Principles of Harmony


Bishnu Pathak, PhD- TRANSCEND Media Service

Harmony and peace go hand in hand. When peace comes after chaos and bloodshed, there is the need for harmony. Peace is the process for perfection whereas harmony is a perfect relationship. Peace may be experienced alone by a person whereas harmony is a systematic character between two or more persons or parties; harmony is always a plural condition. Peace may be enjoyed alone; harmony is living together peacefully. Peace implies calmness; harmony requires unity.

  • Confucianism: Harmony is the humanistic philosophy of good virtue that is adhered with an essential code of conduct to be followed by a person, a group of people, and the society in all worldly matters. Human beings are imperfect and ever prone to make mistakes, but they also are teachable, improvable, and perfectible through self-cultivation and self-creation. There is a possibility for human error for which a person may be punished for not pursuing the rules. Our society is a community of human beings; the parents have the authority over their children and the employers have the authority over their employees.
  • Daoism: Harmony has a naturalistic philosophy which entails the ultimate source of values for human beings.  Harmony achieves the values with the Universe for which a human being must act in accordance with the laws of the nature.
  • Taoism: As in Confucianism, harmony has a philosophy to lead a good life. Being the nature, a person must live in accordance with the laws and ways of nature.
  • Buddhism: Harmony is an accomplishment to imbibe peace in our minds. It is a cultivation of positive emotions, i.e. love and compassion, abandoning anger and negative state of mind, loving one another, and practicing altruism. If harmony begins from home, there will be social order in the nation; if there is social order in the nation, there will be peace in the world. Harmony teachings offer endless reincarnation and  spiritual attainment through correct views and actions and transform the soul so as to get rid of all sorts of cravings, sufferings and sorrows. It is a path toward cessation of pain that emphasizes upon all what is right: view, speech, action, livelihood, thought, effort, mindfulness, and concentration.
  • Hinduism: Harmony is Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam (entire world being a single family abandoning all dichotomies and/or divisions). Harmony is not just a unified system of belief encoded in a declaration of faith; it is rather an umbrella comprising the plurality of religious phenomena originating from the Vedic tradition. It includes conglomeration of a wide spectrum of laws and morality based on karma (action), dharma (righteousness or regulatory order in the universe), sanskar (acculturation), and societal norms. All human beings are divine; their unity of existence with love is enriched through satya (truth), ahimsa (nonviolence), asteya (non-stealing), aparighara (non-possession), santosh (contentment), and tapas (control, austerity and penance).
  • Christianity: Harmony promotes peace through benevolence by sharing the faith with others in addition to pardoning those who break the peace. It is loving God, loving oneself, and loving all others in the course of righteousness.
  • Islam: Harmony is faith in humanity recognized as one family. It is faith upon one God and having common parents, Adam and Eve, which is a great motivation for all human beings to live together with peace and brotherhood. It is not to hurt anyone whether through words or deeds; it works for the benefit and happiness of God’s creatures.
  • Baha I Faith: Harmony is a pursuit for world peace embracing collective security for the establishment of permanent peace. Harmony opposes any distinction among the people on the basis of caste/ethnicity, race, color, sex, culture, region, etc.
  • Third Party: Harmony is not an isolated term; it has often been found compatible with peace as an integral part of the ongoing evolution and development process. It invariably involves a third impartial party in order to alter cognitive and emotional views of the parties in conflict.
  • Positive Energy: Harmony is a potential and constructive harnessing process toward positive and productive energy; it is not a negative and destructive occurrence. It is a progression which is above being dimensional at micro, meso and macro levels in local, national, and even global conflicts. It promotes the understanding for resilience, optimism, strength, interpersonal interaction and goal.
