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Dashanami Sampradaya

Dashanami Sampradaya (IAST Daśanāmi Saṃpradāya "Tradition of Ten Names") is a Hindu monastic tradition of "single-staff renunciation" (ēkadaṇḍisannyāsi)[1][2][3] generally associated with the Advaita Vedanta tradition.

Single-staff renunciates are distinct in their practices from Shaiva trishuldhari or "trident-wielding renunciates" and Vaishnava traditions of Tridandi sannyāsis.[4][note 1][note 2]

In the 8th century a section of the Ēkadaṇḍisannyāsins were organized by Adi Shankara into four maṭhas. However, the association of the Dasanāmis with the Shankara maṭhas remained nominal.[web 1] Any Hindu, irrespective of class, caste, age or gender can seek sannyāsa as an Ēkadaṇḍi renunciate in the Dasanāmi tradition.


  • History 1
    • ēkadaṇḍis 1.1
      • Golden Age of Hinduism 1.1.1
      • Wandering ēkadaṇḍi ascetics 1.1.2
    • Establishment of the Dasanami Sampradaya 1.2
      • Late-Classical Hinduism 1.2.1
      • Establishment 1.2.2
    • Expansion of the Dasanami Sampradaya 1.3
    • Naga Sadhus 1.4
  • Characteristics 2
    • Parampara 2.1
    • Ten Names 2.2
  • Standardised List of Notable Dasanāmīs 3
    • A 3.1
    • B 3.2
    • C 3.3
    • D 3.4
    • G 3.5
    • H 3.6
    • I 3.7
    • J 3.8
    • K 3.9
    • L 3.10
    • M 3.11
    • N 3.12
    • P 3.13
    • R 3.14
    • S 3.15
    • T 3.16
    • V 3.17
    • Y 3.18
  • Notes 4
  • References 5
    • Written references 5.1
    • Web-references 5.2
  • Sources 6
  • External links 7


Sannyasi, a Saiva mendicant - Tashrih al-aqvam'" (1825)


ēkadaṇḍis were already known during the so-called "Golden Age of Hinduism" (ca. 320-650 CE[5])

Golden Age of Hinduism

See also Gupta rule and Gupta and Pallava period

The "Golden Age of Hinduism"[5] (ca. 320-650 CE[5]) flourished during the Gupta Empire[6] (320 to 550 CE) until the fall of the Harsha[6] (606 to 647 CE). During this period, power was centralized, along with a growth of far distance trade, standardization of legal procedures, and general spread of literacy.[6] Mahayana Buddhism flourished, but orthodox Shrauta Hinduism was rejuvenated by the patronage of the Gupta dynasty.[7] The position of the Brahmans was reinforced[6] and the first Hindu temples emerged during the late Gupta age.[6] The Mahābhārata, which probably reached its final form by the early Gupta period (c. 4th century),[8] already mentions "ēkadaṇḍi" and "tridaṇḍi".[9]

Wandering ēkadaṇḍi ascetics

The ēkadaṇḍis existed in the Tamil country during the south-Indian Pandyan Dynasty (3rd century BCE - 16th century CE) and the South-Indian Pallava dynasty (2nd - 9th centuries CE). Being wandering monastics, they were not settled in the brahmadeyas or settlement areas for Brahmins. There existed tax free bhiksha-bogams for feeding the ēkadaṇḍi ascetics in the ancient Tamil country.[10]

ēkadaṇḍis and Tridandis were also active in Eastern India, and appear to have existed there during the North-Indian Gupta Empire (320 to 550 CE ).[11]

According to R. Tirumalai, "there appears to have been no sectarian segregation of the Shaiva (ēkadaṇḍi) and Srivaishnava (Tridandi Sannyāsins)".[12]

Establishment of the Dasanami Sampradaya

(Vidyashankara temple) at Sringeri Sharada Peetham, Shringeri

At the beginning of the so-called "Late classical Hinduism",[13] which lasted from 650 till 1100 CE,[13] Shankara established the Dasanami Sampradaya.

Late-Classical Hinduism

See also Late-Classical Age and Hinduism Middle Ages

After the end of the Gupta Empire and the collapse of the Harsha Empire, power became decentralized in India. Several larger kingdoms emerged, with "countless vassal states":[14] in the east the Pala Empire[14] (770-1125 CE[14]), in the west and north the Gurjara-Pratihara[14] (7th-10th century[14]), in the southwest the Rashtrakuta Dynasty[14] (752-973[14]), in the Dekkhan the Chalukya dynasty[14] (7th-8th century[14]), and in the south the Pallava dynasty[14] (7th-9th century[14]) and the Chola dynasty[14] (9th century[14]).

