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Mother and daughter in Kerala break through glass ceiling to become priests

Representational image. A mother and daughter from Kerala have become priests and entered a profession which till now as dominated by men

Passion and desire to achieve a goal is what guides individuals to achievement. Something similar has been done by a mother-daughter – Archana Kumari and Jyotsna Padmanabhan in Kerala as they have become priests and conduct rituals in temples in Thrissur, and other places, breaking the centuries-old domination of men.

What is indeed interesting about them is that normally a mother inspires a daughter but here it was the other way round. Both the women don’t attribute their becoming priests to gender equality efforts or a move to break stereotypes.

Hailing from a Brahmin family, Jyotsna said she started learning tantra when she was merely seven years old. Talking to PTI she said: “I have grown up seeing my father Padmanabhan Namboothiripad conduct pujas and tantric rituals. So, a dream to learn this was in my mind since I was very young.”

The way forward was easy for her as unaware that women usually didn’t do this work, she shared her desire with her father, who supported her as he felt that she was sincere.

Today she is a double post-graduate in Vedanta and Sahitya (Sanskrit).

Her mother Archana who was a homemaker on watching her daughter learn and practice rituals, also became inspired. “She used to discuss at home in detail the lessons she learnt. Listening to the mantras she used to chant and seeing the mudras (symbolic hand gestures) of tantric rituals, knowingly or unknowingly I have imbibed the basics. An intense desire to learn more has grown in my mind,” she told PTI.

Archana too found support in her husband who did not object and on the contrary encouraged her.