Those trained in patashalas can be priests too: Tamil Nadu govt | Chennai News – Times of India


CHENNAI: Only those candidates who have formally completed training as ‘archakas’ have been appointed as priests of various temples across the state, Tamil Nadu government informed Madras high court on Monday.
The prospective candidates should have completed the formal training either in a state-run centre to become priests or in other patashalas, the state said.
The government made the submission on a plea moved by All India Adi Saiva Sivachariyargal Seva Sangam challenging the insistence of 38 temples in the state, that a person to be eligible to be appointed as a priest must have completed a certification course in ‘Agama Sastras’.
When the plea came up for hearing on Monday, Tamil Nadu advocate-general R Shunmugasundaram submitted that similar pleas had already been pending before the first bench of the court and hence the present petition could be tagged along with those pleas.
Recording the submission, the court directed the registry to forward the plea to the first bench.
According to the petitioner, such a condition insisted by the 38 temples was only to eliminate ‘Sivachariyars’ who get trained by religious gurus from a young age from being appointed as priests.
Noting that ‘Sivachariyars’ are an independent lot constituting a separate denomination, the petitioner said, “From time immemorial, Sivachariyar were believed to be slaves of Lord Shiva and their primary duty was to perform puja in Saivite temples as per the Agamas and Vedas.
Sivachariyas, who are experienced in agamas, do not undergo any certificate course.
Instead, they obtain diksha from the guru of their sect at a very early age and undergo rigorous vedic education for a minimum period of three years, the association said.

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