Three T.N. Women Trainees to soon become Assistant Priests at Temples

By Amigos IAS

Why is it in the news?

  • Recently, three women in Tamil Nadu, have undergone training to become assistant priests at Sri Vaishnava temples.

More about the news

  • They are the first women in the state to study at the Archakar Training School run by the Sri Ranganathar Temple in Srirangam.
  • The women, who have completed postgraduate and bachelor’s degrees, expressed their desire to serve the Lord and become archakas.
  • The training included stipends for the archaka trainees during their course, and they will continue to receive stipends during their internships.
  • One of the trainees mentioned that while receiving Dheeksha as part of their training, Pancharathra agama tradition was followed.
About Pancharatra Agama:

·        The “Pancharatra Agama” is a significant religious text within the Hindu school of philosophy known as Vaishnavism.

Ø  Vaishnavism is a branch of Hinduism that worships Lord Vishnu as the supreme deity and focuses on devotion and worship.

·        The Pancharatra Agama provides both practical and theoretical guidance for Vaishnavites, encompassing various aspects of worship, rituals, and philosophical concepts.

·        There are believed to be more than 200 Vaishnava agamas, but the Pancharatra Agama is considered one of the most authoritative texts by many scholars and practitioners.

·        The Pancharatra movement within Hinduism emerged in the late 1st millennium BCE, emphasizing Narayana and the avatars of Vishnu as central deities.

Ø  This movement later merged with the ancient Bhagavata tradition and significantly contributed to the development of Vaishnavism as a distinct branch of Hinduism.

·        Agamas, in general, are a special class of Hindu religio-philosophical literature that has been passed down through generations of teachers and scholars.

Ø  There are three primary categories of Agamas: Saiva (related to Lord Shiva), Sakta (also known as Tantra, related to the goddess Shakti), and Vaishnava (related to Lord Vishnu).

·        The Pancharatra Agama falls under the Vaishnava category and plays a vital role in guiding the religious practices and beliefs of Vaishnavites.

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