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Hindu Women in Priesthood Paper
Hindu Women in Priesthood Essay
Within many religions, the priest has central roles as the role model of believers and a symbol of earthly and spiritual power. The priest officiates worship ceremonies, ministers to the needy, governs the community, provides pastoral care, and presides over the fortunes of the congregation. However, the role of a priest is often limited to men in many male-dominated societies and religions. Consequentially, Hindu women want to break the gender barrier and prove that they are as religious and worthy as men to become priests and overseers of Hinduism in the community.
Female religious leaders are a relatively new aspect in Hinduism and grossly outnumbered by men (Klostermaier, 2007). Shashi Tandon, a community leader, highlights that there is nothing in the Hindu law and holy books that prevents women from pursuing religious positions. But centuries of oppression and convention have portrayed that only men can lead effectively and perform the most sacred rites, with most of them in the highest Brahmin caste. In recent decades, a movement has emerged to empower Hindu women to pursue the priesthood. The first learning institution for a priestly scholarship for females emerged in Pune in the 1980s, a progressive Indian state where many women relocate to study (Ramirez, 2008). The school and its alumni give females in the society the confidence to pursue the priesthood, as well as other male-dominated professions.
Hindu women continue to break not only gender barriers by entering priesthood but also caste/social class barriers. A good example can be seen from Chandravathi and Laxmi, both widows from the Dalit caste, who were ordained as priests in the Kudroli Gokarnanatheshwara Temple. The two females trained with the head priest of the temple for several years and led prayers. They are the first women to be appointed as religious leaders from the Dalit caste, which is a testament to the changing times in India. Members of the Dalit community were prohibited from sharing the same amenities and spaces as people from higher castes in the past, including temples. The Dalit were mainly associated with performing menial jobs, such as cleaning sewers and streets, manual scavenging, and other impure roles (Sharma, 2014). Laws are currently being enacted to protect the rights of the caste, and, as a result, things are changing for them....................GET A PLAGIARISM FREE COPY