The hospitable reception and honouring of guests and visitors is called “manushya yagyam मनुष्य यज्ञम्”. manushya yagyam is also called “nara yagyam नर यज्ञम् “or “nRu yagyam नृयज्ञम्” or “atithi satkAram अतिथि सत्कारम्”. A guest is called “atithi”
manushya yagyam is one of the five yagyas (pancha mahAyagyas) ordained to be performed by an householder.
Taittireeya AraNyakA , Prashna 2, AnuvAka 10 says:
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वा॒ तद्ब्र॑ह्मय॒ज्ञस्सन्ति॑ष्ठतॆ॒ । There are 5 mahAyagyAs for a house holder. They are 1. dEva yagyam 2. pitRu yagyam 3. bhoota yagyam 4. Manushya yagyam and 5. Brahma yagyam. deva yagya consists in doing hOmA for the dEvAs by kindling the fire with samid. pitRu yagyam consists in offering oblations to pitRus by saying the word swadhA. bhoota yagyam consists in offering food to animals and birds. manushya yagyam consists in offering food (annam) to brahmaNas (or guests). brahma yagyam consists in reciting the Rug, yaju: and the sAmA verses that one has learnt.
gRuhasthas (householders) should perform manushya yagyam by honouring guests (atithis).
Who is an atithi?
एकरात्रं तु निवसन्न् अतिथिर् ब्राह्मण: स्मृत:।
अनित्यं हि स्थितो यस्मात् तस्माद् अतिथिर् उच्यते॥
ekaraatraM tu nivasann atithir brAhmaNa: smRuta:|
anityaM hi sthito yasmAt tasmAd atithir uchyate||3.102
One who stays one night only is declared to be a guest (atithi); for because he does not stay long(stitha), he is called atithi (a guest).
manushya yagyam should be performed after the performance of bhoota yagyam.
(i.e.) After the bali offering the guests should be honoured. the house holder should also wait for sometime after the bali offering to see if any visitors are coming.
taittireeya Upanishad, sheekshAvali 11.2
अतिथि देवो भव |
atithi dEvO bhava.
Guests are treated as God.
manusmRuti 3.68 to 3.100
1. पञ्च सूना गृहस्थस्य चुल्ली पॆषाण्युपस्कर: | कण्डनी चॊदकुम्भश्च बध्यते यास्तु वाहयन् ||
pancha soonaa gRuhasthasya chullee pEShANyupaskara:
kaNDanee chOdakumbhashcha badhyate yaastu vaahayan.3.68
An householder has five places in his house where living organisms are destroyed. They are 1. the fire 2. grinding stone 3. broom stick 4. the pestle and mortar 5. the water pitcher (pot).
2. तासां क्रमेण सर्वासां निष्कृत्यर्थं महर्षिभि: पञ्च क्लुप्ता महायज्ञा: प्रत्यहं गृहमेधिनाम् !
taasaaM krameNa sarvaasaaM niShkRutyarthaM maharShibhi:
pancha kluptaa mahaayagyaa: pratyahaM gRuhamedhinAm 3.69
The mahaRushis have ordained that an householder should perform 5 sacrifices (pancha mahaa yagya) for the expiation of the sin committed by him in each of these five places.
3. अध्यापनं ब्रह्मयज्ञ: पितृयज्ञस्तु तर्पणम् | हॊमॊ दैवॊ बलिर्भौतॊ नृयज्ञोऽतिथिपूजनम् ||
adyaapanaM brahmayagya: pitRuyagyastu tarpaNam.
homO devO balir bhautO nRuyagyO atithi poojanam.3.70
The five sacrifices are 1. Brahma yagyam ( teaching/studying the vEdAs), 2. pitRu yagyam (offering libations of water to pitRus(manes) through tarpaNam/shrAdddh) 3. dEva yagyam (offerings to the Deities) 4. Bhoota yagyam (offerings to animals/birds) 5. Nru yagyam (offering food to guests (atithis))
4. पञ्चयेतान् यॊ महायज्ञान् न हापयति शति:। स गृहे अपि वसन् नित्यं सूनादॊषैर् न लिप्यते॥
panchayEtaan yO mahAyagyaan na hApayati shati:| sa gRuhe api vasan nityaM soonAdOShair na lipyate||3.71
He who does not neglect these five great sacrifices, is not tainted by the sins in the five places of slaughter, though he constantly lives in the capacity of a householder.
5.देवता अतिथिभृ त्यानां पितृणां आत्मनश् च य:। न निर्वपति पञ्चानां उ वसन् न स जीवति॥
dEvataa atithibhRu tyAnAM pitRuNAM Atmanash cha ya:| na nirvapati panchAnAM u vasan na sa jeevati||3.72
But he who does not feed these five, the gods, his guests, the manes,and those to whom he is bound and himself, lives not, only breathes.
6. धन्यं यशस्यम् आयुश्यं स्वर्ग्यं वा अतिथि पूजनम्॥
dhanyaM yashasyam AyushyaM svargyaM vaa atithi poojanam||3.106
The hospitable reception of guests brings wealth, fame, long life, and heavenly bliss.
7. विद्यातप:समृद्धॆषु हुतं विप्रमुखाषु। निस्तारयति दुर्गाच्च महतश् च एव किल्बिषात्॥
vidyaatapa:samRu ddhEShu hutaM vipramukhAShu| nistaarayati durgaachcha mahatash cha eva kilbiShaat||3.98
An offering made in the mouth-fire (digestive fire) of BrahmaNas rich in sacred learning and austerities, saves one from misfortune and great guilt.
