Hospitality in Rig Veda and Atharva Veda (Post No.4004)

Written by London Swaminathan
Date: 15 June 2017
Time uploaded in London- 20-49
Post No. 4004
Pictures are taken from various sources such as Face book, Wikipedia and newspapers; thanks.
contact: swami_48@yahoo.com

 

The concept of hospitality is unknown in any ancient civilization except Hindu Civilization. We may have one or two instances in the ancient world, but it was not portrayed a s a virtue there. Rig Veda and Atharva Veda have many hymns on it. Sangam Tamil literature and lature Tirukkural, the Tamil Veda have several verses praising it. Sita and Tamil heroine Kannaki (vide. Tamil epic Silappadikaram) regret that they have lost the opportunity of supporting the guests. Mahabharata and Pancatantra have several stories supporting this virtue.

 

It all started with the Taittiriya Upanishad. The very first day young children as young as seven year old were taught Athithi Devo Bhava (Treat the guests as Gods). Tirukkural has more than ten couplets praising the hospitality. Thiruvalluvar, the author of Tamil Veda Tirukkural, talks about miracles in the fields of the farmers who supports the guests. He says that crops grow on its own without sowing the seeds. He adds that the angels will be waiting in the heaven to welcome such good people. Sangam Tamil book Purananuru says ta the drums started roaring in the heaven as Indra got ready to welcome the Tamil chieftain Ay Andiran; he was a great philanthrophist. The very name Ay Andiran is nothing but the Tamilzed form of AJA INDRA (Indra becomes Andiran, Andrew etc in Taml and English).

The concept of hospitality exploded the theory of Aryan migration and Aryan-Dravidian divisions. 2300 year old Tamil literature and 5000 year old Vedic literature have ample evidence to show that it existed in a vast geographical area – the cultural empire of India, which are divided as 15 countries now. Thousands of customs mentioned in the Vedas are found only in India from Kashmir to Kanyakumari and nowhere else in the world. This shows all these are developed in the course of their living here for thousands of years. This is a severe blow to those who divide the world into Arya and Non Aryans.

 

Another proof for hospitality exists until today in the form of Choutries (Chatrams). From Kashmir to Kanyakumari we see thousands and thousands of FREE BOARDING AND LODGING BUILDINGS. No where in the world we can see such Chatrams (shelters for pilgrims). It is a unique Hindu concept to earn merits/Punya. Thousands of inscriptions from the days of Asoka talk about such free boarding and lodging to all the pilgrims and secular passengers. Several towns and villages in tamil Nadu still have the suffix CHATRAM in their names!

 

No need to sow the Fields!

Now let us look at two couplets from Tirukkural and two hymns from the Vedas:-

The farm of the man wo feeds his guests and eats what is left, will yield crops even though seeds may not be sown (Kural 85)

Having entertained his guests, the man who awaits new guests will be cordially welcomed by the Devas/angels in the Heaven (Kural 86)

 

Guests in the Atharva Veda (15-11)

Rishi- Atharvan

Let him to whose house the Vratya (Pravrajaka) who possesses

this knowledge (of Divine rule) comes as a guest,

rise up of his own accord to meet him and say, Vratya,

where did you stop overnight? Vratya, here is water.

Let them refresh you, Vratya. Whatever you like, let

that be, Vratya; whatever your wish, let that be Vratya,

as you desire, so let it be.

Another Hymn from AV 15-10

So let the King whose house the Vratya  who possesses this knowledge comes as a guest,

honour him as one superior to himself, so that he does not work against the ruling power or the state

From him verily the spiritual power and the ruling power arose.

(according to Apastamba Srauta Sutra, the term Vraatya is to be used in addressing a guest).

Guests in the Rig Veda (10-117)

The Devas have not given hunger to be our death,

even to the well-fed man death comes in many shapes

The wealth of the liberal never wastes away,

he who gives no protection finds no consoler.(1)

 

He who, possessed of food, hardens his heart against

the weak man, craving nourishment, and suffering,

who comes to him for help, though of old he helped him

surely such a one finds no consoler.(2)

 

He is liberal who gives to one who asks for alms

to the distressed man who seeks food, wandering; success comes to him in the challenge of battle

and for future conflicts he makes a friend for him. (3)

 

He is no friend who does not give to a friend

to a comrade who comes imploring for food;

let him leave such a man – his is not a home—

and rather seek a stranger who brings him comfort. (4)

 

Let the rich man satisfy one who seeks help

and let him look upon a longer pathway;

wealth revolves like the wheels of a chariot,

coming now to one, now to another. (5)

 

–Subham–

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