Advaita Vision

Advaita for the 21st Century

Teacher Lineages

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In the following pages, I have attempted to construct 'Organisation Charts' to represent the teacher - disciple lineages for well-known historical teachers since Shankara and for all those current western 'Satsang' teachers who can be considered effectively to teach Advaita.

Historically, these 'lineages' (does this word exist in the plural?) were called 'sampradAya' or 'guru paramparA' .

sampradAya means 'tradition', 'established doctrine transmitted from one teacher to another'. Possibly the only one acknowledged by this name in the west today is the 'Navnath sampradAya', from which Nisargadatta Maharaj and Ranjit Maharaj originated.

paramparA means 'uninterrupted row or series, order, succession, tradition' or 'lineage'. Many modern teachers indicate that they were influenced by several teachers, even if they achieved enlightenment with one in particular. Accordingly, even this terminology is somewhat loose these days.

In the charts, I have listed teachers as accurately as possible, given the limited information I have available - i.e. primarily the Internet. I have not contacted every living teacher to ask them where they consider they should be placed. Also, there will no doubt be many teachers who do not have an 'Internet presence' so that I will be unaware of them. Finally, my judgement as to whether a given teacher is a teacher of Advaita is often dependent upon a quick appraisal of the content of their website. Some indicate other traditions as being specially influential (e.g. Zen or Dzogchen) but nevertheless write articles that 'read' as if they were Advaita - I have given these the 'benefit of the doubt' in some cases. Others may have been excluded because there is simply no material on their website by which to make an assessment. Some teachers may appear on more than one chart.

Accordingly, I am asking for help from all visitors to correct errors, suggest additions (or deletions) etc.

After a suitable time has elapsed, I intend to add links (for all those teachers who have websites) directly on the chart (since I do not intend to provide entries in the main pages for all of them). On the charts, I have used a solid line to represent a direct teacher-disciple link ('in the flesh') and a dotted line where there was 'influence' only.

The charts are as follows:

  1. Shankara sampradAya.

  2. Disciples of Swami Sivananda .

  3. Disciples of Ramakrishna.

  4. Disciples of Ramana Maharshi.

  5. Navnath (Inchgiri) sampradAya (Disciples of Nisargadatta Maharaj).

  6. Disciples of Osho.

  7. Disciples of Atmananda Krishna Menon.

  8. Disciples of Adyashanti.

  9. Narayana Gurukula Line.

  10. Teachers with no specific lineage.

Page last updated: 10-Jul-2012