Atithi Devo Bhava is a Sanskrit phrase with deep meaning and significance in Indian culture. This phrase recognizes and honours the guest as God and expresses hospitality rooted in ancient Indian literature and values.
In this article, we will discuss the deep meaning of Atithidevo Bhava. We’ll explore the phrase’s origins, origin in the Upanishads and the Ramayana, historical context, and contemporary relevance. We will also discuss how this phrase is practised in daily life and its importance in the tourism department.
The Origins of Atithi Devo Bhava
Atithi Devo Bhava is an age-old proverb of ancient India that translates into English to Guest is God. This proverb has been part of Indian culture for thousands of years, originally appearing in the ancient Hindu scripture of the Rig Veda. It is an expression of hospitality passed down for generations, representing the importance of making guests feel welcomed, respected, and cared for. The ideology behind it is that a guest should be treated with the same respect one would give to a deity.
Atithi Devo Bhava conveys that those who come to a person’s home, even if for a brief moment, should be welcomed and respected as if they were one’s own. To put it briefly, it means to put the guest – Atithi – first above all else and treat them as God or Deva. This philosophy of hospitality goes beyond the physical satisfaction of feeding and sheltering guests. With this proverb, the host must ensure the guest is spiritually uplifted and emotionally nourished.
Atithi Devo Bhava is deeply rooted in Indian culture and is a part of the larger principle of Atithi Satkar or Atithi Paramo Dharma, where guests and strangers are seen as a representation of God. This proverb also encapsulates and underlines the importance of good, moral behaviour with and towards guests. By treating them well, one can repay their debt to the divine and be blessed with peace, prosperity and long life.
The proverb of Atithi Devo Bhava is still an important part of Indian culture. It serves as a reminder of the value of hospitality, respect for guests, and the importance of treating people with kindness and generosity. These values and morals passed down over the centuries, are still relevant today in modern India.
Legends of Atithi Devo Bhava Related to Sudama and Lord Krishna
In Hinduism and Indian scriptures, “Atithi Devo Bhava” is connected to several stories. It is also a very important part of Buddhism.
Based on the story in Bhagawat Purana, Sudama, or Kuchela, is a Brahmin who finished his education with Lord Krishna. They had been friends since they were young. But Sudama’s living conditions get worse over time. His family is very poor, and his wife Susheela tells him to ask his friend Lord Krishna for help. Sudama was curious to know if it was a good idea. But in a few days, he changed his mind and saw Krishna. Sudama had nothing special to give his friend, so he gave Lord Krishna the last grains of beaten rice.
When he met him, Lord Krishna treated Sudama with love, honour, and greatness. When Sudama returned to his hut, it was suddenly a big house. This story about Sudama and how Krishna cared for him shows how important the Indian idea of Atithi Devo Bhava is. It shows we should treat our guests like gods, called Atithi Devo Bhava.
In India, Atithi Devo Bhava is celebrated in many stories besides Sudama’s. For example, the story of Sabari, a woman from a tribal village who plays music for Sri Ram. When Lord Rama went to Sabari’s ashram, she gave him Jujube, which she had picked by hand and tasted to ensure it was sweet. Lord Rama ate all of the Jujube that she tried.
Rituals Related to Atithi Devo Bhava
When we have guests, there are a few things to consider. It’s now part of the tourism business. But in the past, there was a normal way to greet guests when they came to our homes. People still do this in some parts of India.
- Dhupa: This means giving the guest a room that smells nice. It’s a way to make sure they feel good.
- Diya: Diya (oil lamp) is often lit when someone visits. Back in the past, there wasn’t any electricity. So it was a way to get people’s attention. It is also a call to Agni Deva, the Lord of Fire.
- Naivedya: It has both fruits and sweets made with milk. In the past, most people had to travel a long way to get to their homes. By giving them fruits or sweets, you can give them more energy.
- Akshata: It is a sign of not being split up. On the forehead, we put Tilak and rice grains, or Akshata. It’s a way to make guests feel like they belong in the house.Pushpa: When we give flowers or Pushpa to our guests, it’s a sign of friendship. When guests leave, hosts also give them flowers. It’s a way for them to remember their time there.
Significance Related to Atithi Devo Bhava
Rituals related to atithi devo have been around for a long time in India. It also means a lot of different things. We’ll look at some of them here.
- Atithi Devo Bhava shows how India’s hosts treat their guests warmly and kindly. We treat our guests better than other people. This is called Atithi Satkar. In India, the hosts need to have the best facilities.
- Atithi is a person who shows up out of the blue and can stay as long as they want. It is important to meet their needs and give them the best place to stay.
- Love and care should be shown to guests. You can always make a guest feel welcome if you consider the above rituals.
- Whenever someone comes to visit, it’s a happy time. Regarding celebrations like Diwali, “Athithi Devo Bhava” is very important.
- Most guests today only show up after being asked. But there was no way to talk to each other in the past. You should always be ready for a guest.
- As we’ve already said, anyone can be a guest. So, it’s important to welcome guests regardless of caste, colour, or religion. We have to care for, love, and care for the person.
Atithi Devo Bhava is a practice from the ancient Hindu Scriptures and has become a set of rules for how Hindu communities and societies should act. We only sometimes do all the rituals that go along with Atithi Devo Bhava as we did in the past. But we love, respect, revere, and care for our guests.