Now, MP temples to get ‘qualified’ priests
Being a pure vegetarian, with no criminal record, minimum class 8 pass and having knowledge of the ved puranas; these are some of the qualifications for a temple priest and head of a math (a religious institution) in Madhya Pradesh, said an officer of spiritual department.
The department, which finalized the rules earlier this month, had started formulating them in February this year to end disputes related to the appointment of head in a math and priest of government controlled temples of the state to save the sanatan dharma, said the officer.
Department minister PC Sharma said, “We have promised to revive the ‘guru-shishya’ tradition in various temples of Madhya Pradesh under which a guru will have all the rights to choose his disciples to manage a temple and math.”
“But to ensure that a guru chooses the right person from among his disciples, we have made certain rules that would need to be followed,” he said.
According to the rules, head of a math and priest should be of a good character and have knowledge of all the traditions of the sanatan dharma and would be tested by religious gurus.
“There are so many temples in Madhya Pradesh which have immense wealth and property control over which becomes a matter of dispute among the disciples. Many a times, an unqualified and tainted person has taken over as the head of a math. These new rules will ensure that in case of a dispute, the government can choose a deserving person,” said a senior department officer.
BJP spokesperson Rajneesh Agrawal said, “It’s a matter of faith and the government shouldn’t interfere in the religious institutions. It is also not clear how the government would ensure these rules are followed. Instead of ending the disputes, these rules will increase the disputes.”
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