Acarya, aka: Ācārya, Ācarya; 15 Definition(s)


Acarya means something in Hinduism, Sanskrit, Jainism, Prakrit, the history of ancient India, Marathi. If you want to know the exact meaning, history, etymology or English translation of this term then check out the descriptions on this page. Add your comment or reference to a book if you want to contribute to this summary article.

Alternative spellings of this word include Acharya.

In Hinduism


Acarya in Purana glossary... « previous · [A] · next »

Ācārya (आचार्य).—Qualifications of; old, selfless, highly learned, humble, well disciplined, truthful, etc.; he who by himself follows the rules of good conduct and thus establishes the ācāra and thinks of the truth of the śāstra by yamas and niyamas.*

  • * Brahmāṇḍa-purāṇa II. 32. 30-32; IV. 8. 5; Matsya-purāṇa 145. 28-29; Vāyu-purāṇa 59. 28-30.
Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: The Purana Index
Purana book cover
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The Purana (पुराण, purāṇas) refers to Sanskrit literature preserving ancient India’s vast cultural history, including historical legends, religious ceremonies, various arts and sciences. The eighteen mahapuranas total over 400,000 shlokas (metrical couplets) and date to at least several centuries BCE.

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Shaivism (Shaiva philosophy)

Ācārya (आचार्य) refers to the “Śaiva preceptor”, whereas śiṣya refers to the “disciple”. The preceptor is of three types, according to Nigamajñāna (Śaiva teacher of the 16th century) in his Śaivāgamaparibhāṣāmañjarī:

  1. Preraka,
  2. Bodhaka,
  3. Muktida (or, Mokṣada)

There are five kinds of external marks of an ācārya:

  1. bhasma (‘holy ash’),
  2. rudrākṣa (rosary of seeds),
  3. upavīta (‘sacred thread’),
  4. uttarīya (‘upper garment’),
  5. uṣṇīṣa (‘turban’).

The following are the three types of rites ācāryas are qualified to perform:

  1. Nitya (includes snāna, tarpaṇa, śivapūjā, agnikārya, etc.),
  2. Naimittika (includes pratiṣṭhā, dīkṣā, and teaching of the Āgamas),
  3. Kāmya (includes japa).
Source: Wisdom Library: Śaivism

Ācārya (आचार्य).—According to the Suprabhedāgama he who is born in the family of an ādiśaiva, establishedi n pañcagocara, is a knower of all śāstras and specially devoted to the Śaiva lore (śivajñāna), worshipper of Śiva, fire (agni) and guru, aged between sixteen and seventy, possessing firm and well established knowledge in the subjects of rites (kriyā) and doctrine (jñāna) in a particular text of the tradition (tantra), expert in the section dealing with rites (kriyāpāda) of the āgama, regularly practising the conducts as found in the section on conduct (caryāpāda) and the yogapāda and who has full interest in the doctrinal section (jñānapāda) of the āgamas is qualified to be an ācārya.

The Mataṅgapārameśvara insists that he should be firmly devoted to the śivaśāstra and fully averse to the material sciences (paśuśāstra).

The Raurava prescribes that the ācārya should be well conversant in the system of grammar (pada), Mīmāṃsā (vākya) and Nyāya (pramāṇa).

Source: Exotic India: Two Saiva Teachers of the Sixteenth Century
Shaivism book cover
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Shaiva (शैव, śaiva) or Shaivism (śaivism) represents a tradition of Hinduism worshiping Shiva as the supreme being. Closely related to Shaktism, Shaiva literature includes a range of scriptures, including Tantras, while the root of this tradition may be traced back to the ancient Vedas.

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Natyashastra (theatrics and dramaturgy)

Ācārya (आचार्य, “professor”) refers to a specific “mode of address” (nāman) used in drama (nāṭya), according to Nāṭyaśāstra chapter 19. Ācārya is used to address the teacher.

