In Indian religions and society, an acharya (IAST: ācārya; Sanskrit: आचार्य; Tamil: அசாரி āsāri; Pali: acariya) is a guide or instructor in religious matters; founder, or leader of a sect; or one who sits on Gadi (seat); or a highly learned man or a title affixed to the names of learned men. The designation has different meanings in Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism and secular contexts. The surname is also very common in the Indian state of West Bengal.
Acharya is also used to address a teacher or a scholar in any discipline, e.g.: Bhaskaracharya, the mathematician. It is also a common suffix in Brahmin names, e.g.: Krishnamacharya, Bhattacharya. In South India, this suffix is sometimes shortened to Achar, e.g.: TKV Desikachar. In the social order of some parts of India, acharyas are considered as the highest amongst the Viswakarma Brahmin community.
The term "Acharya" is most often said to include the root "char" or "charya" (conduct). Thus it literally connotes "one who teaches by conduct (example)," i.e. an exemplar.
In Hinduism, an acharya (आचार्य) is a formal title of a teacher or guru, who have owned the degree in the Vedanga. In rare cases, the title may denote someone considered to be a mahāpuruśa (महापुरुश, divine personality) who is believed to have descended as an avatāra (अवतार, incarnation) to teach and establish bhakti in the world and write on the siddhānta (सिद्धांत, doctrine) of devotion to Bhagwan (भगवान्, lord, God, blessed one, see also iśvara).
The Five Main Acharyas in the Hindu tradition are:
- Adi Sankaracharya
- Nimbarkacharya
- Vallabhacharya
In scientific/mathematical scholarship
In Sanskrit institutions Acharya is a Post Graduate Degree.
- Platts, John T. (1884). A dictionary of Urdu, classical Hindi, and English. London: W. H. Allen & Co.
- Glossary - Encyclopedia of Authentic Hinduism
- [viswakarma community] Although famous for being the proponent of advaita vad, he established the supremecy of bhakti to Krishn.
- He propagated the bhakti of Bhagwan Vishnu. Source: Ramanujacharya
- His philosophy is called dvaita vad. His primary teaching is that "the only goal of a soul is to selflessly and wholeheartedly love and surrender to God" Source: 
- His writings say that Radha Krishn are the supreme form of God.