is, there is NO second thing. If anyone feels that s/he sees more than one thing, it is all a delusion.
Being under delusion is like being a Dhritarashtra, blind. In that blindness, the Oneness is missed. “I-you”; “mine-his” separations are (imaginarily) perceived. The separations are the seeds for conflict, both mental and physical. That’s the reason in the very first shloka in Bhagavadgita, Dhritarashtra asks, ‘What is it they are doing – my sons and those of Pandu’ (mAmakAH pANDavAH ca), viewing his own kids separate from his brother’s and all of them separate from himself.
The great Indian tradition exhorts us to see clearly that the apparent differences and separations are like ‘virtual image’ in a mirror. You cannot demolish the virtual image. Have your ever tried bull-dozing a mountain reflected in a mirror?
If you are able to see through the falsity of multiplicity, you will see Oneness. That is smyagdRRiShTi (perfect perception). This dRRiShTi of Oneness leads to the understanding that vAsudeva (‘Beingness’) is the innermost of all (once the illusory layers of coverings are pierced through). vAsudevaH sarvam iti – वासुदेवः सर्वमिति, asserts Bhavadgita in the verse VII-19. (The Sanskrit root vas (वस्) has several meanings. Here we have to understand vas means ‘to be’).
We have from IshAvAhsya, mantra 6: यस्तु सर्वाणि भूतानि आत्मन्येवानुपश्यति ।
सर्वभूतेषु चात्मानं ततो न विजुगुप्सते |
Meaning: He who perceives all beings in the Self alone, and the Self in all beings does not entertain any hatred on account of that perception.
That means he sees everyone as himSelf. That is the height of Oneness. No distinctions. Total unity. When what is, IS one Unit, there is no scope for hatred because there is nothing separate from himSelf to be hated. That is the perception of the really real Reality, वसुधैव कुटुम्बकम् !!
The statement is not just about peace and harmony among the societies in the world, but also about a truth that the whole world has to live like a family. Just by contemplating this idea and by at least trying to live by it and practice it in our lives, we could make this world a better place.
Tranquilized by the false security that the modern technology is provide us , we are often tending to forget about how fragile the life is on this planet. While ‘preparing’ our instant dinners in our microwave oven we tend to forget that food is not coming from the supermarket but from a star 150 million kilometers away which gives light and energy to plants which feed us and the animals too. Whether we like it or not, whether aware of it or not, we are the part of a fragile ecosystem we are all dependable on and responsible for.
With every animal species going extinct we are losing part of our own survival, a part of ourselves. It is not possible to harm another human being or any other life form without harming a small part of ourselves.