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Re: Svayamacharyas

From: Mani Varadarajan (
Date: Fri Oct 25 1996 - 10:46:58 PDT

Dear Bhaktas,

One more addendum to the informative notes
on svayam acharya purushas.   

Acharya purushas are
those people who administer samASrayaNam and
teach the rahasyas to their disciples.  As Jaganath
pointed out, these people are descended from the
74 people (known as simhAsanAdhipatis)
appointed by Ramanuja for this purpose. The
names of these original 74 are still apparent 
from the present titles of these acharyas, i.e.,
mudaliyANDAn svAmi, kOyil kandADai svAmi, etc.

Those Sri Vaishnavas who are born into a 
acharya purusha lineage traditionally have an
elder who gives them samASrayaNam, etc.  Such
Sri Vaishnavas who were born in such a family
describe themselves as svayam acharya purushas,
since they need not go outside their family
for an acharya.

In the old days, there was always one person in the 
family who maintained the discipline and learning
necessary to be an acharya.  This situation
is naturally currently in decline, and most people
even from svayam acharya purusha families go to
an outside swami (from a maTha or otherwise) for

It should be pointed out that even maTha swamis must
be from svayam acharya purusha families. By tradition,
only these people are authorized to have samASrayaNam
done for people.