Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam

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File:Sansad Bhavan, Delhi, BNK.jpg
The "world is a family" verse of Maha Upanishad is engraved in the entrance hall of the Parliament Of India.[1]

Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam is a Sanskrit phrase found in Hindu texts such as the Maha Upanishad, which means "the world is one family".[2]


The phrase Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam (Sanskrit: वसुधैव कुटुम्बकम्) consists of several words: "vasudhā", the earth;[3] "ēva" = indeed; and "kutumbakam", family.


The phrase appears in Maha Upanishad.[4][5][6] It is in Chapter 6 of the text.[7][8] This verse of Maha Upanishad is engraved in the entrance hall of the parliament of India.[1]

The world is a family

<poem> One is a relative, the other stranger, say the small minded. The entire world is a family, live the magnanimous.

Be detached, be magnanimous, lift up your mind, enjoy the fruit of Brahmanic freedom.

Maha Upanishad 6.71–75[7][4]

The original verse is contained in the Mahopanishad VI.71-73.[1] Subsequent ślokas go on to say that those who have no attachments go on to find the Brahman (the one supreme, universal Spirit that is the origin and support of the phenomenal universe). The context of this verse is to describe as one of the attributes of an individual who has attained the highest level of spiritual progress, and one who is capable of performing his wordly duties without attachment to material possessions.[9]


The text has been influential in the major Hindu literature that followed it. The popular Bhagavata Purana, composed sometime between 500 CE and 1000 CE, the most translated of the Purana genre of literature in Hinduism,[10] for example, calls the Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam adage of the Maha Upanishad, as the "loftiest Vedantic thought".[11]

Dr N Radhakrishnan, former director of the Gandhi Smriti and Darshan Samiti, believes that the Gandhian vision of holistic development and respect for all forms of life; nonviolent conflict resolution embedded in the acceptance of nonviolence both as a creed and strategy; were an extension of the ancient Indian concept of Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam.[12]

References in the modern world[edit]

Narendra Modi, India Prime Minister used this phrase in a speech at World Culture Festival, organized by Art of Living, adding that "Indian culture Is very rich and has inculcated in each one of us with great values, we are the people who have come from Aham Brahmasmi to Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam, we are the people who have come from Upanishads to Upgrah (Satellite)." [13]

See also[edit]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 S Shah and V Ramamoorthy (2014), Soulful Corporations, Springer Science, <templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css" />ISBN 978-8132212744, page 449
  2. "DNA of non-violence engrained in our society: PM". Times Now. 2 September 2014. Retrieved 22 September 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. vasudhA Sanskrit English Dictionary, Koeln University, Germany
  4. 4.0 4.1 Jeffrey Moses (2002), Oneness, Random House Publishing, <templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css" />ISBN 0-345457633, page 12
  5. [a] Robin Seelan (2015), Deconstructing Global Citizenship (Editors: Hassan Bashir and Phillips Gray), Routledge, <templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css" />ISBN 978-1498502580, page 143;
    [b] SS Prabhu and N Mohapatra (2014), Reconstructing India’s Identity in World Politics: An Emerging Convergence between Public Diplomacy and Constructivism, Sociology and Anthropology, Vol. 2, Issue 6, page 230
  6. BP Singh and Dalai Lama (2008), Bahudhā and the Post 9/11 World, Oxford University Press, <templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css" />ISBN 978-0195693553, page 51
  7. 7.0 7.1 Hattangadi 2000, p. षष्ठोऽध्यायः ७१- ७५, Quote: अयं बन्धुरयं नेति गणना लघुचेतसाम् । उदारचरितानां तु वसुधैव कुटुम्बकम् ॥ भावाभावविनिर्मुक्तं जरामरणवर्जितम् । प्रशान्तकलनारभ्यं नीरागं पदमाश्रय ॥ एषा ब्राह्मी स्थितिः स्वच्छा निष्कामा विगतामया । आदाय विहरन्नेवं सङ्कटेषु न मुह्यति ॥ (...).
  8. AG Krishna Warrier (1953), Maha Upanishad, Theosophical Society, Madras, Online, Verse VI.71–72
  9. AG Krishna Warrier (1953), Maha Upanishad, Theosophical Society, Madras, Online
  10. Sheridan 1986, pp. 1–16.
  11. Badlani 2008, p. 184.
  12. [1] Dr N Radhakrishnan, Gandhi In the Globalised Context


External links[edit]