The kingdoms were ruled via a feudal system. Smaller kingdoms were dependent on the protection of the larger kingdoms. "The great king was remote, was exalted and deified",[15] as reflected in the Tantric Mandala, which could also depict the king as the centre of the mandala.[16]

The disintegration of central power also lead to regionalization of religiosity, and religious rivalry.[17][note 3] Local cults and languages were enhanced, and the influence of "Brahmanic ritualistic Hinduism"[17] was diminished.[17] Rural and devotional movements arose, along with Shaivism, Vaisnavism, Bhakti and Tantra,[17] though "sectarian groupings were only at the beginning of their development".[17] Religious movements had to compete for recognition by the local lords.[17] Buddhism lost its position, and began to disappear in India.[17]


Shankara, himself considered to be an incarnation of

  • Sringeri Math
  • Danasami Sampradya- The monastic,
  • The Monastic TraditionDevasthanam,

External links

  • McRae, John (2003), Seeing Through Zen. Encounter, Transformation, and Genealogy in Chinese Chan Buddhism, The University Press Group Ltd,  
  • Michaels, Axel (2004), Hinduism. Past and present, Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press 
  • Nakamura, Hajime (2004), A History of Early Vedanta Philosophy. Part Two, Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass Publishers Private Limited 


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i Sankara Acarya Biography: Monastic TraditionDevasthananam,
  2. ^ a b Kalyanagiri
  3. ^ Prajnana Mission
  4. ^ "Adi Shankara's four Amnaya Peethams". Archived from the original on 2006-06-26. Retrieved 2006-08-20. 
  5. ^ The maṭhas of Dasanami Sanyasis of Lalitpur, Kathmandu Valley
  6. ^ Nagas: Once were warriors. Gautam Siddharth, TNN Jan 15, 2013
  7. ^ Where did the Akharas come from?Prem Panicker,
  8. ^ Kumbh Melas in Haridwar and,
  9. ^ a b "The Advaita Vedânta Home Page — Advaita Parampara". 1999-05-05. Retrieved 2012-09-10. 
  11. ^ The Dashanami Sampradaya- the Monastic Tradition
  12. ^
  13. ^
  14. ^ The official website of Divine Life Society


  1. ^ Journal of the Oriental Institute (pp 301), by Oriental Institute (Vadodara, India).
  2. ^ Govind Sadashiv Ghurye, Indian Sadhus
  3. ^ Lalit Kishore Lal Srivastava, Advaitic Concept of Jīvanmukti
  4. ^ A. C. Bhaktivedānta Swāmi, Śrīmad Bhāgavatam
  5. ^ a b c Michaels 2004, p. 40-41.
  6. ^ a b c d e Michaels 2004, p. 40.
  7. ^ Nakamura 2004, p. 687.
  8. ^ Van Buitenen; The Mahabharata – 1; The Book of the Beginning. Introduction (Authorship and Date)
  9. ^ Swāmi Parmeshwarānand, Encyclopaedia of Śaivism, p.82
  10. ^ Shanmuga Velayutham Subramanian, Heritage of the Tamils: temple arts, p.154
  11. ^ Bhagwati Charan Verma, Socio-religious, Economic, Literary Condition of Bihar
  12. ^ R. Tirumalai, The Pandyan Townships : The Pandyan townships, their organisation and functioning
  13. ^ a b Michaels 2004, p. 41-43.
  14. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m Michaels 2004, p. 41.
  15. ^ michaels 2004, p. 41.
  16. ^ White 2000, p. 25-28.
  17. ^ a b c d e f g Michaels 2004, p. 42.
  18. ^ McRae 2003.
  19. ^ Karigoudar Ishwaran, Ascetic Culture
  20. ^ Wendy Sinclair-Brull, Female Ascetics
  21. ^ a b H.A. Rose, Ibbetson, Denzil Ibbetson Sir, and Maclagan, Glossary of the Tribes and Castes of the Punjab and North West Frontier Province, page 857
  22. ^ Nakamura 2004, p. 782-783.
  23. ^ Nakamura 2004, p. 680.
  24. ^ Nakamura 2004, p. 680-681.
  25. ^ A history of Dasnami Naga Sanyasis, Sir Jadunath Sarkar, Sri Panchayati Akhara Mahanirvani, Allahabad,
  26. ^ Naga sadhus steal the show at Kumbh, Nandita Sengupta, TNN Feb 13, 2010://
  27. ^ Book: Shri Gowdapadacharya & Shri Kavale Math (A Commemoration volume). P. 38.
  28. ^ The most well-known member of this sub-order has been Krsnacaitanya.
  29. ^ Most swamis in the Bābājī Kriyā Yoga tradition belong to the Giri sub-order, not as a rule, but because they descended from Srījuktesvara. Pranavānanda was also in this sub-order, although he was not descended from Srījuktesvara.
  30. ^ Swāmīs in the Rāmakrishna tradition are accepted as belonging to the Puri sub-order, descending from Swāmī Totā Puri, sannyāsa guru of Rāmakrsna who gave the ochre robe to his close disciples. The most well-known of course are Rāmakrsna and Vivekānanda.
  31. ^ The most well-known members of this sub-order have been Sivānanda of Rishikesh, Vishnudevānanda of Canada, Satchidānanda of the USA, and Satyānanda of Bihār.
  32. ^ Well-known members of this sub-order include Swāmī Ānanda Tīrtha, Swāmī Jaya Tīrtha, and Jagadguru Sankarācārya Swāmī Bhāratīkrsna Tīrtha.
  33. ^ The most well-known member of this sub-order has been Swāmī Hariharānanda Aranya.
  34. ^ e.g.: śrī, shri, shrii, shree, śrī śrī, śrī śrī śrī, śrīla, śrīman, , jiew, joo, jiu, swāmījī, mahātma, mahārsi, mahāyogī, mahāsaya, mahārāj, mahārājjī, prabhu, prabhujī, mahāprabhu, gurudev, gurujī, guru mahārāj jī, sāheb, sāhebjī, bābā, bābājī, mā, māta, mātajī, bhagvan, prabhupāda, bhaktipāda. Aside from these, "Paramahamsa" is also one of the most abused honorifics. Lots of unfit characters want to claim it; lots of adoring disciples apply it to their guru. It was used by the ISKCON rtvik/guru-ācāryas. However, the case of Swāmī Yogānanda Giri is a unique one, since his title Paramahansa was not given to him by his disciples.
  35. ^ Premānanda
  36. ^ Śrī Śrī Rāmakrsna Līlaprasanga
  37. ^ Śrī Śrī Rāmakrsna Kathāmrta
  38. ^ Bibliography of Ramakrishna
  39. ^ Viswatma Chetana Parishad

