Monday, July 10, 2017

Parampara - परम्परा - परंपरा

Parampara - परम्परा - परंपरा
Parampara (Sanskrit: परम्परा, paramparā) in simple terms denotes a succession, or tradition, and can be looked at in many views such as cultural, religious, musical lineage, family lineage, but the first mention of "Parampara" brings to our mind the succession of a Teacher and Disciple.
In the pure Traditional form Parampara
(Sanskrit: परम्परा, paramparā) denotes a succession of teachers and disciples in traditional Vedic culture and Indian religions such as Hinduism, Sikhism, Jainism, and Buddhism. It is also known as guru-shishya tradition (succession from guru to disciple).

The Sanskrit word literally means an uninterrupted row or series, order, succession, continuation, mediation, tradition. In the traditional residential form of education, the shishya remains with his or her guru as a family member and gets the education as a true learner.

In some traditions there is never more than one active master at the same time in the same guruparamaparya (lineage).

In the paramparā system, knowledge (in any field) is passed down (undiluted) through successive generations. For example, division of Veda and its transfer through paramparas describes Bhagavata Purana. Other fields of knowledge taught may include spiritual, artistic (music or dance), or educational.

Titles of gurus
In Parampara, not only is the immediate guru revered, the three preceding gurus are also worshiped or revered. These are known variously as the kala-guru or as the "four gurus" and are designated as follows:
  • Guru – the immediate guru
  • Parama-guru – the guru of the Parampara or specific tradition (e.g. for the Śankaracharyas this is Adi Śankara)
  • Parātpara-guru – the guru who is the source of knowledge for many traditions (e.g. for the Śankaracharya's this is Vedavyāsa)
  • Parameṣṭhi-guru – the highest guru, who has the power to bestow mokṣa (usually depicted as Śiva, being the highest guru)

The Guru-Shishya Tradition
The guru-shishya traditionor parampara 
("lineage"), denotes a succession of teachers and disciples in traditional Indian culture and religions
such as HinduismJainismSikhism and Buddhism 
(Tibetan and Zen tradition). It is the tradition of spiritual relationship and mentoring where teachings are transmitted from a guru "teacher" (Sanskritगुरु) to a śiṣya "disciple" (Sanskritशिष्य) or chela

Such knowledge whether it be Vedicagamic
architectural,musical or spiritual, is imparted through the developing relationship between the guru and the disciple. It is considered that this relationship, based on the genuineness of the guru, and the respect, commitment, devotion and obedience of the student, is the best way for subtle or advanced knowledge to be conveyed. The student eventually masters the knowledge that the guru embodies.

In this first post about this vast subject I have only taken up the topic upto the basic understanding of what Parampara means and the generic view of Guru-Parampara.

In the subsequent posts we will try to know more about:
  • 1Historical background
  • 2Common characteristics of the guru–shishya relationship
  • 3Parampara and Sampradaya
  • 4Guru–shishya relationship types
    • 4.1Advaita Vedanta
    • 4.2Śruti tradition
    • 4.3Shaktipat tradition
    • 4.4Bhakti yoga
    • 4.5Prapatti
    • 4.6Buddhism
  • 5Psychological aspects and much more.

    It has been a very divine experience traversing even this small trail into knowing more about the Guru, Parampara, and Guru-Shishya Parampara, and I am sure every step in the Journey ahead will be more enlightening!

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