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Adi shankara
Jagadguru Adi Shankaracharya with his four disciples - Padmapadacharya, Sureshwaracharya, Hastamalakacharya & Totakacharya

Shankaracharya (शङ्कराचार्य) (IAST: Śaṅkarācārya, Shankara acharya) is a commonly used title of heads of monasteries called mathas in the Advaita Vedanta tradition. The title derives from Adi Shankara, teachers from the successive line of teachers dating back to his him are known as Shankaracharyas.[1][2]

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Establishment of the Tradition

Adi Shankara set up four monasteries knows Mathas, in the North, South, East and West of India, to be held by realised men who would be known as Shankaracharyas. They would take on the role of teacher and could be consulted by anyone with of a spiritual nature.[3][4]

The table below gives an overview of the four Amnaya Mathas founded by Adi Shankara, and their details.[5]

Direction Maṭha Mahāvākya Veda Sampradaya
Padmapāda East Govardhana Pīṭhaṃ Prajñānam brahma (Consciousness is Brahman) Rig Veda Bhogavala
Sureśvara South Sringeri Śārada Pīṭhaṃ Aham brahmāsmi (I am Brahman) Yajur Veda Bhūrivala
Hastāmalakācārya West Dvāraka Pīṭhaṃ Tattvamasi (That thou art) Sama Veda Kitavala
Toṭakācārya North Jyotirmaṭha Pīṭhaṃ Ayamātmā brahma (This Atman is Brahman) Atharva Veda Nandavala

It is believed that after establishing the above four mathas and appointing his four disciples as head of these mathas, Adi Shankara established a fifth matha at Kanchipuram as the dakshina moolamnya sarvajna peetham and became the head of that matha till his lifetime.[6]


The word Shankaracharya, is composed of two parts, Shankara and Acharya. Acharya is a Sanskrit word meaning "teacher", so Shankaracharya means "teacher of the way of Shankara".[1]

Further reading

  • Mukhyananda, Swami (2006) Sri Shankaracharya: life and philosophy: An elucidative and reconciliatory interpretation, 4th ed.; OCLC 426914596; Kolkata; Advaita Ashrama
  • Esoteric Buddhism by A.P. Sinnett, pp 81 ISBN 1438503652

See also


  1. ^ a b Snow, Michael J.,. Mindful philosophy. Milton Keynes. ISBN 9781546292388. OCLC 1063750429.CS1 maint: extra punctuation (link) CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  2. ^ Aditya Thakur (1 November 2014). "Just A Handful Of Hindus Know Adi Shankaracharya Revived Their Religion". Topyaps. Retrieved 16 May 2014.
  3. ^ Waite, Dennis, 1948- (2010). The book of one : the ancient wisdom of Advaita ([2nd ed.] ed.). Winchester, UK: O Books. ISBN 9781846943478. OCLC 573397586.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  4. ^ Barrett, David V. (2001). The new believers : a survey of sects, cults, and alternative religions. Barrett, David V. London: Cassell. ISBN 0304355925. OCLC 44933824.
  5. ^ "Adi Shankara's four Amnaya Peethams". Archived from the original on 26 June 2006. Retrieved 2006-08-20.
  6. ^

External links

This page was last edited on 23 October 2019, at 13:17
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