Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam: Ideas of Ancient Indian Philosophy

Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam means ‘All Earth is one family’. This idea of philosophy has been utilized during various times of political and social engagement with the world. In recent, this idea is put forward by Prime minister Shri Narendra Modi to build international harmony during the world peace conference. The idea is functional as the solution to community feud, false status pride, negative approach towards others, non-understanding, acquiring resources more than need, disturbing natural orders, and non-following of universal law. This idea also brings a new dimension to humanity. Nowadays, people are losing their ancient values because of multiple side-effects of modernity. Philosophy of ‘Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam’ helps to preserve the other important notions of caring for all, helping others, self-guarding truth, acting non-violence, avoiding false claims and disregarding compassion. The essence of unity could be found in the idea of ‘vasudhaiva kutumbakam’. The oneness with all may encourage us to conquer the limitations within and proceed towards freedom. The other important ideas supporting the concepts of ‘Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam’ are respectively explored here-

  1. Following Interdependence nature
    Interdependence is being dependent on one other for living. It is important to understand that we all need others for our sustenance. Independently, we can’t survive on this planet. From basic to advance needs, we need tolerance & cooperation from all.
  2. Cooperation in Religious & cultural beliefs of others
    Some beliefs are very personal and sensitive for a community. We must consider other’s religious beliefs respectfully and not interfere with their living patterns. We have the right to resist, if and only if, such beliefs are disturbing the practice of our faith.
  3. Realizing the meaning of existence
    Existence doesn’t mean just surviving, it is more than that. Existence is a pattern of living by following our beliefs, faith, knowledge, attitude, and skills. Realizing existence means knowing self. Having a proper and complete knowledge of self would make our existence meaningful.
  4. Following system of commune living
    Commune means living together by sharing the resources and materials of requirements. This system is important to eradicate the goals of human to acquire material possession. It is not so important to have a material possession, but we must continue the process of spiritual development.
  5. Showing compassion towards others.
    Compassion means sympathy with others problem and a desire to alleviate it. When we show compassion, the kindness emerge by itself and an overall feeling of wellness is generated.
  6. Ensuring collectivism
    Collectivism is important for the community. It stresses on the belief that all the production and distribution belongs to group or community rather individual being. This concept is important because generally people with power are seeking individualistic control on the processes of this world.
  7. Instrument to peace & harmony
    The entire philosophy of ‘all world is family’ is based on the universal peace, harmony and brotherhood. This concept is pure and seeks only the happiness of all being. It doesn’t have any underlying desires of selfishness. World harmony matters to each being of this planet, and an idea which indicates the same is vasudhaiva kutumbakam.
  8. Bringing change in the existing pattern of humanity
    Humanity is diverting from the goals of peace, tolerance, acceptance, belonging, and welfare. The existing pattern seeks only power, money, contact-reference, self-benefits, and success. This is necessary to be changed because all this has no contribution to the real and concrete progress of society.
  9. Sharing and caring
    The more we show the spirit of sharing resources, knowledge, or ideas with others, the more likely we are willing to show genuine feelings of kindness and companionship. Sharing and caring always go hand in hand. It works for all the communities, caste, and creed. The union between opposite groups could be generated by such a simple concept of share & care.
  10. Being responsible for every life
    Each and every life matters on this planet. We can’t neglect the life of lower conscious beings. It may not contribute as much as humans could, but without them, the complete life cycle could fail. Killing other animals unnecessarily or making others devoid of basic resources like food, shelter, water is a wrong doing which humans have been conducting since long. This has affected the prevailing environmental conditions and consequences could also be observed in the form of climate change or soil erosion.

Philosophy of ‘Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam’ is meaningful because it makes us to preserve the important cultures. With regular practice of such an amazing philosophy, we could see our world turning in a happier and friendly place. Our pride is enhanced and the sentiments of others are secured.

Three pillars of human life

Human life is precious because of knowledge, beauty, wisdom, conscience, morality, responsibility, care, rationality, curiosity, justice, meaning, acceptance, willingness, feelings, emotions, attitude, fear, love, attraction, and so many things. All this has some origin or source of its production. It arises out of three important pillars which makes human life in existence. These pillars are- ‘Nous’, ‘Psyche’, ‘Soma’.

In ancient philosophy, term nous signifies intellect or intelligence or ideals which a human mind carries all throughout its life. A person is greedy, lazy, caring, respectful, modest, and trustworthy because of the ‘Nous’. Anaxagoras(pre-socratic philosopher) is known to be the first person who has defined the concept of ‘nous’ or mind which is responsible for all the orderly patterns we see around. Aristotle define ‘nous’ as awareness which makes human a rational being. Without ‘Nous’, human beings cease to exist. Everyone has some ideals in life. Those who don’t follow their ideals are taken as slaves.

