Hindu priest

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A Hindu priest may refer to either of the following:


Traditionally, priests have come from the Brahmin varna, although in various parts of India, people from other communities (such as Lingayats in parts of Karnataka) have performed the function. In modern times, archakas have been recruited from various communities with lesser regard to caste.

Hindu priests are known to perform services often referred to as puja. Priests are identified as pundits or pujaris amongst devotees. [1] Priests were the instigating factor to why ordinary people of Hindu religion became indulged severely in a devotional path. Hindu priests through their extended knowledge of the literature, the Bhagavad Gita and the Ramayana were able to encourage the Hindu community's devotion to Hindu deities. [2]


Their primary responsibility is to conduct daily prayers (puja) at the temple. During Hindu festivals, traditional events such as weddings, the sacred thread ceremony, performance of last rites and special deity ceremonies, priests are called upon to conduct puja's either at the temple or at the location of the event. In order to perform these puja's, the priests are required to have prior skills and knowledge. To be a qualified priest, they must know the required chants ( mantras and strotas ) fluently in Sanskrit and be familiar with the materials required to perform the puja for various ceremonies and rituals. [3] Pandits from an early age were trained to memorize hymns in order to chant them during rituals and ceremonies without aid. Receiving assistance to remember hymns and chants was frowned upon, and were only expected to recite the hymns through memory. [4]

Required qualifications

The required qualification to be a priest is that the person is a Brahmin are Kshatriya like VishvaMitra Devotee . But the word Brahmin needs to defined carefully. Here the word Brahmin refers to Brahmin varna . In common usage however, the word Brahmin refers to a group of castes. There is no authority for the notion of the birth based caste system in authoritative Hindu scriptures. Even a person born in a "low-caste" family can become a Brahmin if he acquires the necessary knowledge and is eligible to be appointed as a priest. [5] In Bhagavad Gita Chapter 2 verse 3 Lord Krishna explains to Arjuna about his duty as a Chatriya and the duty of a bramhin.

Daily routine

Daily routines of Hindu priests would consist of prayers as much as four to six times per day and perhaps even more. Every morning pandits are in charge of bathing the deity with water and milk, clothing the deity with traditional wear and jewellery. After conducting the rituals, the priest offers food to devotees after it has been presented in front of the god referred to as prasad. Whilst the prasad is being handed out, the priests as well as the devotees engage in singing prayers praising the deity. The priests finally conclude with an aarthi (lighted camphor) shown to the deity and held in the presence of the devotees to receive blessings. [6] A Hindu priest would repeat this routine every day as a part of their responsibility in servicing the god.

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