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Jagadguru, literally meaning "guru of the universe", is a title used in Sanātana Dharma. Traditionally, it has been bestowed upon or used for ācāryas belonging to the Vedānta school (among the six traditional schools of thought in Hinduism) who have written Sanskrit commentaries on the Prasthānatrayī (literally, 'the three sources') – the Brahma sūtras (the original scripture of Vedānta), the Bhagavad-gītā (part of the Mahābhārata) and the principal Upaniṣads. Historically, jagadgurus have established a lineage (paramparā) and an institution to spread dharma which has been based in Varanasi, the centre of Sanskrit study.

Origin and history of the term[edit]

Jagadguru is of Sanskrit origin where jagat means 'the entire world' and guru means 'spiritual master' (literally, 'dispeller of darkness'). In the classics and scriptures, the word has been used for several Devas. In the Mahābhārata, Arjuna addresses Śrī Kṛṣṇa as the 'Supreme Master of the entire world'. Adi Shankaracharya uses the title Jagadguru for Śrī Kṛṣṇa in his Śrī Kṛṣṇa-āṣṭakam.[1] The Sanskrit poet Kālidāsa uses the word Jagadguru for Lord Śiva in his great poem (Mahā-kāvya) titled Kumārasambhava.[2] In the Rāmacaritamānasa, the poet-saint Tulasidāsa uses the same word for Lord Rāma.[3] Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Prabhupāda uses it for Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu in his song Guru Paramparā.[4] A. C. Bhaktivedānta Svāmi Prabhupāda uses it for Lord Kṛṣṇa in his composition Mārkine Bhāgavata-Dharma.[5]

Traditional Jagadgurus[edit]

In Hinduism, the three great acharyas — Adi Shankara, Madhvacharya and Ramanuja are combinedly known as "Acharyatraya" or "Triacharya". These three acharyas are considered to be the pillars of Vedantic tradition of spiritual India.[6][7][8]


Other acharya's[edit]

Jagadguru as title[edit]

Traditionally the title Jagadguru is used by all the peetadhipathis of Mathas founded by traditional Jagadgurus such as Adi Shankaracharya, Ramanujacharya, Madhvacharya, Nimbarkacharya, and Vallabhacharya.

Jagadguru is also honoured as the title by Kashi Vidvat Parishat in Varanasi for the knowledge and value of particular guru. The title "Jagadguru Ramanandacharya" is used in the lineage of Ramananda, founder of Ramanandi Sampradaya.[11]


  1. ^ Shankaracharya, Adi. "Shri Krishna-ashtakam". Krsna Kirtana Songs. Retrieved 5 September 2016.
  2. ^ Kumārasambhava, Canto 6, Verse 15 and also Canto 8, verse 24.
  3. ^ Rāmacaritamānasa, Āraṇya Kāṇḍa, verse 3.9.
  4. ^ Sarasvati, Bhaktisiddhanta. "Guru Parampara". Krsna Kirtana Songs. Retrieved 20 April 2016.
  5. ^ Bhaktivedanta Swami, A. C. "Markine Bhagavata-Dharma". Krsna Kirtana Songs. Retrieved 17 April 2016.
  6. ^ V. K. Subramanian (2006). 101 Mystics of India. Abhinav Publications. p. 75. ISBN 9788170174714.
  7. ^ "International Yoga Day 2021: How Yoga Originated and Transformed Through the Years". News18. 19 June 2021. The period between 800 AD to 1700 AD is recognized as the post-classical period where the teachings of great Acharyatrayas-Adi Shankracharya, Ramanujacharya, Madhvacharya were the contributors.
  8. ^ Rakesh Tripathi (18 April 2019). Swami Vivekananda: The Journey of a Spiritual Entrepreneur. Bloomsbury Publishing. p. 172. ISBN 9789388038775.
  9. ^ a b c d Saraswati, Prakashanand (2007). The True History and Religion Of India: A Concise Encyclopedia of Authentic Hinduism (First ed.). New Delhi: Macmillan Publishers. ISBN 978-0230630659. Retrieved 28 April 2016.
  10. ^ "Mahaprabhuji Shri Vallabhacharya :: Heavenly Character | Shrinathji Temple, Nathdwara". www.nathdwaratemple.org. Retrieved 2022-06-02.
  11. ^ Palmisano & Pannofino 2017, p. 79.
  12. ^ "Kirti Mandir in Barsana Opens in a Grand and Historical Opening Ceremony". Business Standard India. Press Trust of India. 2019-02-11. Retrieved 2020-06-03.
  13. ^ Dinkar 2008, p. 32.


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