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HindustanTimes Fri,26 Dec 2014

Kolkata : Budding priests hope to make a windfall in Puja

Arpit Basu , Hindustan Times  Kolkata, September 09, 2013
First Published: 10:42 IST(9/9/2013) | Last Updated: 10:50 IST(9/9/2013)

With the number of Durga Pujas increasing, the number of priests is on the rise. To meet the demand, the Bangiyo Purahit Sabha has started a crash course for them.

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In 2010, there was a major crisis of priests in the state.

It was even observed that priests, who are reciting mantras for years, are not well versed with the rituals.

“So, we decided to introduce a crash course for the purohits. It has worked wonders. Even in 2011, there were only 4,000 odd purohits in the state. Now, the figure has reached almost 7,000,” said Mrinal Shastri, secretary of Bongiyo Purahit Sabha.

In fact, the association has roped in Hindu priests from neighbouring Orissa, Bihar and Jharkhand to attend the special tutorial classes. The association also performs rituals at major puja pandals in the city.

“According to norms, interested candidates should be a member our Sabha and can undertake the course free of cost. Successful candidates of this course will be considered as certified purohits,” added Shastri.

The course teaches ways to perform various rituals and the right ways to pronounce Sanskrit slokas.

Shastri gave an example of how mispronouncing even a single word in a mantra can have negative effects.

“Chanting Om Namaha Shivaya is meant to invoke Lord Shiva. But if a priest mispronounces it as Om Namaha Shivahu he is instead invoking the followers of Lord Shiva, who are ghosts and spooks. Remember the word Shivaya signifies Lord Shiva and Shivahu signifies his followers,” Shastri said.


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