8.शिलान् अप्युञ्चतो नित्यं पञ्चीन् अपि जुह्वत:। सर्वं सुकतम् आदत्ते ब्राहणो अनर्चितो वसन्॥
shilaan apyunchato nityaM pancheen api juhvata:| sarvaM sukatam Adatte brAhaNo anarchito vasan||3.100
A brAhmaNa who stays unhonoured in the house of a gRuhastha, takes away with him all the spiritual merit even of a man who offers oblations in the five fires.
Of all the guests who are entertained by the householder, the brAhmaNa guest who is learned in the vEdAs or spiritually knowledgeable has to be honoured first.
# bhikshu as an atithi
यत् पुण्यफलम् आप्नॊति गां दत्त्वा विधिवद् गुरॊ: ||
तत् पुण्यफलम् आप्नोति भिक्षां दत्त्वा द्विजो गृही॥
yat puNyaphalam ApnOti gaaM dattvA vidhivad gurO:
tat puNyaphalam aapnoti bhikShaaM dattvaa dvijo gRuhee||3.95
By giving alms to a ascetic bhikshu or a vedic student, a dvijA, twice-born householder acquires the same merit that an meritorious student obtains for presenting, in accordance with the rule, a cow to his teacher.
भिक्षाम् अप्युदपात्रं वा सत्कत्य विधिपूर्वकम्।
वेदतत्वार्थविदुषे ब्राह्मणाय उपपादयेत्॥
bhikShaam apyudapAtraM vA satkatya vidhipoorvakam|
vedatatvArthaviduShe brAhmaNaaya upapaadayet||ManusmRuti 3.96
Let a householder give small alms of food to a brAhmaNa who knows the meaning of the vEdAs and comes for bikhsa, according to the rules.
#An brAhmaNa who comes on his own as an atithi.
taittireeya brAhmaNam 2.1.3
अथो यथातिथिं ज्यॊतिष्कृत्वा परिवेवेष्टि |
atho yathaatithiM jyOtiShkRutvA pariveveShTi
The guest must be honoured by lighting a lamp placed before him and then food must be served.
manusmRuti 3.99 to 3.116
सम्प्राप्ताय त्व अतिथये प्रदद्याद् आसन उदके।
अन्नं च एव यथाशक्ति त्य विधिपूर्वकम्॥
sampraaptaaya tva atithaye pradadyaad aasana udake|
annaM cha eva yathAshakti tya vidhipoorvakam||3.99
Let him offer, in accordance with the rule, a seat, water, as well as cooked and garnished food, to a guest who has come (of his own accord) according to his ability.
तृणानि भूमिर् उदकं वाक् चतुर्थी च सूनृता।
एतान्यपि सतां गृहे न उद्यन्ते कदा चन॥
tRuNaani bhoomir udakaM vaak chaturthee cha soonRutA|
etaanyapi sataaM gRuhe na udyante kadaa chana||3.101
Grass, room (for resting), water, and a kind word; these four things are never missing in the houses of virtuous men.
अप्रणोद्यौ अतिथि: सायं सूर्यदूढॊ गृहमेधिना।
काले प्राप्तस्त्वकाले वा नस्यन् अस्नन् गृहे वसेत्॥
apraNOdyau atithi: saayaM sooryadooDhO gRuhamedhinA|
kaale praaptastvakAle vaa nasyan asnan gRuhe vaset||3.105
A guest who arrives at sunset, or at supper time or at an inconvenientor inappropriate time must not be driven away by a householder. And a guest should not stay at such a man’s house where he is not entertained.
न वै स्वयं तद् अश्नीयाद् अतिथि यन् न भोजयेत्।
धन्यं यशस्यम् आयुश्यं स्वर्ग्यं वा अतिथि पूजनम्॥
na vai svayaM tad ashneeyaad atithi yan na bhOjayEt|
dhanyaM yashasyam AyushyaM svargyaM vaa atithi poojanam||3.106
Let him not eat any food kept aside which he does not offer to his guest; the hospitable reception of guests brings wealth, fame, long life, and heavenly bliss.
#Other guests and visitors as atithis.
इतरान् अपि सखि अदीन् सम्प्रीत्या गृहं आगतान्।
प्रकत्य अन्नं यथा शक्ति भोजयेत् सह भार्या॥
itaraan api sakhi adeen sampreetyaa gRuhaM aagataan|
prakatya annaM yathaa shakti bhojayet saha bhaaryaa||3.113
Let him feed his relatives and friends who have come to his house out of affection, with garnished food according to his ability, (after having fed the austere brAhmaNas) with his wife.
सुवासिनी: कुमारीश्च रोगिणॊ गर्भिणी: स्त्रिय:।
अतिथिभ्यो अ एवतान् भोजयेद् अविचारयन्॥
suvaasinee: kumaareeshcha rogiNO garbhiNee: striya:|
atithibhyo a evataan bhojayed avichaarayan||3.114
Without hesitation he may give food, even before his guests, to the following persons: to newly/young married women, to infants/unmarried girls, to the sick, and to pregnant women.
भुवत्स्व अथ विप्रेषु स्वेषु भृत्यॆषु च एव हि।
भुञ्जीयातां तत: पश्चाद् अवशिष्टं तु दम्पती॥
bhuvatsva atha vipreShu sveShu bhRutyEShu cha eva hi|
bhunjeeyaataaM tata: pashchaad avashiShTaM tu dampatee||3.116
After the Brahmanas, one’s own relatives, and the servants have dined/eaten, the householder and his wife may afterwards eat what remains.