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Hindu Women Priests

Hindu Priests, known as ‘Pandits or Pujari,’ are traditionally men and it is etched in the mind of many Hindus that only men can do the traditional pujas. It is true that the puja in temples and other auspicious ceremonies like marriage and housewarming are performed by men but it does not mean that Hindu women cannot become priests. There is nothing in the Hindu scriptures that bars Hindu women from taking up the job of a priest. And a slow change is taking place in Hinduism with more and more women taking up the position of priests and what is even more encouraging is that many Hindus are welcoming the change - there are thousands of Hindu Women performing pujas in Pune, Nagpur, Nashik and Mumbai. Pune has several institutions training women to become priests.

First of all there is no written code in Hinduism on any matters and therefore there is nothing called scriptural sanction. Many of the modern day practices like keeping out women from the job of priests and certain sections of the Hindu society from temples were cleverly installed into Hinduism by men with ulterior motives and who were close to the power centers in the respective eras.

When Goddesses like Durga, Parvati, Saraswati and Lakshmi are worshipped in Hinduism; how come women cannot become priests. There are also references of women participating in rituals in the Vedas and also partaking in philosophical discussions in Upanishads.

It must be noted here that some of the most popular faces of Hinduism in India and around the world today are women like Mata Amritanandamayi.

In India, at least in some places nowadays people prefer women priests as it is found that they are more involved with the pujas and perform with utmost care, concentration and devotion. Women priests are also becoming popular in the United States and are conducting marriages and other Hindu functions. There are also institutions in India that train women priests.

Hindu women priests might be miniscule in number and conservative Hindus clinging to nonexistent tradition out of ignorance might keep them out but not for long because it has been found that young Hindu women are becoming more and more expressive and are slowly but steadily breaking unwanted traditions.