Written references


  1. ^ The Tridandi sannyāsins continue to wear the sacred thread after renunciation, while Ekadandi sannyāsins do not.
  2. ^ Ek means "one", ekadandi means "of single staff", tridandi means "of three staffs".
  3. ^ This resembles the development of Chinese Chán during the An Lu-shan rebellion and the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms Period (907–960/979), during which power became decentralized and new Chán-schools emerged.[18]
  4. ^ The following Sanskrit Verse among Smarthas provides the list of the early teachers of the Vedanta in their order:[web 10][27] "नारायणं पद्मभुवं वशिष्ठं शक्तिं च तत्पुत्रं पराशरं च व्यासं शुकं गौडपादं महान्तं गोविन्दयोगीन्द्रं अथास्य शिष्यम्
    श्री शंकराचार्यं अथास्य पद्मपादं च हस्तामलकं च शिष्यम् तं तोटकं वार्त्तिककारमन्यान् अस्मद् गुरून् सन्ततमानतोऽस्मि
    अद्वैत गुरु परंपरा स्तोत्रम्"
    "nārāyanam padmabhuvam vasishtam saktim ca tat-putram parāśaram ca
    vyāsam śukam gauḍapāda mahāntam govinda yogīndram athāsya śiṣyam
    śri śankarācāryam athāsya padmapādam ca hastāmalakam ca śiṣyam
    tam trotakam vārtikakāram-anyān asmad gurūn santatamānato’smi
    The above advaita guru paramparā verse salute the prominent gurus of advaita, starting from Nārāyaṇa through Adi Sankara and his disciples, up to the Acharyas of today.
  5. ^ the famous redactor of the vedas, he is also traditionally identified with Bādarāyaṇa, the composer of the Brahmasūtras


Name Notability Reference
Swāmī Yatīśwarānanda Puri Ramakrishna monk; spiritual teacher.
Paramhansa Swāmī Yogānanda Giri Kriyā Yoga adept; disciple of Śrījukteśvara; founder of Self-Realization Fellowship Church and the Yogoda Satsanga Society of India; authored Autobiography of a Yogi; most well-known member of the Giri sub-order.
Swāmī Yogānanda Giri Leading Hindu of Italy. Disciple of Gītānanda.
Swāmī Yogānanda Puri disciple of Rāmakrsna; one of the six īśvarakoti.


