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  • Category: Miscellaneous

    Temple priests selected irrespective of caste criterion.

    Travencore Devaswom Board of Kerala has selected 62 persons with the qualifications prescribed to become temple priests in various temples under it. They belong to different castes. Earlier these posts were filled with persons from Brahmin communities alone. In the selected 62 only 26 are from Brahmin community. Others are from Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and other backward communities. 21 are from Exhava communities.
    This is the first time that the Devaswom Board has included non - Brahmin communities in the selection list of priests in the temples under the Board. There are around 70 major temples under the Board, which include the Sabarimala Ayyappa Temple, Mahadeva Temple at Vaikkom, Ettimanur and Chengannur.
    The qualification fixed for candidates included the knowledge of temple rituals, exposure to Sanskrit, and appearance in standard 9 examination. Any certificate in ' Tanthra Vidya' was not insisinsisted.
  • #611013
    Very sensitive subject raised by the author and being brahmin it hurts me a lot. Temple priests jobs are predominantly reserved for brahmin community only because, they know all the shastras, vedas and intricacies of doing rituals inside the temple as per the agama shashtras. The reservation was either too in education and jobs, and now it entered even the temples now. Where are we heading ? Why the courts are keeping quiet. In the garb of giving reservation to the other castes than brahmin, the Kerala government has opened similar request from other states and thus great protests are expected.
    K Mohan
    'Idhuvum Kadandhu Pogum "
    Even this challenging situation would ease

  • #611016
    I whole-heartedly welcome this move. In Hinduism, there is a caste system, but the castes were originally related to the work being performed by people. Brahmins are traditionally associated with education, performing Pujas after knowing the Hindu-Dharma. If non-Brahmin (by birth) people can learn Hindu scriptures and can perform Pujas and other rituals, they must be made priests. In Bengal, some ladies have become priests after studying religious scriptures. This is the greatness of Hinduism.
    Beware! I question everything and everybody.

  • #611019
    Partha I wont agree with your views. It is really trespassing to the job opportunities purely related to brahmins. When someone does not know the real difference between right hand and left hand, how can they do the service at the santum sanctorum of the God or deity. ? The priest job and the position wont come as it is. It is mainly heriditory as the father would pass the legacy to the son and that would be carried with devotion and reverence. No one has the right to interfere in the religious activities by belittling the abilities of brahmin and thus they are inviting greater wrath from our community.
    K Mohan
    'Idhuvum Kadandhu Pogum "
    Even this challenging situation would ease

  • #611027
    Here the person should have the knowledge of performing rituals as per the agamasastra. If the person is not qualified in that how he can be a priest in the temple.I think the qualification required for the post is not fixed properly by the government. What are the sevas to be done may be known but how to do that with the proper recitation of the mantra is important. Why is this qualification not fixed? The present priests should take this as serious problem and should fight for this with the government. Once that norm is fixed automatically Brahmin Boys only will get selected. Of course, some people say the other caste boys also will learn. OK, let them come, compete and get selected. But without knowing the mantras no one should be allowed perform puja in the temple. This Kerala communist government is creating this problem. The working priests should go for a strong protest.
    always confident

  • #611035
    I went through the comments above. Actually I posted this just to pass the information appeared in today's news paper ( the Hindu). It is true that this profession was generally handled by Brahmins. At the same time there are many temples in Kerala owned and run by non- Brahmin communities. The priests in such temples are from their on community. And these days even in temples owned by Brahmins, priests are from other communities, since no Brahmin priest is available. In Kerala Brahmins are well educated and opt for other types jobs. A good majority is in IT sector and working outside the country. At the same time there are several temples, small and large sized. All these have prompted the Devaswom Board to go for other communities.
    Gold Member ISC

  • #611039
    To me, there seem to be two issues at hand. Are the non-Brahmin priests knowledgeable enough to be priests and the second being should non-Brahmin priests be appointed at all by the temple boards.

  • #611056
    Kerala Communist government does not want BJP to enter that state and hence they are taking all actions which are detrimental to the Hindu sentiments and especially the Brahmans. In Kerala there are many important temples as part of the 108 divya shetrams as per Hindu mythology. That means these so called communist mind people would interfere and make commotions among the hard devotees who go there to such temples every year and pray. Kerala government must respect the feelings of Brahmins. Let them live with with their profession. Brahmins are the most silent people in the world and if they protest the world is over.
    K Mohan
    'Idhuvum Kadandhu Pogum "
    Even this challenging situation would ease

  • #611070
    Sorry to read the comments by Sri. K. Mohan. I never wanted to politicise this discussion forum. The Travancore Devaswom Board had been working out this since years back. There are institutions in Kerala where detailed training in priesthood given to those who are interested, irrespective of castes. Brahmins are heading these schools. Kshetra samrakshana samithi (Temple protection organization), controlled by Sangha parivar, is controlling these thantra vidyalaya. Many who passed out of these schools are already working in private temples, even belonging to Brahmins.
    My family has the authority of six temples (I am a Brahmin, that too, the topmost among Kerala Brahmins) and of late we had appointed a non- Brahmin priest in one of these temples due to non-availability of Brahmin priests. Local devotees were happy with him and even commented that this man was more sincere to his duties and conducted rituals very systematically. This is quoted just to give you the situation in Kerala.

