Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Quo Vadis , Brahmin Priests ?

 Quo Vadis , Brahmin Priests and Their Dakshinai?

Quo Vadis  , Brahmin  Priests (Purohitha- Puro  Hitha  those  who  are in front of us   to do   acts   which are beneficial  to us)  who help  us to do  Vedic rituals


    They are all   supposed  to be well versed  in Vedas   especially the Gruhya  soothras.They can specialise   in any of the   three  Vedas viz Rig, Yajur and Sama Veda.When we   go through    the puranas    we find that   such priests were  mainly  employed  by kings  who rule the country  But with disappearance of kings  , they were  employed   by agraharams (cluster  of Brahmin houses), With   agraharams not being as rich as   the kings , this class  of priests  became poor, Their  major income was from weddings and after  death ceremonies  of the families  of Agraharams and rarely by participating in Yagams  which were  conducted  by rich Brahmin families.
   With  Brahmins  moving  away to white collared    jobs  with regular   income in the cities , Some of these   priests   also moved to towns  and their income  started increasing .The poor priests   in the villages starved
  Not all  priests   in urban areas    were able   to get large number of clients   and two classes  of such  priests  came  in to existence  in urban areas.  The chief priests   and the  subordinate  priests .All  the rich Brahmins contacted  only the chief  priests who   deputed  the sub ordinate   priests working under   them for   various rituals .I understand   that  the subordinate  priests have to contribute  a small   amount  of their daily income   to the chief priests.
   Slowly the trained  subordinate   priests   became  lesser   and lesser and so the  main priests   were   forced   to employ  so called priests   who have  not studied  at all   as their assistants.
  Perhaps because   of this we do find   rich chief priests  moving  in their own cars  with their very costly   cell phones  and also  very poor assistant priests who some how  are   managing to make both ends meet leading  a very poor life .
    Most of the villages   do not have priests  and  priests   travel from  small towns   to surrounding    villages.

 Dakshina (fee for the officiating priest)  charged  by priests

    Most of the Brahmins  of the previous generation   wanted to  perform all   essential   rituals .They   are all now   slipping  in to old age  with their income    going steeply down .But   the fee charged  by Vadhyars  have sky rocketed. If you ask the Vadhyars   they   say that they also want to live  like all  other  employed  people    and they   also want   to educate   their   children like all others. Due to this the number  of rituals  being performed  by lower  and upper middle class  people   have  come to the rock bottom , If you enquire   with them they say  , except   for  after  death   rituals  .marriage   rituals  and upanayana (For which each family has to spend two or three   years of their life earnings)  , they    do not do  any ritual at home  except Sradhams . The  next generation    watching these  things keenly  tell that  , they do not intend   to do even these   rituals . I know  of a few youngsters , who have returned back  to USA after  cremation  of their  dead parents scared of  the huge expenditure  of after   death  rituals  .Many of them openly talk about  Arya Samaj weddings(Why not Samashti weddings?)   and Samashti  upanayanams   which are  much cheaper. Some of the  old parents are even thinking  of writing a will   saying that   they    are  not interested  in after   death   rituals    or  Sradhams.
      Has not the time   come  for  all of  us  to make  our welfare   associations  to look in to this matter and fix up  reasonable   dakshinai  for different  Vedic Karmas.

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