Role & Training of Priests Shri Abhinav Dwivedi (s07a-2)
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Role & Training of Priests Shri Abhinav Dwivedi (s07a-2)






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Role & Training of Priests Shri Abhinav Dwivedi (s07a-2) Role & Training of Priests Shri Abhinav Dwivedi (s07a-2) Presentation Transcript

  • Hindu University of America A Unique Dimension of Hindu Thought and Traditions
    • Roles and Training of Priests
    • Master of Divinity Program at
    • Hindu University
    • Abhinav Dwivedi
    • Vice President, HUA
    • HMEC-2009, Sept. 11-13, 2009
    Session 7A Worship Practice and Priest Welfare
  • Priests in North America Current status
    • Priests are principal custodians of Dharmic traditions, who are vital for keeping the traditions alive and easily accessible to all.
    • So far in N.A. the needs are mostly met by bringing qualified priests from India .
    • Smaller communities meet their needs by some one learning on his/her own the required minimal set of priestly activities .
  • Priests in North America-2 Current status
    • NEED: As more non-Hindus get exposed to Sanatan Dharma, many would like to know more about Hindu way of life ,and how the lofty philosophies ( Tatva Darshana) are integrated in the daily life through various rituals. A qualified priest should be able to help non-Hindus in this quest.
    • NEED: As the interfaith dialogues increase, a qualified Hindu priest must be able to provide correct perspective of Hindu Darshana and rituals to the people of other faiths– both to the sympathetic and hostile.
    • NEED: Community and temples must create a culture where the best priests are employed at the temples, are well respected, well treated, and are provided for their worldly needs.
  • Priests in North America-3 Current status
    • NEED: Qualified priests must be able to converse with the Hindu children growing up in N.A . at the level, and in the language ( lingo) they can understand, and fill the gap which parents may not be able to do.
    • NEED: If required priests should be able to go to churches ( and like institutions) and to schools and talk on Hindu Dharma in a manner the audience can understand and appreciate.
    • NEED: Go to Hospital-hospice Centers and provide comforting prayers to patients and the family.
  • Priests - Expectations
    • Well versed in Hindu scriptures– Key Upanishads, Mahabharat, Ramayana, Bhagavad Gita , some popular puranas,..
    • Working knowledge of Sanskrit, and religious texts in original
    • Well versed in the philosophic concepts, and their application in daily life through rituals at home , in the temples, during festivals, through sanskaras , etc.
  • Priests – Expectations-2
    • Well versed in the rituals of…
    • -- Temples: various schools, deities, traditions
    • -- Sanskaras: Stages of pre- birth to post-death
    • -- Yagna, Havan, Vrata, Festivals..
    • -- Katha and Vyakhyaan: Ram Charita Manas, Bhagavad Gita, Bhagavatam, Satya Narayan Katha and Bhajans .
    • Ability to articulate Meaning and explanation in English and in one of the Indian Languages (Hindi, Gujarati, Tamil, Telgu, Punjabi etc.) to Hindus, non Hindus and to children.
  • Roles of Priests
    • Major areas
      • Rituals ( Karma-kand)
      • Education (moral/religious/spiritual)
      • Spiritual counseling
  • Roles of Priests-2
    • Rituals
      • Related to pujas, festivals and Samskaras
      • (within and outside of the temples)
      • Maintaining Sanctity and holiness of the activities
      • This role is performed satisfactorily by most, but not all, priests coming from India
  • Roles of Priests-3
    • Education
      • For children, lay-Hindus, and non-Hindus
      • Spokesperson for interfaith dialogs
      • Community representation in religious and spiritual matters
      • Interpretation and explanations of rituals, history, stories and concepts
      • Temple Management needs to facilitate training of priests to improve Performance of this role.
  • Roles of Priests-4
    • Spiritual Counseling
      • Dharmic guidance in decision making for a house holder
      • Support during depression, bereavement periods etc.
      • Illnesses, Chaplin’s role in hospitals
      • Temple Management needs to facilitate training of priests to improve Performance of this role.
  • Roles of Priests-5
    • Education & Spiritual Counseling Roles are largely absent (some times filled in by learned and concerned community members, or other organizations…)
      • Traditionally not performed by priests in India
      • Not yet actively supported by temple management in N.A.
  • Training of Priests
  • Training of Priests
      • Hindu University has evolved an academic program for Priests training
      • Advanced Diploma and Master of Hindu Divinity programs. (M.H.D degree)
      • Overall focus is on enhancing the priests’ abilities to function more efficiently in the N.A. society.
      • Make their stature/status in the society and their profession improve by providing proper training and certification (compare with how a Christian priest, Jewish rabbi or Muslim Imam is respected in their community)
      • Attract younger generation into this profession.
  • Priests Training Program summary
    • Four groups of courses
      • Hindu Tradition: Four courses (12 credits)
        • Principles of Hinduism, Basic Hindu Scriptures,
        • Basic Jyotish, Principles and Practices of Yoga Meditation
      • Sanskrit: Two courses (6 credits)
      • General: Three courses (9 credits)
        • Public Speaking and Communication Skills
        • Spiritual Counseling (including social and psychological counseling)
        • World Major Religions (and community diversities)
  • Priest Training Program summary-2
      • Rituals: Four courses (12 credits)
        • Sanskaras, Festivals and Pujas, Rituals in different Sampradayas, Field Practice.
  • Priest Training program summary-3
      • Course on World Major Religions
        • Sanatan Traditions: Buddhism, Jainism, Sikhism,
        • Abrahamic Traditions: Islam, Judaism, Christianity
        • Course coordinated and run by HU
      • Rituals in different Sampradayas
        • An overview of unique features of different Sampradayas (other than the one the priest has training in).
      • Credits/waivers for previous training and experience given.
  • Role of Temple Management
      • Encourage, support and fund priests to enhance their capabilities through training provided by HUA
      • Encourage, support and fund so that education and spiritual counseling activities can be undertaken by priests.
      • Create an environment wherein the priests are treated with respect and reverence in community.
  • HUA- in nutshell
    • WHAT IS HUA?
  • HUA- in nutshell-2
    • Many Programs and courses available to Temples for systematic and authentic, understanding and education of Sanatan Dharma for their communities
        • -- Degree and non-degree courses
        • -- Master and doctoral degree programs
        • -- Conference, Symposia, seminars, Lecture series,…
  • HUA- in nutshell-3
    • Only university outside of Bharat known to be exclusively devoted to teaching and research in all areas of Sanatana Dharma, Culture, languages, philosophies, practices, including Buddhist, Jain, and Sikh traditions.
    • Authorized by the State of FL. 501 (C) 3, non-profit org.
    • Large # of affiliations with other institutions, both in USA and India.
    • Guided and shaped by BOD made up of eminent persons.
    • Large # of adjunct faculty of diverse expertise
    • See hand out folder for details!
    • Contact HUA:
    • 407-275-0013 [email_address]
    • visit
  • Dhanyavaad !
    • Hindu University Of America
    • 113 S. Econlockhatchee Trail
    • Orlando, FL 32825 USA
    • 407-275-0013 ( Voice)
    • 407- 275-0104 ( fax)
    • [email_address]