pachai maamalai pol mene

Saturday, April 16, 2011

guest to be honoured

तृणानि भूमिरुदकं वाक् चतुर्थी च सूनृता।
एतान्यपि सतां गेहे नोच्छिन्दन्ते कदाचन॥
मनुस्मृतिः ॥३-१०१।
tṛṇāni bhūmirudakaṁ vāk caturthī ca sūnṛtā|
etānyapi satāṁ gehe nocchindante kadācana||
manusmṛtiḥ ||3-101|

The respected lawgiver Manu is explaining how an average householder should arrange his resources for the benefit of a guest who graces his residence. There should never be any scarcity for grass, earth or water. As the fourth ingredient he mentions sweet, welcoming and truthful words.
If we read the sloka for the first time we may wonder whether Manu is talking about a cow or some cattle. Not at all. In those days the exalted seats and cushions were made of various types of grass. Grass was used for making bed and pillow. Hence Manu's words mean that the guest should be offered comfortable rest. The second requirement is space.. The house should be roomy enough to entertain the guests.. Then the importance of pure water is underlined. For a human being to remain clean, to sustain health and paying oblations to gods and forefathers during nityakarma, water is a must. And if the water available in the house is not hygienic, the inhabitants as well as the guests are in peril..contamination can cause anything upwards from dysentery.. Even though we do not follow the old tradition of offering water first to a guest or a respectable person when he visits our house, especially in Kerala, we have to emulate the example of Tamilians especially in the rural areas. Whoever visits the house will be offered water first..and refusal of water offered is taken as an offence. Yes, water is the most valuable thing one can offer. Of course, the use of proper and endearing words to the guest can never be over-emphasized. Basically when a noble person visits our house, he would be uncomfortable because he is always conscious of the inconvenience his vist might cause by upsetting the hosts daily routines. The host can make the guest comfortable only through sincere and endearing words.
Now our approach has changed. Even if one lives in a huge house, the guests are accommodated in hotels...and food and water are arranged there. The host also may, once or twice, give the guest company, and even host a lunch or dinner in his honour.
(Of course, there is a code of conduct for the guest also)
However, the old-timers can never think of treating a guest like this. We can see in Ramayanam how the sage Bharadwaja entertained Rama, Sita, Laksmana, (Aanjaneyaswamy had to leave the dinner early) and the huge crowd of Monkeys and Rakshasaas while Rama was returning to Ayodhya after his sojourn in forest for fourteen years.

।श्रीकृष्णो रक्षतु।
|śrīkṛṣṇo rakṣatu|
Have a nice and happy day
with profound respect and warm regards
K V Ananthanarayanan
त्यजन्तु बान्धवाः सर्वे निन्दन्तु गुरवो जनाःI
तदापि परमानन्दो गोविन्दो मम जीवनंII
let all my relatives abandon me, let the great people insult me, still I am in supreme bliss since my life is GOVINDA alone.
Iकृष्णात् परं किमपि तत्वं अहं न जाने"I
लोकाः समस्ताः सुखिनो भवन्तु।
lokāḥ samastāḥ sukhino bhavantu|

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