We are all aware of great human beings who have been moved by the plight of other human beings and have even sacrificed their lives for complete strangers. There may be many others about whom we have not heard. But generally speaking, human beings are comfortable helping only their close friends and relatives, with the exception of those strangers and acquaintances who can return them the favour at some point of time.
This could be partly explained by the fact that since our childhood, we have been conditioned to treat only our close friends and relatives as our own. We consider it our duty to help them when they require and even when they don’t. Partly, this could also be explained by the fact that we are confident of reciprocation when it comes to our close friends and relatives. Just as it is our duty to help them, it is their duty to help us. Another important factor is that we can easily empathize with our friends and relatives due to our association with them. When they are in trouble, we cannot remain emotionally aloof. We feel touched and troubled and want to do our bit for them.
When there is a temporary phase of mistrust and lack of communication between us and any of our close friends and relatives, misfortune on either side may restore the emotional bond, often making it stronger than before. In that sense, misfortune is something we should welcome. It can reunite people and re-ignite love.
Is it not possible to feel the same way about everybody? How do we internalize the tenets of ‘Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam’- the whole world is a family? How do we ensure that the misfortune of any and everybody moves us and motivates us to help? Can this be made possible by a good education system ? Will this be made possible by large-scale tragedies? Or is ‘Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam’ only an ideal which cannot be achieved by ordinary mortals?