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The Advaita Guru-Paramparā ("Lineage of Gurus in Non-dualism") is the traditional list (parampara) of divine, Vedic and historical teachers of Advaita Vedanta. It begins with the Daiva-paramparā, the gods; followed by the Ṛṣi-paramparā, the Vedic seers; and then the Mānava-paramparā, with the historical teachers Gaudapada and Shankara, and four of Shankara's pupils.[1] The contemporary acharyas, the heads of the four Advaita maths, trace their lineage to those four pupils.

From mediaeval times, Advaita Vedanta influenced other Indian religions as well, and since the 19th century it came to be regarded as the central philosophy of Indian religion. Several Neo-Vedanta movements and teachers, most notably the Ramakrishna Order, trace their roots to Advaita Vedanta, while the Inchegeri Sampradaya (Nisargadatta Maharaj) and Ramana Maharshi are popularly considered as Advaita Vedanta, though rooted in respectively the Nath and Tamil folk Saivite religion.


Advaita Vedanta and paramparāEdit

Advaita Vedanta is an Indian religious tradition of textual exegesis and yogic praxis, which states that the knowledge of the unity of Atman and Brahman is liberating. It is based on the textual exegesis of the Upanishads, the Brahma Sutras, and the Bhagavad Gita. It traces its roots back to Vedic times, as described in the Advaita Guru Paramparā, the Advaita version of the Guru–shishya tradition. Historically, Adi Shankara is regarded as its most influential teacher. This influence goes back to medieval times, when Advaita Vedanta came to be regarded as the central philosophy of the post-Vedic religions, and its philosophy influenced several Indian religious traditions.

In several Indian religious and philosophical traditions, all knowledge is traced back to the Gods and to the Rishis who saw the Vedas. The successive rishis and teachers of various Indian traditions are honoured in Guru-paramparās, lists of teachers in the Guru–shishya traditions.

Deva, Rsi and Manav ParamparāEdit

The current Acharyas, the heads of the maṭhas, trace their authority back to the four main disciples of Shankara,[2] and each of the heads of these four maṭhas takes the title of Shankaracharya ("the learned Shankara") after Adi Shankara.[citation needed]

Deva, Rsi and Manav ParamparāEdit

The Advaita guru-paramparā (Lineage of Gurus in Non-dualism) begins with the mythological time of the Daiva-paramparā, followed by the vedic seers of the Ṛṣi-paramparā, and the Mānava-paramparā of historical times and personalities:[2][3][4][note 1]


Each Yuga has its own gurus or Acharyas:[5]

Another famous sloka lists the essential Advaita Guru parampara as follows:

Sada Shiva Samarambham
Sankaracharya Madhyamam
Asmat aacharya Paryantham
Vande Guru Paramparaa

Which means, "starting from the Great Lord Shiva, through Sankaracharya and my aacharya, the guru parampara eternally flows."

Jagadgurus of the four Advaita MathasEdit

According to tradition, Sankara organised a section of the Ēkadaṇḍisannyāsins into the Dashanami Sampradaya, establishing four mathas in north, west, east, and south India, to facilitate the teaching of Advaita Vedanta, and maintain the dharma. He entrusted his four disciples to each of these four mathas. Some of the famous and current Mathadhipatis titled 'Sankaracharyas' are listed below:

Acharyas known from literary sourcesEdit

Ancient AcharyasEdit

  • Yajnavalkya: taught Brahmavidya to his wife Maitreyi, which is recorded in Brhadaranyaka Upanishad.
  • Uddalaka: taught Brahmavidya to his son Svetaketu in Chandogya Upanishad.

Pre-Badarayana AcharyasEdit

Works of these Advaita Acharyas are not available now, but were quoted by Badarayana:

  • Badari (referred to in Br. Su. I.2.30, III.1.1, IV.3.7, IV.4.10)
  • Audulomi (referred to in Br. Su. I.3.21, III.4.45, IV.4.6)
  • Kasakrtsna (referred to in Br. Su. I.4.220
  • Asmarathya (referred to in Br. Su. I.2.29, I.4.20)
  • Atreya (referred to in Br. Su. III.4.4)
  • Karsajini (referred to in Br. Su. III.1.9)
  • Badarayana, author of Brahmasutra, containing 555 sutras, that reconciles the apparent ambiguity of the Upanishads.

