“वसुधैव कुटुम्बकम्। / Vasudhaiv kutumbakam”
This phrase is taken from one of the minor upanishads, Mahopanishad. Some says it is from Hitopadesh. It doesn’t matter if you don’t know it’s source but its value of inculcating universal love and brotherhood does matter….
Now let us know what does it mean.
Let’s assume, there is one family with five members.
Husband, wife and their three children.
They all have come together in this birth/ Janma to exhaust their prarabdha. They all have different types of aptitudes, likes and dislikes. Common is the karmic debt they have to pay each other. These are from their sanchita karma, which has ripened to give the results.
Parents in the family know the different aptitudes and likes and dislikes of all three children. They follow different methods for each child so as to make them grow as per their aptitudes. They try to pacify all by arranging different things as per their likes and dislikes.
To clarify- parents will encourage three children in choosing their career path and it’s growth as per their likes and dislikes. One may be good for medical profession, one may be good for engineering profession and 3rd may be good for nothing. So parents help them find the carrier and the work as per their aptitude.
Parents will never force all in the same carrier without respecting their likes, tendencies, etc. Child with good qualities gets appreciated but if child has some evil tendencies, he is warned, punished and educated. Parents try their best to help him to take right track. This is what we call an ideal family where views of each one is respected. Everyone gets the own space to breathe. No unnecessary force is applied to anyone.
Now coming to our original concept of Vasudhaiv kutumbakam. Gross meaning is – ” This world/ universe is one family. “
Just like persons with different tendencies/ gunas live within one family, all the species human, animal, plants, etc are included in one huge family.
Now, question is how to live this concept? How to apply this concept in daily life/ vyavaharic level?
Person with satvik quality will not be fit for rajasic or tamasik work. Tamasik person will not be fit for satvik work. Our sanatana dharma states the four types of people in the family or society, according to their gunas/ qualities. ( every one has three gunas, but dominant guna decides the trait/ personality of a person. )
You must have observed that one member of a family is good in studies, other in the business ideas, one may be good in only physical work, another may be good in protecting and fighting for the family. You can observe the same types of people in whole society. This is how, the world is going on, by getting different types of tasks distributed among respective quality people. So you can not interfere in this process of the Lord. He arranges all in very nice way, according to our tendencies only. He is the only parent of the universe. We are all ( all species) like a family members of His family.
Now, what do our scriptures tell us to follow is-
You should live like a family member.
Now, the teaching of all the upanishad is ‘ Jiva Brahma Aikyam ‘. That same tatva/ Self is in all. You and the others are different only in the outer conditionings. The ignorant people see the difference and suffer but those who has the knowledge of the Self, should see everyone as one, I.e Same Self in all…..
Just like all family members are offspring of the parent, each one sees the other member as if own.
Real difficulty of application of this concept arises in transactional level.
Our scriptures has given two beautiful yet meaningful words cum instructions to tackle this difficulty. These are “समदर्शिन:”& ” समवर्तिन:”
समदर्शी is seeing same tatva/ Self in all. समवर्ती is same behavior/treatment with all. Bhagvad gita and many texts mention the mahapurush / realized person as समदर्शी not समवर्ती. (विद्याविनयसंपन्ना ब्राह्मणेन गवि हस्तिनि। शुनि चैव श्वपाके च पण्डिता: समदर्शिन:।)
To explain this, we need to observe/ remember our day to day transactions with the people, animals, plants, etc.
A cow and a dog and a begger, all in hunger, approach you. You will give grass to the cow. You will give roti/ food to the dog and begger. You will not give grass to the dog and begger. Got it?
If you see a cat or puppy or calf, you will go and pat them, love them. But if you see a tiger,you will run away…you have to.
Now tell me, if you wish to live the concept of Vasudhaiv kutumbakam, will you risk your life in living with a tiger??a lion???, because they say all these creatures are our family members of vishva??
Not at all…..
You have to see same tatva in all…समदर्शी,( same Self in all) but you have to consider their different traits/ tendencies , respect it with compassion just like we take care of a difficult person in our family.
