Priests of TDB temples clueless on prayer rituals
It was a bolt from the blue for the Travancore Devaswom Board (TDB), which recently embarked on an ambitious in-service training for its priests, when it was found that only two of the nearly 100 participants had basic knowledge of pooja rituals!
Akhila Kerala Thantri Samajam, the body of traditional tantric practitioners in the state assigned to conduct the training programme, has submitted a report to the TDB urging it to take immediate steps to raise the quality of priests in the temples managed by the Board.
“The in-service training programme had two components - a refresher course and an examination,” said Plakkudi Unnikrishnan Namboodiri, south zone secretary of Akhila Kerala Thantri Samajam.
“The original plan was to allow competent personnel to directly sit for the exam without attending the refresher course. For this a preliminary screening was done in which the candidates were asked to explain the pooja ritual for the deity of the temple where they served. Unfortunately, only two of them could answer correctly,” Unnikrishnan said.
Around 95 priests of different ages attended the course. However, the examination results were disappointing for the TDB as around 18 persons failed. The Thantri Samajam has recommended the Board to give them two more chances, failing which they may be dropped from priest duty.
“The finding of Thantri Samajam is a matter of concern. If all the 1,500 odd priests are to attend the screening test only a minority was found to have the requisite tantric knowledge,” said TDB member Subhash Vasu.