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Sunday, September 19, 2021

Harmony in the universe – the true essence of ‘Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam’

In Devi Bhagavatam, Devi in her conversation with Brahma says that both the masculine and feminine forms are one and the same and both are emanated from her. The Goddess is basically formless but assumes both masculine (Shiva) and feminine (Shakthi) forms in order to create the universe. While Shiva is a symbol of consciousness, Shakthi is a symbol of energy.

The energy in turn gets split into Panchabhutas (5 elements viz., earth, water, fire, air and space) at the macro level in the universe. At the micro level 5 karmendriyas (mouth, hands, feet and two excretory organs), pancha tanmatras (form, smell, touch, taste and sound) enter into all the living beings.

There is a link between the pancha bhutas at the macro level and pancha tanmatras at the micro level of the universe. Space is identified with sound, air is identified with both sound and touch, fire with sound, touch and form, water with sound, touch, form and taste and earth is identified with sound, touch, form, taste and smell.   

Mano rupekshu kodanda 

Pancha tanmatra sayaka  

(Lalitha Sahasram) 

The Goddess uses her mind in the form of the bow and releases pancha tanmatras through the five fingers of her hand to initiate the creation in the Universe. This leads to momentum in all the living beings in the universe. The consciousness from Shiva enters the living beings in the form of soul (Atman) along with Trigunas (Satwik, Rajas and Tamas) and mind, heart and intellect. All the living beings, depending on their Karmas go through the endless cycle of birth and death. This whole process is known as creation (srushti), preservation (sthithi) and dissolution (laya).  

According to the Vedas there are 84 lakh living beings and human being is one of them. The four antakaranas viz., Manas (mind), chitta (memory), buddhi (intellect), ahamkara (ego) are present in all living beings at various levels of evolution whereas in the human being they are present in the highly evolved state.

Mind gets attracted to the six enemies or passions viz., kama (desire), krodha (anger), lobha (greed), moha (delusion), mada (pride) and matsarya (jealousy or envy) and accordingly perceives and experiences the material world through its body.   

Man is the most evolved living being and once his mind realizes this it will get distanced from the six enemies (viz., desire, anger, greed, delusion, pride and jealousy) and gets merged in intellect. At this stage the intellect gets disconnected from the material world and starts exploring internally to know its roots. This exploration leads the intellect to realize its roots in the soul and joins the soul. 

The soul completely detached from the external material world will discard the trigunas (satwik, rajas and tamas) and in turn starts searching for its roots. When this search is successful it leads the soul to get connected to its roots viz., the consciousness. When the soul gets dissolved in the consciousness, simultaneously the pancha tanmatras too get dissolved in the Devi from whom they have originally emanated and entered the universe. Thus, Devi though is originally formless, assumes the forms of Shiva and Shakti in order to create the Universe, says Devi Bhagavatam. 

Shiva and Shakti are one and the same as the last verse in Lalitha Sahasranama says- Shiva Shaktyaikya rupini lalitambika.

According to the Advaita Vedanta tradition the following four Upanishadic statements indicate the ultimate unity of the individual (Atman) with Supreme (Brahman). 

These four Mahavakyas are:

  1. prajñānam brahma – “Prajñāna is Brahman”, or “Brahman is Prajñāna (Aitareya Upanishad 3.3 of the Rig Veda)
  2. ayam ātmā brahma – “This Self (Atman) is Brahman” (Mandukya Upanishad 1.2 of the Atharva Veda)
  3. tat tvam asi – “Thou art that,” “that essence (tat, referring to sat, “the Existent’) you are” (Chandogya Upanishad 6.8.7 of the Sama Veda)
  4. aham brahmāsmi – “I am (part of) Brahman”, or “I am Divine” (Brihadaranyaka Upanishad 1.4.10 of the Yajur Veda)

Only a highly evolved human being will be able to attain the stage wherein he realizes that he (Atman) is part of the Supreme (Brahman). 

Living in harmony with the rest of the universe and realizing that the universe belongs to all the living beings on the earth is the first step towards a human being’s evolution in pursuit of salvation. 

ayaṃ nijaḥ paro veti gaṇanā laghucetasām।
udāracaritānāṃ tu vasudhaiva kuṭumbakam॥
(Maha Upanishad 6.71–75).

This is mine, that is his, say the small minded,
The wise believe that the entire world is a family.

Hindu Dharma teaches the importance of coexistence and living in harmony by all the living beings in the universe while one follows his own dharma and pursues his endeavor to attain salvation.  


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Dr. B.N.V. Parthasarathi
Ex- Senior Banker, Financial and Management Consultant and Visiting faculty at premier B Schools and Universities. Areas of Specialization & Teaching interests - Banking, Finance, Entrepreneurship, Economics, Global Business & Behavioural Sciences. Qualification- M.Com., M.B.A., A.I.I.B.F., PhD. Experience- 25 years of banking and 14 years of teaching, research and consulting. 100 plus national and international publications on various topics like- banking, global trade, economy, public finance, public policy and spirituality. One book in English “In Search of Eternal Truth”, two books in Telugu and 20 short stories and 27 articles published in Telugu. Email id: [email protected]

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