  • Lifecycle: Harmony is merely seeking to resolve or transform a conflict by addressing the perceptions of it root cause. It is against a willful conflict that negates deep-rooted protracted violence. It is applicable in the changing nature of conflict dynamism, i.e. pre-and-post violence phases, at any stage of conflict escalation, segregation, destruction and violent climax to transitional peace appearance through mediation, talks-initiation and monitoring of its lifecycle. Besides, it is a period of transmitting different harmonious characters in all generation of human beings. It is a progression throughout the series of development at different stages.
  • Reculturation: Harmony is a reculturation process that has been undertaken in various post-conflict countries through 2D6R, viz. Disarmament (D), Demobilization (D), Reinsertion (R), Repatriation (R), Resettlement (R), Rehabilitation (R), Reconciliation (R) and Reintegration (R). Reculturation is a spiritual, social, cross-cutting and personal complementary and cooperative process.
  • Knowledge:  Harmony is an openness of intuitive and cognitive mind, which is autonomous and independent from science and the known knowledge. Harmony acquires knowledge of tolerance either through experience, skill, belief and education (theory and practice) or socialization.
  • Co-existence: Harmony is an existence of social justice through equality/equity and dignity. It attains respect of integrity and sovereignty and mutual benefit through non-aggression and non-interference with one another.
  • Gradual process: Harmony is a long term, gradual process of change sustained through engagement and interaction; it is not a short or medium-term initiative. It contends with the asymmetric, complex and protracted nature of human mind enriched with contemporary skills and approaches.
  • Nonviolence: Harmony is a set of techniques toward contemplating over abstention of violence with due regard to moral, socio-cultural and religious behavioral differences. It is a non-violent modus operandi which includes a set of prognosis, diagnosis and therapy.
  • Dialogue: Harmony is a conversation between two or more people respecting harmonious civilization, harmonic education and cross-cultural dialogues across the world at local, regional, national and international levels.
  • Consensus: Harmony is compatibility in nature on consensus and decision-making among the parties’ vision, mission, objectives, goals and needs by minimizing their conflicting interests and by rejecting unilateral decisions for one’s own victory. Harmony requires and so it strives for consent from all participants.
  • Mutual Relationship: Harmony is a bridge between human beings and universal truth, between matter and energy, and between human beings and the creator. Harmony involves a true relationship to exchange and share everything and anything with each other; there are no secrets, no deceptions.
  • ABC Triangle: Harmony is a principal tool for transcending tension between the conflicting parties by conforming to the ABC Triangle of attitude, behavior and context peacefully and by resolving an issue on the basis of why and what should be transformed and how.
  • Inbuilt: Harmony is inbuilt in nature, similar to a balanced human body. But physical and socio-cultural limitations affect the body and mind severally owing to unlimited and lost truth. It requires access to a higher level of consciousness to re-establish the lost harmony freeing the limitations of senses.
  • Freedom: Harmony is a paradigm shift in human thought from utopian attitude on love, kindness, happiness, compassion, rights and enthusiasm to modern interactions (modernity) in respect of freedom, freedom seekers and free thinkers. It articulates the relationship of individuals in a society in different social contracts and (co)existences.
  • Unity: Harmony is a unity in diversity and inter-connectedness in the contemporary world. Harmony is inseparable from non-harmony which is the state of being one, singleness despite all differences. It confluences the civilization of human beings with propagation for a benevolent world to attain egalitarian society.
  • Problem-Solving: Harmony is beyond the visible issues that are characterized with creative problem-solving. It includes considering the actors’ perspectives in a broad array, even if a person or community is marginalized or vulnerable.

