Joint Family (संयुक्तकुटुम्बम्)

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A Joint family (संयुक्तकुटुम्बम्) is a unique family system that formed the foundation of Indian society. If there exists dharma in the Indian society till now, it is to be attributed to the joint family system and the values an individual is imbibed with by the family. After industrialization and urbanization, sadly, the joint family system has largely eroded. However, we do see the joint family system intact in the agrarian and rural societies even today.

परिचयः॥ Introduction

The secret of a happy peaceful dharmik society life lies in the 'family spirit'. The basis of all our social relations is the feeling of family, not just limited to blood relations. This family feeling or intimacy was visible in practice, and such education and rites were given in families as well as in schools which promoted this familial unity. A Guru treated his student with familial love just like his son. A Maharaja is the father of all his citizens. The term "praja" itself means "progeny" or "children". People working in the same occupation are not competitive, they are "occupational brothers". The Earth is worshipped as the mother, our country is called the motherland. Cow, Tulsi, and Ganga are revered as the mothers. The people who come to listen to the lecture in the meeting hall are 'my dear sisters and brothers'. Even our markets are run with a family spirit.

Thus, according to the Sanatana Bharatiya values a family includes, blood relatives, friends, neighbors, the store-keepers, farming communities, social communities, guests, the plants and trees in the neighbourhood, the birds and animals around us, rivers, nearby lakes and waterfalls which are our water resources, our motherland, the earth which gives us food and so on to the Universe. We have seen how the large hearted people show inclusivity by stating that the "world is a family".

Shiva's Family - The Complete Family

The ideal of a dharmik family is the family of the deities Shiva and Parvati. In this family, each other's enemies also forget their hatred and live in harmony. Nandi the bull, the vehicle of Shankar or Shiva, is the food of the lion, which is the vehicle of Parvati. The mouse, the vehicle of Ganesha, is the food of the snake living around the neck of Shiva. And this snake is the food of Kartikeya's peacock in the natural food chain. Apart from this Chandra, the moon which represents medicinal plants and food, and Gangadevi who represents the life source namely water, both decorate the braids of Shiva. His third eye represents Agni, the fire. This family not only includes persons, we see animals, birds, i.e., animate and inanimate elements of nature co-existing in harmony.

Shiva, the universal father, is seen supporting the family as an agrarian farmer as Kedarnath. His wife Parvati, the universal mother, supports the family by providing food and taking care of the household in Kailasha as Annapurna. As Gangadhar, Shiva holds water in his braids providing water to sustain on earth. He takes care of health by providing food and medicines (Chandra). Thus we see division of labor and they complement each other to run the family.