सनातन धर्म भूमिका

Meaning of "acharya"







In General

The learned and holy teacher. The word meaning is one who know Achara, the customery and other rules.

Though the Name Acharyas are used for teachers in general. But it will make more sense if we call the intellectuals after the Rishis as Acharyas. The common people used to call them by this name than by any other name. So we can say Acharyas are those who came up to interpret the basic texts during the critical period when Hinduism was facing great challenges. The process of interpretation, writing of gloss and explanatory notes have become necessary since the sutras wrote by Rishis on many subject were very concise and tough to follow even for the learned. Acharyas were great spiritual masters, scholars and teachers and were equivalent to Rishis in all respect. While most of them were in the mainstream of interpretation of texts and teaching, few others touched the heart of common man by their mystic poetry.

Acharyas were guided by strict rules of moral conduct and lead an ascetic life. Most of them were unmarried, strict vegetarians, used special dress and lived in villages and not in isolated places like their predecessors. The challenge they faced were the utilitarian approaches of Buddism and Jainism, lack of patronage from rulers, Muslim rulers and their religion, social backwardness and poverty, European rule and their culture, bad effects of cast system etc. Adi Sankara, Bartruhari, Kumarila_Bhatta, Vacaspati, Kabir, Ramdas are some of the famous acharyas. Most of the acharyas are theoreticians in the post Buddhist era and in the post Islamic era they are found to be proponents of bhakti cult.

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