Sanskrit: परम्परा, "paramparā") denotes a succession of teachers and disciples in traditional Indian culture. It is also known as "guru-shishya paramparā", succession from guruto disciple. In the paramparā system, knowledge (in any field) is passed down (undiluted) through successive generations. The Sanskritword literally means "an uninterrupted series or succession". ["A Sanskrit-English Dictionary" by Sir Monier Monier-Williams(Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1899), ISBN 0-19-864308-X. Page 587, column a.] In the traditional residential form of education, the shishya remains with his guru as a family member and gets the education as a true learner.
In some traditions there is never more than one active master at the same time in the same "guruparamaparya" (lineage). [Padoux, André. "The Tantric Guru" in White, David Gordon (ed. 2000). "Tantra in Practice", p. 44. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.]
The fields of knowledge taught may include, for example, spiritual, artistic (
musicor dance) or educational.
Titles of Gurus in Parampara
In paramapara, not only is the immediate guru revered, the three preceding gurus are also worshipped or revered. These are known variously as the "kala-guru" or as the "four gurus" and are designated as follows: [ [http://www.sacred-texts.com/tantra/maha/maha06.htm Mahanirvana Tantra] ]
*Guru - the immediate guru
*Parama-guru - the Guru's guru
*Parapara-guru - the Parama-guru's guru
*Parameshti-guru - the Parapara-guru's guru
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