From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
For other uses, see Parampara (disambiguation).

Parampara (Sanskrit: परम्परा, paramparā) denotes a succession of teachers and disciples in traditional Vedic culture and Indian religions such as Hinduism, Sikhism, Jainism and Buddhism. It is also known as guru-shishya tradition ("succession from guru to disciple").

The Sanskrit word literally means an uninterrupted row or series, order, succession, continuation, mediation, tradition.[1] In the traditional residential form of education, the shishya remains with his or her guru as a family member and gets the education as a true learner.[2]

In some traditions there is never more than one active master at the same time in the same guruparamaparya (lineage).[3]

In the paramparā system, knowledge (in any field) is passed down (undiluted) through successive generations. E.g. division of Veda and its transfer through paramparas describes Bhagavata Purana.[4]

The fields of knowledge taught may include, for example, spiritual, artistic (music or dance) or educational.

Titles of gurus[edit]

In paramapara, not only is the immediate guru revered, the three preceding gurus are also worshipped or revered. These are known variously as the kala-guru or as the "four gurus" and are designated as follows:[5]

  • Guru - the immediate guru
  • Parama-guru - the guru of the Parampara or specific tradition (e.g. for the Śankaracharyas this is Adi Śankara)
  • Parātpara-guru - the guru who is the source of knowledge for many traditions (e.g. for the Śankaracharya's this is Vedavyāsa)
  • Parameṣṭhi-guru - the highest guru, who has the power to bestow mokṣa (usually depicted as Śiva, being the highest guru)

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Monier Monier-Williams (1899). A Sanskrit-English Dictionary. Oxford: Oxford University Press. p. 587(column a). OL 6534982M. 
  2. ^ A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada Srimad Bhagavatam 7.12.1, The Bhaktivedanta Book Trust, 1976, ISBN 0-912776-87-0
  3. ^ Padoux, André. "The Tantric Guru" in David Gordon White (ed.) 2000. Tantra in Practice, p. 44. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press OCLC 43441625
  4. ^ Bhagavata Purana, Canto 12, Chapter 6 "Mahārāja Parīkṣit passes away". 47-60
  5. ^ Mahanirvana Tantra