A Pandit is a scholar who learned Sanskrit and Hindu philosophy and religion. They are educated in the traditional Hindu texts, the Vedas, and learn about the universe, morality, and spirituality. They perform the religious ceremonies of Hindus, like weddings, poojas, and other auspicious occasions.
There are two main types of pandits in India, North Indian pandits and South Indian pandits; though they are the same scholars who perform ceremonies, they are different in some areas. Let us look at these differences in this article.
North Indian Pandits
The North Indian pandits have studied the Sanskrit language and literature. It is also the language in which the Vedas were written. The rituals performed by the pandits are based on the Vedic texts that are followed traditionally. These texts are centered around the worship of various gods, including Agni(god of fire), Indra(god of thunder and lightning), Surya( god of the sun), and many more; they impart wisdom on morality and spirituality.
The pandits perform ceremonies like havan and yagna; even the mantras used in these ceremonies are in Sanskrit. The pandits also indulge in the knowledge of Ayurveda – ancient or traditional medicine, Astrology, and by far, Jyotish – the movement of celestial bodies and how they influence human lives. The cultural and religious heritage of North India is preserved and passed on by the pandits.
Pujas Performed by North Indian Pandits –
Ganesh Puja –
Ganesh Puja is performed at the beginning of any auspicious event or ceremony to seek the blessings of Lord Ganesh, known as the remover of obstacles.
Satyanarayan Puja –
Satyanarayan Puja is performed on a full moon day or during special occasions like weddings to bring prosperity and good fortune to the family.
Navgraha Puja –
Navagraha Puja seeks the blessings of the nine planets in Hindu astrology for harmony and balance.
Rudrabhishek Puja –
Rudrabhishek Puja is performed to seek the blessings of Lord Shiva for peace, prosperity, and good health.
Durga Puja –
Durga Puja is performed during the Navratri festival to seek the blessings of Goddess Durga for protection and prosperity.
South Indian Pandits
The South Indian pandits are responsible for preserving and passing on the traditions and heritage followed in the South to the next generation. They follow Dravidian Culture and perform specific rituals and religious ceremonies. The Dravidian culture is based on the Tamil and Telugu languages, and the pandits are thus trained in these languages and their literature.
Being two of the oldest and most extensively used languages of South India, their rituals, prayers, and ceremonies are performed in Tamil and Telugu by the pandits. They believe languages hold special powers and vibrations that help connect us to the universe.
Along with Ayurveda and Astrology, they also indulge in music. Carnatic music is a classical music tradition that the pandits are experts in. Music is also included in their rituals and ceremonies.
Pujas Performed by North Indian Pandits –
Maha Shivaratri Puja:
This puja is dedicated to Lord Shiva and is usually performed on the night of Maha Shivaratri. It involves chanting mantras and offering Bilva leaves, milk, honey, and other sacred items to Lord Shiva.
This puja is dedicated to Goddess Lakshmi, the Hindu goddess of wealth and prosperity. It is usually performed during Diwali and involves offering flowers, sweets, and other items to the goddess.
This puja is dedicated to Goddess Saraswati, the Hindu goddess of knowledge, music, and the arts. It is usually performed during the Vasant Panchami festival and involves offering flowers, fruits, and other items to the goddess.
This puja is dedicated to Goddess Durga and is performed to seek her blessings for protection and prosperity. It is usually performed during the Navratri festival and involves chanting mantras and offering flowers, fruits, and other items to the goddess.
The Differences Between North Indian and South Indian Pandits
- In the North, Vedic tradition is followed, whereas, in the South, Dravidian is followed.
- The North Indian pandits are experts in Sanskrit language and literature, and the South Indian pandits follow Tamil and Telugu languages and literature.
- The North Indian pandits do Ayurveda, astrology, and Jyotish specializations, and in the South, they also have music.
- The North Indian rituals include havan and yagna, while the South Indian pandits have puja, homa, and others.
- The north Indian pandits wear dhoti-kurta and pagdi(turban). The South Indians wear veshti(dhoti) and angavastram(shawl).
Though the pandits of North and South India differ, the essence of their work remains the same. They preach and practice religious texts to maintain cultural heritage and traditions. They are equally respected and are sought after for their guidance by people of all ages.
To all the devotees planning for a puja or homa at your home, SmartPuja can help you with both North Indian and South Indian pandit bookings.
SmartPuja is an online religious portal that facilitates pandit booking for 400+ unique pujas and ceremonies and also provides astrology and e-puja services.