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|The Woman Priest at Lord Hanuman Temple (standard:non fiction, 896 words)|
|Author: Juggernaut||Added: Dec 22 2013||Views/Reads: 2164/783||Story vote: 0.00 (0 votes)|
|At any place of worship either Christian, Hindu or Muslim, not often one finds a woman priest. At Lord Hanuman Hindu temple in Pineappleville, a town on southeastern coast of India, a woman priest conducted the worship at decades ago with little success.|
Click here to read the first 75 lines of the story as live-in cook. She was fair skinned and diminutive in stature and stood apart from the locals. On her retirement, her employers gave her a small strip of rocky land on the main road with a large boulder on which somebody engraved a figure of Lord Hanuman. The engraved figure was deep and very descriptive. Purnima built a small masonry structure around the rock to turn into a shrine and made living as a priest. Purnima lived within the temple compound using the backyard for cooking and living in a thatched hut under the shade of a large tree. The rocky backyard supported Plumeria trees also called Temple trees as most temples plant Plumeria trees on its premises for abundant supply of flowers of white, yellow and red shades with sweet fragrance good for making floral garments used as a offering to the temple deities. The Hanuman temple was a private shrine not recognized by the government and Purnima was not qualified for government salary like priests at the other temples. The only income for Purnima was from the donations left in the collection plate which was meager considering the most of the devotees were working class poor like day laborers and rickshaw pullers that worship Lord Hanuman for strength in performing physically demanding jobs. Devotees generally prefer a male priest over a female priest at any place of worship in any faith. At Hindu temples across the land, one can hardly find a female priest let alone at the temple of Lord Hanuman known for lifelong celibacy. Purnima spent time in the temple in making floral garlands with colorful Plumeria flowers collected from the trees in the backyard and coating the engraved rock with freshly made oily crimson red dye. The devotees help themselves to get a pinch of red dye to rub on their forehead before leaving the shrine leaving few coins in the collection plate, the only source of income for Purnima. Some devotees purchased floral garlands for a small price to adorn the rock. Decades later, Juggernaut on a recent visit to Pineappleville found the Hanuman shrine abandoned with no priest and the engraved figure of Lord Hanuman on the rock was still intact and visible in faded red paint. He touched the oily red dye with his finger that stuck readily like glue to the past to remind the woman priest at Hanuman Temple. In years past, majority of doctors, engineers, lawyers and judges were all men; very few women far in between occupied these positions. Women were employed only at grade schools in numbers, beyond the middle school; men dominated the teaching and administration positions. But today, over 50% of the professions were rightfully occupied by women except the profession of priesthood in any faith. Old Purnima received scant recognition as a priest at Lord Hanuman shrine from the years past, similar sentiment still prevails even now at places of worship. Tweet
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