The psche of human forms the psychological mental conditioning like introversion(reserved), extroversion(open to all), extraversion(social butterfly), agreeableness(warm & kind), neuroticism(worry often), openness, and conscientiousness(organized or having a strong sense of duty). Psyche is responsible for what a person is in reality(so basically personality). It is the outward expression of a person’s inner thought.

‘Soma’ is the physical material of which human being consists of. A person is thin, fat, slim, skinny, chubby, fit, athletic because of the quality of matter inside them.

So, we see, this three things can make a human complete being. It is believed that we don’t have much control on the three pillars which make our life in existence. But, if we focus on a particular domain for a longer period of time, we do have a chance to bring change. Comparing this whole concepts to Indian philosophy, it is said that the overall personality of humans are made up of five sheaths(coverings) or panchakosha. These are- Annamaya kosha(food sheaths), Pranamaya Kosha(breath sheath), Manomaya Kosha(mind sheath), Vijnanamaya Kosha(intellect sheath), Anandmaya Kosha(bliss sheath).

Now the important question arises is – How does this sheath prepares our complete body which consists of mind, matter & spirit? The answer lies in the division of kosha in three types of bodies-

  1. The gross body sthula sharira (physical matter)- Annamaya Kosha(Annam means food) & Pranamaya Kosha – It forms the outer covering of human body. Many philosophers believe that breath brings life to human body, but it’s not true. Breath actually brings action to human body.
  2. The subtle body sukshma sharira– Manomaya Kosha & Vijnanmaya Kosha – the mind and intellect(knowledge) is necessary to bring meaning to human life. Without this, a human would just be a moving machine.
  3. The causal body karana sharira– Ananadmaya Kosha This is the complete bliss a human obtain by crossing all the limitations arising in mind, body and intellect. Though this is very close to aatman(inner soul). It is not aatman because it still has some limitations which differentiate it from aatman. Aatman brings life to human body. When a person dies, aatman separates from the body.

By understanding this concepts, we can now answer many questions which generally confuses our mind- What causes death? So, the malfunction in any of human’s three pillars could take away the precious life. Is soul important? Yes, because it brings life to human body. Does mind & intellect differs? yes, both are different and meet its concerned purpose.

Hope so this article stir our reasoning and make us to think more of our life. Feel free to criticize or add something new to this theory. Thank you for reading.

Buddha Eight-Fold Noble path

Buddhism says sufferings could only be avoided by following eight-fold noble path:

  1. SAMYAK DRSTI=Right views/ understanding
    It is the understanding of four noble truths and realizing the reality of emptiness of life. Right view is to understand suffering, cause of suffering, extinction of suffering and path leading to sufferings.
  2. SAMYAK SANIKALPA=Right resolution/thought
    Right resolution is the thought-free from sensual desires, ill-will, cruelty and bad-faith. Eliminating wrong ideas and accepting good ideas would take us to nirvana. One should accept good thought, evil thoughts defile an individual and good thoughts elevate him.
  3. Samyak vak=Right speech
    Right though leads to right speech. Right speech means refraining from lying, slander, harsh words and frivolous talk. The speech should be true, sweet, agreeable and beneficial to others.
  4. SAMYAK KARMANTA=Right action
    It is the avoidance of killing, avoidance of stealing, and avoidance of sexual misconduct or misuse of the senses. These three evils are rooted in craving, ignorance and anger.
    Right livelihood means avoidance of five types of trades: trading in arms, human beings, flesh, intoxicating drinks, and poison. One should not take to forbidden means but work in consistency and good determination.
    a. To prevent the arising of evil that is not yet arisen.
    b. To discard the evil that has already arisen.
    c. To develop the arising of good.
    d. To promote the good that has already arisen, to increase it and to bring it to perfection.
    It is the mindfulness with regard to body, sensations, mind and Dharma(phenomenon).
    In Digha Nikaya, sutta 22, Buddha gives very detailed instructions as to how such contemplation is to be practised for example, regarding the body, “one should remember and contemplate that the body is only a combination of four elements(earth, water, fire and air). That it is filled with the whole sort of loathsome matters, flesh, bone, skin, entrails, dirt, bile, phlegm, blood, pus, etc. Going to a cemetery one should observe further how the body rots, decays, eaten by dogs, vultures and afterwards gradually becomes reduced to the five elements.By such intense contemplation, man is able to give up all false emotions and affections with the body.
    A concentrated mind perceives the true nature of things. Right concentration means:
    a. Right reasoning and investigation regarding the truths.
    b. It is unruffled meditation.
    c. Detachment from tranquillity.
    d. Detachment from bodily pleasure & pain.A state of perfect equanimity, indifference and self-possessions, is the state of nirvana or perfect wisdom.

    So these are the eightfold path of Buddhism which is for the cessation of suffering.

