You are here: Sri Vaishnava Home Page : Bhakti List : Archives : November 1997

People to perform religious ceremonies.

From: V. Sadagopan (75041.3037_at_compuserve.com)
Date: Wed Nov 12 1997 - 19:06:33 PST

Dear Bhakthi group members :

Coming from a long line of PurOhithAs 
before that word got a limited meaning and 
living next to temple priests for many years,
I agree fully with the spirit of the observation
of Sri KrishNamaachAri .PurohithAs and Bhattars
respected each other , but  rarely stood in for 
each other.Here in this country , the clear dearth
of PurOhithAs puts a pressure on temple priests.
Some times the consequences are sad , since 
some of the priests are mesmerized by the 
additional revenue . Others fully understand 
their prime role and serve the community in
other areas out of the acute need for officiating
in such functions . 

There is no simple solution to this problem . 
Only the availabilty of the two categories 
in the future will ease this demand
as the Indian communities here grow. The situation
is somewaht similar to few decades ago , when 
the village-based people got English education and moved 
to careers in the cities like Madras , the purohiths 
of those familes also migrated to Madras to
"tend to their flocks " . 

It is also possible that number of "Scientists,
Engineers , Professors " living here now would
devote more attention to these Vaidhika karmAs ,
become knowledgable and extend their services 
to others just like the volunteering of 
Sri KrishNa Kalaale recently to handle GrahapravEsam 
function at Sri Mohan Sagar's new home .

The functions and the duties of these two 
important groups of people ( Purohiths 
and priests ) are quite distinct
and different .

My grandfather was a "Bruhaspathi " and 
was expert in Yajur and Saama Veda PurOHitham .
He was revered .He was known as Poundarikapuram 
Brahaspathi.

My father as the first son followed that line.
His constituency consisted of people , who 
would wait for him for days to perform the important 
functions and bless them .He explained to them the 
meaning of the ManthrAs and will not let them 
rush thru any function . They welcomed that .
They knew that he had their auspiciousness 
and hitham in mind and went in front ( puram )
to seek it in the saasthraic way . 

My next door neighbors were from the illustrious 
Bhattar families , who were AaradhakAs of 
Sri Oppiliappan . They were Purohiths to The Lord
and performed agni kaaryams and other kaimkaryms
to him . Some of them were learned in VedAs.
The late Sri Varadaraja bhattar of Oppiliappan Koil
learned Yajur Vedam from my grandfather .BTW , Parasara
Bhattar , the son of KuratthAzhwAn was the purOhithA
to Lord Ranganatha .

In summary the training , knowledge , anushtAnams
are indeed quite different for the two categories
of People such as PurohithAs and Archakaas of the Lord .
It is also approriate to remember that in India itself ,
the old fashioned PurohithAs are hard to find and 
Purohitham has become like any other profession 
with revenue generation and market development
as key goals .Their scholarship level of suthrAs
and ahnika granthams are far from satisfactory .  

V.Sadagopan  

  
---------- Forwarded Message ----------

From:	"Krishnamachari, N.", INTERNET:krish@ihmail1.ih.lucent.com
TO:	OM, INTERNET:bhakti@lists.best.com
DATE:	11/12/97 1:42 PM

RE:	People to perform religious ceremonies.

Sender: bhakti-errors@lists.best.com
Received: from lists1.best.com (lists1.best.com [206.86.8.15])
	by dub-img-10.compuserve.com (8.8.6/8.8.6/2.8) with ESMTP id NAA03455
	for <75041.3037@compuserve.com>; Wed, 12 Nov 1997 13:41:52 -0500 (EST)
Received: (from daemon@localhost) by lists1.best.com (8.8.5/8.7.3) id KAA13533 for bhakti-errors@lists.best.com; Wed, 12 Nov 1997 10:25:19 -0800 (PST)
Message-Id: <199711121825.KAA13533@lists1.best.com>
From: "Krishnamachari, N." <krish@ihmail1.ih.lucent.com>
Subject: People to perform religious ceremonies.
Date: Wed, 12 Nov 1997 13:13:19 -0600
BestServHost: lists.best.com
MIME-Version: 1.0
Content-Type: text/plain
Sender: bhakti-errors@lists.best.com
Errors-To: bhakti-errors@lists.best.com
To: bhakti@lists.best.com

I have followed the correspondence relating to priests for performing
some of the religious ceremonies.  I hope what I am adding here is
viewed in a positive sense.  It is not intended to adversely comment on
any thoughts expressed so far.

In my experience, I feel there is a difference between the purohita
function and the priest function.  The training for the two functions
are distinct and different from each other.  Even though in this country
because of the limitation in resource availability we have the temple
priests essentially also functioning as purohita-s, this does not
necessarily mean that they are the also the ones who are trained for the
purohita function.  When an attempt is made to put together a list of
people qualified to perform the different ceremonies, this needs to be
kept in mind.  

Also, when we look for people competent or trained to perform the
religious functions, I
have found some non-vaishNava priests (smartha priests for instance)
have been very good in their knowledge of purohitam as well. 

-dAsan kr*shNamaAchAryan 
.