Friday, 29 April 2016

Vasudhaiva kutumbakam

What exactly does vasudhaiva kutumbakam mean? I have heard many interpretations of this phrase, including 'well meaning' ones which relate it to Vasudeva! Thank you Dr.
Sampadananda Misra, for throwing fresh light on this oft quoted and little meditated upon phrase. This exposition certainly made me look at the expression with fresh eyes. Follow Misra ji on Twitter (@Sampadananda)

Very often we hear people speaking of vasudhaiva kutumbakam‘the entire world is but one family’. This popular phrase in Sanskrit is, in fact, the last part of a full verse, meaning He is mine and the other is not, this is how a narrow-minded person thinks. For the high-minded one this world is but one familyHere is the full verse that appears in the Panchatantra (Part V, story 3: 37) of Vishnu Sharma: 
अयं निजः परो वेति गणना लघुचेतसाम् | उदारचरितानां तु वसुधैव कुटुम्बकम् || 

Ayam nijah paro veti gananaa laghucetasaam . udaaracaritaanaam tu vasudhaiva kutumbakam. 

The verse appears in various other texts also: Hitopadesha, 1.71; Sharngadhara Paddhati, 273; Vallabhadeva’s Subhashitavali, 498; Padyatarangini of Varshanatha, 1.4; Mahopanishad, 6.71[here the first line is अयं बन्धुरयं नेति and the rest is same as aboveYogavasishtha has the same verse in a different manner: अयं बन्धुरयं परः ममायम् अयमन्यतः | इति ब्रह्मन् न जानामि  तेन जीवाम्यनामयः ||

In this verse, vasudhaiva kutumbakam has a deeper sense if we look at the two most important words – laghuchetas – the narrow-minded and udaarachetas – the high-minded. A narrow-minded person is self-centred This is how he always thinks: What I do is right and what others do is wrong. My way of thinking and feeling is true and the way others do is false. I am sincere and others are not as sincere as I am. My understanding is better and others really do not understand anything. What I say is true and what the rest of the world says is personal subjective opinion or prejudice. I am loving and kind, others are rude, do not know how to love and be kind. One may not be saying this aloud, but as long as one keeps thinking and feeling this way, one is not a mature person Among human beings this narrow-mindedness is widespread disease, and is a big obstacle in establishing progressive harmony.  

On the other hand, one who has grown in consciousness is wide, generous and understanding in mind and heart, and he is called udaaracarita or high-minded. Nothing irritates him in life.  He is not only not disturbed or affected by others opinion or way of thinking and doing, but actually respects all, and has a wider worldviewA man with this nature always tries to bring harmony.  

Ia deeper sense, vasudhaiva kutumbakam refers to the widening of oneself into the vastness of consciousness that permeates everythingWhen one grows more and more into this vastness of consciousness, one starts becoming free from the sense of mine and my-centredness. In this state one starts living with the sense that everything belongs to God.   And it is here that both you and refer to a common centre of Light and Love and unite there, rather than walk halfway towards each other at the same plane.  

Furthermore, vasudhaiva kutumbakam refers to an evolution towards a New Age or Civilization in which people will not have the separative ego-sense of I and mine and each one will live in harmony with his own highest Universal Self and feel concretely the entire creation and all others as a part of him; A Civilization governed by the feeling of Universal Love and Compassion founded on the Unity of Consciousness.  

Sampadananda Mishra  


Unknown said...

Very nice
Thanks for writing this article

Venkata Dilip Kumar said...

Still not clear about Vasudaiva kutumbakkam. Family ... Ok. What is vasudaiva in this context ?

sampadananda mishra said...

The word vasudhaa means earth. eva signifies definiteness. vasudhaiva kutumbakam means the whole earth indeed is one family.