You have to behave in different ways with different types of people( rajasic,tamasik,satvik), although same tatva is in all. You see same Self in your friend, neighbor, and terrorists. But how you should behave with them depends upon the gunas they are made up of.
Realised masters also see the same tatva in all (समदर्शी), but will never feed grass to both dog and cow. With compassion, he loves all but treats them differently.
This can be understood in another way. We consider our hands, legs, head, etc as our own. But treat them differently. It means if your leg happens to touch anybody, you do namaskar to him. But if your hand touches the other, you don’t….. you take care of different parts of your body in different ways although they are your own. Got it?
Why do all the scriptures tell us to be in satsang? Because the people associated with the Truth/ satya are beneficial in your spiritual path for the ultimate goal. We have to live with different quality/guna persons in our life. As far as possible, you must choose the company of the people who are beneficial in your spiritual path. ( whenever there is a choice to choose…..is the domain of Agami karma). N number of people comes in your life as per the
prarabdha to clear the karmic debt. You have to be with them with no choice. But if you have the choice, use them properly.
(A person has eaten so many mangoes he got by sowing the seeds long back. Eating those mangoes whether sweet or sour is unavoidable/ prarabdha. But while eating those mangoes, he has a choice… either not to sow the seed or to sow the seeds of only sweet mangoes. )
Thus universe is one family has vast meaning. All the countries ( friend or foes) get included in it. It is not about encouraging only my country players and wishing the loss for other country. You have to be loving and compassionate towards all without difference. But just like we appreciate good quality of our family member and condemn the bad quality of other member….for the sake of doing good to them only, we have to be समदर्शी and not the समवर्ती.
Be samadarshi so that universal love and brotherhood makes us understand the pains and pleasures of others and to be aware of it and to share the concerns…but respecting their differences in conditionings/ gunas.
Now a days, most of the people uses this phrase to advise the people to abide with equality. If it is not understood properly, with the help of our scriptures, it can proove to be destructive. Just like, the fate of a courtyard where you put a goat & a tiger together.
Seeing & treating all with sameness is not a child’s play. Real Need is to get the ideas of equality, sameness cleared and it will come only after learning the scriptures at deapth. भावाद्वैतं सदा कुर्यात् क्रियाद्वैतं न कुत्रचित्।( शड़कराचार्य महाराज). You should have Advait bhava in all but not in transaction, be compassionate, empathetic but act respecting their tendencies/ prakriti. Otherwise you will end up in gifting a comb to a bald,
So ultimate conclusion is – For the Grihastha ( sansarik people)-
Earn the wealth by ethical way (अर्थ&धर्म), to fulfill the (ethical) desires of own and the family. Then give the excess of wealth to the needy in the society/ our extended family. Extend the helping hand to the needy and deprived. Our actions will be judged by our intentions. Giving or sharing for self aggrandisement, name, fame, or vested interest is a mere selfish act . We must develop a deep, driving desire to serve others and alleviate their misery just like we try for our small family.
If we are in the fortunate position of revelling in material abundance and out of profound gratitude to the Supreme, we choose to share our wealth with underprivileged fellow beings, acknowledging our selves to be His chosen vehicle such acts are sublime. we should share whatever we have ( material wealth, mental strength, knowledge) with those in need. Live and let live……!
What about the Jivanmukta?
As they are Brahmavid, they see the world as mithya. They are Brahman Itself. But till the end of their prarabdha, they live in the world. Just like we wake up and laught at our dream world, they are the awakened ones from the long dream of waking state. They see the whole world as unreal. But then still they live…for the sake of the ignorant ones…to help them awaken. They take the part in the play but are aware of the unreal nature of the play. Their role playing doesn’t bind them. We, the ignorant ones, get involved in the world, as we consider it as real, that’s why it binds us.
So the very concept of Vasudhaiv kutumbakam is to be lived as per your own evolution in the spiritual path.
Dr. Varsha kharad ( Pawde)