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The Pundits who perform the Poojas for Astrojyoti
If you can perform a pooja yourself, nothing like it. It gives the best results. However not many know how to perform a ritualistic pooja, or the patience to do repeated mantra japa with concentration. Those who don’t know take the help of the priests to do it for them.
To become a Vedic priest to perform rituals for others, called pundit or purohit or pujari or archaka, one has to go through several years of Vedic studies (normally eight years), take mantra deeksha from a good guru, observe the strict rules laid down for the ritualistic way of life of a priest. We still have several people from traditional families who take up this profession. It is a real tough job – tougher than getting an MBBS OR MBA. What is more It is not a very paying profession and in today’s social ladder the “status” or “position” of a priest is not worth mentioning. Mafia politicians, shop keepers and brass bangle exporters have a better standing in the society today than a Vedic priest. But still in this amazing country some very highly intelligent and disciplined youngsters from very good families take up this profession and keep the Vedic flames burning. One of the priests in the group of pundits who perform my poojas is a fully qualified Engineer who worked as an Engineer for one year and then gave up and became a priest because – “This is my tradition and my heart is with the service of the Almighty!!” Hats off to this community.
Yes, like in every profession there are cheats and fraud priests who don’t know the rituals properly, or don’t perform them properly and take people for a ride. Let me give you an example. Some time ago I visited Ujjain, one of the ancient Indian seats of learning, the famous Shiva shrine of Mahakaleswar Jyotirlinga, the place from the great king Vikramaditya ruled and had whose court had the legendary poet Kalidas and the great astrologer Varahamihira. While standing in the queue for darshan, I was approached by a senior priest of the temple who asked me If I want to get Rudrabhisheka pooja performed. I was quite elated at the prospect of getting this highly auspicious pooja performed in such a holy place. He asked me to pay Rs.251/- and get a receipt. I was surprised as Rudrabhishekam pooja costs a lot more and asked if he will perform the full pooja. He confirmed that it is the complete pooja. After I made the payment, he made me sit in a big hall next to the jyotirlinga, did a simple archana with Shivopasana mantra, recited the Panchakshari stotra and blessed me!! It was a superb conman act which was over in 10 minits where as the Rudrabhishekam is a 2-1/2 hrs ritual. Well, sitting in the Mahakala temple I could not slap a senior priest!! The pundits at the Kashi Vishwanatha temple is much worse and of course the notorious priests of Puri Jagannath are the worst. The decent educated man gets disgusted with this kind of priests.
I prescribe poojas as remedies to my clients and several of them repeatedly asked me to start a pooja ordering section where genuine and sincere Vedic priests can perform the authentic poojas as prescribed.
All of them follow the Krishnapaksha system of Yajur Veda, as taught by Veda Vyasa, which is the core of Hindu rituals. Apart from that we have one pundit specializing in Rigveda – which is the main fund-house of hymns and mantras in praise of the Gods; one pundit specializing in Sama-Veda – the favorite of the Gods and famous for it verses set to melodious musical rhythm and one pundit specializing in Athar-Veda which is a treasure trove of remedies and Tantrik mantras. Normally it is ideal to have all the four Veda specialists to perform a Homa, though it is not a compulsory rule.
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