“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.