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Acarya (Roman Sanskrit: ácárya for a male and ácáryá for a female) is an honorific meaning teacher, especially spiritual teacher. The literal meaning of the word ácárya is "one who teaches by one's own conduct" (Acárańát pát́hayati yah sah ácáryah).[1]

Types of acaryas in Ananda Marga

There are two types of acaryas in Ananda Marga: householder and renunciate (in Ananda Marga jargon, sometimes referred to as a wholetimer). Senior acaryas with more than 500 initiations and command of the difficult visheśa yoga may also be elevated to the rank of purodhá.[2]

Role of acaryas in Ananda Marga

In Ananda Marga, acaryas are the authorized representatives of Shrii Shrii Anandamurti for the purpose of imparting initiation into yoga, including all of the lessons of meditation and asanas as required.[3]

Deference to acaryas in Ananda Marga

In Ananda Marga, the status of acarya must always be earned. Hence, no margii is obliged to accept anyone as an acarya if it is felt that there is nothing to be learned from the conduct of that person. An official complaint against the conduct of any certified acarya may always be lodged with the Central Board of Acaryas.[4] However, for the sake of unity and organizational discipline, unnecessary criticism is discouraged.[1]