(in terms of spirituality)...
the guru... spiritual master is one who fundamentally makes available the jargon
knowledge to the mankind at large.
there were no Acharyas... the spiritual wisdom would
have been limited to the few spiritual masters of
the era. Why?
can be best explained by invoking the Navkar
Mantra of Jainism. Whenever any prayer
is carried out in a Jainism household... the first
prayer invoked is the Navkar
Mantra. The fourth line of the Navkar
Mantra addresses paying obeisance to the Acharyas.
first line addresses paying obeisance to Arihants... the spiritual masters who
had reached the stage of enlightenment. The second line addresses the Tirthankars
in Jainism... those spiritual masters who having gained enlightenment
within their lifetime.
comprises of a chain of 24 Tirthankars right from the first Tirthankara Rishabdeva
Mahavira... the 24th Tirthankara. It was in the times of Bhagwan Mahavira
that the essence of the spiritual knowledge came to be dispensed so as to reach
the common man.
teachings of an enlightened one can only be understood by an Arihanta... the one
of the likes of King Arjuna... to whom the doctrine of Bhagavad
Gita was imparted by Lord Krishna,
the avatar of the era (God Almighty manifest in human
These Arihantas (aka
Jnanis) further spread the message to the various schools of thought
existing in their times. These schools of thought were headed by Acharyas... the
spiritual masters of the era.
spiritual gurus maintained their own Gurukuls where the spiritual aspirant...
the Shishya was supposed to live along with the family of the spiritual master.
Every gurukul comprised of students ranging from a few in number to thousands.
These Acharyas disseminated
the seeds of spirituality to the students and who were supposed to spread the
message further. of all the students in the gurukul... only a few were found to
have the qualities fit for becoming an Acharya. With time these students gained
the level of Acharya.
Acharya... the spiritual teacher... the master in his profession made it a mission
of his life that the spiritual wisdom did not remain limited to the Gurukuls only.
Whatever was imparted by the Tirthankars was assimilated by the Arihantas, who
finally delivered the sermon to the Acharyas... and who in the end delivered the
essence of the teachings to the masses.
need to realize the importance Acharyas hold in the teachings system. Every Acharya
is the direct connection between the spiritual master (the enlightened one) and
the common man. In the time of the Vedas
when the written script was not even available... it was only through the word
of mouth that the spiritual teachings could be spread.
became more essential during those times that more and more students got trained
in the Gurukuls so that the spiritual messages could be spread throughout the
humanity. In the time of Vedas the assembly of Gurukuls and Shishyas was at its
peak. The absence of the written script was the cause of the huge assembly of
Shishyas in the Gurukuls.
Every institution of teaching is headed by an Acharya... the head Acharya known
as the principal as of today and all other Acharyas forming the coterie of teachers
with mastery in their own fields of knowledge.
is the teacher and the pupil relationship... the relationship between the guru
and the Shishya which mattered most. With changing times the system has changed
but not the essence. It is Acharya and Acharyas alone who impart the messages
of the spiritual masters through students to the community at large. (Ref.
Kumar "Atma Jnani"
Vijay Kumar... The Man who Realized
God in 1993 explains the concept of Acharya Guru. For more on acharya guru visit
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