Seeds of peace must be sown in the soil of universal harmony, which sprout up when like-minded individuals and/or institutions work together on a common platform of 4Ps of purpose, program, policy and priority. Fruits of harmony may vegetate in a civilized world with the concept of tolerance for peace and non-acceptance toward conflict, tension and war.


Dr. Bishnu Pathak, a PhD holder in Conflict management and Human Rights, is the President and Director of Conflict Study Center. He is the Convener of South Asia; TRANSCEND International and Board Member of TRANSCEND Peace University. Besides penning of the book entitled “Politics of People’s War and Human Rights in Nepal”, he  has published a number of research articles on issues related to Human Rights, UN, Security, Peace, Civil-Military Relations, Community Policing, and Federalism.

Dr. Pathak highly appreciates the editing of copy editor Mr. J. K Tater.


This article originally appeared on Transcend Media Service (TMS) on 3 Dec 2012.

Anticopyright: Editorials and articles originated on TMS may be freely reprinted, disseminated, translated and used as background material, provided an acknowledgement and link to the source, TMS: Principles of Harmony, is included. Thank you.

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31 Responses to “Principles of Harmony”

  1. Catharina van Staveren says:

    Dear Bishnu,

    Universal as I am I have shared from your Principles of Harmony UNITY ;-)

    From the Principles of Harmony ~ UNITY: ‘Harmony is a Unity in Diversity and Inter-Connectedness in the Contemporary World’ ~ Dr Bishnu Pathak

  2. Radha Paudel says:

    Great Work Bishnu Dai, keep on posting. It;s really gave more insight me to lead and strengthen `Miteri Gau-Let’s Live Together Campgain. for details

  3. Radhajee, thank you so much for your outstanding work. I salute you indeed. Keep up the good work indeed. We all are with you for your potentials for peace at local level.

  4. Rajendra Giri says:

    Congratulation and best wishes for your success and great achievements. I have browsed the article and find very useful and informative.

  5. Sharad Babu Shrestha says:

    Namaste !
    Thanks, very valuable to read.

  6. Muhammad Zamir says:

    It was most kind of you to send me the attached article. It was particularly coincidental as I was explaining to a group of students in one of the Universities in Dhaka yesterday about harmony in faith being the cornerstone for peace and understanding. I mentioned to them that the Creator is the palm of the hand and all the paths to Him might appear to be different, like the different fingers in our hand, but they are all joined to the palm.

  7. Ganesh Budha says:


    Nice to get this information.

    Thank you.

  8. Many thanks to you for sharing. It is wonderful.

  9. Bruce Cook says:

    What a wonderful way to show the contribution of religions to peace without showing favoritism to any one set of beliefs. Bravo!

    I have posted your article on author-me and promoted it on our social media network. I hope it will be widely read and appreciated.

    Have listed your article (and book) on our new website link to author-me’s world peace page –

  10. Norman G. Kurland says:

    Dear Dr. Pathak,

    Thank you for sending me your Principles of Harmony, as expressed in many religions and schools of thought. In only one of the sources — Co-Existence — did I see the cardinal virtue of “Justice” expressed in the term “social justice”, in the statement:

    • Co-existence: Harmony is an existence of social justice through equality/equity and dignity. It attains respect of integrity and sovereignty and mutual benefit through non-aggression and non-interference with one another.
    Please take the time and pass on, in the event you are not aware of it, the following statement by Pope Paul VI: “If you want Peace, work for Justice.” (

    While I am not a Christian, I am convinced that all those seeking global Harmony and Peace could easily unite on the simplicity and elegance of Paul VI’s statement, especially if they also had a common understanding of the word “Justice” and the terms “Social Justice” and “Economic Justice.” Formed in 1984, our Center for Economic and Social Justice ( offers a “Glossary” that defines these terms for promoting more clear and universal understanding of these terms, plus a holistic paradigm we call “the Just Third Way” for restructuring basic social and economic institutions, laws and constitutions for social entrepreneurs to work together to build a new global order where Harmony follows sound principles of Social Justice and Economic Justice. (

    In my humble opinion, seeking Harmony and equal dignity and self-worth for everyone in today’s world is an exercise in futility — that is, assuming that those worthy goals are sought without a realistic long-term plan that will provide truly equal opportunity for the poorest and most powerless of the world’s poor to have full access to the social and technological “tools” to meet their natural human needs for personal Justice, Freedom, fullest development of each one’s potential. Our website offers downloadable books and writings on the principles, logic and a plan that should be studied by all those seeking global peace and harmony. I see no other group offering such a plan.

    In Peace through Harmonic Justice,

    Norman G. Kurland, J.D.
    Center for Economic and Social Justice (CESJ)
    P.O. Box 40711, Washington, DC 20016
    (O) 703-243-5155, (F) 703-243-5935

  11. Dr. Robert Crane says:

    Dr. Bishnu,

    One quick note. Terminology is important. The Roman philosopher, Cicero, said, “Before you begin the discussion of anything whatsoever first define your terms”.

