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Jagadguru, literally meaning "guru of the universe", is a title used in Sanātana Dharma. Traditionally, it has been bestowed upon or used for ācāryas belonging to the Vedānta school (among the six traditional schools of thought in Hinduism) who have written Sanskrit commentaries on the Prasthānatrayī (literally, 'the three sources') – the Brahma sūtras (the original scripture of Vedānta), the Bhagavad-gītā (part of the Mahābhārata) and the principal Upaniṣads. Historically, jagadgurus have established a lineage (paramparā), established an institution to spread dharma, who have been based in Varanasi, the centre of Sanskrit study.

Origin and history of the term

Jagadguru is of Sanskrit origin where jagat means 'the entire world' and guru means 'spiritual master' (literally, 'dispeller of darkness'). In the classics and scriptures, the word has been used for several Devas. In the Mahābhārata, Arjuna addresses Śrī Kṛṣṇa as the 'Supreme Master of the entire world'. Adi Shankaracharya uses the title Jagadguru for Śrī Kṛṣṇa in his Śrī Kṛṣṇa-āṣṭakam. The Sanskrit poet Kālidāsa uses the word Jagadguru for Lord Śiva in his great poem (Mahā-kāvya) titled Kumārasambhava. In the Rāmacaritamānasa, the poet-saint Tulasidāsa uses the same word for Lord Rāma. Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Prabhupāda uses it for Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu in his song Guru Paramparā. A. C. Bhaktivedānta Svāmi Prabhupāda uses it for Lord Kṛṣṇa in his composition Mārkine Bhāgavata-Dharma.

Traditional Jagadgurus

In Hinduism, the three great acharyas — Adi Shankara, Madhvacharya and Ramanuja are combinedly known as "Acharyatraya" or "Triacharya". These three acharyas are considered to be the pillars of Vedantic tradition of spiritual India.


Other acharya's

Jagadguru as title

Traditionally the title Jagadguru is used by all the peetadhipathis of Mathas founded by traditional Jagadgurus such as Adi Shankara, Ramanuja, Madhvacharya, Nimbarka and Vallabhacharya Mahaprabhu.

Jagadguru is also honoured as the title by Kashi Vidvat Parishat in Varanasi for the knowledge and value of particular guru. The title "Jagadguru Ramanandacharya" is used in the lineage of Ramananda, founder of Ramanandi Sampradaya.


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