I AM PROUD TO BE A NATIONALISTIC HINDU - FOR ME MY NATION IS MY MOTHER-
Tvameva Mata Ca Pita Tvameva
As I said earlier, we treat God as one of our guests while daily praying him. In Hindu households, feeding a guest before the Grihasthu takes food is an old concept With times the practice changed but in days of yore the wife and husband used to wait until a guest arrived to partake the oblation offered to the Gods. "ATHIDHI DEVO BHAVA" .
Just as we treat a guest when he arrives we pray God similarly. We have sixteen UPACHARAS (services) that are offered to guests. Right from offering a NAMASKARA (Greeting) when he arrives till he takes rest these sixteen services are performed. What more proof is needed to say that Hindu thought is a WAY OF LIFE?
Let us see how we pray God as our guest.
We recite the relevant prayer to the God (or God Form) we pray and chant "DHYAAYAMI" Dhanam Samarpayami. This exactly means, Oh! God! My today's Guest! My greetings to you.
Then we invite him inside. "Avahayami" Oh! God, my Guest! I invite you wholeheartedly to my humble house, the situation of which, I already described in my Sankalpam to pray you!
"Come! Oh! God! My Guest! Please be seated!" Navaratna Khachita Simhasanam Samarpayami" "Please occupy this gem studded chair."
After the Divine Guest rests for few minutes on the seat we offer him water to clean his feet.
Padayo Padyam samarpayami.
To clean His hands.
"Hastayo Arghyam samarpayami."
To clean his face.
"Mukhe Suddha Aachamneeyam Samarpayami"
Is this not we ask our guests to do? "You traveled a lot of distance. Please refresh with water. And this water is taken from "gangeca, Yamuneca, Godavari, Saraswati etc.,. It is purified with Vedic Chants."
Then we pray the Guest to take bath with all the "Sugandha Dravyas" (the same dravyas are now used in preparation of creams and soaps).
"Panchamruta, Phaloadaka, Pushpoadaka, Suvarnoadaka, Rajatoadaka, Gandhoadaka etc., Snanam samarpayami."
Then we pray Him to take bath with purified water.
"Sudhoadaka Snanam Samarapayami"
Then we pray the Guest to wear the new clothes and other ornaments we got ready for His visit.
"Nutana Vastrani Samarpayami, Abharanani Samarpayami"
Then we request him to wear the new Sacred Thread, that is part of Hindu custom to wear.
"Nutana Yagnoavitam Samarpayami."
After the Guest wears new clothes and new Sacred Thread, the host (Devotee) offers Him Sandalwood paste to apply to his forehead and neck. Sandalwood is "Sugandham" (smelling great), Sumanoharam (Looking pleasant). To the weary traveler that travels through varying climates, Sandalwood is offered as a coolant. (Now we keep various sandalwood products in bathrooms for guests) . Times changed by Yugas but Hindu way of life remained same . It is emulated by the whole world. The greatest quality of Hindu life is the ADAPTATION to changes. There are no rigid rules in the practices of the Hindus.
Dhupam is offered with a special smelling incense, that heats the body and hair of the Guest and keeps him away from colds. The best part of Hindu practices is that they leave no chance for the guest to suffer from any minor inconvenience. Same with the God!
Then we light the lamp to throw away the darkness. It is symbolic of lighting our souls with the Divine Light. In the mundane, it is to offer the Guest enough light when he partakes food.
Then we offer the oblation, the food prepared in a clean environment. We offer fruits, jaggery, sweet etc., with regular food. The Guest is satisfied with the meal. Then we offer him water to clean hands, feet, to drink, to clean inside his mouth etc., We do all these to our regular guest.
Then we offer Tambulam. Now we offer a pre-prepared Pan Beeda to the guest. But in olden days guest were offered Tambulam with
" Phugi phala (Betel Leaves) samayuktam, nagavalli (Japatri petals) dalairyktam, karpurena (Yellow edible camphor used in sweet preparation) samanvitam Tambulam samarpayami."
Then we pray the guest with camphor lit light. This is done to remove any "bad drishti" that might have cast its spell on the Guest.
"Karpoora Neerajanam Samarpayami"
These are the sixteen types of Sevas we offer to our regular guests in one form or other. The same Sevas are offered to God. What we do in our mundane lives is Hinduism. I am proud to be born in the Hindu Faith. Who is not? The whole world follows these practices though they are not practicing Hindus. Is it exaggeration that the Hindu Faith showed the world a "WAY OF LIVING"?