Name Notability Reference
Swāmī Vasudevānanda Sarasvatī
Swāmī Venkateśānanda Sarasvatī disciple of Śivānanda; founder of Sivananda Ashrams in South Africa and Mauritius.
Swāmī Vidyāprakāśānanda Giri Telugu Hindu teacher.
Jagadguru Śankarācārya Swāmī Vidyāranya Tīrtha Śankarācārya of Śrngeri.
Swāmī Vijayendra Sarasvatī Disciple and designated successor of Jayendra Sarasvatī.
Swāmī Vijñānānanda Puri disciple of Rāmakrsna.
Swāmī Vipulānanda Puri Srī Lankān Ramakrishna monastic and Hindu revivalist.
Swāmī Virajānanda Puri President of the Ramakrishna Mission.
Swāmī Vireshwarānanda Puri President of the Ramakrishna Mission.
Swāmī Vishnu Tīrtha Siddha Yoga teacher.
Swāmī Vishnudevānanda Sarasvatī eminent Advaita Vedānt ācārya in India, unknown in the West.
Swāmī Vishnudevānanda Sarasvatī yogī; most famous disciple of Śivānanda (the two of them are the most well-known members of the Sarasvati sub-order); founder of worldwide Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centres; authored The Complete Illustrated Book of Yoga.
Swāmī Vishuddhānanda Puri President of the Ramakrishna Mission.
Swāmī Vivekānanda Sarasvatī Australian psychiatrist. Disciple of Satyananda Saraswati.
Swāmī Vivekānanda Sarasvatī Charles Cannon. Disciple of Muktananda. Founder of Synchronicity Meditation.
Swāmī Vivekānanda Sarasvatī Romanian disciple of Gregorian Bivolaru. Founded schools in Denmark and Thailand.
Swāmī Vivekānanda Puri most famous Ramakrishna Mission; one of the six iśvarakoti.


Name Notability Reference
Swāmī Tapasyānanda Puri Ramakrishna monastic.
Swāmī Tapovanam Giri reclusive yogī of Uttar Kashi.
Swami Tejomayananda Saraswati Current Head of Chinmaya Mission Worldwide.
Swāmī Totā Puri wandering anchorite; taught advaita and meditation to Rāmakrsna.
Swāmī Trigunatitānanda Puri disciple of Rāmakrsna.
Swāmī Turiyānanda Puri disciple of Rāmakrsna.
Swāmī Tyagānanda Puri Ramakrishna monk; Hindu chaplain of MIT.


Name Notability Reference
Jagadguru Śankarācārya Swāmī Saccidānanda Bhāratī Śankarācārya of Śrngeri.
Jagadguru Śankarācārya Swāmī Saccidānanda Bhāratī Śankarācārya of Śrngeri.
Jagadguru Śankarācārya Swāmī Saccidānanda Śivābhinava Nrsimha Bhāratī Śankarācārya of Śrngeri.
Swāmī Sadaśivendra Sarasvatī scholar, yogī-siddha, poet, avadhūta; mentioned in Yogānanda's Autobiography.
Swāmī Sahajānanda Sarasvatī Indian nationalist.
Swāmī Sahajānanda Sarasvatī South African spiritual teacher; disciple of Śivānanda.
Swāmī Śantānanda Sarasvatī disciple of Śivānanda; spiritual guide in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Swāmī Śaradānanda Puri disciple of Rāmakrsna; author of the Śrī Śrī Rāmakrsna Līlaprasanga.
Swāmī Satchidānanda Sarasvatī disciple of Śivānanda; founder of Satchidananda Ashrams, USA.
Swāmī Satcidānandendra Sarasvatī Vedānt ācārya.
Swāmī Sathyānanda Saraswathī yoga teacher.
Swāmī Satyānanda Giri Kriyā Yoga teacher; disciple of Śrījukteśvara.
Swāmī Satyānanda Sarasvatī disciple of Śivānanda; founder of Bihar School of Yoga.
Swāmī Satyaprajñānanda Sarasvatī disciple of Satyānanda Saraswatī. Founder of Viswatma Chetana Parishad. [39]
Swāmī Shambhavānanda Puri Ramakrishna monk.
Swāmī Shambhavānanda Sarasvatī American disciple of Rudrānanda; sannyās initiate of Muktānanda.
Swāmī Shankarānanda Giri American disciple of Premānanda; Freemason.
Swāmī Shankarānanda Puri President of the Ramakrishna Mission.
Swāmī Shankarānanda Sarasvatī American disciple of Muktānanda.
Swāmī Shivānanda Puri disciple of Rāmakrsna.
Swāmī Shivom Tīrtha Siddha Yoga teacher. .
Swāmī Shraddhānanda Sarasvatī Hindu social activist; assassinated by a Muslim.
Swāmī Shuddhānanda Puri President of the Ramakrishna Mission.
Swāmī Śivānanda Sarasvatī founded Divine Life Society and Yoga-Vedanta Forest Academy, Rishikesh; authored 200 books. [web 14]
Swāmī Śivānanda Rādhā Sarasvatī Canadian yoga teacher; disciple of Sivānanda.
Swāmī Smaranānanda Puri Ramakrishna monk. Vice President of the Ramakrishna Order.
Swāmī Śrījukteśvara Giri Kriyā Yoga adept; disciple of Shyāmacharan Lahirī; guru of Yogānanda.
Swāmī Subodhānanda Puri disciple of Rāmakrsna.
Swāmī Swahānanda Puri Ramakrishna monastic.
Swāmī Swarūpānanda Puri Ramakrishna monastic.
Jagadguru Śankarācārya Swāmī Swarūpānanda Sarasvatī Śankarācārya of Jyotirmāyā and Dwarka Pītha.


