VASUDHAIVA KUTUMBAKAM: The whole world is one family

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.

The concept originates in the Vedic scripture Maha Upanishad (Chapter 6, Verse 72):

अयं बन्धुरयं नेति गणना लघुचेतसां उदारचरितानां तु वसुधैव कुटुम्बकं 
ayam bandhurayam neti ganana laghuchetasam udaracharitanam tu vasudhaiva kutumbakam

Only small men discriminate saying: One is a relative; the other is a stranger. For those who live magnanimously the entire world constitutes but a family.

This concept is also mentioned in another Vedic text, Hitopadesha: “Udāracharitānām tu vasudhaiva kutumbakam”, meaning, “‘This is my own relative and that is a stranger’ – is the reasoning  of the narrow-minded; for the noble hearts, however, the entire earth is but one family”, and is considered an integral part of the Hindu Philosophy.

The statement is not just about peace and harmony among the societies in the world, but also about a truth that somehow the whole world has to live by some rules like a family, set by an unknowable source. 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 our modern technology provide us we too often tend to forget about how fragile the life is on this planet. While ‘preparing’ our instant dinners in our microwave oven after another day at the office 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 as 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. This beautiful idea contained in the concept of Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam was artfully presented by James Cameron in his movie Avatar.

Avatar broke many Hollywood records of number of viewers and profits earned and won hearts of millions of people around the world. Beside its interesting screenplay, talented actors and fascinating special effects, philosophy of alien humanoid race Navi portrayed in the movie deeply touched everyone who saw it. Their philosophy might be summed up as simply Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam. Not sure what would James Cameron say about it, but if I meet him I will definitely ask him if choosing blue as the skin color of that wise and sane race had anything to do with Krishna being of the same color as well.

PS: I didn’t meet James Cameron, but I did find a youtubevideo in which he is explaining the connection between his movie and Hinduism. You can see it below.

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