Maya- The unknown Ruler

“We run towards illusionary happiness, the materialistic life. We should know that real happiness is within us. We just need to identify it.”

Maya is a cosmic illusion. It’s a magic we generally fail to identify. We are known to be in illusion from the past to present days.
Maya is not an ordinary kind of illusion. It decieve us of reality and make us see what it wants us to show. Due to Maya, it’s difficult to recognize the truth and our life is affected a lot. It’s just because of Maya that we are blind despite having eyes, deaf despite having ears and mute despite having mouth.
Maya cover the reality/ the truth in such a way that we see illusion but believe it to be reality. Maya is just like a mirage which shows water in desert.

Life on Earth isn’t real but a divine Leela.

If everything is illusion, then what’s reality? Where is truth?
This is the major metaphysical problem in philosophy. What we consider reality, isn’t true in real. Reality is completely different from what we see around.

Today’s perspective:  Influence of ‘Maya’ in our Life

Today our world is most badly affected by Maya. I will put forward the daily life examples which would make it easier to understand the concepts:
Today we give time to technology & work so much, that we forget to give time to our own family, people, and even to self.
We won’t skip a day browsing Instagram, Facebook, twitter and we rarely get time to read the artistic writings and noble works of writers.
Today communication & transport has turned much easier due to technology, but we don’t prefer going to our village and spending time with our relatives.
Today the right means of living is broadcasted everywhere on TV, Internet, and social media. Still, our country is fighting cancer, HIV and another deadly disease.
Because of Maya, the loyal & poor people are ignored; whereas corrupted & rich are celebrated.
Today the royalty is measured by dressing & styles, and not by knowledge & beliefs. And the blame goes to Maya.
Our country is badly affected by the illusionary power of MAYA. Our life is threatened for its true essence. We focus our major part of life in building a happy house, and suddenly the disaster comes, and everything is destroyed.

How could we avoid falling in the trap of Maya?

“We run towards illusionary happiness, the materialistic life. We should know that real happiness is within us. We just need to identify it.”
There are so many limitations in people’s thinking & beliefs. Despite all these drawbacks, our country prospers because it values the talents and keeps on pushing the poor to live a life of comfort & respect.
The reason is explicably called as the self-power. Maya despite being so powerful & outreach, couldn’t affect the soul which could differentiate between the reality & fake.
In today’s world, if we identify the reality & fake,  then we are untouched by the mischief of Maya.
WE are humans, a masterpiece with errors. So, we shouldn’t be afraid of errors but should do our tasks with great pride and interests. Whatever will turn wrong could be blamed to Maya.”
Despite having the influence of Maya, an illusion, if we try to manage our life positively & logically, we can avoid getting affected by Maya.

Philosophical perspectives: Understanding Maya

1. Maya projects illusion and Maya conceals the truth. Maya stops us from achieving God’s realization and self-realization. It’s because of Maya that we are drowning in the sea of ignorance. We can’t see the island of truth. We are an intelligent being. But, we feel like most ignored.
2. Maya creates the materialistic desires in us. It’s the materialistic desires which make us do work or activity. Since childhood, we want to grab the thing we see. We are running for fake happiness only to be realized at the end.
The secret of the universe couldn’t be explored because we are troubled by Maya.  Modern science is exploring the universe and has been true in finding some deep truth. But still, it hasn’t found the absolute truth. It’s because of Maya we couldn’t reach to the absolute truth. The more efforts we put to get the truth, the bigger the problems turn.
3. The most important question which arises in understanding Maya:
If Maya is projecting illusion everywhere, then what about our own world? Does the world really exist? Or it is just the projection of Maya? Vedanta Philosophy explains that world doesn’t exist in reality. It exists only in relation to our mind. It’s same as per the definition given by popular Greek philosopher Descartes. I think; I exist. And therefore, I exist; the world exists.
Since our world has got both positive and negative phenomenon. And so, our world couldn’t be defined as completely real. Our world has got both optimistic & pessimistic thing. Our world seems hopeful and disaster at the same time. The dual nature of the world couldn’t be accepted in the theory of absolutism. Because of the duality of the nature of this world, philosophers and scientists have declared it as unreal and geared up to search the real world. Or the world which has got complete truth and no falsehood. Unfortunately, it hasn’t been possible to reach the truth despite persistent efforts.
4. Spirituality claims that realism is all inside us. There is no way we could find it at another place. While spirituality is exploring the inner life, scientists are making an effort to find reality outside.
Conclusively, no satisfactory results have been found. And all is blamed to the unknown ruler- the Maya which deceives us in a way that no-one could explore the reality. If we fully understand Maya, we would be successful in identifying and judging reality.
When we know the reality, everything changes, and we feel peace.
Therefore, let’s start getting unaffected by the materialistic life and focus on the true, spiritualistic, valuable, and genuine development of the self.
I hope you like the summary on ‘Maya’. Though there are many concepts related to Maya, I tried to finish it in reference to our actual life. Thanks for your continuous support. 🙂

Are we following Charvakas style of living?