Name Notability Reference
Swāmī Raghavendra Tīrtha Vaisnava missionary of Tamil Nadu.
Swāmī Rāma Bhāratī Yogī; founder of Himalayan International Institute of Yoga Science and Philosophy, Honesdale, Pennsylvania.
Swāmī Rāma Tīrtha Teacher of "Practical Vedanta".
Swāmī Rāmakrishnānanda Puri Disciple of Rāmakrsna.
Swāmī Rāmakrsna Puri Temple priest, ascetic, mystic of Bengal. Regarded as an avatar (a "descent" or physical incarnation of God) by devotees. [36][37][38]
Swāmī Rāmānanda Tīrtha activist in Hyderābād.
Swāmī Ranganāthānanda Puri President of the Ramakrishna Mission.
Swāmī Rudrānanda Puri Ramakrishna monk in Fiji.
Swāmī Rudrānanda Sarasvatī American spiritual teacher.


Name Notability Reference
Swāmī Paramānanda Puri Ramakrishna monk; Vedānta teacher in the USA.
Swāmī Paramānanda Sarasvatī Disciple of Śivānanda.
Swāmī Prabhavānanda Puri Ramakrishna monk; Vedānta teacher in the USA.
Swāmī Prakāshānanda Sarasvatī Rādhā-Krsna devotee, convict and fugitive in the USA; disciple of Rādhā-Krsna bhakta Kripalu.
Swāmī Prakāshānanda Sarasvatī Hindu teacher in Trinidad.
Swami Pranavananda Giri Founder of Bharat Sevashram Sangha.
Swāmī Pranavānanda Giri Kriyā Yogī; disciple of Shyāmacharan Lahirī; featured in Yogānanda's Autobiography.
Swāmī Pranavānanda Sarasvatī disciple of Śivānanda; Yoga-Vedānta teacher, Divine Life Society, Malaysia.
Swāmī Premānanda Bhāratī first to preach Krsna bhakti in the USA.
Swāmī Premānanda Giri Freemason; founder of Self-Revelation Church, USA. [35]
Swāmī Premānanda Puri disciple of Rāmakrsna; one of the six iśvarakoti.
Swāmī Purushottamānanda Puri Ramakrishna monk.
Swāmī Prabhananda Puri Ramakrishna monk, Vice President of the Ramakrishna Order .


Name Notability Reference
Swāmī Nāmānanda Giri Disciple of Haridasa Giri.
Swāmī Nārāyanānanda Puri Ramakrishna monk; rāja yoga teacher in Denmark.
Swāmī Nigamānanda Sarasvatī bhakta, gyānī, yogī, tantrika of Eastern India.
Swāmī Nikhilānanda Puri Ramakrishna monastic; Vedānta teacher in the USA.
Swāmī Nirañjanānanda Puri disciple of Rāmakrsna; one of the six iśvarakoti.
Swāmī Nirañjanānanda Sarasvatī disciple of Satyānanda; head of Bihar School of Yoga.
Swāmī Nirmalānanda Puri disciple of Rāmakrsna.
Jagadguru Śankarācārya Swāmī Nishcalānanda Sarasvatī Śankarācārya of Puri.
Swāmī Nityānanda Sarasvatī disciple and designated successor of Muktānanda; ousted from SYDA by his sister Chidvilasānanda.
Swāmī Nrsimha Sarasvatī Incarnation of Dattatreya.


Name Notability Reference
Swāmī Madhavānanda Puri President of the Ramakrishna Mission.
Swāmī Madhusūdana Sarasvatī Advaita Vedānt ācārya.
Swāminī Māyātitānanda Sarasvatī Ayurveda teacher.
Swāmī Muktānanda Sarasvatī famous meditation teacher in the USA; authored many books.


Name Notability Reference
Swāmī Laksmanānanda Sarasvatī humanitarian social relief worker of Orissa; assassinated by suspected Christian Maoists.


