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Upadhyaya, also spelled Upadhyay (sanskrit: उपाध्याय), is a surname used by some Brahmin people in India.

It is also a term for Jain monks (Prakrit Uvajhaya) who do both study and preaching, who rank higher than a Muni and below an Acharya. In the Namokar Mantra a salutation to them is included in the fourth line. A Jain priestly community in Karnataka is named Upadhyaya.[1]

Upādhyāya is the surname of some members of the Madhwa Shivalli Brahmins and Havyaka Brahmins of Karnataka, Kota Brahmins of the Kundapur and surrounding areas of Udupi, the Audichya Brahmins of Gujarat and Uttar Pradesh and also of the Trivedi Mewada Brahmins of Gujarat. The Gujarat Brahmins of Shandilya are in Surat.[2][not in citation given] Amongst Telugu Brahmins, Upadhyay is turned into Upadhyayula, with an "ula" at the end. The surname Ojha in Rajasthan/Gujarat and Jha in Bihar are both short of Prakrit Uvajhaya.

Notable people[edit]

In Jainism[edit]

In Jainism, an upadhyay is the second highest leader of a Jain ascetic order after an acharya. The Fourth Shloka of the Namokar Mantra says Namo Uvvajhayanam meaning bow to all upadhyayas.

In Buddhism[edit]

In Buddhism, an upadhyaya is a religious functionary responsible for guiding novices, hearing monastic vows and entrusting monastic precepts on ordinands. The word is usually translated either as abbot, preceptor or master of novices. An upadhyaya has customarily spent at least ten years in a buddhist monastery before given this appointment.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Dr. A.N. Upadhye - His Life And Accomplishments India, Accessed on November 11, 2014
  2. ^ Nepal, an historical miscellany By Mahesh Chandra Regmi