Etymologically, the actual meaning of  Charvaka is not yet fully known. But some reference to ancient texts suggests that ‘Chara Vaka’ or ‘Charu Vaka’ or ‘sweet talks’ is the meaning of Charvaka. It is also said that the philosophy arises from the Sage whose name was Charvaka. The other meaning of Charvaka is ‘to chew’. Charvaka also means philosophy of Lokayukta. Lokayukta signifies People’s philosophy.
charvaka thoughts
Charvaka Philosophy is purely hedonistic. It follows the principle of maximization of one’s pleasure. One’s goodness is prioritized before the goodness of others. It also rejects the principle of Utilitarianism i.e., the happiness of the greatest number of people in society. The main principle of Charvaka thought is to look for one’s happiness even if others happiness is compromised. It believes in natural principles and so it is against the metaphysical systems which try to discover unseen realities. This philosophy is dependent on present conditions, it neither thinks of past nor plans for the future. Whatever happiness is available could be gathered in the present existing circumstances. It says that once this body deteriorates, and it dies there is nothing left to achieve or lose. So within the time limit of existence of this body, all kinds of pleasure should be achieved.

Artha(Money & Wealth)

The principle concepts of Purusharthas are Dharma(duties), Artha(money & wealth), Kama(sexual pleasure) and Moksha(liberation of a soul). Out of four of this, Charvaka accepts only Artha(money)and Kama(pleasure). The other two are described as unnecessary. Due to this nature of Charvaka, another Indian Philosophy such as Jainas and Buddha criticizes Charvaka. They believe that the Charvaka don’t follow any ground of morality and so it could not be counted as a School of Indian thoughts. It doesn’t even have any theoretic metaphysical characteristics which are considered as a very essential part of philosophy.

Charvaka Philosophy is said to be developed and taken forward by Charvaka itself and Kesakambalin. Still, there is a dispute that the founder of actual materialistic school is Brahaspati. In the Brahaspati Sutra, the thoughts of materialism and the characteristics of such schools are mentioned. Though this philosophy is very ancient and considered from the time of 6th & 7th century CE, the memorised, reproduced and translated versions are available which explains some concepts from the ancient accepted thoughts. The ancient texts & scriptures describe its entry as one of the six schools of ancient Indian thought.

“Eat, Drink & Be Merry”- Materialistic Life

This school is also called as Nastik Darshan or atheist philosophy. Atheist Philosophy is not because of their godless nature but because they don’t believe in the authorities of ancient texts of Vedas. The other Nastik Darshans are Jainas and Buddhas.

The School of Charvaka is repeatedly blamed for their non-acceptance of Hindus theism and moralism of Buddhist and Jainas. But their believes in hedonism is so strong that they even think morality as the actual culprit in the cessation of complete happiness. It is because morality brings some restrictions on our actual flow of life.

The Ethics of Charvaka Philosophy is egoism. And the personal ego is considered as supreme from any other ego of God or other beings. They are self-centred and believe in the happiness of self.  As said earlier, they don’t even care for the Universal theory of Utilitarianism.
Epistemologically, this school accepts only one source of knowledge and i.e., called as a Pramana or Pratyaksha or Perception. The knowledge which could be observed through naked eyes could only be considered as true. The other knowledge apart from this is considered as false or irrelevance.

They reject inference on the ground that the inference is second knowledge. The knowledge which is concluded by means of some other knowledge couldn’t be true according to Charvaka. On this regard, they have also rejected the testimony or verbal or written reproduction of knowledge. This types of knowledge couldn’t be believed on the ground that it has not been self-witnessed. It could be true or false. And that depends totally on the original perceiver. Therefore, Charvaka accepts only one source of knowledge and i.e., Perception.

Knowledge is Perception

Charvaka Philosophy and science has got a similarity, they both don’t consider any metaphysical realities and they have their own materialistic concepts on the realities of the world. They both think that matter is above all the things in universe. And matter is solely responsible for the formation and development of all the realities which we are aware of.

To round up, Charvaka doesn’t believe in any supernatural facts of God, life after death, eternity, soul and supernatural concepts beyond reality. The ultimate theory is positivism and hedonism. ‘It is worth to have a good life, once we are dead we couldn’t change anything.’ Charvaka Philosophy doesn’t even hesitate to take debt for the fulfilment of their personal- happiness. Once they are dead, there won’t come anyone to collect money of debt.  The materialistic philosophy of Charvaka, in short, is “Eat, drink and be merry.”

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