    Gold Member ISC

  • #611072
    This constant adamant stance of people to let caste be the basis of doing something, be it drawing water from a well, teaching the scriptures of any religion's holy book or working in a place of worship, is regressive.

    And answer this - Does God judge the eligibility of the person conducting the rituals? When God accepts prayers from all, so also He is not going to exactly express fury if somebody other than the "usual" priest (the one who others insist should be only of a certain community) performs a particular puja.

    When people come at you with their worst, you should come at them with your best (advice given to Selena Gomez by her mother, quoted in Time magazine.)

  • #611073
    The comments by Mohan actually show why reservation system is important. The superiority complex that still exists in today's upper caste people needs to go. They need to realize that everyone is born equal. No job can be reserved just for one category of people. Some Brahmins are still living under the assumption of being better than others just because of their birth and the action by Kerela government is an important one to break this assumption and make the society an equal one.
    No job is big or small and no one has the right to claim the right to something just because they are born in a particular family.

  • #611074
    Here I am not talking about superiority or reservation. When new opportunities are not created for brahmins at least do not snatch the eligibility slated for us.
    K Mohan
    'Idhuvum Kadandhu Pogum "
    Even this challenging situation would ease

  • #611075
    Birth by not an eligibility for any job especially for people already on top of the social hierarchy.

  • #611079
    Where is the question of "snatching"? Should not people eligible for a job deserve to be considered? Should they being non-Brahmins be a criteria for rejection? Should we not consider the quality of a job done rather than from which community the person is?

    The door of opportunity should be open for all to enter, not slammed shut on certain groups of people merely because they are not of a supposedly superior community. Really, this whole attitude of Brahmins being superior is grating and highly regressive.

    When people come at you with their worst, you should come at them with your best (advice given to Selena Gomez by her mother, quoted in Time magazine.)

  • #611080
    I belong to Brahmin caste of Hindu. Let me clear that Brahmins are not for the work of priests only. The Brahmin, as per Vedas, is a person who knows the Brahma (i.e. the eternal knowlege). There karma was to enlighten the scoiety with knowledge and they occupied the top position in the society.

    The veda yug accepted brahmin based on this knowledge irrespective of their birth. Rishis are brahmins as per this definition. This yug followed by Brahmin period where brahmin became a caste. The brahmin was defined by birth. The son of brahmin continued as brahmin irrespecte of his knowlege. After this to protect the interest of this class so formed in the society started Karma Kand, a dogmatic Hinduism full of retuals and worshiping idols of various deities. This narrowed the whole space into a limited religion called Hindu.

    These priests are to some extend responsible for narrowing the boundries of great legacy of our rishis. I know the Brahmins who took part in freedom strugle and used their intelect for building a strong India of today.

    I donot agree with the concept that majority brahmins are in BJP. But I would say the RSS ,a fundamentalist organisation, dominated by a particular class of brahmin caste in a particular state, has made BJP to show its inclusive face to the country to gain power to establish Hindu Rashtra. Now I am finding Brahmins in all professions including catering, hotels and bussiness. I found them running shoe marts and Pan shops. So let others do the job of priests.

    I wecome this decision of Kerala Govt. This will go a long way in uniting the Hindus atleast.

  • #611131
    Just because we do not want to spend to stitch the shoes or foot wear, we cannot avoid a cobbler and same way we cannot avoid the service of a plumber who knows the specific work, like wise brahmins also have their specific work and service towards the society and that should not be denied.
    K Mohan
    'Idhuvum Kadandhu Pogum "
    Even this challenging situation would ease

  • #611134
    There is no work that only Brahmins can do. The world can work with or without them. Brahmins can too become a cobbler or plumber and that is not something that a caste can decide.

  • #611136
    #611070:This reply has a valid point. People for various castes are being trained in a formal way regarding the duities of the priest.There seems to be a local shortage of Brahmin priests. The combination of both gives the best answer for the local scenario to get the work done. I think we have to move away from the concept of superiority and by birth...

    #611080: This too is valid, Brahmins are into other businesses (whether by choice or due to lack of their regular jobs).

    This thread reminds me of an old tamil move "Vedham Puddidhu" by the maverick director Bharathiraja in 1987. An excellent movie that discusses issues between brahmin vs thevar in a village. Thirty years later this thread along the same lines is still elliciting a good debate.

  • #611140
    Such arguments related to posts and castes are just politics. In reality any post can be handled only by the person with involvement and capacity to handle . All iyers can become priests or puthiya because of mere caste. If a priest in a temple without any knowledge about temple and its procedures, will we as a devotee accept wholeheartedly? Will we accept a person as a teacher who has been selected based on caste and doesn't know anything about teaching? Okey, in many temples the income is not of talking level, moreover the sons of priests are becoming software engineers by set asiding their heredity job, if one ask the job of priest, it is only just for fun.

