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The Advaita Guru-Paramparā ("Lineage of Gurus in Non-dualism") is the traditional list (parampara) of divine, Vedic and historical teachers of Advaita Vedanta. It begins with the Daiva-paramparā, the gods; followed by the Ṛṣi-paramparā, the Vedic seers; and then the Mānava-paramparā, with the historical teachers Gaudapada and Shankara, and four of Shankara's pupils. Of the five contemporary acharyas, the heads of the five Advaita mathas, four acharyas trace their lineage to those four pupils and one to Adi Shankara himself.
From mediaeval times, Advaita Vedanta influenced other Indian religions as well, and since the 19th century it came to be regarded as the central philosophy of Indian religion. Several Neo-Vedanta movements and teachers, most notably the Ramakrishna Order, trace their roots to Advaita Vedanta, while the Inchegeri Sampradaya (Nisargadatta Maharaj) and Ramana Maharshi are popularly considered as Advaita Vedanta, though rooted in respectively the Nath and Tamil folk Saivite religion.
Advaita Vedanta is an Indian religious tradition of textual exegesis and yogic praxis, which states that the knowledge of the unity of Atman and Brahman is liberating. It is based on the textual exegesis of the Upanishads, the Brahma Sutras, and the Bhagavad Gita. It traces its roots back to Vedic times, as described in the Advaita Guru Paramparā, the Advaita version of the Guru–shishya tradition. Historically, Adi Shankara is regarded as its most influential teacher. This influence goes back to medieval times, when Advaita Vedanta came to be regarded as the central philosophy of the post-Vedic religions, and its philosophy influenced several Indian religious traditions.
In several Indian religious and philosophical traditions, all knowledge is traced back to the Gods and to the Rishis who saw the Vedas. The successive rishis and teachers of various Indian traditions are honoured in Guru-paramparās, lists of teachers in the Guru–shishya traditions.
The current Acharyas, the heads of the four maṭhas set up by Adi Shankara, trace their authority back to the four main disciples of Shankara,. The fifth at Kanchipuram, is the seat of the guru, Adi Shanakra, and it is therefore called the Moolamnaya Sarvajna Peetam. Each of the heads of these five maṭhas takes the title of Shankaracharya ("the learned Shankara") after Adi Shankara.
The Advaita guru-paramparā (Lineage of Gurus in Non-dualism) begins with the mythological time of the Daiva-paramparā, followed by the vedic seers of the Ṛṣi-paramparā, and the Mānava-paramparā of historical times and personalities:[note 1]
Another famous sloka lists the essential Advaita Guru parampara as follows:
Which translates as :
According to tradition, Sankara organised a section of the Ēkadaṇḍisannyāsins into the Dashanami Sampradaya, establishing four mathas in north, west, east, and south India, to facilitate the teaching of Advaita Vedanta, and maintain the dharma. He entrusted his four disciples to each of these four mathas. Some of the famous and current Mathadhipatis titled 'Sankaracharyas' are listed below:
Works of these Advaita Acharyas are not available now, but were quoted by Badarayana:
Works of the following Acharyas are available and are still being taught and studied:
While strictly speaking only members of the Dashanami Sampradaya belong to the Advaita Guru Paramparā, Advaita Vedanta has attracted popular recognition since the 19th century, and Neo-Vedanta movements have developed with roots in, of similarities with, the Advaita tradition.
Mata Amritanandamayi Math, founded by Sri Mata Amritanandamayi devi follows Advaita philosophy and traditions. The sanyasis are initiated in the Puri order of Dashanami Sampradaya.According to the tradion set forth by Adi Shankaracharya, the Puri Sannyasa tradition is characterised by the following – formal allegiance to the Shringeri Math
Swami Amritaswarupananda Puri was the first to be initiated as Sanyasin by Mata Amritanandamayi devi in this order. Swami Amritatmananda Puri, Swami Ramakrishnananda Puri, Swami Pranavamritananda Puri, Swamini Krishnamrita Prana and Swami Poornamritananda Puri are other few notable sanyasis initiated in this order.
The Inchegeri Sampradaya is rooted in the Nath-tradition, but is popularly regarded as Advaita Vedanta.
Ramana Maharshi underwent a profound religious experience when he was 16, whereafter he left home to become a sanyassin. While his own (spare) writings reveal his Tamil Saivite background, devotees with a Brahmon and/or Neo-Vedanta background have interpreted him in an Advaita Vedanta framework. His popularisation in the west was initially aided by a Theosophical framework, while his devotee Poonja spawned the Neo-Advaita movement, which was also influenced by Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh.