The members of the Hindu clergy may be broadly classified into two categories:
Clergymen and Religious monks
The Monastics, also known as Sanyasis, have forsaken the world as well as all activities associated with rituals. Therefore, technically speaking, they should have nothing to do with rituals, other than the ones that they execute for themselves. They have chosen to abstain from sexual activity and have severed all ties with their biological family members.
The priests may be broken down into two primary categories:
Priests of the household and priests of the temple are called archakas.
The term “domestic priest” refers to one of two distinct subgroups:
Those who execute all of the sacraments before death as well as those who deal with all of the death, cremation, obsequious, and memorial rituals, are considered to be purva-prayogis and apara-prayogis.
In western countries, there are only a select few priests who are able to preside over both kinds of ceremonies.
- Temple Hindu Priests are only intended to serve in the temple, but in their leisure time, they often take on additional responsibilities outside of the temple. They are obligated to get into marriage and start families of their own.
- Domestic Priests, also known as purohits, are priests who go to a person’s house in order to administer sacraments and ceremonies there. They are not used by all Hindus, and some castes do not utilize them at all, nor do any of the other castes. Most domestic priests are married and have children of their own.
Because of the decentralized nature of the Hindu faith, there is no centralized authority that grants certification for the profession of the priest. The religious practices and the capabilities required for the various roles of the priest are verified and affirmed in the context of the community where the priest traditionally receives training.
Engages in the occupation, and is recognized as competent based on the quality of his work. In this context, the Hindu priest is also held accountable for the religious practices and the capabilities required for the various roles of the priest.
In reality, Hindu Priests perform the duties of ritual technicians. There are a great variety of rituals that are carried out, including sixteen sacraments and hundreds of smaller rituals; in fact, there is a ritual for every possible event that one can think of.
In contrast to their counterparts in the Christian, Jewish, and Islamic faiths, clergy in the Hindu religion do not offer sermons. However, preaching and lecturing are not part of their responsibilities; rather, they may provide lessons or speeches on certain subjects to selected audiences.
On the other hand, Hindu monks and nuns do not participate in ceremonies; rather, they spend the majority of their time meditating and instructing others.
Purpose of Temple Priests
Temples in the Hindu religion have a purpose that is distinct from other religions. The Hindu god is really an image that is sanctified via a series of intricate rituals and ceremonies that may take anywhere from three to ten days to complete.
After a temple has been dedicated, there is a sequence of daily rites that must be carried out beginning in the wee hours of the morning and continuing far into the night. These rites are carried out regardless of whether or not a “congregation” is present at the time.
A visit to a temple is a private matter, and worshippers go there only when they feel compelled to provide gifts to the temple’s resident Hindu god. On the days of the festival, there will be a significant number of people present at the festivities.