Name Notability Reference
Swāmī Keshavānanda Tīrtha disciple of Shyama Charan Lahiri; featured in Yogānanda's Autobiography.
Swāmī Kirtidānanda Puri Ramakrishna monastic.
Swāmī Krishnānanda Sarasvatī disciple of Śivānanda; General Secretary of Divine Life Society.
Swāmī Kriyānanda Giri American disciple of Yogānanda; founder of Ananda World Brotherhood Colonies.
Jagadguru Śankarācārya Swāmī Krsnabodha Āśrama Śankarācārya of Jyotirmāyā Pītha, Śankara maṭha, Badrināth.
Swāmī Krsnacaitanya Bhāratī Vaisnava teacher and scholar of Bengal; regarded as an avatār in Bangla Vaisnavism. Called "Caitanya Mahaprabhu" by devotees.


Name Notability Reference
Swāmī Janakānanda Sarasvatī Danish disciple of Satyānanda; founder of Skandinavisk Yoga och Meditationsskola.
Swāmī Jayendra Sarasvatī Disciple of Chandrasekharendra Sarasvatī. Pītadhipathi of Kañci Pītham.
Swāmī Jyotirmāyānanda Sarasvatī disciple of Śivānanda; founder of Yoga Research Foundation, Miami, Florida.


Name Notability Reference
Swāmī Indravesha Sarasvatī sociopolitical activist.


Name Notability Reference
Swāmī Haridāsa Giri Disciple of Svāmī Gñānānanda Giri.
Swāmī Hariharānanda Āranya noted Samkhya Yogī. [web 12][web 13]
Swāmī Hariharānanda Giri Kriyā Yoga teacher. Pupil of Śrījukteśvara, Bhupendranāth Sanyal, Yogānanda, Satyānanda, and Bijoy Krishna.
Swāmī Hariharānanda Sarasvatī respected Vedānt ācārya; disciple of Brahmānanda Sarasvatī; met Yogānanda at Kumbh Mela.


Name Notability Reference
Swāmī Gahanānanda Puri President of the Ramakrishna Mission.
Swāmī Gambhirānanda Puri President of the Ramakrishna Mission.
Swāmī Ganapati Sarasvatī long-lived yogī of Benāres.
Swāmī Ganeshānanda Sarasvatī Yoga teacher. Pupil and sannyās initiate of Swāmī Sivānanda Sarasvatī. Pupil of Swāmī Suraj Giri.
Swāmī Ghanānanda Puri Ramakrishna monk who was active in Europe.
Swāmī Ghanānanda Sarasvatī Ghanaian disciple of Krishnānanda; possibly first Black African convert to Hinduism.
Mahānta Swāmī Gītānanda Giri Indian Canadian physician; yoga teacher; Mahānta of the Brighu Order; "Lion of Pondicherry".
Swāmī Gñānānanda Giri long-lived yogī; guru of French Catholic monastic Abhishiktānanda.
Swāmī Govindānanda Bhāratī long-lived yogī; traveled around the world; met Queen Victoria.


Name Notability Reference
Swāmī Dayānanda Sarasvatī reformer; founder of the Arya Samaj.
Swāmī Dayānanda Sarasvatī Vedānt ācārya; founder of Arsha Vidya Gurukulam.


Name Notability Reference
Jagadguru Śankarācārya Swāmī Candrasekhara Bhāratī Śankarācārya of Śrngeri.
Swāmī Chandrasekharendra Sarasvatī Pītadhipathi of Kāñcī Pītham. Featured in Paul Brunton's A Search in Secret India.
Swāmī Chetanānanda Puri Ramakrishna monastic and Vedānta teacher in the USA.
Swāmī Chetanānanda Sarasvatī American disciple of Rudrānanda; sannyās initiate of Muktānanda.
Swāmī Chidānanda Sarasvatī disciple of Śivānanda; President of Divine Life Society; interfaith advocate.
Swāmī Chidānanda Sarasvatī founder of temples in Australia, Canada, Europe, and the USA.
Swāmī Chidbhavānanda Puri Ramakrishna monk; prolific author.
Swāmī Chidvilasānanda Sarasvatī disciple and designated successor of Muktānanda; sister of Nityānanda.
Swāmī Chinmāyānanda Sarasvatī Hindu missionary. Disciple of Swāmī Śivānanda Sarasvatī and Swāmī Tapovanam Giri. Founder of Chinmaya Mission.


