Fw: Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam

Jan E.M. Houben jhouben at RULLET.LEIDENUNIV.NL
Mon Aug 7 14:08:19 UTC 2000

Original query of this little thread: Vasudhaiva ku.tumbakam (according to
B.A. Hatcher's 1994 article a "problematic mantra of hindu humanism"):
does it or does it not occur in any other ancient/classical Sanskrit (not to
speak of Vedic) text except the Hitopadesa 1.3 -- where this phrase is used
in a mean and deceitful way?
With the messages of Vishal Agarwal (attached below) and Peter Freund (this
List, last Saturday) are we perhaps finally getting at a somewhat more
ancient occurrence of the phrase? (so far no certain occurrence earlier than
ca. beginning of second millennium CE when it apparently became quite
Madhav Deshpande's reference to an old Marathi version (first half second
millennium CE?) may further illustrate the popularity of the idea expressed
Vasudhaiva ...

This idea may strike us as an almost self-evident morally
praiseworthy statement, but if I am not mistaken it contrasts sharply with
the main stream dharmic tradition (with as best known example the
Manusm.rti) which only speaks of divisions and subdivisions of humanity
without presenting an explicit all-inclusive notion of humanity (N.B. such
notion was also missing in the ancient Greek world). The only exception
more or less within the Brahminical fold is perhaps Saa.mkhya,
cf. Saa.mkhyaKaarikaa 53
on the creation: a.s.tavikalpo daivas tairyagyonaz ca pancadhaa bhavati /
maanu.syaz caikavidha.h ...
A commentary explicitly includes here the caa.n.daala or 'outcast'. Tension
between Saa.mkhya and orthodox Brahmanism is evident in many Mahaabhaarata

The Mahopani.sad seems to be a text of Vai.s.nava orientation (not a "major
Upani.sad" despite its name) which presents its teaching in a highly
Saa.mkhya-oriented terminology; As for its Vedic status: absent according
L.M. Fosse's recent definition:
>>I wouldn't venture to give a definition of a Hindu, but Vedic does have a
>>definition. It refers to a literature where the subjunctive is still a
>>living grammatical category. In other words: the four Vedas, the Brahmanas
>>and the oldest (13) upanishads, plus the concomitant sutras.
See also the observations of Valerie J. Roebuck yesterday. I did find the
verse with a slightly different beginning as Mahop. 6.71 in the MLBD volume
"Upanishatsamgraha": aya.m bandhur aya.m neti ga.nanaa ... vasudhaiva
ku.tumbakam; if the
Mahopani.sad is indeed referred to by Ramanuja (see attached message below),
it must be earlier than 11th century, may be with one or more centuries?
There is one problem, however. The Mahopani.sad occurs in P. Deussen's 60
Upani.sads of the Veda (p. 743 of original German edition), but is there
much shorter than in the MLBD volume. The first verses are similar, but the
verse with vasudhaiva ... is missing. So we still don't know whether
Ramanuja was familiar with a version of the Mahop. which comprised the
verse.  (Deussen records that the Mahop. was part of the 17th century
Oupnekhat translation into Persian; it is also in a list by Colebrooke and
in a list by Naaraaya.na.)

Date of the Yogav. Mahaaraamaaya.na? According to Peter Thomi's index a
verse starting aya.m bandhur aya.m neti occurs 5.18.61, but its final paada
is vigataavara.naivadhii.h. In the Laghu-Yogav. however, a verse similar to
Mahop. 6.71 occurs as 5.2.62.

Thanks, and best wishes, Jan Houben
-----Forwarded Message-----
From: Vishal Agarwal <vishalagarwal at hotmail.com>
Date: Friday, August 04, 2000 4:55 PM
Subject: Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam

>The phrase occurs in
>1. Mahopanishad 5.72
>The Upanishad (though not this particular verse) is quoted in the Vedartha
>Samgraha of Shri Ramanujacharya and therefore predates him.
>I have also seen it in Yogavasishtha Maharamayana and had sent the
>to Dr. Elst a few days back. However, I am unable to find it now and
>that you contact him (in case he has saved it). It will be a few weeks
>before I could go to the library and find it again for you. You may forward
>the message to the Indology list if you wish.
>Vishal Agarwal
>Get Your Private, Free E-mail from MSN Hotmail at http://www.hotmail.com

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