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The leader of a mandir is usually the priest, who is always a man and preferably a Brahmin. His job is to look after the murtis, to continue the Hindu traditions, and lead worshippers in special pujas, ceremonies, and the reading of Sanskrit scriptures. The Hindu priest is the leader of his local Hindu community, leading them in the path to achieve moksha.
One of the key duties of the priest is to look after the deities that live in the mandir.
The deity is treated as the resident royalty of the temple and is looked upon as a true person, not just a statue or picture. As a real person, the deity must eat, sleep, change clothes and wash. The murti cannot do this, so the priest must do all of this for the murti. Every morning the priest will put fresh, nice clothes on the deity, and decorate the murtis and its shrine with fresh garlands of flowers. He will also wash the statue of the God with a bit of water, and then he will perform morning puja.
The priest will also set resting times for the deity throughout the day, not allowing people in to worship at certain times of the day.
Because of the long working hours of Hong Kong, many people find it hard to find time to enjoy life and have fun. There is no time for socialising and friends anymore. This brings up stress, pressure, and depression. Kama is one of the four aims of life, to enjoy the beauty and pleasures of life.
The Hong Kong mandir tries to bring this back into the lives of Hong Kong’s Hindu community by organising group dinners and meetings, so that the Hindus in Hong Kong can escape the pressure of work for once.
The priest in the mandir must also pass on the traditions of the Hindu faith. Because of his upbringing, the priest will know Sanskrit and of all the special pujas and rituals. Therefore, he will be able to show the other worshippers, who do not know of these things, how to perform the rituals and hold the correct festival celebrations. He will also be able to read out all the ancient scriptures, which are written in Sanskrit. By doing this, the priest is passing on all the ancient traditions and beliefs that have been part of Hindu culture for all these years. One function of the priest is to ensure the survival of the Hindu faith during his generation. The priest will answer any questions and queries about Hinduism.
The priest plays a vital role in the Hindu Mandir because he is the only person allowed into the shrine room to look after the deity. The worshippers are not allowed into the shrine room, they must give their gifts and presents to the priest, who must give offer the gifts for the worshippers. As a servant of God, only the priest is allowed in. if the priest was not there, the worshipper would not be able to give their presents to God.
Also, the priest is very important to the Hindu community because he is the only person who knows how to hold important ceremonies and festivals. These festivals would include Holi, Divali, and Krishna’s birthday. The ceremonies would include the naming ceremony, the four stages of life, and wedding ceremonies. Without these ceremonies and festivals the Hindu faith would be lost and worthless, because these things are such a big part of Hindu tradition.
Finally, the priest is the person who takes care of the donated money to the temple. Because of his well-educated upbringing, he will be a moralistic and ethical person, knowing right from wrong, and will use the money in the best way possible. This could mean giving the money to charity, using it to care for beggars who need medical help or a bit of food, or to maintaining the temple. If it was a normal person leading the mandir, the money would be likely to be used for selfish reasons.
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