Saturday, November 13, 2004
Ready Reference of Terms

It occurred to me that not all might be familiar with the terms I use in my posts about the Kanchi Shankaracharya's arrest. So, here is a ready reference:

1. Shankaracharya: the holder of one of the seats of authority in Hindu thought that was established by Sri Shankara (ca 788-820 CE), to propagate the Advaita school of thought. Each seat is at the head of a seminary/monastery.
2. Mutt (or Math): A seminary/monastery under the guidance of a Math-acharya (teacher). Shankaracharyas are the Math-acharyas of the Shankara Mutts. Math also means a school of thought.
3. Peetham: Literally, a peak. The highest seat of learning.
4. Acharya: Teacher.
5. Paramacharya: Great Teacher (used by many to refer to Sri Chandrashekarendra Saraswati, the late head of the Kanchi Mutt).
6. Periyavaa: The Great Person (in Tamil language). Commonly used by Tamil Brahmins to denote the head of the Kanchi Mutt.

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