Change is inevitable, and Nepal is also experiencing gradual shifts in society and lifestyle. However, in the name of progress, there are various crises emerging that often go unseen and unnoticed.
One aspect of our society facing change is Hindu rituals and the role of pandits. Over time, there has been a gradual decline in interest and awareness about the significance of Hindu rituals, leading to a diminishing role and value of Hindu priests, known as pandits.
Today people are more inclined to the Western lifestyle and the ancient Hindu tradition is fading in the background. This phenomenon can lead to a crisis in the future of Hindu society and the upcoming generation.
Attraction towards the modern lifestyle
In the hustle and bustle of modern society, the spiritual aspect that binds the society and community is gradually facing a crisis. The rituals and knowledge that were once the backbone of society are now becoming a thing of the past or an old-school activity that is being ignored.
The intention and value of the Hindu religion along with its rituals are designed to encourage a disciplined, healthy lifestyle and well-being of individuals. Similarly, it also encourages the feeling of gratitude, and selflessness awakening the sense of contribution. These practices are the factors that our society was based upon.
The pandits have a crucial role in upholding and continuing cultural, religious and spiritual practice. However, their contribution often remains unnoticed.
It may lead to a crisis of practices and values in our society as our society and nation are built upon our cultural practices and traditions. Gone were the days when even political decisions in this nation used to be taken under the references of shastras.
It is time to understand that our society is all about our culture, religion and spirituality which makes us different and rich from the world.
Reasons for lack of interest to be a pandit
While the spiritual and religious guidance rendered by pandits are invaluable, their economic status is often overlooked.
Pandits are found to receive low payment and as a result, they are facing financial challenges. According to our tradition, pandits have to guide the yajaman (client) on their every spiritual and religious practice and in return the yajaman are supposed to look after their (pandits) needs.
However, with time this practice has vanished, which has affected their livelihood making them struggle economically. When they have to struggle with everyday needs, this compels them to change their mindset about the effort and devotion they put into their roles and responsibilities.
This condition has posed a threat to the profession of pandit.
Another problem that should be critically noticed is the prevailing assumption of people that the importance of pandits is declining in the modern era.
Culturally, pandits are considered the most important position. They were placed next to the place of god in the Hindu religion. As societal values are changing and evolving, there is a growing gap between the importance of rituals and how they perceive their significance in our society.
This, as a result, discourages potential successors from embracing the sacred and divine profession, paving the way for a potential shortage of qualified pandits in the years to come.
It is a strong call for the community and society to acknowledge the invaluable contribution and importance of pandits.
If proper action and efforts are not made timely we may lose this sacred profession in future days and the divinity of this profession. Future generations might face the scarcity of guides for performing their rituals and traditions.
Awareness about a pandit’s value
Some things can be done immediately to address the existing problems of pandits. Firstly, organising and conducting programmes to educate and aware the younger generation about the cultural and spiritual importance of Hindu rituals.
Secondly, advocating for the fair payment of the pandits to ensure their economic stability. This will help them to remain focused on the spiritual aspects of the rituals rather than their survival insecurities.
Moreover, it is also important to encourage the active participation of society in religious and spiritual events to raise a sense of belonging and shared responsibility. In spirituality, more engagement leads to a greater sense of awareness and responsibility.
Furthermore, there should be fostered collaboration among the government, NGOs and other concerned authorities and communities to develop supportive policies and initiatives that would preserve and promote the profession of pandits.
By taking proactive steps and measures to promote and empower pandits, we can ensure the continuity and succession of this profession and its invaluable role in society.
It is time to make a united effort and act, not just for the preservation of rituals but also for the preservation of the soul of the society and culture.