Mathru Devo Bhava Pitru Devo Bhava Acharya Devo Bhava Essay Contest
“Matru devo bhava; Pitru devo bhava; Atithi devo bhava; Acharya devo bhava”
These timeless values of the Upanishads find unspoken embodiment in the code at our School.
The veneration of the Mother and the Father is the veneration of not only our parents, but the veneration of all Creation. We believe it encompasses the respect for all Nature; plants, animals, fellow human-beings, Oneself, the Circle of Life and an unquestioning submission to the rules of nature.
Respect of Oneself is introduced early by first an exercise of Self-Discovery. Each year, the academic year opens with a Self-Discovery Week. Self-Discovery helps identify inherent inclinations early. Thereon, we believe, there is little stopping the carriage of that skill to it’s culmination. Thereby the celebration of it.
Similarly, an Environment Week and Malhaar, an inter-school dance and music festival at School herald the arrival of the rain. The parched landscape is infused and the environment is reassured.
We also take the distinctly prescribed veneration of Mother to convey the equalness of the female gender. Equalness is specially reinforced at Raksha Bandhan when boys and girls are equally encouraged to tie rakhis on each others’ wrists. Both are equally egged on to excel in every sphere including sport, drama, leadership, oupptdoor excursions and self-defence.
Atithi, or the guest at home is also to receive our reverance. We, at School believe that any element that enters our space deserves to be venerated. Besides encouraging guests of diverse enrichments, we also encourage the environment that envelopes us. We lend our humble contribution to make some difference to greening our surroundings, reducing the pollution and cleaning our neighbourhoods. We also try and spread the awareness we have, amongst others who share our immediate environment. Students regularly march for the cause of a clean environment along the busy BRT that runs outside our School. The traffic is forced to take notice of the childrens’ persistence.
Special guests welcomed regularly at School are noted scientists, pioneers, academics, poets, dancers, conservationists, champions of animal-rights, writers, diplomats, lawyers, musicians, historians, IT professionals and many others. Animated exchanges between the guests and the children vastly embellish their agile intellects as they embark to wonder about a yet-undiscovered direction.
Last, but not the least, is the reverance for the Teacher.
We extend this to include the reverance for any value or person that has taught. Anything that has taught, has elevated us permanently and therefore must be venerated. Besides, the pursuit of Excellence is the corollary of that veneration. Standards are set steep and morale and determination are systematically moulded into the students to enable their achievement.
At School not only is the Teacher or Acharya offered the veneration, but also the library and literature. Each year in July, an inseperable part of the curriculum is the Literary Week across the whole School age-appropriately.
Our School has been granted a monument in adoption by Intach and we have enthusiastically accepted accountability for it. A piece of history is thus a piece of our everyday preserve, to draw upon and learn.
Similarly a large inter-school debate competition each year regularly seeks to refresh with themes to provoke piked pitches. Old ideas get consolidated or demolished as new paths are cut. The learning is lovingly leveraged.
Atithi Devo Bhava (Atithidevo Bhava, Sanskrit: अतिथिदेवो भव; English: 'The manu guest is equivalent to God' is taken from an ancient Hindu scripture which became part of the "code of conduct" for Hindu society. Atithi Devo Bhava prescribes a dynamic of the host-guest relationship.
The mantras are from the Taittiriya Upanishad, Shikshavalli I.11.2 that says: matrudevo bhava, pitrudevo bhava, acharyadevo bhava, atithidevo bhava. It literally means "be one for whom the Mother is God, be one for whom the Father is God, be one for whom the Teacher is God, be one for whom the guest is God." matrudevah, pitrudevah, acharyadevah, atithidevah are one word each, and each one is a Bahuvrihi samasta-pada.
Ritual or Puja
In Hinduism Personal God is worshipped in a five-step worship; this is known as Panchopchara Puja. The "Shodashopchar Poojan" is more elaborate and formal, and involves 16 steps.
The five steps from the worship become the five formalities to be observed while receiving guests:
- Fragrance (Dhupa) - While receiving guests the rooms must have a pleasant fragrance, because this is the first thing that attracts or detracts guests from their visit. A pleasant fragrance will put a guest in good humour.
- Lamp (Dipa) - Prior to the electrification of India, a lamp was put between host and guest so that expression and body language would remain clearly visible and therefore no gap would be created between host and guest.
- Eatables (Naivedya) - Fruits and sweets made of milk were offered to guests.
- Rice (Akshata) - It is a symbol of being undivided. A tilak, often made of a vermilion paste, is put on the forehead and rice grains are placed on it. This is the highest form of welcome in Hindu Indian families.
- Flower Offering (Pushpa) - A flower is a gesture of good will. When the guest departs, the flower symbolizes the sweet memories of the visit that stay with them for several days.
Campaign by the Government of India
India attracts millions of tourists each year. The country had 3.3 million in 2003, but it still lags far behind other destinations. To attempt to improve the number of tourists traveling to India, the Tourism Department of India started the Atithi Devo Bhava campaign with the theme Incredible India.
'Atithi Devo Bhava' is a social awareness campaign that aims at providing the inbound tourist a greater sense of being welcomed to the country. The campaign targets the general public, while focusing mainly on the stakeholders of the tourism industry. The campaign provides training and orientation to taxi driver, guides, immigration officers, police, and other personnel who interact directly with the tourist.