adhanā api te dhanyāḥ
yad-gṛhā hy arha-varyāmbu-
adhanāḥ—not very rich; api—although; te—they; dhanyāḥ—glorious; sādhavaḥ—saintly persons; gṛha-medhinaḥ—persons who are attached to family life; yat-gṛhāḥ—whose house; hi—certainly; arha-varya—the most worshipable; ambu—water; tṛṇa—grass; bhūmi—land; īśvara—the master; avarāḥ—the servants.
A person who is not very rich and is attached to family life becomes highly glorified when saintly persons are present in his home. The master and servants who are engaged in offering the exalted visitors water, a sitting place and paraphernalia for reception are glorified, and the home itself is also glorified.
Materially if a man is not very rich, he is not glorious, and spiritually if a man is too attached to family life, he is also not glorious. But saintly persons are quite ready to visit the house of a poor man or a man who is attached to material family life. When this happens, the owner of the house and his servants are glorified because they offer water for washing the feet of a saintly person, sitting places and other things to receive him. The conclusion is that if a saintly person goes to the house of even an unimportant man, such a person becomes glorious by his blessings. It is therefore the Vedic system that a householder invite a saintly person in his home to receive his blessings. This system is still current in India, and therefore saintly persons, wherever they go, are hosted by the householders, who in turn get an opportunity to receive transcendental knowledge. It is the duty of a sannyāsī, therefore, to travel everywhere just to favor the householders, who are generally ignorant of the values of spiritual life.
It may be argued that all householders are not very rich and that one cannot receive great saintly persons or preachers because they are always accompanied by their disciples. If a householder is to receive a saintly person, he has to receive his entourage also. It is said in the śāstras that Durvāsā Muni was always accompanied by sixty thousand disciples and that if there was a little discrepancy in their reception, he would be very angry and would sometimes curse the host. The fact is that every householder, regardless of his position or economic condition, can at least receive saintly guests with great devotion and offer them drinking water, for drinking water is available always. In India the custom is that even an ordinary person is offered a glass of water if he suddenly visits and one cannot offer him foodstuff. If there is no water, then one can offer a sitting place, even if it is on straw mats. And if one has no straw mat, he can immediately cleanse the ground and ask the guest to sit there. Supposing that a householder cannot even do that, then with folded hands he can simply receive the guest, saying, “Welcome.” And if he cannot do that, then he should feel very sorry for his poor condition and shed tears and simply offer obeisances with his whole family, wife and children. In this way he can satisfy any guest, even if the guest is a saintly person or a king.
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