“Krinavanto vishwam aaryam” – ‘Let us make the entire world noble’ – called out the Vedic Seers of ancient Bharatavarsha – the Land that revels in the Light of Wisdom. Long before the dawn of civilization in other parts of the globe, the seers and sages of Bharat built up on our sacred soil a mighty and glorious nation founded on spiritual values. Sitting on the banks of the holy rivers, Sindhu and Ganga, the rishis of yore meditated on the meaning and purpose of human existence and discovered the great secrets of Mother Nature from whose womb all beings are born. In the process of evolution of life from the lowest amoeba to the highly evolved rational being, the man, they discovered teleology. Mother Nature endowed man with the body-mind-intellect equipment and the faculties of reason and intuition to enable him to raise himself from a biological, mundane, material and ephemeral existence to an eternal and immortal life in the realm of Universal Consciousness.
“Sareeram aadyam khalu dharma saadhanam” – ‘This body-mind-intellect equipment is an instrument for achievement of higher values of life’ – the Rishis declared. Accordingly they propounded a way of life to elevate man from the realm of physical existence to Divine Life. That way of life came to be known as Sanatana Dharma – the Eternal Values of Universal Existence. “Dhaaranaat dharmam” – “That which holds together is Dharma”. The holy land of Bharat is known as Dharmabhoomi since times immemorial. This land surrounded by three mighty oceans and nourished and nurtured by sacred rivers came to be known as Saptasindhubhoomi—the land of the seven vast expanse of waters. It became Hapta Hindu in the Persian Zend Avesta and finally this land was called Hindusthan or Hindu Rashtra. The eternal values of life that sprang up in this holy land came to be known as Hindu Dharma and Maanava Dharma – the values common for the entire humanity.
“Etad desha prasootasya sakaashaad agra janmanah
Swam swam charitram shiksheran prithivyaah sarva maanavaah”
— ‘Let the mankind all over the world learn the meaning and purpose of their existence from the preceptors of this sacred land’ – declared our ancient sages, and the Santana Dharma that is Manava Dharma, that is Hindu Dharma, spread to distant lands in the remote past, assuming later different names and forms in the course of centuries. The ancient Persians, Arabs, Greeks, Romans, Babylonians, Assyrians, Hittites, Mitannis, Mayans, Incas – each and every civilization that sprouted in different parts of the world – imbibed the glorious values and way of life of the most ancient people of Bharat. Addressing the Parliament of World Religions at Chicago, Swami Vivekananda rightly introduced himself as one who came there to speak on behalf of the ‘mother of all religions’.
Due to historical and geographical reasons, the link between Mother India and the humanity in other parts of the world was snapped for centuries. The faults and failures of her own children brought down Mother India to an abysmal depth. However, during the renaissance and reformation period in India in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, the Awakened India once again asserted and drew the attention of the whole world. Not only our ancient culture and heritage, but also our scientific, rational and universal ideals and outlook on life once again started to occupy the minds of the entire humanity. The enlightened Hindu Diaspora also played a prominent role in re-introducing the eternal and universal values and way of life to people belonging to various cultures, races, religions and nations. Development of science and technology has shrunk today the size of the world. Quick and easy means of communication and dialogue have enabled peoples of different nations to exchange thoughts and ideals and build a strong bond of human brotherhood. That exactly is what our ancient seers wanted when they gave out the concept of Vasudhaivakutumbakam—‘the whole world is one family’.
The Vishwa Dharma Prasaar Yaatra envisaged by the Vishwa Hindu Parishad Overseas is to realize this dream of Universal Brotherhood. It is not only to awaken the children of Mother India settled in different lands to the sacred task of spreading the message and mission of the land of their forefathers, but also to unite the entire humanity, irrespective of creed, culture, race and nationality, in one bond of human brotherhood. It is an attempt to build up a world of peaceful co-existence and harmony where differences in the ways of worship, religious, cultural and political thoughts and differences of race and colour will not create barriers between man and man, and the entire humanity will learn to live in tune with Mother Nature, the mother of us all.
“Sam gacchadhwam, sam vadadhwam, sam vo manaamsi jaanataam,
Devaa bhaagam yathaa poorve samjaanaanaa upaasate”
— “Let us all walk in unision, let us all speak in once voice. Those who strive united attain to the goal of life like the divine beings of the ancient days.”
Let this be our common prayer!
Author: Professor Sadhu Rangarajan