Acharya

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In Indian religions and society, an acharya is a guide or instructor in religious matters; founder, or leader of a sect; or a highly learned man or a title affixed to the names of learned men. The designation has different meanings in Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism and secular contexts. Acharya is also used to address a teacher or a scholar in any discipline, e.g.: Bhaskaracharya, the mathematician. It is also a common suffix in brahmin (Vishwakarma) names, e.g.: Krishnamacharya, Bhattacharya. In South India, this suffix is sometimes shortened toAchar, e.g.: TKV Desikachar. Acharya is also used as surname. In the social order of some parts of India, acharyas are considered as the highest amongst the brahmin community, often described as the "shrestha brahman" i.e. best in brahmins. In Madhwa brahmins Acharya means a priestly person.

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