Question: Sadhguru, most temples in India are maintained by male priests, only very few by priestesses. Why so? Can women be priests?
Sadhguru: Why are men maintaining all the temples? Maybe the women are maintaining the men! Traditions evolved at a certain time in history, in a particular situation and context. For example, today, so many women travel around the globe and move long distances, not because the world has become liberal, but because of the development of technology. Technology has levelled the field to some extent. In the past, the context of those days was definitely such that activities outside the home were more suitable for a man, not for a woman.
That is one aspect. There are other dimensions to it. In this country, only the public temples were maintained by men because they were more suitable to manage the public. But there was no home without a little shrine, and these private shrines were always maintained by women. So in that sense, more temples were managed and maintained by women than by men, and it is still so.
What type of shrine is it?
Another aspect is what type of shrine it is. There are certain shrines where we would definitely not want women to be there, so there is no question of whether women can be priests. There are other shrines where we would not want men to be there. It depends upon how the shrines are consecrated and for what purpose. Based on this, certain traditions were created.
The question of who maintains a temple is not about superiority and inferiority, it is a question of suitability. For different kinds of jobs, different kinds of people are suitable. Accordingly it is done. It is not the gender, it is the quality.
Sadhguru is a yogi, mystic and founder of Isha Foundation, a non-profit organisation dedicated to addressing all aspects of human wellbeing through yoga programmes, and social and environmental initiatives.