(Last Updated on : 28/08/2013)
In a temple especially that of the Hindus, the role of the priests is highly emphasized. The priests are generally Brahmans. They perform all the rites, Puja
and sacrifices required in the temple. However, now Brahmans have overcome all ethics and are now found officiating in the large temples of Lord Vishnu and Lord Shiva
. The priests who belong to the lower castes officiate in the small and occasionally in the large temples.
Vellalars and Pariahs are the priests who belong to the low castes. Pariahs are closely connected with Jagannath Temple
. Now they are the priest of celebrated temples like that of Kanchipuram, Kumbakonam and Srivalli-puttur. The main responsibility of the chief priest and his assistants is to maintain the spiritual atmosphere of the temple. The chief priest forms a strict code of conduct, which should be followed by all other priests and the devotees.
All the priests are expected to lead a very strict and pure life. They should know all the rituals and ceremonies associated with the temple worship and festivities. All the rules concerning personal and ceremonial purity should be observed by the priests of the temple. They should perform the worship with faith and devotion. But the priests are not allowed to misuse the temple property in any way. In brief, they must protect the temple properties. The priest should have real concern for the devotees and should treat them with sympathy and understanding. They are expected to be broadminded and a liberal outlook should be an additional qualification for modern priests.
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