atithi अतिथि

Definition: (‘guest’).—A hymn of the Atharvaveda celebrates in detail the merits of hospitality. The guest should be fed before the host eats, water should be offered to him, and so forth. The Taittirīya Upanisad also lays stress on hospitality, using the expression * one whose deity is his guest ’ (atithi-deva). In the Aitareya Áranyaka it is said that only the good are deemed worthy of receiving hospitality. The guest-offering forms a regular part of the ritual, and cows were regularly slain in honour of guests.


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