  • #611152
    I don't see the need of discriminating people on the basis of caste, especially when it comes to job opportunities. Even our PSC exams holds such kind of discriminations. SC and ST candidate are given preference followed by OBC. There are qualified and eligible poor people in the forward caste too and the government should stand for them as well.

    Earlier the job of a priest was mainly done by Bhramins, but now people belonging to other castes are also taking it up. Why do we have to stand against it if someone is making a livelihood out of it. Caste and religion was created by man and it is high time we get rid of these and consider human as humans and let the eligible people perform jobs without any reservations and discriminations.

    "Do not give up, things might not favour you always"

  • #611262
    Yesterday, Yedu Krishnan became the first Dalit priest in Kerala for the Lord Shiva Temple, Manappuram, Thiruvalla. He underwent 10 years of training in Tantra Shastra. Apparently, there is a Royal ruling from Travancore (1936), that allows people of the so-called lower caste to become priests.

    If this is correct, then the rule was laid almost 81 years ago. Shankaran sir, can kindly add-on regarding the authenticity of this.

  • #611263
    As I earlier said, I welcome this revolutionary step. It will ultimately strengthen Hinduism and unify Hindus.
    Beware! I question everything and everybody.

  • #611266
    Non Brahmin should not be allowed to become Baba and priest. As per Indian culture brahmins should perform the pooja. If thenon Brahmin people becomes Baba the result is in front of the society. Asharam, Ram raheem, Satpal baba and Radhe ma all non Brahmin. They have made the people fool. Bramins are the purest form of human and they deserve their place.
    The greatest wealth in this world is mental peace and good health.

  • #611268
    Sharma thanks for getting support from your side. By giving chance others to interfere in our community, we are giving more room to spoil our own rich culture and heritage of Brahmin sect.
    K Mohan
    'Idhuvum Kadandhu Pogum "
    Even this challenging situation would ease

  • #611269
    Ms Vandana told "The door of opportunity should be open for all to enter, not slammed shut on certain groups of people merely because they are not of a supposedly superior community. Really, this whole attitude of Brahmins being superior is grating and highly regressive."
    Can you argue the same for the molvi/ hafij of mosque. Do we/ govt. has such courage to make Hafij in mosque non muslims. Would you accept the father of church to a muslim or hindu?

    The greatest wealth in this world is mental peace and good health.

  • #611274
    It is true that in the earlier days people were divided into different castes based on the jobs they used to do. For example, the son of a cobbler was supposed to engage in the same job as his father. Is that the situation now? We no longer follow that system and it has changed due to various reasons.

    How can one claim a right to be a priest just because he is a Brahmin in the present scenario? In that case, the Brahmins should be supporting reservation based on caste system. May I ask Mr Mohan why he didn't he opt to be a priest in some temple if he was so obsessed about Brahmism and their proximity to God (which was a creation of this elite class in the olden days)? Let us not be so narrow minded.

    If a person from a different caste is aware and learned about the rituals and the different traditions that is to be followed while conducting pujas (prayers) and can ensure that his body and mind is clean and pure, he can very well be allowed to perform the pujas in Temples. After all they too are Hindus and that is what should matter.

    'He who does not understand your silence will probably not understand your words.'- Elbert Hubbard.

  • #611294
    I feel the government should follow the temple ancestral rules. They just can't anybody without thinking about the cast. I am not differentiating that brahims's should only do but before appointing government should look at the ancestral rules like if there was anybody else as a priest in before this other than brahim. If so they can appoint or else it's better to follow ancestral rules. Now in Mangalore Gokarna temple the priest is not brahim but right from the establishment of the temple this rule is followed. So instead of clashes its better to follow temple rules.

  • #611308
    All human beings are equal by birth and they can develop themselves in any profession. Looks like few people are still living in 19th century.

  • #611316
    It is reported that two organizations working in Kerala, Yogakshema Sabha and Brahmana Sabha have welcomed this new decision implemented by the Devaswom board. The first organization comprises of members of Nambudiri Brahmins and the second the other Brahmins including the Tamil Brahmins in Kerala.
    Gold Member ISC

  • #611318
    I strongly believe that this step would strengthen Hinduism. Those non-Brahmin priests have attained Brahminhood by their 'karma and 'gyan' (deeds and wisdom). There was provision of getting promoted to Brahminhood by non-Brahmins in ancient times. Rishi Vishvamitra is an example.
    Beware! I question everything and everybody.

  • #611327
    I may be permitted to add another social problem now being experienced by the youths of Nambudiri community. Girls belonging to this community are well educated these days and are employed accordingly. So when it comes to marriage they are not ready to accept a boy doing the job of temple priest. Several Nambudiri youths are facing this problem. They opt for girls from other communities and vice versa.
    Gold Member ISC

  • #611332
    Saji being brahmin I need not limit myself to a priest as I was not trained enough. Moreover it is not that easy job to take over as easily as thought. One must have the sanctum even to touch the Lord feet.
    K Mohan
    'Idhuvum Kadandhu Pogum "
    Even this challenging situation would ease

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