‘Vasudhaiv Kutumbkam’ – The Whole Earth is Our Family

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By Arvind Bhardwaj

The concept of universal brotherhood was deeply understood and mentioned thousands of years before in Holy Scriptures of Vedic Sanatan Dharma.. The meaning of this complete shlok is that – Only small minds think that this is our own and that is someone else. For large hearted people the whole earth is own own family. Hindus believe in this thought process to the core as mentioned in above Sanskrit Shloka.

This concept is also engraved in the entry Room of Parliament of India. It clearly shows that how much the biggest democracy in the world values and practice this thought.

We don’t see this kind of mindset is the world anywhere. There is lot of bloodshed in the name of religion and in the name of occupying other country, if we look at world history. Bharat (India) has never attacked any country or never entered in to the war to spread the Hindu Religion in its thousand year old civilization. We have always been a land of acceptance.

We have always allowed all the religious ways to grow on our land, as we strongly believe in humanity first. All the religions have cherished in India despite more than 80% population believes in Hindu/Vedic way of life. We have always been interested in knowing new cultures, new spiritual ways of knowing the Almighty, new science etc. That’s the reason behind of accommodating all people irrespective caste, colour, and even religion and nationality. This has been possible only due to this belief that “the whole earth is our family.” Historically, This concept has been mentioned, accepted and developed further quoted in many places like Panchtantra, Chankakya and other stories. The ancient NEETI have treated the aphorism of Vasudhaiv Kutumbkam.

First composed, probably during Raja Bhoj empire in 11th Century CE or more likely the collection of 32 stories became so popular that these were transmitted as early as 1305 CE, to even far away Mangolia and then to Russia& Germany. To our surprise, Raja Bhoj known as “Arji Bhuji” is Hero in Mangolian Folk Lore and in German old tales. Further, there are at least six Recensions found in southern manuscripts of Vikram Charita, found in Andhra.

In the Jain recension, the shloka of Vasudhaiv Kutumbkam appears in an intriguing tale known as Paropakaraya svadehahutidana, recited by Suprabha who is here the seventeenth statuette.

The shloka of “Vasudhiava kutumbakam”, a slightly different variant of it, is to be found in this Mahopanishada as the seventy-second shloka of its sixth chapter. Here instead of ‘ayamnijah paroveti’, the shloka reads as ‘aya mmbandhuraya neti’ (‘this is a friend and that one not’), while the rest of the anushtubha remains the same.

It’s the beauty of Sanatan Dharma that the concepts are eternal and have relevance across cultures and generations. Today’s modern world is talking so much about human values and brotherhood. Lots of NGOs are developing concepts and attitudes towards this value system. What a proud literature, saints and culture we have!

( The writer is a Management Professional and Social Speaker)