Post-Badrayana AcharyasEdit

Works of the following Acharyas are available and are still being taught and studied:

  • Bodhayana (pre-Sankara) (Bodhayana-vrtti)
  • Brahmanandin (Vakyakara) (Commentary on Chandogyopanishad)
  • Dravidacharya (Commentary on Brhadaranyakopanishad)
  • Sundarapandya (Vartikakara) (Vartika on Sariraka-Mimamsa)
  • Bhartrprapanca
  • Gaudapada (700–780 approx.) (Karika on Mandukyopanishad)
  • Mandana Mishra (750–850 approx.) (Brahmasiddhi)
  • Adi Shankara Bhagavatpada (788–820) (Commentary on the Prasthana-traya and Upadesa-Sahasri)

Post-Sankara AcharyasEdit

  • Sureswara (8th century), also known as Vartikakara. (Vartika on Sankara's Taittiriyopanishad-Bhashya,Brhadaranyakopanishad-Bhashyam,Naishkarmyasiddhi, Manasollasa)
  • Padmapada (8th century) (Pancapadika)
  • Hastamalaka (8th century) (Hastamalakiyam)
  • Vacaspati Mishra (841–900) (Bhamati, a Tika on Brahmasutra-Sankara-Bhashyam))
  • Sarvajnatma Muni (850–950) (Sankshepa-Sariraka)
  • Sriharsha (1169–1225) (Khandana-khanda-khadya)
  • Prakasatma Yati (AD 1200) (Pancapadika-Vivarana)
  • Citsukha (AD 1220) (Citsukhi)
  • Ananda Giri - also known as the Tikakara. (Tikas on almost all the Bhashyas of Sankara. It is said nobody knows the mind of Sankara, better than Ananda Giri.)
  • Vimuktatma (AD 1200) (Ishtasiddhi)
  • Amalananda (AD 1247) (Vedanta-Kalpataru, a commentary on Bhamati of Vacaspati Misra)
  • Bĥaratī Tīrtha (1328-1380),[6] the teacher of Vidyaranya[6] (Dŗg-Dŗśya-Viveka)[6]
  • Vidyaranya (1350–1386) (Pancadasi)
  • Sadananda Yogindra (mid 15th century) (Vedantasara, the most popular introductory text in Advaita Vedanta)
  • Dharmaraja Adhvarindra (1550–1650) (Vedanta-Paribhasha, an epistemological work on Advaita Vedanta)
  • Nrsimha Ashrama (1500–1600)
  • Madhusudana Saraswati (1565–1650) (Advaita-siddhi)
  • Appaya Dikshita (AD 1603) (Parimala, Siddhanta-lesa-sangraha)
  • Lakshmidhara Kavi (Advaita-Makaranda)


While strictly speaking only members of the Dashanami Sampradaya belong to the Advaita Guru Paramparā, Advaita Vedanta has attracted popular recognition since the 19th century, and Neo-Vedanta movements have developed with roots in, of similarities with, the Advaita tradition.

Ramakrishna OrderEdit

Divine Life Society, Chinmaya Mission, Arsha Vidya GurukulamEdit

  • Swami Krishnananda (1922–2001), Hindu saint who was the General Secretary of the Divine Life Society in Rishikesh, India from 1958 to 2001. Foremost disciple of Swami Sivananda. Author of more than 200 works of theology and philosophy. According to disciples, achieved Moksha upon death.[7][8]
  • Swami Chinmayananda (1916–1993), (1916–1993), Sannyas diksha bestowed by Swami Sivananda in Rishikesh. Disciples founded the Chinmaya Mission; 'Chinmaya' means "pure consciousness.".
  • Swami Dayananda Saraswati, (1930–) Founder of 'Arsha Vidya' tradition. He has set up Gurukulams in Rishikesh, Coimbatore, Nagpur, Saylorsburg (USA), has taught ten long-term courses in Advaita Vedanta, and has initiated more than 200 disciples into Sannyasa.

