Priest's Compensation and Puja Home Services
In making the comparison between Christian and Jewish clergy with the Hindu priesthood some major differences exist that need to be taken into account. Hindu priests have the advantage of home religious services whereas Christian and Jewish clergy generally do not. The two notable exceptions are weddings and funerals. All other religious services such as the baptismals, christenings and bar mitzvah, etc. are generally performed in the church, temple or synagogue. Hindu priests, on the other hand, regularly travel outside their temple to member’s homes for pujas and havans, etc. This naturally affords some incoming making opportunities. For the purposes of this article all such pujas and havans/homams performed outside of the temple are classified as Home Services.
In determining the relationship between Home Services and general priest’s salary temple manager should consider three options.
1. no involvement in Home Services
2. full involvement in Home Services
3. shared involvement in Home Services
All three options are based on the premise that one way or another a priest’s remuneration must approach the general salary guidelines, as discussed on the previous pages, according to the level of education, seniority, cost of living, temple means, etc.
Hours: All options should be based on a mutually agreed upon total number of hours whether weekly or monthly. For example, the Temple management could agree that 40 hours make a full week and budget 30 hours of Temple spent time and ten hours in Home Services. “Overtime” hours could be balanced out by adding or subtracting time or salary at the end of the month.
Option 1 No involvement in Home Services: According to this model the temple decides to simply set the hours of the priest in the temple and not regulate what the priest does outside of the temple on his or her own time. The temple may estimate the “puja worth” of a priest and thereby adjust the temple salary accordingly; letting the priest makeup the difference at will so long as it does not interfere with temple operations.
Option 2 Full involvement in Home Services: According to this model the temple may elect to pay the priest’s salary in full and similarly collect the full amount for Home Services. This option would have to factor in mileage and travel expenses. The temple may want to furnish the priest with a vehicle in order to simplify the process or take advantage of tax considerations, etc.
Option 3 Shared involvement in Home Services: According to this model the temple and priest have an agreed arrangement whereby the priest goes to a member’s home, performs a puja or havan and then divides the proceeds according to some percentage split (for example a 50/50 or some other mutually agreed ratio). Depending on the agreed arrangement mileage and travel expenses may be factored in. For example, the temple may want to furnish the priest with a vehicle in order to simplify the process or take advantage of tax considerations, etc.
There are of course advantages and disadvantages in all three of these options and each temple should evaluate its own situation in order to determine the best course of action.