    The term “peaceful coexistence” is a hangover from the Cold War of half a century ago, as first explained in my articles on the subject in the Summer 1962 and Summer 1963 issues of the American Journal of International Law. The Soviets introduced this term at the United Nations, but in Soviet literature for internal consumption it meant “I won’t kill you yet”. A synonym is “tolerance”, which means the same thing.

    A better term for your purposes is “peaceful cooperation” based on the paradigm of pluralism, which means “We welcome you because we each have so much to offer and learn from each other”.

    For more background on “justice” as a key word, read Norm Kurland’s writings and my lead article in the just-published 2012 edition of the Muslim 500, which I have attached herewith.

    Peace, prosperity, and freedom
    through the interfaith harmony
    of compassionate justice,

    Bob Crane

  12. Deb Pandey says:

    Dear Dr. Pathak, this article is contextual to Nepal´s peace process. It is very readable. It would be further nice to read when you could add the subtitle of ´Equal opportunity for harmony´.

    Until society (or Nation) can provide equal opportunity to its resources, the unity is incomplete which could not be achieved as you express in this article…Your advocacy of harmony …needs to explain very need of equal opportunity at least…

  13. Prof. Bishnu Pathak says:

    Dear Colleagues;

    I am so happy to receive such a number of comments and suggestions. Thank you so much to you all. This is just the beginning to write on this principles and your suggestions, particularly justice, opportunity, peaceful cooperation shall definitely be added on the course to strengthen this article. It aims to develop the theory on harmony. More and more comments and suggestions are highly be appreciated.

    Thank you again to you all including my friend Antonio indeed.


  14. Úrsula Oswald Spring says:

    Thank you for the deep inside of harmony.

  15. Bimal Raj Pathak says:

    Namaskar/ Greetings,

    Thank you Bishnu Pathak for sharing the substantial article. Nice one.

    Mother Teresa once said, ” Peace begins with a smile”. Knowing everyone & every religion aspires for peace certainly has brought big smile on me. Harmony on the other hand is hard to obtain.

    If we all listen to our inner feelings of having harmonious world & implement IT INTO PRACTICE may certainly do the job. IT ALL BEGINS INDIVIDUALLY rather than peeking at what others are doing. Gautam Buddha started solely too.


    Best Regards, Bimal Raj Pathak.

  16. Yashoda upreti says:

    Dear Bishnu dai,

    I found this article very informative for me in terms of gaining knowledge on peace and harmony. Thank you very much for sharing me. keep in touch and keep sharing and sharing


  17. Prof. Bishnu Pathak says:

    Dear Bimaljee and Yashodajee;

    I am so happy for your sweet words and interest on peace and harmony. There is no doubt that we will continue our peace and harmony mission and one day we will reach at the destination certainly. I am really enjoyed with the kind word of Mother Teresa, this is new for me as well. Yes, Gautam Buddha is a sole inspiration of this indeed.

    Thank you again my friends.


  18. Surendra Uprety says:

    Insightful paper. Thank you Dr. Pathak

  19. Jhilke Sharma says:


    Your effort is laudable, but in the interest of harmony and peace which you purport to promote, why would you not include in your long list of religions the perspective of Judaism –whose forefather was equally the progenitor of Islam (Abraham) and from which religion also sprung Christianity?

  20. Prof. Bishnu Pathak says:

    Dear Jhilkejee;

    Thank you so much for your interest on Principles of Harmony. This is just the beginning and it shall try to give equal priority to all religions. We will add Judaism at the end.

    Thank you for your comments again.


  21. Dr. Sugam Jung K.C. says:

    Dear Professor,
    Thank you for insightful paper on the theory on harmony.

  22. Federica Riccadonna says:

    Dear Bishnu Pathak,
    Thank you so much for sharing principles of Harmony also with me.
    My feeling is that you create a comprehensive and holistic framework.
    Unity and Freedom, for example, especially in Western country are easily misunderstood, Unity vs Individual Freedom.
    Not true. Unity means different in bodies but one in mind (peace), Freedom means develop our own capacities and cooperate for peace. All toghether means Harmony!. As you show us, they can perfectly stay together and reinforce each other.
    Thank you

  23. Lars Eklund says:

    Really interesting comparision of the what the concept of harmony means in different religious settings.