Other teachersEdit

  • Mannargudi Raju Sastri (1815–1903), Formed ‘The Advaita Sabha’ for propagating the tenets of the Advaita faith.
  • Sri Narayana Guru (1856–1928)- Vedic scholar, mystic philosopher, prolific poet and social reformer, from the present-day Kerala.
  • Sri Aurobindo (1872–1950) Bengali philosopher-sage who synthesized Advaita thought with Western philosophical theories of evolution.
  • Tibbetibaba (-d.1930) - Hindu Bengali Saint whose life was based on both Advaita Vedanta and Mahayana principles.
  • Swami Atmananda (1883–1959) lived in Kerala.
  • Prajnanapada (1891–1974), disciple of Niralamba Swami and a great exponent of Advaita philosophy. He was in charge of Channa Ashram in West Bengal, India.
  • Bhagawan Nityananda (1897?–1961) was an Indian guru. His teachings are published in the "Chidakash Gita". Nityananda was born in Koyilandy (Pandalayini), Kerala, South India. His teachings are simple and on the nonduality.
  • Swami Karpatri (1905–1980), a well-known sannyasi of Varanasi
  • Swami Parthasarathy (1927- ), Popularly referred to as 'Swamiji', Parthasarathy is known as the modern exponent of Vedanta. He has written 10 books in all, including commentaries on Bhagavad Gita, Atmabodha, Bhaja Govindam and many other books. His ashram is situated around 100 km from Mumbai in the hills of Malavli, near Lonavla.
  • G. Balakrishnan Nair Vedanta Scholar,Sanskrit academician, philosopher, author and interpreter of the scriptures and Vedanta.
  • Vagbhatananda Kunjikkannan (1885-1939). intellectual figure, Social Reformer and Advaitin.

Advaita Vedanta interpretedEdit

Inchegeri SampradayaEdit

The Inchegeri Sampradaya is rooted in the Nath-tradition, but is popularly regarded as Advaita Vedanta.

Ramana MaharshiEdit

Ramana Maharshi underwent a profound religious experience when he was 16, whereafter he left home to become a sanyassin. While his own (spare) writings reveal his Tamil Saivite background, devotees with a Brahmon and/or Neo-Vedanta background have interpreted him in an Advaita Vedanta framework. His popularisation in the west was initially aided by a Theosophical framework, while his devotee Poonja spawned the Neo-Advaita movement, which was also influenced by Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh.

  • Sri H.W.L. Poonja (1910–1997), or Papaji. Devotee of Sri Ramana Maharshi, he denied being part of any formal tradition, and remained always available, welcoming newcomers to his home and satsangs.


  1. ^ नारायणं पद्मभुवं वशिष्ठं शक्तिं च तत्पुत्रं पराशरं च व्यासं शुकं गौडपादं महान्तं गोविन्दयोगीन्द्रं अथास्य शिष्यम् ।
    श्री शंकराचार्यं अथास्य पद्मपादं च हस्तामलकं च शिष्यम् तं तोटकं वार्त्तिककारमन्यान् अस्मद् गुरून् सन्ततमानतोऽस्मि ॥
    nārāyanam padmabhuvam vasiṣtham śaktim ca tat-putram parāśaram ca
    vyāsam śukam gauḍapāda mahāntam govinda yogīndram athāsya śiṣyam
    śri śankarācāryam athāsya padmapādam ca hastāmalakam ca śiṣyam
    tam totakam vārtikakāramanyān asmad gurūn santatamānato’smi [3]
  2. ^ the famous redactor of the vedas, he is also traditionally identified with Bādarāyaṇa, the composer of the Brahmasūtras


  1. ^
  2. ^ a b "The Advaita Vedânta Home Page — Advaita Parampara". 5 May 1999. Retrieved 10 September 2012.
  4. ^ Book: Shri Gowdapadacharya & Shri Kavale Math (A Commemoration volume). P. 38.
  5. ^ Book: Shri Gowdapadacharya & Shri Kavale Math (A Commemoration volume). P. 62.
  6. ^ a b c Nikhalananda 1931, p. xiv.
  7. ^ a b Divine Life Society Official Website
  8. ^ Official Website