Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam – The world is a family”
(Vasudha – earth, Eva – indeed, Kutumbakam – family)
This concept, which in many ways, is the basis of our philosophy of life, is now one of the most well-known tenets about India. The Sanskrit words originate from the mantra VI-72 in Maha Upanishad which belongs to the Samaveda tradition. The mantra reads:
अयं बन्धुरयंनेति गणना लघुचेतसा
उदारचरितानां तु वसुधैव कुटुम्
The above shloka translated means, the narrow-minded (or, the ignorant who are in duality) distinguishes between a relative and a stranger, while the broad-minded (or, those of noble conduct who are enlightened with the Supreme Truth) considers the world to be one’s family. It must be noted that the meaning of words like ‘family’ should be understood in the context of what the Upanishad is talking about. It is describing the quality of a man who understands the Truth, transcending the multiplicity of the world.
The idea of the world being one family is something that is very precious, even more now when it is fraught with tension in most corners. Put into the current perspective, the principle of ‘one world, one family’ renders the notions of color, caste, religion, region as narrow-minded.
Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam inspires us to break the narrow walls of division in our minds and strive to be generous souls and make the world a better place to live in. The Upanishad mantra is not just a geo-politico-socio-cultural statement, but a matter of fact.