Why new course on Vedic agamas now?

Trained archakas without jobs voice their displeasure.

Chennai: Even as the fate of 206 students who underwent the government-sponsored archaka training in 2007 still remains unclear, the Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowment department has invited fresh applications to join a new three-year certificate course on Vaishnavite and Saivite Vedic agamas.

Despite the Supreme Court order in December last year refusing to strike down the Tamil Nadu government order of May 23, 2006, which allowed any qualified and trained Hindu to be appointed as priest in Hindu temples, the state government had not clarified its stand on appointing the trained archaka students in the temples administered by it.

The apex court gave the ruling on the appointment of archakas to be as per Agama Shastras while disposing of a batch of petitions filed challenging the GO of May 2016. As the court has not held whether the GO is valid or not, it will be open to the government to contend that appointments can be made as per the GO as long as such appointments are in conformity with Agama shastras. And whenever a dispute is raised questioning the appointment, the issue has to be decided as per the facts of that case, the bench added.

The invitation of applications for its new three year course has only created further confusion and uncertainty among them. Parthasarathy Swamy temple at Triplicane and Ranganathaswamy temple in Srirangam have separately invited application from Hindus between ages of 13 and 20 and with a minimum qualification of eight standard to study in Vaishnavite stream of Veda agamas while Kapaleeswarar temple offers course on Saivite Veda Agamas, said a senior HR and CE official.

Students selected for the course will be paid a monthly stipend and they will be pursing full duration of the course in Gurukulam (free boarding and lodging, food and dress). The students are expected to strictly adhere to religious tradition.
Tamil Nadu government Trained Archakar Students’ Association coordinator V. Ranganathan said that after the SC order, they had petitioned the Chief Minister and HR and CE minister seeking appointment in the government administered temples as promised in 2007. “We have not heard anything from the government. Many of them joined the archaka training course discontinuing the college education because of their belief and promise to be appointed in the government run temples. Now we are clueless over our future,” he said, demanding the government to appoint them in the HR and CE run temples or provide them with monthly stipend until they are appointed.

Another trained archaka student who did not want to be named said that the name of training programme has been changed from Tamil (Archakar Payirci Palli) to Sanskrit (Veda Aagama Paadasalai) and course duration has been extended by a year. “We want the government to appoint all the 206 trained archakas in the HR and CE administered temple immediately before commencing a fresh course,” he said.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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