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.
- 1 Prasthanatrayi in Advaita Vedanta
- 2 Ancient Acharyas
- 3 Jagadgurus of the Four Advaita Mathas
- 4 Modern Acharyas (of 19th, 20th and 21st Century)
- 5 References
- 6 Sources
Prasthanatrayi in Advaita Vedanta
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..
- Yajnavalkya: Taught Brahmavidya to his wife Maitreyi, which is recorded in Brhadaranyaka Upanishad.
- Uddalaka: taught Brahmavidya to his son Svetaketu in Chandogya Upanishad.
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.
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)
- 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)
- 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), the teacher of Vidyaranya (Dŗg-Dŗśya-Viveka)
- 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)
Jagadgurus of the Four Advaita Mathas
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.
- Swaroopanand Saraswati
- Sringeri Sharada Peetham
- Sri Sacchidananda Shivabhinava Narasimha Bharathi Mahaswamiji, Jagadguru of Sringeri Sharada Peetham  (1865–1912); initiated many into Adi Shankaracharya's philosophy including Sacchidanandendra Saraswati- founder of Adhyatma Prakashana Karyalaya; known as "Abhinava Shankara" because of his many tours around Bharatvarsha spreading the Advaita Vedanta philosophy and Hindu Dharma
- Sri Chandrashekhara Bharathi Mahaswamiji, Jagadguru of Sringeri Sharada Peetham (1912–1954).
- Sri Abhinavavidya Tirtha Mahaswamiji, Jagadguru of Sringeri Sharada Peetham (1954–1989); A great Yogi and master of scriptures. In His many tours of Bharatvarsha and also Nepal He established many maths, shrines and temples.
- Sri Bharathi Tirtha Mahaswamiji, Jagadguru of Sringeri Sharada Peetham (1989- ); A sage and present Jagadguru of Shringeri Peetha, Sringeri, Karnataka.
- Kanchi Kamakoti Peetham
- Sri Chandrashekharendra Saraswathi Mahaswamiji Jagadguru of Kanchi Kamakoti Peetam (1894–1994).
Modern Acharyas (of 19th, 20th and 21st Century)
Sringeri Sharada Peetham - Saraswati, Puri and Bhāratī
Divine Life Society - Chinmaya Mission - Arsha Vidya Gurukulam
- Swami Tapovan Maharaj (1889–1957): A virakta mahatma, Guru of Swami Chinmayananda post the latter's Sanyas Deeksha by Swami Sivananda
- Swami Sivananda (1887–1963): Hindu Saint who founded the Divine Life Society in Rishikesh, India. Author of more than 300 works of theology and philosophy. According to his disciples, achieved Moksha upon death. Bestowed sanyasa upon
- 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.
- Swami Chinmayananda (1916–1993), (1916–1993), Sannyas diksha bestowed by Swami Sivananda in Rishikesh. Disciples founded the Chinmaya Mission. 'Chinmaya' = "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.
- Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa
- Swami Vivekananda (1863–1902), disciple of Sri Ramakrishna, wrote books on four Hindu Yogas: Bhakti Yoga, Jnana Yoga, Karma Yoga and Raja Yoga. The Complete Works of Swami Vivekananda contains a complete collection of transcribed lectures. He spoke at the Parliament of the World's Religions in Chicago in 1893.
- Sri Aurobindo (1872–1950) Bengali philosopher-sage who synthesized Advaita thought with Western philosophical theories of evolution.
- Shri Ramana Maharshi (1879–1950) the silent sage of Tamil Nadu who had a profound realization of 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.
- Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj (1897–1981) - A 20th-century master of Advaita from Mumbai, I Am That (1973, collected talks)
- Ramesh Balsekar (1917–2009)
- 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.
- 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.
- Nikhalananda, Swami (1931), Drg-Drsya-Viveka. An inquiry inti the nature of the 'seer' and the 'seen.', Sri Ramakrishna Asrama