अग्निं हुत्वा प्रदायार्घ्यमतिथीन् प्रतिपूज्य च । वानप्रस्थ्येन धर्मेण स तेषां भोजनं ददौ ॥

श्रीमद्वाल्मीकिरामायणे अरण्यकाण्डे द्वादशस्सर्गः (२७ श्लोकम) After completing Agnihotra (naivedya, Vaisvadevam), Agastya performed Atithipooja of Seeta-Raama-Lakshmanas by offering Arghya-paadyams and then offering food as per his ashrama-dharma, which is Vaanaprastham. Through this shloka Valmiki Maharshi is teaching us the sequence of things that need to be done in Atithi Pooja. First the host must finish his…

ततः शुभं तापसभोज्यमन्नं स्वयं सुतीक्ष्णः पुरुषर्षभाभ्याम् । ताभ्यां सुसत्कृत्य ददौ महात्मा सन्ध्यानिवृत्तौ रजनीमवेक्ष्य ॥

श्रीमद्वाल्मीकिरामायणे अरण्यकाण्डे सप्तमस्सर्गः (२४ श्लोक) This shloka means that after Seeta-Raama-Lakshmana and Sutikshna maharshi finished their (respective) evening Sandhyavandanam, the maharshi offered atithi-satkarams, with great respect and affection, like arghya-paadya-saatvika-aahaaram to them. This shloka highlights the importance of daily duties like Sandhya-vandanam and serving the Atithis.

ततो रामस्य सत्कृत्य विधिना पावकोपमाः । आजह्रुस्ते महाभागाः सलिलं धर्मचारिणः ॥

श्रीमद्वाल्मीकिरामायणे अरण्यकाण्डे प्रथमोध्यायः (१५ श्लोक) This shloka means “Rushis (of Dandakarnya), who were firm followers of Dharma, whose aura is as bright as fire, performed Atithi-pooja to Sita-Raama-Lakshmanas as per the shastras”. Note that even after leaving all wordly comforts and performing un-interrupted Tapas, and there-by becoming tri-kaala-vedis, the rushis did not leave following Dharma!…

स्वयमातिथ्यमादिश्य सर्वमस्य सुसत्कृतम् । सौमित्रिं च महाभागां सीतां च समसान्त्वयत् ॥

श्रीमद्वाल्मीकिरामायणे अयोध्याकाण्डे सप्तदशोत्तरशततमस्सर्गः (६ श्लोक) This shloka says that Atri Maharshi performed appropriate Atithiseva to Sita-Raama-Lakshmanas, when they visited His ashram. Even though Atri maharshi was a great maharshi, and a great Guru, He performed Atithiseva as per shastras. We should also respect an Atithi who comes to our house as if He is Lord Vishnu Himself!

पाद्यमर्घ्यं तथातिथ्यं चकार सुसमाहिता । प्रतिजग्राह काकुत्स्थो विधिदृष्टेन कर्मणा ॥

– श्रीमद्वाल्मीकिरामायणे बालकाण्डे एकोनपञ्चाशस्सर्गः (१८) The meaning of this shoka is “AhalyaDevi offered पाद्यम्, अर्घ्यम् and then invited Raama, Lakshmanas into their Aashram. She then worshipped them accordingly. Raama and Lakshmana accepted her prayers always thinking of them as traditional acts of hospitality”. This beautiful shloka gives commentary on the Indian principle “अतिथि देवोभव”. Like AhalyaDevi, we should…