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There are no strangers, only friends we have never met

Updated: Sep 8, 2021

With a greeting I presented my ticket to the young lady at the Check-in counter at Kolkata airport with a request to please allot me a window seat.

She replied, "I am sorry Sir, but we have only middle seats left. Do you have any row preference?"

I replied "It does not matter. Any row will do. There are no strangers, just friends, we have never met."

The girl looked at me, surprised. Then she stood up and smiled, as she handed me my boarding pass. "Sir, that was so deep and wonderful a thing for you to say, thank you."

I left the desk more bewildered than the young lady.

Did I just say that? Where did those thoughts come from?

When I reached home in Pune, I went through my diaries and notes and discovered that subconsciously I had quoted His Holiness 'The Dalai Lama'.


Many questions arose in my mind.

When and how did I acquire these thoughts and values, and began to own them?

Why was I not conscious about them?

How do we learn, remember and recall?

How do we make the connection to find the right words under the right circumstance for the right person, without ego and without ulterior motive?


Just as the ocean is filled by countless drops of water so it is with awakening. If we listen to, hear and reflect upon the teachings of our elders, teachers and our Gurus, thoughts and wisdom seep into our consciousness, awakening and transforming us.

So did I along with millions of others learnt and imbibed the fact that, 'Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam' meaning 'The earth is one family' (in Sanskrit). This belief was, and is considered the most important moral value of India and inscribed in the entrance hall of India's parliament building.

Once again on this independence day let's share this message of India's commitment to the all inclusive universal family.

Sometimes even families disagree and squabble but if our values remain rooted in noble ideals, then friendship and universal brotherhood will eventually prevail. We will be a world where none is in fear, nor want.


Important Note:

'Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam' is not a standalone declaration, or some kind of a dictum or commandment in our civilisation. It is a phrase in a beautiful shloka from the Maha Upanishad. The shloka says:

अयं बन्धुरयंनेति गणना लघुचेतसाम् उदारचरितानां तु वसुधैव कुटुम्बकम् ॥

Meaning: Only the small minded discriminate saying, "This is my kin and this is not. For those who are magnanimous of character, the entire world constitutes but a family".

The beauty of Indian civilisation is that all kinds of thought was and are permitted, expressed, and flourished in this land - and this is just one of the gems of Indian tradition.


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