Source: Wisdom Library: Nāṭya-śāstra
Natyashastra book cover
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Natyashastra (नाट्यशास्त्र, nāṭyaśāstra) refers to both the ancient Indian tradition (śāstra) of performing arts, (nāṭya, e.g., theatrics, drama, dance, music), as well as the name of a Sanskrit work dealing with these subjects. It also teaches the rules for composing dramatic plays (nataka) and poetic works (kavya).

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Kavya (poetry)

Acarya in Kavya glossary... [A] · next »

Ācārya (आचार्य) is the name of an important person (viz., an Ācārya or Kavi) mentioned in Rājaśekhara’s 10th-century Kāvyamīmāṃsā.—In the Kāvyamīmāṃsā, YV Rājaśekhara used the word Ācāryas have been quoted in twenty-three times. It may be possible that this word Rājaśekhara used for his ancient rhetoricians like Bhāmaha, Vāmana, Daṇḍin, Ānandavardhana etc.

Source: Shodhganga: The Kavyamimamsa of Rajasekhara
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Kavya (काव्य, kavya) refers to Sanskrit poetry, a popular ancient Indian tradition of literature. There have been many Sanskrit poets over the ages, hailing from ancient India and beyond. This topic includes mahakavya, or ‘epic poetry’ and natya, or ‘dramatic poetry’.

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Vyakarana (Sanskrit grammar)

Ācārya (आचार्य).—Preceptor, teacher; a designation usually given to Pāṇini by Patañjali in the Mahābhāṣya; cf. the usual expression तज्ज्ञापयति आचार्यः (tajjñāpayati ācāryaḥ) as also आचार्यप्रवृत्तिर्ज्ञापयति (ācāryapravṛttirjñāpayati); also cf. नेदानीमाचार्याः सूत्राणि कृत्वा निवर्तयन्ति (nedānīmācāryāḥ sūtrāṇi kṛtvā nivartayanti); cf. also the popular definition of आचार्य (ācārya) given as 'निशम्य यद्गिरं प्राज्ञा अविचार्यैव तत्क्षणम् । संभावयन्ति शिरसा तमाचार्यं प्रचक्षते । (niśamya yadgiraṃ prājñā avicāryaiva tatkṣaṇam | saṃbhāvayanti śirasā tamācāryaṃ pracakṣate |) "

Source: Wikisource: A dictionary of Sanskrit grammar
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Vyakarana (व्याकरण, vyākaraṇa) refers to Sanskrit grammar and represents one of the six additional sciences (vedanga) to be studied along with the Vedas. Vyakarana concerns itself with the rules of Sanskrit grammar and linguistic analysis in order to establish the correct context of words and sentences.

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Dharmashastra (religious law)

Ācārya (आचार्य, “teacher”) forms part of the ancient Indian education system, which aimed at both the inner and the outer dimension of a person. A given teacher-student relationship obtained in Indian culture. The teacher, the Guru, the Ācārya, was highly honoured and was seen as the guide who helped students escape the darkness of ignorance and attain the light of knowledge. The teacher’s house was the centre of the ācāryakula, the gurukula. The student and the teacher had a symbiotic relationship and students were treated as members of the teacher’s family.

Source: Knowledge Traditions & Practices of India: Education: Systems & Practices
Dharmashastra book cover
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Dharmashastra (धर्मशास्त्र, dharmaśāstra) contains the instructions (shastra) regarding religious conduct of livelihood (dharma), ceremonies, jurisprudence (study of law) and more. It is categorized as smriti, an important and authoritative selection of books dealing with the Hindu lifestyle.

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General definition (in Hinduism)

Āchārya (आचार्य): Teacher or Guru.

Source: WikiPedia: Hinduism

Ācārya (आचार्य).—A spiritual master who teaches by his own example, and who sets the proper religious example for all human beings.

Source: ISKCON Press: Glossary

In Jainism

General definition (in Jainism)

Ācārya (आचार्य).—Ācāryas are those who practise (āyaramāṇa) the five-fold ācāra, and instruct others in the rules of conduct (ācāra), constituted of darśana, jñāna, tapa, and vīrya. They are endowed with 36 qualities. The ācāryas are heads of groups of Jaina monks (gacchas), and include the gaṇadharas and so on.