Name Notability Reference
Jagadguru Śankarācārya Swāmī Bhāratī Tīrtha Śankarācārya of Śrngeri.
Jagadguru Śankarācārya Swāmī Bhāratīkrsna Tīrtha Śankarācārya of Puri and scholar of Indian mathematics. First Śankarācārya to visit the West. Authored Vedic Mathematics.
Swāmī Bhaskarānanda Sarasvatī scholar and anchorite of Benāres.
Swāmī Bhūmānanda Tīrtha social reformer.
Swāmī Bhuteshānanda Puri President of the Ramakrishna Mission.
Swāmī Brahmānanda Puri senior disciple of Rāmakrsna; President of Ramakrishna Mission; one of the six iśvarakoti.
Jagadguru Śankarācārya Swāmī Brahmānanda Sarasvatī highly-respected Śankarācārya of Jyotirmāyā Pītha, Badrināth.
Swāmī Brahmānanda Sarasvatī aka Rāmmūrti Mishra. Surgeon; Sanskrit scholar; yoga teacher in the USA.
Swāmī Brahmānanda Sarasvatī Disciple of Śivānanda.


Name Notability Reference
Swāmī Abhayānanda Puri American self-appointed Vedānta teacher.
Swāmī Abhayānanda Sarasvatī American disciple of Muktānanda.
Swāmī Abhedānanda Puri disciple of Rāmakrsna.
Jagadguru Śankarācārya Swāmī Abhinavavidyā Tīrtha Śankarācārya of Śrngeri.
Swāmī Adbhutānanda Puri disciple of Rāmakrsna.
Swāmī Adidevānanda Puri Ramakrishna monk.
Swāmī Advaitānanda Puri disciple of Rāmakrsna.
Swāmī Agehānanda Bhāratī Austrian American intellectual and expert on Indian languages and phonology.
Swāmī Agnivesha Sarasvatī activist; reformer; interfaith dialog advocate.
Swāmī Akhandānanda Puri disciple of Rāmakrsna.
Swāmī Akhandānanda Sarasvatī preacher of Bhagavata Purana.
Swāmī Ashokānanda Puri Ramakrishna monk.
Swāmī Ātmānanda Giri Pupil of Swāmī Hariharānanda Giri.
Swāmī Ātmajñānānanda Puri American Ramakrishna monk.
Swāminī Ātmaprajñānanda Sarasvatī Sanskrit scholar, Vedānt ācārya, disciple and sannyās initiate of Dayānanda.
Swāmī Ātmasthānanda Puri President of the Ramakrishna Mission.
Swāmī Avdheshānanda Giri Mahāmandalesvara of the Juna Akhara. Member of the World Council of Religious Leaders.


This section enumerates, in standardised manner, members of the Dasanāmī Order, listing each under his formal title and name, without the use of the honorifics[34] so cherished by devotees and disciples. The word "swāmī" here is not an honorific. It is the title of an initiated member of the Dasanāmī Order. Entries are listed in standard form: TITLE (SWĀMĪ) + PERSONAL NAME + SUB-ORDER NAME. A few entries have the additional title (not honorific) of "Jagadguru Śankarācārya" which designates either one of the four supreme leaders of the order (somewhat similar to the position of Pope in Catholic Christianity). "Mahānta" is also a title designating an organizational position assigned to certain persons.

Standardised List of Notable Dasanāmīs

Saraswatī, Puri and Bhāratī are associated with the Sringeri Sharada Peetham. Tīrtha and Asrama are associated with the Dvaraka Pitha. Giri, Parvata and Sagara are associated with Jyotirmath. Vana and Aranya are associated with the Govardhana matha at Puri.[web 11][web 1]

  1. Bhāratī[28]
  2. Giri[29]
  3. Puri[30]
  4. Saraswatī[31]
  5. Tīrtha[32]
  6. Aranya[33]
  7. Asrama
  8. Parvata
  9. Sagara
  10. Vana

Hindus who enter sannyāsa in the ēkadaṇḍi tradition take up one of the ten names associated with this sampradaya.

Ten Names


The Advaita guru-paramparā (Lineage of Gurus in Non-dualism) begins with the mythological time of the Daiva-paramparā, followed by the vedic seers of the Ṛṣi-paramparā, and the Mānava-paramparā of historical times and personalities:[web 9][note 4]

The current Acaryas, the heads of the maṭhas, trace their authority back to the four main disciples of Shankara,[web 9] and each of the heads of these four maṭhas takes the title of Shankaracharya ("the learned Shankara") after Adi Shankara.

In the Indian religious and philosophical traditions, all knowledge is traced back to the Gods and to the Rishi who "saw" the Vedas.



The naga sadhus are prominent at Kumbha mela, where the order in which they enter the water is fixed by tradition. After the juna akhara, the Niranjani and Mahanirvani Akhara proceed to their bath. Ramakrishna Math Sevashram are almost the last in the procession.[26]

The naga sadhus generally remain in the ambit of non-violence presently, though some sections are also known to practice the sport of wrestling. The Dasanāmi sannyāsins practice the Vedic and yogic Yama principles of ahimsā (non-violence), satya (truth), asteya (non-stealing), aparigraha (non-covetousness) and brahmacārya (celibacy / moderation). The Dasanāmis are generally believed to be celibate, and grihastas or householder sannyāsis such as Lahiri Mahasaya and Bhupendranath Sanyal (Sanyal Mahāsaya) were a rarity.

