Friday, September 10, 2010

Priests in Jain Temples

-Mahavir Sanglikar

Where there is a temple, there is a priest. Jain temples are not an exception for this rule. We know that there is displeasure about the priests in Hindu community many priests are exploiting common people in the name of God and religion. On the contrary, the priests in Jain temples are being exploited by Jain community.

Most of the Priests in Jain temples, whether they belong to Digambar or Shwetambar temples, are suffering from poverty, and disregarding behavior of Jain community for them. For Jain community, priests are nothing but ordinary servants.

In South India, priests in Jain temples belonging to Digambar sect get the priesthood by inheritance. The priests do not get any salary from the temple trust. They are paid by the right of collecting some grain flour and milk from Jain families in their area. Apart from it, they make small money from performing pooja on various occasions at laymen’s houses, by performing rituals on wedding and deaths. As the number of temples remains stable in villages, the priesthood rights are divided in every next generation of the priest family. This divides income of the priest family.

In case of priests in Jain temples of Shwetambar sect, and that of Digambars of North India, the priests are paid servants. They get very low salary, even violating the Minimum Wages Act. (Many times, it is below 1000 rupees per month!).

Because of low income, the priests in Jain temples can not provide good living to their family members. It is not possible for them to provide better education to their children. The future of Jain priests is just black, and Jain community is solely responsible for it. The trusties of temples never want to think about it.

The condition of Sevaks (Servants) and Malis (Gardeners) also is worst.

Priests are directly involved in performing Pooja in Jain temples. If performing pooja is a holy act, see what benefits the priests get for it. They get just poverty and black future, lack of respect from Jain community. And the laymen, who do not perform pooja, become richer and richer. As for Jains, rich people are always respectable, no question how they grow rich, and poor people are always low and disreputable, even if they are involved in religious activities.

So now it is time of revolt for the priests in Jain temples. Jain priests are now quitting this occupation. They are choosing other jobs. Many are getting self employed. Their children are getting better education.

This is not their escape from Jain religion, but from the greedy Jain Community. Now Jain community is in trouble as Jains do not get priests for their temples easily. This is a good sign, as it will automatically eliminate rituals in Jain community. If Jains want to perform rituals, they have to do it on their own.

1 comment:

  1. Very well pointed, though I have seen some reforms in the past few years specially in Karnataka, it is indeed such contradiction to our prayers "Namo...Namo Acharya, Namo Upadhya..."