  24. Dear Bob, Norm and Bishnu,

    I like your discussion in connection with Bishnu’s great Principles of Harmony. He showed briefly and remarkably universal harmony of all religions without exception, but in different forms, which complement each other. I’ll post this text on the GHA website and use it in the GHA new projects, but later.

    Of course, I regret that in the text there was no place for the ABC of Harmony, which Bishnu wrote in his review: “It is the first exclusive book to deal scientifically on harmony, harmonious civilization, harmonic education, and cross-cultural dialogues across the world at local, regional, national, and international levels …. The ABC of Harmony needs to be adopted by all governments and world institutions so that its prescriptions may be conveniently heeded. There is need of harmony at home, work and community; it is required in the region, in the nation and on the earth. The fusion of social democracy in the countryside and market economy in the urban centers may soon be a role model for universal harmony, no less so for socially, culturally, economically, and politically…” As you can see, the ABC of Harmony – it is the most fundamental scientific Principles of Harmony, which must be taken into account in them. But it’s reparable detail in Bishnu’s Principles in the future on that I very hope.

    Now I want to draw your attention to only one theoretical subtlety of great importance to us, it opens us the way of joint and mutually beneficial cooperation. Bishnu wonderful writes in the first sentence:
    “Harmony and peace go hand in hand. … Peace may be experienced alone …; harmony is always a plural condition.”

    Elaborating this idea, we can continue: Harmony goes hand in hand not only with peace but also with love, justice, freedom, brotherhood, happiness, and any other universal value. Harmony can not be without each of them. But each of them can not be fully without harmony. Therefore, they are always together, hand in hand. But how is? As brothers and sisters, or as the parents and children, that is, as cause and effect? This is a key theoretical question for them.

    Each of these values ​​is universal. But all of them, except harmony, are partial and one-sided, devoid of integrity. Integrity has only one value – the harmony as consent, and a measure of the proportion between all the parts of any whole. So it is always plural condition. Only with the harmony may be associated not only universal but also integral, holistic approach. This was noticed by the ancient Greek philosophers Pythagoras and Plato yet. This idea is one of the theoretical foundations of the GHA and the ABC of Harmony. It is developed in detail in this book. Therefore, harmony is the cause (the parent), soil and condition for all other universal values, including peace, justice, and others. Therefore, we in the GHA say: ‘PEACE (and the like) COMES FROM Harmony’, emphasizing the priority of the harmony in relation to other values. Peace, as well as other universal values ​​can not produce and provide other universal values: justice, love, happiness, and so on and vice versa. It can provide only harmony that unites all universal values ​​in itself as its components. This is well observed in a number of the modern books on harmony. For example here:, where it is written:

    “Harmony is the Prime Value … it is the group name or corporate name given to a set of values. For ‘Harmony’ has love, unity, concord, amicability, sociability, friendliness, spirit of co-existence and reconciliation, proper communication, openness of mind, self-control, non-violence, sweetness, tolerance, consensus, etc. as its essential components. Without these values, there cannot be an enduring and holistic harmony”.

    For our discussion, this means that the harmony and justice are inseparable, they can not exist one without the other, but the cause in this pair is harmony, and justice is its consequence. This means that the just economy and just distribution of property can be only in a harmonious civilization / society. This is brilliantly demonstrated by Norman in his article in the ABC of Harmony (pp. 100-101). So, Bishnu is much righted when he emphasizes: “I am sure of that GHA is the best place to work and discuss on this (harmony). Its sole purpose is to write theory on harmony in future, but on behalf of the GHA.”

