Faith

Custodians of the tradition

The term ‘Sanatana dharma’ refers to the moral and ethical way of life that governs the overall individual and social development of people through the ages. The credit should go to the acharyas in the spiritual tradition who have imbibed the sacred teaching of the scriptures and handed it down without distortion to posterity, pointed out Asuri Sri Madhavachariar in a discourse. The Mundaka Upanishad captures the essence of the acharya or teacher as one who is well versed in the scriptures and is aware of the truth of Brahman; he follows the teachings impeccably even as he imparts it to his disciples. The disciples thus take in the salient aspects of disciplined learning and gradually qualify themselves to the role of the acharya for the next generation. So the lineage continues in a seamless manner.

Vedanta Desika has described the lineage of acharyas in the Vaishnava tradition which venerates the divine couple Goddess Sri and Lord Narayana together as the foremost acharya. The line continues with Nammazhwar, Nathamuni and his disciples. Though Nathamuni came much later and was not contemporaneous with Azhwar, he became his direct disciple through divine grace. It is through his efforts that the break in the timeless tradition has been restored in its pristine state. Known for his multi faceted accomplishments in the areas of Vedic scholarship, yoga, etc and also as a devout bhakta, he propitiated Nammazhwar and inherited the teaching directly from him. Nathamuni entrusted this tradition to his grandson Alavandar who handed it down to Ramanuja through his immediate disciples. It was then left to Ramanuja to consolidate and propagate this valuable inheritance to posterity through his disciples.

It is customary to pay obeisance to acharya parampara.


Our code of editorial values

This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor

Printable version | Jun 24, 2021 8:45:01 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/society/faith/custodians-of-the-tradition/article34559457.ece

Next Story