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2-Priests of Shiv Temples

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Priests of Shiv Temples

Special priests are employed to worship in Shiv Temples. Aadi-Shaiv priests are the hereditary Pujaaree who care for the temple and conduct its varied rites and rituals as humble servants of God. They are trained in the complex arts of worship, generally from a young age.

Every temple has its own staff of priests. Some temples appoint only one, while others have a large extended family of priests to take care of the many shrines and elaborate festivals. Most are well trained from early childhood in the intricate liturgy. Shiv Temple Pujaaree are usually Braahman from the Aadi-Shaiv lineage, though in certain temples they are not. These men of God must be fully knowledgeable of the metaphysical and ontological tenets of the religion and learn hundreds of Mantra and chants required in the ritual worship. When fully trained, they are duly ordained as Shivaachaarya to perform Paraarth Poojaa in a consecrated Shiv Temple. Generally, Pujaaree do not attend to the personal problems of devotees. They are God's servants, tending his Temple home and its related duties, never standing between the devotee and God. Officiating priests are almost always married men, while their assistants may be Brahmachaaree or widowers.

The Aagam explain, "Only a well-qualified priest may perform both Aatmaarth Poojaa (worship for one's self), and Paraarth Poojaa (worship for others). Such an Aadi-Shaiv is a Shaiv Braahman and a teacher."

What Does He Do During the Poojaa?
During the Poojaa, through Mantra, Mudraa and mystical ritual, the priest invokes the Deity. All observances are precisely detailed in the Aagam; every act, every intoned syllable is rich in esoteric meaning.

The Pujaaree performs strict ablutions and disciplines to prepare himself for his sacred duty. Before the Poojaa, he ritually purifies the atmosphere. As the Poojaa begins, he meditates on Lord Ganesh, praying that all obstacles may be removed. He then beseeches the God to indwell the image, to accept the prayers of the votaries, and to shower blessings and love on all. Calling the name of the Deity and chanting Mantra and hymns from the Ved and Aagam, the Pujaaree makes offerings of unbroken rice (A-Kshat), burning camphor (Kapoor o Karpoor), incense, holy ash (Bhasm), water, red turmeric powder (Rolee), flowers and food. Sometimes offerings of milk, rosewater, sandalwood paste and yogurt are poured over the Moorti as an oblation, called Abhishek. Bells are loudly rung, conch shells sounded, and musicians may play the Temple drums and woodwinds. The Pujaaree treats the Deity with utmost care, attending to him as the King of kings. When the Poojaa has ended, the Pujaaree passes the now sanctified offerings to those present there.

The Ved say, "Daily the sacrifice is spread. Daily the sacrifice is completed. Daily it unites the worshiper to heaven. Daily by sacrifice to heaven he ascends."



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Created and Maintained by Sushma Gupta
Created on March 15, 2003 and Updated on February 12, 2013