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Acharya

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The spiritual master acts as the representative of Krishna, who is in the heart of the spiritual master and the disciple

An acharya is a spiritual teacher who teaches not only by verbal instructions but by the way he acts in his own life. The Bhagavad-gita advises that anyone who wants spiritual knowledge should approach, serve, and sincerely inquire from a qualified acharya. An authentic acharya sees things as they are, and can reveal genuine knowledge to a sincere seeker.

Vedic literature says that real success in life can be attained by approaching such an acharya. Qualified acharyas present the truth as received from their own spiritual teacher. An acharya should be spotless in character, and be a devotee of the Supreme Person.

Adapted from Back to Godhead Magazine's Yoga Dictionary, #15-12, 1980

(The painting depicts how the spiritual master acts as the representative of Krishna, who is in the heart of the spiritual master and the disciple.)

QT Acharya

Further reading on the importance of finding competent spiritual guidance:

We like to quote our sources. This page is based on the following:

  • Bhagavad-gita, 4.34:

    "Just try to learn the truth by approaching a spiritual master. Inquire from him submissively and render service unto him. The self-realized souls can impart knowledge unto you because they have seen the truth."

  • Mundaka Upanishad, 1.2.12:

    "In order to learn the transcendental science, one must approach the bona fide spiritual master in disciplic succession, who is fixed in the Absolute Truth"

    - for a discussion of this verse, see Srimad-Bhagavatam, 4.22.24

  • Srimad-Bhagavatam, 11.3.21 :

    "Therefore any person who seriously desires real happiness must seek a bona fide spiritual master and take shelter of him by initiation. The qualification of the bona fide guru is that he has realized the conclusions of the scriptures by deliberation and is able to convince others of these conclusions. Such great personalities, who have taken shelter of the Supreme Godhead, leaving aside all material considerations, should be understood to be bona fide spiritual masters."

  • Chandogya Upanishad, 6.14.2:

    "One who follows the disciplic succession of acharyas knows things as they are"

    - for a discussion of this verse, see Srimad-Bhagavatam, 4.22.24

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