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.