List of teachers of Advaita Vedanta

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Advaita Vedanta is in Guru-Shishya parampara.

Seeds of Advaitic thoughts are seen in the Rgveda. However, the credit for making it a systematic, logical philosophical system goes to Sankara Bhagavatpada. Names of the Acaryas who have contributed significantly to Advaita Vedanta has to be recorded for posterity. This article strives to document as many of them as possible, with list of their work.

Prasthanatrayi in Advaita Vedanta[edit]

The canonical texts taught and studied in Advaita Vedanta are the Upanishads, the Bhagavad-Gita, and the Brahmasutra. Brahmasutra is authored by Badarayana (around 400 BC). The concept of Advaita was available even before Badarayana's period. He has referred to the earlier Advaita Acaryas in his Brahmasutra..

Adi Shankaracharya was the most prominent in the tradition of Advaita Vedanta to formulate its doctrine in his many works.

Ancient Acharyas[edit]

  • 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 Acaryas

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)
  • Vyasa Badarayana, author of Brahmasutra, containing 555 sutras, that reconciles the apparent ambiguity of the Upanishads.

Post-Badrayana Acharyas Works of the following Advaita Acharyas are available and are still being taught and studies.

  • 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 Acharyas

  • 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)
  • Vidyaranya (1350–1386) (Pancadasi, Drg-Drsya-Viveka)
  • 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)

Jagadgurus of the Four Advaita Mathas[edit]

Sankara Bhagavadpada had established four Mathas in the North, West, East, and South, to facilitate teaching of Advaita Vedanta, and maintain dharma. He had entrusted his four disciples to each of these four Mathas. Some of the famous and current Mathadhipatis titled 'Sankaracharyas' are listed below.

Modern Acharyas (of 19th, 20th and 21st Century)[edit]

  • 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.
  • Tibbetibaba (-d.1930) - Hindu Bengali Saint whose life was based on both Advaita Vedanta and Mahayana principles.
  • Sri Aurobindo (1872–1950) Bengali philosopher-sage who synthesized Advaita thought with Western philosophical theories of evolution.
  • Dr. Douwe Tiemersma (1945-2013) a disciple of the late Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj, a renowned Advaita Master.
  • Kailas Chandra Misra (1897–1982) - Hindu philosopher and master of Advaita from Agra whose life was based on both Advaita Vedanta and Mahayana principles
  • Swami 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 Quilandy (Pandalayini), Kerala, South India. His teachings are simple and on the nonduality.
  • Sri H.W.L. Poonja (1910–1997), or Papaji. Disciple of Sri Ramana Maharshi, he denied being part of any formal tradition, and remained always available, welcoming newcomers to his home and satsangs.
  • 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.
  • Ramesh Balsekar (1917–2009), a disciple of the late Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj, a renowned Advaita Master.
  • 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.[1][2]
  • 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.
  • Swami Paramarthananda Saraswati (1953–), Disciple of Swami Dayananda Saraswati. Has been teaching Advaita Vedanta since 30 years at least in Chennai to general public.
  • Swami Guruparananda, Disciple of Swami Paramarthananda Saraswati. Has been teaching Advaita Vedanta since 1992 in Chennai to general public.
  • Swami Brahmayogananda, Disciple of Swami Dayananda, Paramarthananda & Guruparananda Saraswati. Has been teaching Advaita Vedanta, in a lucid, simple and humorous way
  • Professor G. Balakrishnan Nair Vedanta Scholar,Sanskrit academician, philosopher, author and interpreter of the scriptures and Vedanta.

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b Divine Life Society Official Website
  2. ^ Swami-Krishnananda.org Official Website