Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam – वसुधैव कुटुम्बकम् – the whole world is one family.
The phrase, Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam, comes from mantra VI.72 of the Maha Upanishad. The Upanishad texts are found in the Vedas, which are the spiritual scriptures of ancient India. The word Veda comes from the root word, vid, meaning knowledge. This knowledge was originally passed down orally, before it was finally formally documented, several thousand years ago. In these teachings, a philosophy and set of cultural practices is laid out, which identify an ideal way to live that transcend the ages. It is known as the Sanātana Dharma (now often inaccurately referred to as Hinduism).
The Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam mantra is a demonstration of the all-inclusive attitude of this Sanātana Dharma. It suggests that people with a narrow minded world view see only the divisions in the world. They are limited by the notion of their individuality. In contrast, those with a broad mind, have the capacity to embrace all as ‘their own family’. Within a successful family structure, disagreements are never allowed to evolve into pervasive negative feelings. Instead, with the understanding that all members of ‘my’ family are actually not that different from ‘me’, qualities of tolerance and patience are cultivated. This makes it easier to move beyond petty disputes.
Often, we focus on differences between cultures, religions, skills and our upbringing. But, in truth, these differences are only needed in a society for transactional purposes, in order to allow us to survive on this planet. Therefore, there is unity in diversity. By observing our commonality, my underlying belief is that we have all emerged from the One, the Brahman, the Ultimate Reality.
Sanskrit transcript: अयं निजः परो वेति गणना लघुचेतसाम्। उदारचरितानां तु वसुधैव कुटुम्बकम्॥ Transliteration: ayaṃ nijaḥ paro veti gaṇanā laghucetasām। udāracaritānāṃ tu vasudhaiva kuṭumbakam॥ Hindi translation: यह मेरा है, वह पराया है, ऐसे छोटें विचार के व्यक्ति करते हैं। उच्च चरित्र वाले लोग समस्त संसार को ही परिवार मानते हैं॥ English translation: This is mine, that is his, say the small minded, The wise believe that the entire world is a family.