Vasudhaiva Kutumbhikam is a phrase that has gained a lot of traction in recent times. Thanks to India’s G20 Presidency, the whole world recognises the meaning behind this powerful phrase found in the Maha Upanishad. Its literal translation is: The world is one family.
Therefore, I felt it was appropriate time to decipher the depth of this intertwined co-existence further.
Today, when everyone, especially youngsters, are rapidly rushing towards finding their individuality, how can a concept of connectedness become relevant? In a world of duality, can oneness ever become a reality? The most important question is whether there a need to embrace this concept at all.
Everything that is animated and bubbling with life is intrinsically interconnected. We experience this co-dependency closely in its most unadulterated form within our family structure. In some diluted form, we also experience it with close friends. In our head we believe that the closer the emotional proximity, the deeper the connection and co-dependency. But is that really true?
To understand this, let’s consider a simple scenario. Let’s say one day you and your friend decide to meet for coffee at a certain café. Technically this agreement is between two people, but let’s dig deeper to see how many people and entities are passively or actively involved in manifesting this small everyday moment in your life.
On the scheduled day, to reach the café, you may decide to drive, walk, or take the public transport. Imagine how many people were involved in constructing that road or planning the transport structure to make that happen. The meeting at the café was possible because someone took the initiative to build it. Again, numerous people were further involved in supporting the system by making the chairs, the table, the coffee cups, coffee machines etc. Lastly, a whole supply chain made it possible for you to enjoy coffee and add-ons like milk and sugar. The list is endless.
You may now be able to appreciate that even the smallest slightest event in your life cannot manifest just on its own. Even when we think are doing a solo task, we have a chain of events that synchronised to facilitate us. At this moment, it is also vital to understand the role of nature in making this event possible too! The sun with its warmth, the earth for you to walk and the wind for breath. All elements silently played their part while executing a plan you presumed was just made possible because you planned it. This is the magic of interconnectedness.
Interconnectedness is an unspoken natural law of nature. A life lived with awareness will give you an insight into how every moment is interconnected with other life forms. Acknowledging this with utmost humbleness and gratitude is the first step towards embracing oneness. Though not easy, oneness can be expanded in life by conscious effort. Some of the ways we can do so are:
POV or Point of View is a very effective term to bring things to perspective immediately. As human beings, your POV about the day and night cycle is that when the sun rises, it's day and when it sets its night. Let’s see the same situation from the POV of the sun. It neither rises nor sets. If you and the sun were conversing, clearly from your individual experiences, you both are right!
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Truth is subjective and based on individual knowledge. Accepting that each of us has a unique perspective based on our unique experiences leads to expanding tolerance and acceptance.
5 Elements are the basis of every living thing around us. We all are made of the same 5 elements: Earth, Fire, Air, Space and Water. Every human being is a combination of these five elements, which are the treasure of nature. If that is the fact, aren’t we all an extension of nature? Cultural differences are not human differences. Once that truth is realised, focusing more on the commonalities and less on the exceptions becomes natural.
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Understanding that the same clay has moulded us all in different forms and colours strengthens our ability to express ourselves without hesitation. This expands empathy and a sense of belonging.
Pain and Pleasure are oscillating emotions in human life. If you observe closely, you will realise that we all go through similar feelings. Our reaction to both pain and pleasure is so alike that it almost looks like we all are reading it from a common scripted document. Observe babies and you will see this with closer proximity. During a recent publishing project that involved documenting stories of thirty-five women, I realised after a point that I could see my own story in subtle form alive within each story. My experiences were different, but I connected deeply to emotions of loss, joy, guilt, sadness etc.
Knowing that someone you don’t know has experienced some emotion with similar intensity as you can make that stranger healing support. This is why new mums connect to each other instantly or those who are grieving connect immediately. Their emotions align on a deeper level. Realising this broadens the ability to forgive and love.
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In conclusion, I want to pay my gratitude to our ancestors who were not just much more adept than us scientifically; they also were deeply knowledgeable about the enhanced emotional expansion of the human mind. The Vedic texts expound with wisdom that encourages Aatmabodha or Self-knowledge. The more we introspect within, the more we realise that the body is just a medium to play a role, and at the core, there is just one Aatman or one light.
For those who are not ready to dive into that depth, the phrase Vasudhaiva Kutumbhikam sums the concept of Oneness beautifully. We all are one and the world is one big family.
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Ekta Bajaj is a writer, visual artist, motivational speaker and Co-Founder of the award-winning publishing company, Author In Me. She is also the author of the empowering book, ‘The Voice of Kali’, and co-author of ‘Book of Affirmations for Children’. Her deep passion for storytelling and positive thinking has inspired her to research the ancient knowledge of Vedanta that provides a holistic approach towards developing mental and emotional strength.