Some examples of akhara currently are the Shri Panchadashanam Juna Akhara of the Dashanami Naga, Shri Panchayati Mahanirwani Akhara, Shri Taponidhi Niranjani Akhara, Shri Taponidhi Anand Akhara, Shri Panchayati Atal Akhara, Shri Panchadashnam Awahan Akhara, Shri Pancha Agni Akhara and Shri Panchayati Akhara at Allahabad.[web 7] Each akhara is divided into sub-branches and traditions. An example is the Datt Akhara of the naked sadhus of Juna Naga establishment.[web 8]

Warrior-ascetics could be found in Hinduism from at least the 1500s and as late as the 1700s,[25] although tradition attributes their creation to Sankaracharya[web 6]

In the 16th century, sannyasis in order to protect Hindus from the tyranny of the Mughal rulers. These are also called Gusain, Gussain, Gosain, Gossain, Gosine, Gosavi, Sannyāsi, Dasnāmi or Goswami in popular parlance.

Naga Sadhu performing ritual bath at Sangam during Allahabad Ardh Kumbhmela 2007

Naga Sadhus

According to Pandey, the ēkadaṇḍis or Dasanāmis had established monasteries in India and Nepal in the 13th and 14th century.[web 5]

According to the tradition in Kerala, after Shankara's samadhi at Vadakkunnathan Temple, his disciples founded four maṭhas in Thrissur, namely Naduvil Madhom, Thekke Madhom, Idayil Madhom and Vadakke Madhom.

Expansion of the Dasanami Sampradaya

Direction Maṭha Mahāvākya Veda Sampradaya
Padmapāda East Govardhana Pīṭhaṃ Prajñānam brahma (Consciousness is Brahman) Rig Veda Bhogavala
Sureśvara South Sringeri Śārada Pīṭhaṃ Aham brahmāsmi (I am Brahman) Yajur Veda Bhūrivala
Hastāmalakācārya West Dvāraka Pīṭhaṃ Tattvamasi (That thou art) Sama Veda Kitavala
Toṭakācārya North Jyotirmaṭha Pīṭhaṃ Ayamātmā brahma (This Atman is Brahman) Atharva Veda Nandavala

The table below gives an overview of the four Amnaya maṭhas founded by Adi Shankara, and their details.[web 4]

According to Nakamura, these maṭhas contributed to the influence of Shankara, which was "due to institutional factors".[23] The maṭhas which he built exist until today, and preserve the teachings and influence of Shankara, "while the writings of other scholars before him came to be forgotten with the passage of time".[24]

Nevertheless, contemporary Shankaracaryas have more influence among Saiva communities than among Vaisnava communities.[web 1] The greatest influence of the gurus of the advaita tradition has been among followers of the Smartha Tradition, who integrate the domestic Vedic ritual with devotional aspects of Hinduism.[web 1]

Advaitins are non-sectarian, and they advocate worship of Siva and Visnu equally with that of the other deities of Hinduism, like Sakti, Ganapati and others.[web 1]

The advaita sampradaya is not a Saiva sect,[web 1][22] despite the historical links with Shaivism:

The association of the dasanāmis with the Smartha tradition or Advaita Vedānta is not all-embracing. One example is the Kriyā Yoga tradition that considers itself eclectic (see: Eclecticism), with ancient[web 2] unchangeable beliefs, and outside the ambit of differences in the understanding of Vedanta. Other examples are the tantric avadhūta sampradāyas and ēkadaṇḍi sannyāsa traditions outside the control of the Shankara maṭhas[21] The dasanāmis or ēkadaṇḍis also founded, and continue to found or affiliate themselves with, maṭhas, ashrams and temples outside the control of the Shankara maṭhas.[web 2][web 3]

monastics of these ten orders differ in part in their beliefs and practices, and a section of them is not considered to be restricted to specific changes made by Shankara. While the dasanāmis associated with the Shankara maṭhas follow the procedures enumerated by Adi Śankara, some of these orders remained partly or fully independent in their belief and practices; and outside the official control of the Shankara maṭhas.

Adi Shankara organized the Hindu monastics of these ten sects or names under four maṭhas or monasteries, with headquarters at Dvārakā in the west, Jagannatha Puri in the east, Sringeri in the south and Badrikashrama in the north.[web 1] Each maṭha was headed by one of his four main disciples, who each continues the Vedanta Sampradaya.


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