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In Indian religions and society, an acharya (IAST: ācārya) is a preceptor or instructor in religious matters; founder, or leader of a sect; or a highly learned person or a title affixed to the names of learned people.[1] The designation has different meanings in Hinduism, Buddhism and secular contexts. It is also a Vishwabrahmin/brahmin surname found in Nepal and across India, including Odisha, Karnataka, West Bengal and Maharashtra.[citation needed]

Acharya is sometimes used to address a teacher or a scholar in any discipline, e.g.: Bhaskaracharya, the mathematician.


The term "acharya" is most often said to include the root "char" or "charya" (conduct). Thus it literally connotes "one who teaches by conduct (example)", i.e. an exemplar.[citation needed]

In Hinduism

In Hinduism, an acharya (आचार्य) is a formal title of a teacher or guru, who has attained a degree in Veda and Vedanga.[2][full citation needed]

Prominent acharyas in the Hindu tradition are as given below :

  • Acharya Sandipani
  • Bhadreshdas Swami


In Buddhism, acharya is a senior teacher. Notable acharyas:

  • Pema Chödrön (b. 1936) acharya at Gampo Abbey[7]

In Jainism

Main page: Religion:Acharya (Jainism)
Image of Āchārya Kundakunda, author of Jain texts like Pancastikayasara, Niyamasara

In Jainism, an acharya is the highest leader of a Jain order. Acharya is one of the Pañca-Parameṣṭhi (five supreme beings) and thus worthy of worship. They are the final authority in the monastic order and has the authority to ordain new monks and nuns. They are also authorized to consecrate new idols, although this authority is sometimes delegated to scholars designated by them.

An acharya, like any other Jain monk, is expected to wander except for the Chaturmas. Bhaṭṭārakas, who head institutions, are technically junior monks, and thus permitted to stay in the same place.

In scientific/mathematical scholarship

  • Bhaskaracharya
  • Mahaviracharya
  • Bhaskaracharya I

Acharya (degree)

In Sanskrit institutions, acharya is a post-graduate degree.[8]

See also


  1. Platts, John T. (1884). A dictionary of Urdu, classical Hindi, and English. London: W. H. Allen & Co.. [yes|permanent dead link|dead link}}]
  2. Ram Nath Sharma; Rajendra Kumar Sharma (1996). History of Education in India. Atlantic. p. 35. 
  3. [viswakarma community] Although famous for being the proponent of advaita vad, he established the supremecy of bhakti to Krishn.
  4. He propagated the bhakti of Bhagwan Vishnu. Source: Ramanujacharya
  5. His philosophy is called dvaita vad. His primary teaching is that "the only goal of a soul is to selflessly and wholeheartedly love and surrender to God" Source: [1]
  6. His writings say that Radha Krishn are the supreme form of God.
  7. "Ani Pema Chödrön". Gampo Abbey. Archived from the original on 24 March 2013. Retrieved 2014-10-21. 
  8. "Nandan Mishra vs University Of Delhi & Ors on 12 May, 2015". 

External links