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4 May 2015
தினம் தினம் திருக்குறள் - The Art of Hosting!
Swamys (both halves of the whole) participated in a Sadhguru Sannidhi initiation at an Isha Yoga meditators' home on Saturday (02-May-15). Being part of Isha, it was but natural for Swamys to lend a helping hand for any activity, as the situation requires. It was incidental that Swamy helped with serving food (from finding a wonderful caterer who isn't a commercial food supplier to serving the delicious food that not only tasted as home-cooked, but was also prepared that way by Thaligaikkarar (தளிகைக்காரர்), who happens to be a fellow மதுரைக்காரர், to all participants).
Naturally, it's inevitable for Swamy to look at what Saint poet Thiruvalluvar got to say about...
Chapter 9, விருந்தோம்பல், i.e. playing host to & taking care of guests. Kural 81-90.
81. இருந்தோம்பி இல்வாழ்வ தெல்லாம் விருந்தோம்பி
வேளாண்மை செய்தற் பொருட்டு.
The purpose of living is to welcome and take care of guests.
The best thing about hosting is, the guests need not be just near and dear. Whenever the friendly postman or courier or grocery delivery person visits SwamyHome, Mrs. Swamy never fails to ask them if they need water. It may sound simple but in Chennai’s hot-hotter-hottest weather that simple query instantly lights up those hardworking humble humans’ faces!
82. விருந்து புறத்ததாத் தானுண்டல் சாவா
மருந்தெனினும் வேண்டற்பாற் றன்று.
When a guest waits outside, one should not consume even divine nectar.
This one’s an exemplary example of being selfless, which was considered an essential quality especially for the haves and even for the have nots. There have been many tales of how in some of the households in small towns and villages the kitchen fire always glows, so that no one visiting the place at any time of the day goes hungry. In fact, Swamy has heard this from his own father who mentioned about such a 24x7 kitchen at the home of Swamy’s great grandfather, who was a Beshkar in the court of the Pudukkottai king!
83. வருவிருந்து வைகலும் ஓம்புவான் வாழ்க்கை
பருவந்து பாழ்படுதல் இன்று.
There is no suffering in the life of one who takes care of guests daily.
There’s an interesting proverb in Tamizh “If you take care of someone else’s child, your child will grow by itself!” (ஊரார் பிள்ளையை ஊட்டி வளர்த்தால் தன் பிள்ளை தானே வளரும்). Like any proverb, this shouldn’t be taken literally, but simply means one should extend the same care to any child/being that one would extend to one’s own. If one does that, there will be no place for misery or suffering in one’s Life, which will naturally be overflowing with Joy!
84. அகனமர்ந்து செய்யாள் உறையும் முகனமர்ந்து
நல்விருந்து ஓம்புவான் இல்.
Wealth will flourish in the home of the one who hosts guests joyfully.
In those days, it was quite normal to sight a popular artist or performer staying and performing at a host’s home. The host may not necessarily be the wealthiest person in town (who could be a caricature like the assembly-line villains in b/k/m/s/tollywood movies), but just a connoisseur of art. When a child grows up such a art-filled (music, dance, et al) environment, it’s natural for the child to absorb what [s]he sees/hears and become an accomplished performer eventually. In that context, wealth that will flourish isn’t merely material!
85. வித்தும் இடல்வேண்டும் கொல்லோ விருந்தோம்பி
மிச்சில் மிசைவான் புலம்.
The one who feeds the guests first and then eats only what’s left, doesn’t even have to sow the seed in his farm.
When you take care of people selflessly, people will reciprocate the same, one way or other. Kindness begets kindness. So if you happen to be a farmer (even though on one side farming today is highly politicised due to a few farmers giving up their lives because of mounting debt and failing crops, it is also attracting a lot of technology savvy new gen aspirants with green dreams into its fold, which is a welcome change and should help revive this ancient profession that’s essential for the survival & sustenance of human species) who takes care of people around you, then when it comes to sowing or weeding or reaping, they will naturally be around to help you. Same goes even if you aren’t a farmer. Even in these intriguing times for earthlings!
The one who takes care of guests who are present and awaits those who might come, will be welcomed as a guest in heaven.
