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How Culture is One

Date: Sat, 14 Apr 2012 21:27:44 -0000
From: Hariish Deva
Subject: How Culture is One



Commonly people think there are so many cultures: African, western, Native American, Chinese, Russian, Indian etc. Indeed, in the last two decades, various terms like multi-cultural, plurality of cultures, bi-cultural etc have come into vogue. People think humans differ according to their own "separate culture". Hence it is often thought that there are many different cultures on this planet. In that case there is no question of one human family.

But according to Baba's teachings, human culture is one - not many. This letter is an effort to better understand Baba's sublime teachings on culture, and why culture is one.


First and foremost, according to Baba Shrii Shrii Anandamurti ji, culture is the collective name of various human expressions.

Baba says, "Culture is the collective name of various expressions of human life." (A Few Problems Solved - 6)


Let's examine a few practical examples to better understand what is culture.


As we know, when people meet then they greet each other. This practice of humans greeting each other when they meet is pervasive. It happens everywhere. A person in the hills of North Korea greets their friend; and a person from a valley in California greets their friend. In both cases, in some way they greet their relations. This is a common practice. This is culture. And because it is everywhere, that is why culture is one.

Of course, people from different lands may express their greetings differently.

For instance, in Ananda Marga we do namaskar or pranam; in some lands, people bow to one another; in other countries people wave their hand and say hello; in some places people say shalom; in other lands people embrace one another or kiss; and many resort to handshaking also. Thus there are many ways that people greet each other. But these various types of greetings are not cultures, but rather demi-culture.

Culture is the act of greeting, irrespective of how it is done. On this point, all human beings share a common thread; they all greet one another.

Some may try and bifurcate the society by dividing people into this culture or that culture. But in truth there is a common thread that is shared among all. Greetings is one such common point. Again, there may be various ways of greeting a friend, but in reality people from all various places are all doing the same thing, i.e. greeting.

It should be very clear that the greeting itself culture, while the way people greet one another is a cultural expression or demiculture. Demiculture may be innumerable but culture is one. That is why all humans are one.

To some it may look like culture is many. However, the very act of greeting another person is itself our human culture. The practice of greeting a friend or neighbor etc is shared by all peoples in all lands.


All over the world people express their joy or happiness. This expression of happiness is common to all. This is culture. If someone is happy in Thailand then they express their happiness, and if someone is happy in Alaska or Siberia then they too express their happiness. Expressing happiness is the culture of human beings: When they are happy then they express themselves in some way.

It may be through art, dance, laughter, drama, music and so many ways. That is a common point everywhere. That is why human beings are one, irrespective of their geographical area. Because their culture is one, i.e. when they are happy they express their joy.

And they may do this in various ways: Some may laugh loudly; others might just smile; some might dance naked in the street; while still other might decorate their dress with flowers. Around the globe, people express themselves differently.

People of Thailand may dance in a way different from residents of Alaska or Siberia. But that difference in style is their demi-culture, or the cultural expression of that area. Human culture is one: To express happiness.

One should not confuse culture and demi-culture. Culture is the trunk of the tree and the demiculture refers to all those branches, and twigs.

So human culture is one, i.e. expressing happiness when they are happy.

In other words in different lands, people express their joy or happiness in various ways. Some sing, some dance, some clap, some whistle, some smile, some laugh, some slap hands, and others hug. There are so many ways how people express their happiness. These are not culture, but rather demi-culture. Demi-culture is different in various lands. The main theme is that when they are happy and they express their happiness. That is common everywhere. That is culture and that is one.


All human beings are one: (a) everyone greets, (b) everyone expresses happiness, and (c) many similar practices can be included in this list.

Irrespective of their so-called caste, language, so-called race or geographical areas, literate or educated, all have these common qualities. That is why inherently human culture is one. By superficial review, it may seem like people live in different ways and express themselves according to different cultural tenets, but these are just local variations of our singular human culture that we term as demi-culture.

The conclusion is that fundamentally human culture is one and there are various local differences and those differences are not cultural distinctions but rather expressions of demi-culture.


Ananda Marga wants to unite all and form one human society. This is one of our main themes: To unite all human beings.

Human culture is, by definition, one. It is singular. As Ananda Margiis, we propagate this divine truth - i.e. that human culture is one - to bring about one human society.

When people start thinking human culture to be one it will be very easy to unite all humans. Then peace can be brought on this earth. Disunity invites violence. People divide humanity on the basis of various platforms including culture. By that way so many problems surface. By propagating the truth that human culture is one we can unite everyone and bring peace.
Baba says, "The more human beings live in unity, shoulder to shoulder, the greater the welfare of the human race will be." (A Few Problems Solved Part 3 - Human Society Is One and Indivisible – 3)

"A'mi toma're bhuliya' chinu katodin..." (Prabhata Samgiita #4091)


 Baba, I was remaining forgetful and was oblivious of You for such a long span of time. My life passed like this. I traveled on the rugged, jagged path. Sometimes I fell down in the ocean current.

 O' Parama Purusa, my days, full of stains, were wasted in hopelessness-- without any achievement, without any genuine progress. So many lonely, isolated nights passed in crying in utter despair with no pra'na-- just frustration.

 Baba, sometimes I suffered and got hit by the cold northern breeze. And sometimes that northern breeze took away all my hopes, inspiration, and gains. Just I drowned in staticity and crudeness.

 Now, by Your grace, today spring has come. All the surroundings are filled with the colourful flowers and sweet aroma. The dark night has changed into a glittering moonlight, shining in the sky. Peacocks are dancing in happiness and expressing their joy by extending their feathers.

 O' Divine Entity, the sweet breeze has come. It is shaking my whole existence and making me quiver in the divine vibration. That sweet breeze is giving me the hint and telling me, 'Listen! the divine flute, which is resonating, it is calling you..."

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