Be A Good Guest And A Good Host

Srimad Bhagavatam 09.21.08-12 - Be A Good Guest And A Good Host (download mp3)
by Yudhisthira Prabhu at ISKCON Chowpatty

SB 9.21.8
yate sudre tam anyo 'gad
atithih svabhir avrtah
rajan me diyatam annam
saganaya bubhuksate

When the sudra went away, another guest arrived, surrounded by dogs, and said, "O King, I and my company of dogs are very hungry. Please give us something to eat."

SB 9.21.9
sa adrtyavasistam yad
tac ca dattva namascakre
svabhyah sva-pataye vibhuh

With great respect, King Rantideva offered the balance of the food to the dogs and the master of the dogs, who had come as guests. The King offered them all respects and obeisances.

SB 9.21.10
paniya-matram ucchesam
tac caika-paritarpanam
pasyatah pulkaso 'bhyagad
apo dehy asubhaya me

Thereafter, only the drinking water remained, and there was only enough to satisfy one person, but when the King was just about to drink it, a candala appeared and said, "O King, although I am lowborn, kindly give me some drinking water."

SB 9.21.11
tasya tam karunam vacam
nisamya vipula-sramam
krpaya bhrsa-santapta
idam ahamrtam vacah

Aggrieved at hearing the pitiable words of the poor fatigued candala, Maharaja Rantideva spoke the following nectarean words.
Maharaja Rantideva's words were like amrta, or nectar, and therefore, aside from rendering bodily service to an aggrieved person, by his words alone the King could save the life of anyone who might hear him.

SB 9.21.12
na kamaye 'ham gatim isvarat param
astarddhi-yuktam apunar-bhavam va
artim prapadye 'khila-deha-bhajam
antah-sthito yena bhavanty aduhkhah

I do not pray to the Supreme Personality of Godhead for the eight perfections of mystic yoga, nor for salvation from repeated birth and death. I want only to stay among all the living entities and suffer all distresses on their behalf, so that they may be freed from suffering.
Vasudeva Datta made a similar statement to Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, requesting the Lord to liberate all living entities in His presence. Vasudeva Datta submitted that if they were unfit to be liberated, he himself would take all their sinful reactions and suffer personally so that the Lord might deliver them. A Vaisnava is therefore described as being para-duhkha-duhkhi, very much aggrieved by the sufferings of others. As such, a Vaisnava engages in activities for the real welfare of human society.