Diwali Special: What Ramayana Teaches Us About Hospitality

Ramayana, the story of Ram and Sita, is entrenched in our minds. The epic is as complex as it is long. We have been told about the various lessons that Ramayana teaches us – on life, death, loss, redemption, lust, purity, loyalty, and so on. However, the aspect that is rarely discussed is what the epic holds on hospitality. The section that majorly discusses hospitality is the story of Shabari. If you have some knowledge of Indian mythology, chances are that you have heard of Shabari. For those uninitiated, here is a quick run-through of the story.

According to Valmiki’s Ramayana, around two thousand years ago, Shabari lived in the outskirts of a forest. Even though a daughter of a hunter, Shabari is compassionate and loving towards all living beings. Now, at the time it was a custom to sacrifice herds of goats and sheep when a daughter is to be married. When it is time for Shabari’s wedding, her father follows suite and brings in many animals to be slaughtered. To avoid the killing of the innocent animals, Shabari runs away into the forest where she requests many teachers to accept her as their disciple but is turned down.

Sage Matanga welcomes her and she lives there peacefully serving him. One fine day, the sage informs Shabari that he is ready to leave for the heavenly abode. Shabari seeks his permission to die with him. Matanga then tells her that she is destined to meet Ram, an avatar of Lord Vishnu. She should serve him and then join Matanga in heaven. Following her master’s bidding, Shabari waits for Ram. Now, she doesn’t know when Ram will come. So, she prepares for his arrival every day, decorating her hut with flowers and collecting berries from the forest. After many years, her prayers are answered and Ram arrives at her hut with Lakshman. 

Shabari is well prepared to serve them both – she has berries. However, she wants to ensure that each fruit they eat is sweet. So she takes a small bite from each berry and gives them only the ones that are sweet. While Ram enjoys the sweetness of the fruits, Lakshman is not amused. The thought of eating something that has been already tasted by someone else repulses him. However, Ram is very pleased by Shabari’s devotion and tells Lakshman, “Brother, these berries are so sweet, I have never tasted berries as sweet as Shabari’s berries. Whomsoever offers a fruit, a leaf, a flower, or water with love, I take it with great joy.” He asks Shabari to ask for any wish.

As Shabari has now fulfilled her master’s request, she leaves her earthly body for the heavens.This story is very much similar to the everyday life of a hotelier. Consider this – Shabari is the hotelier, her hut the hotel and Ram are the various guests to come in. Like Shabari, hoteliers are the hosts waiting for the arrival of guests who bring in earnings and thus livelihood. Hoteliers are here to provide a comfortable and fulfilling stay for those passing by. Further, every guest is a shadow of what Ram meant for Shabari – god. While it will not be entertained if you offer your guests tasted fruits, a warm welcome and respectful service will touch the guest’s hearts. And as a hotel owner what more do you need?

AGH Supply firmly believes in Shabari’s philosophy and it has been our endeavor to facilitate hoteliers with the best of products for the ultimate satisfaction of their guests. From bed frames, cleaning supplies, and electronics, to towels and bed linen, each product is tested for quality before being supplied at your doorstep. On this note, the AGH Supply family wishes each one of you a very happy Diwali and New Year!

AGH Hospitality

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