RECEPTION OF GUESTS by Vedic standards:

Discussion in 'Hindu' started by Aum, Mar 31, 2015.

  1. Aum

    Aum New Member

    "Reception of guests is the special duty of the grhastha. If the grhastha does not receive the unexpected guest warmly, no matter where he be, he is considered to have committed a great sin. Homes from which guests (uninvited) go away without having been received even with an offering of a little water are like those holes in the field which are the homes of jackals."
    (Srimad Bhagavatam 8.16.7)

    "The law of reception in the codes of the Vedic principles states that even if an enemy is received at home, he must be received with all respects. He should not be given a chance to understand that he has come into the house of an enemy."
    (Srimad Bhagavatam 1.18.27)

    Not only the grhastha, however, nut everyone in any asrama or varna, should be able to give the proper reception when required. Lord Caitanya himself set the example:

    "After everyone had finished his lunch and washed his mouth and hands, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu (as a sannyasi) personally decorated everyone with flower garlands and sandalwood pulp."
    (Caitanya-caritamrta Madhya 11.210)

    According to one's ability, his means of reception may differ:

    "The fact is that every householder, regardless of his position or economic condition, can at least receive saintly guests with great devotion and offer them drinking water, for drinking water is available always. In India the custom is that even an ordinary person is offered a glass of water if he suddenly visits and one cannot offer him foodstuff. If there is no water, then one can offer a sitting place, even if it is on straw mats. And if one has no straw mat, he can immediately cleanse the ground and ask the guest to sit there. Supposing that a householder cannot even do that, then with folded hands he can simply receive the guest, saying, "Welcome." And if he cannot do that, then he should feel very sorry for his poor condition and shed tears and simply offer obeisances with his whole family, wife and children. In this way he can satisfy any guest, even if the guest is a saintly person or a king. (Srimad Bhagavatam 4.22.10)

    "Srutadeva, being not at all rich offered only mattresses, wooden planks, straw carpets, etc to his distinguished guests, Lord Krsna and the sages, but he welcomed them to his best capacity. He began to speak very highly of the Lord and the sages and he and his wife washed the feet of each one of them. After this he took the water and sprinkled it over all the members of his family, and although it appeared that the brahmana was very poor, he was at that time most fortunate. According to his capacity he bought fruits, incense, scented water, scented clay, tulasi leaves, kusa straw and lotus flowers. They were not very costly items and could be secured very easily, but because they were offered with devotional love, Lord Krsna and his associates accepted them very gladly. The brahmana's wife cooks very simple foods like rice and dahl, and Lord Krsna and his followers were very pleased to accept then because they were offered in devotional love."
    (Krsna Book Vol. II, Chapter 31)

    One should consider reception as an extension of offering respects, and therefore the elements mentioned in the procedure for offering respect are also incorporated.
    One should clean the place and decorate with auspicious items such as mango leaves, banana trunks, mangala ghatas (water pots), lamps, rangoli (floor designs made with powder or rice flour paste).

    "As the King entered the gate of the city, all the citizens received him with many auspicious articles like lamps, flowers and yogurt. The King was also received by many beautiful unmarried girls whose bodies were bedecked with various ornaments, especially with earrings which collided with one another."
    (Srimad Bhagavatam 4.21.4)

    One should go out to meet the guest. One should offer a seat to the guest. One should wash the feet of the guest with cool water, and place that water on ones own head and on the heads of the other members of the household.

    "When a saintly person comes to one's home, it is the Vedic custom first to wash his feet with water and then sprinkle this water over the head of oneself and one's family."
    (Srimad Bhagavatam 4.22.5)

    One should offer lamp to the guest. One should offer food and water to the guest. If food is unavailable, then simply water may be offered. One should offer kind words to the guest. One should perform any other services for the comfort of the guest, such as camara and fan. One should offer the guest a place to rest. One should accompany the guest when he leaves, at least out of the premises or yard.

    If everything is lacking, at least one should offer kind words.
    To welcome a person, one should perform as many of these respects as possible. The more elevated the guest, the more particular one should be to include the more elaborate elements.

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