15 May 2007

Archaka Centres

Six 'Archaka' training centres were recently inaugurated in Tamil Nadu, which would offer a one-year certificate course in 'Agama Sastras'.

The centres were set up at Sri Parthasarathy Temple, Triplicane, and Sri Ranganathar Temple, Srirangam, for giving training in Vaishnavite (Vishnu) customs. For training in Saivite (Shiva) customs, the centres have been established at Sri Arunachaleswarar Temple, Tiruvannamalai, Sri Meenakshi Temple, Madurai, Sri Subramania Swamy Temple, Tiruchendur and Sri Dandayuthapani Temple, Palani

Apart from a monthly stipend, students are to be given free board and lodging. Those who complete the course will then be eligible to perform regular pujas in Temples. As well as opening six more centres, it is also planned to start three-year degree courses in the 'Agama Sastras*', thereby making students eligible to perform Temple Kumbhabishekam.

40 students are to be given training at each centre with selected students coming from various communities.

* Agama - The Scriptures

A sacred text used as source of spiritual ritual. The Agamas are an enormous collection of Sanskrit scriptures which, along with the Vedas, are revered as revealed scripture. The Agamas (i.e. "that which came down") are part of an oral tradition believed to be 7,000-8,000 years old.

The Agamas are the primary source and authority for ritual, yoga and temple construction. In the South Indian Saivite tradition, there are 28 Saiva Agamas.

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