    With love, best harmony wishes,

  25. Joe Bergson says:

    Excellent overview! This is a useful article for referencing different systems/philosophies. It is nice that you have taken the time to pull out a conceptual basis of how the somewhat nebulous term ‘harmony’ is reflected and interpreted within these different belief systems. We need to look at the radical and idealistic ideas of peace that run through so many of our doctrines (from secular, to religious; from the mandates of INGOs to the theoretical underpinnings of so much social and personal philosophy) and practically match up these ideals with the often apathetic/realpolitik sentiments that make such ideologies seem unrealistic or inconsistent. As always Dr Pathak is adding to this important global conversation. My very best wishes!

  26. Ravishankar N.S. says:

    I am pleased to read the principles of Harmony which is very significant and useful. I am the Vice President of BHA and also associated with many service organisation. I am holding World Human Rights Day on 10th Dec. 2012 and I will distribute the copies to the public. I assure my full support in your efforts.

    Kind regards,

  27. Thank you Musuq and passing this to me. Work by Dr. Pathak looks very useful. Congratulations to Dr. Pathak for getting published this comprehensive work.

  28. Alessandro Battiston says:

    Dear Bishnu,
    Thank you for sharing this inspiring content.
    Living in a globalized society our communities, sooner or later, have to deal with a question: whether to isolate themselves or to open to the Other. You perfectly show how there is harmony potential in each religion/culture/system/structure. Let’s spread this potential through conflict awareness, with open minds attitude and kindness.

    Indeed, “Principles of Harmony” is a content to share.

  29. Peace is better plural than singular. That is harmony between people and peoples.

  30. Manoj Pandey says:

    Dear Sir

    This article is very significant in terms of understanding of peace and Harmony from several dimensions. Indeed the subject that Dr Pathak has discussed is a academic work of global conversation.

    I really appreciate the works by Dr. pathak

  31. SAM Bangalore says:

    Salaam: Greetings of Peace from Salah

    Grateful to Prof. Bishnu Pathak for his invitation, am inspired to respond. Like many of the respondents have mentioned, peace and harmony bear a huge impact on our lives making up society. The topic is of deep concern as a need of the hour. Bishnu has tried to define or highlight the related terms in the first four sentences of the presented paper.

    I think the terms are related through a cause and effect relationship and hence not comparable on their own stands.

    While harmony represents an activity by at least two parties, peace is a state that exists as a result of harmonizing action of the parties. Generally, when we talk about achievement of peace, harmonic actions come to our mind. Teams be could man-woman, employer-employee, NGO-volunteers etc. However, let us not forget the connection without which the relationship becomes void. The bond between harmony and peace – what does it carry? It carries the vital pieces of information. Information that decides the expected outcome. Outcome: peace as is generally, wishfully conceived by most of us. How is the information generated? From its source. And the source? It comes from what is the purpose of the activity. As long as its purpose is peace, the harmonic actions will be governed by the decided information with peace as its objective.

    Everything has two faces.

    It is not fair to make any judgement with what appears and is visible through wishful thoughts alone.

    Do you think, there was no harmony between the countries who planned, organized, equipped, mobilized and acted upon to devastate Hiroshima? Or between orchestrators of 9/11 or 26/11 or Babri Masjid or Srilanka in Ramayana or between governments who killed Iraq? Without harmony, would these events be possible.

    So you can see that harmony is a united, synchronized, joint action by more than one towards the intention of the activists. The end result could be peace if peace is intended or fire if devastation is intended. There is harmony in all war efforts but results in the opposite of peace.

    Mohammed [PBUH] said: Inama Amaalu Bilniyyat = Only actions with intentions [plan] bear the fruit.

    In the field of Project Management, the PERT Chart is built using two components: Activity and Event. In our discussion harmony is activity and peace is event.
    It is not a question of singular-plural. We can not compare the peace and harmony using the same scale or criteria. Harmony is an activity over time. Peace happens at one point in time even though it may sustain over a long period.

    While harmony [intended for peace +] is an action, peace itself is the state experienced at the end of that effort called harmony [intended for peace +].

    Velocity to destination is as harmony[+] to peace
    Velocity to destination is as harmony[-] to fire

    I hope it is clear that the two terms are not separate concepts but two sides of the same one concept with a green color if the intention is peace.