Source: Google Books: Jaina Iconography

Ācārya is the spiritual guide and the head of the monastic order. He should also be a proficient in his own philosophical principles as well as other’s philosophies.

Source: Jain eLibrary: 7th International Summer School for Jain Studies

Ācārya (आचार्य).—One of the ten types of ‘nursing services’ (vaiyāvrata)? Who is called ‘the head of congregation’ (ācārya)? An ascetic who is a practiser of five types of specific conduct himself and guides other ascetics to do the same is called the head of congregation.

Source: Encyclopedia of Jainism: Tattvartha Sutra 9: Influx of karmas
General definition book cover
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Jainism is an Indian religion of Dharma whose doctrine revolves around harmlessness (ahimsa) towards every living being. The two major branches (Digambara and Svetambara) of Jainism stimulate self-control (or, shramana, ‘self-reliance’) and spiritual development through a path of peace for the soul to progess to the ultimate goal.

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Languages of India and abroad

Marathi-English dictionary

ācārya (आचार्य).—m (S) A spiritual guide or teacher: he who invests with the sacrificial thread, and instructs in the Vedas and in religious mysteries. 2 A conductor of religious ceremonies. 3 A founder or leader of a religious order or sect. 4 It is affixed, as our word Doctor is prefixed, to the names of learned men: as rāghavācārya, rāmācārya.

Source: DDSA: The Molesworth Marathi and English Dictionary

ācārya (आचार्य).—m A spiritual guide. A founder of a religious sect.

Source: DDSA: The Aryabhusan school dictionary, Marathi-English
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Marathi is an Indo-European language having over 70 million native speakers people in (predominantly) Maharashtra India. Marathi, like many other Indo-Aryan languages, evolved from early forms of Prakrit, which itself is a subset of Sanskrit, one of the most ancient languages of the world.

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Sanskrit-English dictionary

Ācarya (आचर्य).—pot. p. To be done, performed, followed, observed &c.; fit, right.

See also (synonyms): ācaraṇīya, ācaritavya.

--- OR ---

Ācārya (आचार्य).—[ā-car-ṇyat P.III.1.1 Vār. Kāś.]

1) A teacher or preceptor (in general).

2) A spiritual guide or preceptor, holy teacher (one who invests a boy with the sacred thread, instructs him in the Vedas &c.); उपनीय तु यः शिष्यम् वेदमध्यापयेद् द्विजः । सकल्पं सरहस्यं च तमाचार्यं प्रचक्षते (upanīya tu yaḥ śiṣyam vedamadhyāpayed dvijaḥ | sakalpaṃ sarahasyaṃ ca tamācāryaṃ pracakṣate) Ms.2.14; cf. also आचिनोति च शास्त्रार्थं आचारे स्थापयत्यपि । स्वयमाचरते यस्तु स आचार्य इति स्मृतः (ācinoti ca śāstrārthaṃ ācāre sthāpayatyapi | svayamācarate yastu sa ācārya iti smṛtaḥ) || read also वेदाध्यापनेन च आचार्यो भवति (vedādhyāpanena ca ācāryo bhavati) Ms.6.1.35; see अध्यापक (adhyāpaka) also.

3) One who propounds a particular doctrine.

4) (When affixed to proper names) Learned, venerable (somewhat like the English Dr.).

5) An adviser or preceptor at a sacrifice &c.

6) An epithet of Droṇa; आचार्यमुपसंगम्य राजा वचनमब्रवीत् (ācāryamupasaṃgamya rājā vacanamabravīt) Bg.1.2.

7) A degree or title of proficiency.

-ryā A female preceptor, a spiritual preceptress.

Derivable forms: ācāryaḥ (आचार्यः).

Source: DDSA: The practical Sanskrit-English dictionary
context information

Sanskrit, also spelled संस्कृतम् (saṃskṛtam), is an ancient language of India commonly seen as the grandmother of the Indo-European language family. Closely allied with Prakrit and Pali, Sanskrit is more exhaustive in both grammar and terms and has the most extensive collection of literature in the world, greatly surpassing its sister-languages Greek and Latin.

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Relevant definitions

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