Our Distinguished Spiritual & Educational Lineage from India
– a timeless knowledge transmission tradition
The Word 'Lineage' and its Importance to Vedic Study
The word lineage sounds mystical, but the idea is common enough in India where, for centuries, sacred and rarefied wisdom traditions of Ayurveda, Yoga and Vedanta, were carefully passed on from mentor to disciple through special lineage based transmission inside traditional seminary like schools called Gurukulam.
The lineage is a singular gateway to approach what is truly valid, lasting and venerable in Vedic education. Over time, certain families called ‘Sampradaya’ became dedicated to the teaching, training and grooming of seekers, healers and teachers. Sampradaya is the Sanskrit term for a spiritual lineage, or a living succession of teachers and students.
At one time, the entire ancient India was dotted by lofty lineages. These are rare now, but not unknown. Inside a lineage, the master teacher or spiritual preceptor explains the subject matter to the student with the aid of and references to Shastra, a Vedic scripture.
Acharya Shunya's Lineage
Acharya Shunya hails from a distinguished lineage in India. She studied at her ancestral lineage-based gurukulam, in the holy city of Ayodhya, in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh. Here, her lineage has imparted sacred knowledge by the bank of River Sarayu for countless generations.
As a holder of an eminent lineage, Acharya Shunya has been imparting Vedic wisdom for the last 25 years. She was nine when her grandfather and spiritual Guru Baba Ayodhya Nath initiated her into rigorous study. Baba himself was a student of his renowned spiritual father, Paramatman Shanti Prakash.
Now, Acharya Shunya brings the same sacred and whole-person learning opportunity to international seekers at wellness and spirituality conferences and events worldwide.
She has also developed an online wisdom school, where students can access some of her deepest teachings from any where in the world with an internet connection.
I am so fortunate that I had the opportunity to study in one of the last surviving grassroots institutes of gurukulam education in a tiny town in the holy city of Ayodhya.
The flowing grandeur of the Sarayu, a holy river so ancient it is mentioned in Rig Veda (the oldest Vedic scripture) was a witness to so much that I learned in my childhood. And why not? She has been an eternal witness to my ancestors’ journeys, too—those who lived and taught the great knowledge of the Vedas, always near the river.
According to the sacred Indian epic Ramayana, the ancient city of Ayodhya was the capital of the descendants of the Divine Solar Dynasty (Surya Vansha), of which Lord Rama was the most celebrated king. Lord Rama is also considered a Hindu God, an Avatar of Lord Vishnu. During ancient times, Ayodhya was known as Kosaldesha. The Atharva Veda describes it as "a city built by gods and being as prosperous as paradise itself.”
My lineage’s exact beginnings in Ayodhya cannot be pinpointed; since India is such an ancient country, this is true of most Vedic Sampradayas (lineages) there. Rishi Vashishtha, the seer of the tenth Mandala in the Rig Veda, is the Rishi ancestor of my lineage in India, who is also from Ayodhya. We trace our biological ancestry as well as spiritual roots back to him. I am his descendent.
The spiritual philosophy of Advaita Vedanta (non- duality) as expounded in the lofty Upanishads is the spiritual path of my lineage, with the divine sciences of Ayurveda and Yoga informing our awakened lifestyle. We possess direct allegiance to by Rishi Vashishtha and his descendants, Maharishi Shakti, Rishi Parashara, and Vyasacharya. Then, Adi Shankracharya from the 8th century and his students, Acharya Padampada, Trotacharya and others are the master teachers of Advaita Vedanta in our lineage. We study texts composed by them and embody the wisdom they communicate.
In more contemporary times, my great-grandfather Parmatman Shanti Prakash, a renowned Vedanta Guru of his time, social reformer and creator of the Adi Bhagavad Gita led our lineage in 18-19th century India. His son, who is my immediate grandfather and importantly, my personal Guru, was a bright light in his community and the spiritual preceptor of our great lineage in the 19-20th century. He was renowned for his life of altruism, compassion and god consciousness. The living lessons he imparted to me in spirituality, community medicine healing, social responsibility and dharma is what I seed into my gurukulam students today in the 20-21st century.
Without an iota of doubt, I can say that at every single educational program and social service initiative has been organically inspired from the my lineage’s spiritual heritage and body of humanitarian work of my lineage. I was fortunate to become the inheritor and documenter of my illustrious ancestors. Today, I feel spiritually compelled and ready to bring the inspiration, passion and dedication to my lineage’s teachings into everything I do - my teaching, writing, healing and vision for transformative education.
It is my conviction and hope that my Gurukulam students will take forward the heritage of my ancient lineage and keep alive the wisdom transmission of my ancestors alive through their students. This is how lineages live on, through the dialogue between teacher, called Acharya and student, called Sadasya or Shishya.
"For thousands of years, my family has
a joy-filled path to abiding health of body, mind, and soul. And today, I share my knowledge, most humbly, with you."
- Acharya Shunya