Life is not only about the cliche’d ‘forget the past, enjoy the present, dream about future.’ There are things like being kind and compassionate that can remain the same way, forever. So if you happen to be someone who always takes care of others in this Life, then you need not worry about how you’re going to be treated in your next, if you still have to go through the endless birth-death cycle to dissolve that pile of karma accumulated over lifetimes, that is. And shouldn't being compassionate and kind to all be a natural outcome of having an extra sense than other beings!
87. இனைத்துணைத் தென்பதொன் றில்லை விருந்தின்
துணைத்துணை வேள்விப் பயன்.
It’s hard to measure the value of hosting guests. It depends on the guests.
It takes two to tango (forgive the cliche’ but it just fits like a T here… oops yet another cliche’ :O). So, it isn’t just about the host, but is also very much about the guest. If the host is wonderful but the guest remains ungrateful… duh. On the contrary, if the guest remains cheerful while the host is wrathful or petty, that would be a big bummer too. In this RoI obsessed world that tries to measure the value of any and everything, it most certainly takes two hands to clap (oh, my… that’s a third cliche’ in just one para 8<O)!
88. பரிந்தோம்பிப் பற்றற்றேம் என்பர் விருந்தோம்பி
வேள்வி தலைப்படா தார்.
Those who don’t take care of the guests will lose their wealth and support.
Let’s say you’re the Lone Wolf Mcquade (oh puhleeezzzzz, don’t say you’ve never heard about that classic Chuck Norris starrer - even if you happen to be a Millennial!) of your neihbourhood. You don’t give a damn about anyone visiting or staying at your place; don’t give a damn about going to anyone’s place either; keep piling up wealth; grow old and/or fall sick and perish. Away from your physical form (ah, what a freedom - though you won’t necessarily feel that way, unless you've been consciously seeking that state), you watch in utter dismay as no one turns up to pay homage and carry you (or what’s left) to cremate. And btw, your wealth remains where it is and you can’t touch/feel/enjoy it anymore. Wakey… wakey… time to snap out of that nightmare and spend that accumulated wealth on doing something good for others (like educating the brilliant but needy kids whose continuity of education is enabled by Meenakshi Vidhyapeeth Trust)!
89. உடைமையுள் இன்மை விருந்தோம்பல் ஓம்பா
மடமை மடவார்கண் உண்டு.
Those who don’t take care of guests, despite being wealthy, are utter fools.
Read the narrative for the previous Kural, again. Cringe. Stare at yourself in the mirror. Feel that hard slap on your face for being an utter fool, until now. Be grateful that there is still time and plenty of opportunity to care. Change!
90. மோப்பக் குழையும் அனிச்சம் முகந்திரிந்து
நோக்கக் குழையும் விருந்து.
The Anicham flower will wilt when smelt. Guests will be crestfallen at a mere unkind look.
All that accumulated experience has taught you that communication is not always about words. Not for nothing did someone wise say ‘If looks could kill!’, for it is true. A smile doesn’t cost anything. Really. So, spend a lot of time smiling and genuinely caring for those in need. Or get ready to be frowned upon, exactly the way you snarl at others - especially those in need. It hurts, isn’t it? So, why do unto others what you wouldn’t do unto yourself!
Note: Saravanan anna & Sahera akka (very much part of the Isha Medavakkam family that Swamys too belong to) were the perfect hosts and ensured that every single guest had food and didn’t have any themselves, until every single guest has left. In fact, they were planning to invite their non-meditator friends over for dinner too. This isn’t just because they were #Isha meditators, whose natural instinct - as volunteers (தன்னார்வத் தொண்டர்) - to take care of others first, even without being told to do so, but simply because they understand and cherish being part of the great #Bharat culture that exemplifies the dictum #AditiDevoBhava! _/\_
Sadhguru Sannidhi initiation at Sahera-Saravanan home @ Medavakkam
It wouldn’t be a surprise if our ancestors have actually invited even our invaders with open arms, but paid the price heavily simply because such grace and acceptance weren’t reciprocated with gratitude by the many invaders, whose purpose was vastly different and vile to the core! :(
P.S.: The lip-smacking delicious food for the Sadhguru Sannidhi initiation event was prepared and supplies by Bharat anna of Iyengar’s Kitchen. Ping/ring (98840818099) him for homely daily lunch/dinner or event catering. :P