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Shankaracharya, (IAST: Śaṅkarācārya, Shankara acharya) is a commonly used title of heads of maţha (monasteries) in the Advaita tradition. The title derives from Adi Shankara, a 9th century CE theologian of Hinduism. He is honoured as Jagadguru, a title that was used earlier only to Lord Krishna. The popular view among historians is that there were four maţha established by Ādi Śankara:

Like other religions and sects, some rivalry exists between some groups who claim to have been initiated into the Shankaracharya Order.

The existence of such multiple mathas occurs because a Guru/or descendant of the shankaracharya lineage could have had many disciples. This could have resulted in the branching out of the parent institution. It is also possible that a Guru might have died without naming a successor, leading to the formation of rival groups.

Jyotir Math and Govardhan matha have a broken lineage and were later revived.

Further reading

The Shankaracharya tradition is described in Maharishi Mahesh Yogi's commentary on Verse 2, Chapter 4 of the Bhagavad-Gita.Maharishi Mahesh Yogi on the Bhagavad-Gita, a New Translation and...
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