The title may sound like some fantasy, or a overly utopian idea, but actually this is the premise of the Vedic teachings. That is why there is the saying in Sanskrit, Vasudhaiv Kutumbikam, “the world is one family”. Certainly we can see that the whole world is populated by people who are working to attain the same things: happiness, peace, security, resources like food and shelter, and a hopeful future. How much easier it could be if we focused on our similarities instead of our differences. And with that, how much easier it would be to find the necessary cooperation that would pave the way for global assistance in helping everyone acquire what they need.

            The premise is that we are all spiritual beings who are not these bodies but only inside them. Our real identity is not whether we belong to a certain ethnic group or culture. Yes, we may follow a certain path or religion, but these can be changed and the soul is above all such temporary designations. And the nature of the soul is to love and be loved. Everyone is working and wishing for that, because happiness is found in relations, and no happiness is higher than a deep loving relationship. But the highest relationship is that which we, as spiritual beings, share when it is based on devotion to the Supreme Being, the ultimate lovable object. That is the eternal spiritual path, or santana-dharma.

            By having a solid understanding of such spiritual knowledge, there is automatically a respect for all others regardless of race, sex, or species. This brings a moral and peaceful social behavior in everybody toward everyone. By having respect for everyone’s spiritual identity, parts and parcels of the Lord, this also brings an innate happiness in us all. We can understand that we are only visiting this planet for a short time, and that we are all in this together. In other words, my contribution to your well-being, especially spiritual well-being, will be an automatic contribution to my own existence. In this way, society at large is in a state of constant improvement. That is the goal of the Vedic way of life.

            Therefore, the Vedic system means a way of life that aims at the elevation of everyone in society to a higher level of consciousness. It means to assist ourselves through a disciplined and godly life to understand the purpose of our existence as well as to become a spiritually realized person. It also means that we help every other individual soul because by helping others we help ourselves. That itself is a natural state of being when we can perceive God as the Supersoul, Paramatma, within everyone. All of this is encouraged by, and increases, a natural faith in an all-pervading Supreme Being. Such faith and focus on the Supreme Being, when systematically developed, can elevate us to return to our real spiritual home after death, which is one of the most important goals of the Vedic lifestyle.

            The trouble we see so much of in the world today is not so much a clash of religions, but a clash of individual egos of people who associate their bodily identity and cause with their religion. It is the tendency of the human mind to cling to those people who are similar, and claim superiority over those who are different. This itself leads to the divisions of religion, caste, ethnic group, or race. Thus, the tendency becomes to defend one’s own weakness, inferiority or insecurity by unnecessarily criticizing and hurting others to establish one’s own sense of position and superiority. However, in these days this is often done in the egotistical guise of defending one’s own religion. But this ignores the very love, compassion and tolerance that most religions claim to represent or teach. And certainly it ignores the very love, mutual respect and cooperation that we seek, and that the world depends on if we and this planet are to survive. Why not take the noble path of being more willing to live up to your religion rather than to simply fight or die for it? This alone would settle many of our differences and world problems. We have to decide whether we want to live with each other or fight with one another. The answer should be obvious.

            As it is concluded in the Atharva Veda: “We are birds of the same nest. Wearing different skins, speaking different languages, believing in different religions, and belonging to different cultures – yet we share the same home, our earth. Born on the same planet, covered by the same skies, gazing at the same stars, breathing the same air, we must learn to progress happily together or miserably perish together. For humans can live individually but can survive only collectively.”

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