Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam, the verse derived from the book Purananuru during the Sangam Period in the 2nd century BC illustrates that the whole universe is my family. It was derived at that point of time when nationalism did not even exist as a concept.
In fact, this Indian thought and philosophy has not only disseminated over the years to the neighboring countries but also to the distant lands of South-East Asia including Japan, Indonesia, Mauritius, Fiji, Vietnam and Cambodia. In addition, Dubai in Gulf, Nigeria & South Africa in Africa and also in several of the western countries including United States of America, Canada and Australia.
Over the centuries, the Indian universalism has been escalating and reviving tremendously not just amongst the Orientalists but also amongst the young generation scattered in different parts of the world.
Origin of Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam
The concept finds its ancestry in a prehistoric Sanskrit fable, Hitopadesha (1.3.71) which was written both in prose and verses in the 12th century. As per the writer Narayan Pandit’s quote, the main agenda of scripting the Hitopadesha was to inculcate the philosophy of life in young minds, in a way that they grow into responsible adults.
The four chapter book was compiled by the author for two princes who were drop outs from the usual schooling. Similar allusion is found in another very prominent Sanskrit fables, Acharya Vishu Sharman’s Panchatantra (5.3.37) which was composed before the Hitopadesha.
Essence of Vasudhaiva Kutumbhakham seen later in Others Culture Around the Globe
Ubuntu, the South African humanist philosophy or ethics has similar concept which states that “A person is a person through other people.” It has been scripted down in the mid years of 1900. It speaks mainly about about compassion and wholeness. An individual following this principle is always open, warm, generous, and willing to share things with others as they have an appropriate self-confidence that comes from knowing that they belong to a greater whole. A universal powerful thinking, Ubuntu tributes the avowal, “I am what I am because of who we all are.”
Ireland was greatly influenced by Indian philosophy and thoughts. The prominent jurist, historian and anthropologists Sir Henry Maine has illustrated that the ancient Brehon laws has been derived from the Vedic laws cited in India. George William Russell and William Butler Yeats who were the two main inaugurator of this Irish movement was also deeply swayed by the spiritual thought and life of India.
Poetry of Russell were often drenched in Indian mysticism while Yeats was highly influenced by Hinduism and spiritualism. He also translated the introduction of Rabindra Nath Tagore’s award wining book ‘Gitanjali’.
Over the last century, many of the countries in Europe have been taking immense interest in Indian culture. The celebrated French Savant Romain Rolland who was awarded the prestigious Nobel Prize in Literature in 1915 is well known for his profound understanding of the basic gist of ‘Indian culture’. He was greatly influenced by the Vedanta philosophy (Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam) mainly through the works of Swami Vivekananda.
The renowned German thinker Count Hermann Keyserling was so much swayed by the Indian spiritual ideology and mysticism that he recognized ‘the supreme superiority of India over the West in philosophy’. The Oriental Institute in Italy and the Kern Institute in Holland are famous centers where original work is being carried on Indian archaeology, literature. And fine arts. Sten Konow of Norway was
renowned for his original researches on the evolution of religious and spiritual thoughts of India. Moriz Winternitz of Czechoslovakia is famous for his monumental three volume work on the expansion of Indian literature while others like A Jungman translated the original work of Sanskrit in English and F Cupr wrote an entire thesis on Indian philosophical system to enlighten the Europeans with the Indian concept.
The term Multikulti (Multiculturalism or ETHNIC diversity) used for the first time by the German Green Party soon popularized throughout Europe in the 1970s and 1980s. It means the presence of different cultures and ethnic groups in a community/country. It again has the essence of VK of universalism or the whole world is my family.
The first country to adapt this policy in the western region was Canada. In fact, it is also reflected in the Canadian law under Section 27 in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedom as well as the Canadian Multiculturalism Act.
One of the most pluralist society of modern world with people all around the globe, Canada reflects the cultural diversity in a country, something that is the preaching and objective of Vasudhaiva Kutumbakkam. Besides, Canada, the other countries that widely follows and accept the concept of Multikulti are Australia, Singapore, Malaysia, Philippines, United States, South Korea, Bulgaria and India.
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