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Worldwide Sanatana Dharma Community
Yogis for Peace
Calendar Veda Loka
24 April
2024 year

5121 years of Kali Yuga,
28th Mahayuga
7th Manvantara
The era of Manu Vaivasvata
boar Kalpa
first day of 51 years
of the great
Worldwide Sanatana Dharma Community / Our Tradition / Monastic Order Juna Akhara
Monastic Order Juna Akhara


Since ancient times, Indian monks have been divided into two groups: Shastra Dhari, or those who carry the scriptures, and Astra Dhari, those who carry weapons. Back then, Astra Dharis, also known as Naga, or naked sadhus, were tasked with protecting Shastra Dharis (learned monks) and temples from invaders. Over time, the need for protection became no longer necessary. By that moment, the Naga sadhus had organized seven different associations known as the Akharas: Juna, Avahan, Mahanivani, Attal, Niranjani, Agni, and Anand.

The Akhara associations are 2,000 to 2,500 years old – at least Attal, Juna, and Niranjani. Each Akhara selects an Acharya Mandaleshwar whose responsibility is to spiritually guide that group of monks and to initiate newcomers through the delivery of Sannyas Diksha (initiation). Mandaleshwar is also a monk well known in an Akkhara who occupies a place of honor in it. He supports Akkhara and provides spiritual guidance to the monks.

Джуна Акхара

In the 8th century A.D., Sri Adi Shankaracharya brought more philosophy into the Sanskrit culture and initiated the Baba movement, having created its structure and founded four main monasteries (Mathas) for all Indian Babas: Shringeri in the south (at Rameshwaram, Cape Kanyakumari), Joshi in the north (at Badrinath), Dwarka in the west (Gujarat), and Puri Math in the east, at Jagant Puri, Orissa. He sent four his best disciples to lead these Mathas.

At the same time, there remained many sadhus of the Dattatreya tradition, who were mainly practicing what we call Yoga and Tantra – different mystical methods that are often associated with Shaktism (worshiping of the Absolute in the form of its feminine hypostasis). The Akhars, orders, were established to keep these energies under control.

The ancient name of the Juna-Akhara order was Datta-Akhara. Later, the other Akharas arose. The difference between them was that each Akhara, consisting of different lineages, had its own "main" Deity. In Juna-Akhara, Dattatreya is such Deity. Agni Akhara, yet another example, worships Surya, the Sun God. 

The oral tradition of Juna Akhara is not eclectic – it does not accept information from just any source. Only the Gurus and the lineage members can be the information sources. 

Rampuri Baba, an American sadhu, one of the Juna Akhara Elders

Juna Akhara is one of the seven most influential and oldest monastic orders. Founded by Bhagavan Dattatreya, Juna Akhara was reorganized by Adi Shankaracharya into a Sannyasi order. "Juna" means "old, ancient". "Akhara" stands for "assembly of spiritual authorities". The ancient name of the Juna Akhara order was Datta Akhara.

 Авадхута Даттатрея и Шри Ади Шанкарачарья

Juna Akhara includes 52 lines: 16 Puri lines, 14+13 Giri lines, 4 Bharati, 4 Saraswati, and 1 Lama line – That is, within the Akkhara, Tibetan lamas of the Padmasambhava's lineage are also recognized (Guru Rinpoche).

At the moment, the Juna is the largest (over 200,000 members) monastic order in India. It unites (as was previously mentioned) ascetics from the traditions of Puri, Saraswati, Giri, Bharati, Tirtha, and other orders. Swami Avdheshanand Giri has been the Acharya of Juna Akhara since 1998.

Ачарья Джуна Акхары Свами Авдхешананд Гири

The order includes many thousands of Babas (or hermits, holy men) who observe the tradition of transmitting the knowledge of the Truth. 

There are also several thousand Tapa Swamis (hermits who practice austerities) who perform ascetic practices in the Himalayas, on the Gongotri Glacier, at the source of the Ganges.

Although Juna Akhara is most commonly spread at the foothills of the Himalayas, the temples and ashrams of this order are located throughout India, especially at the traditional pilgrimage sites.

At Maha Kumbhamela 2010, on the initiative of Sri Pilot Babaji, a Russian speaking Guru, Swami Vishnu Dev, was initiated into the Juna Akhara ancient sanyasi order. At present, he is a Mahamandaleshwar of the Dattatreya Monastic Order.

Джуна Акхара

Today, I have taken initiation into the Juna Akhara order. Normally I keep away from any formal procedures and do not like all that, but in this case it had to be done, to support Dharma. Now we are officially connected to the Juna Akhara lineage, to the saints of that lineage, to Sri Shankara himself.

Dattatreya is the central deity of the Order. 

This saint is also our central deity. 

One can say that on our joining the Order, our spiritual connection with Datta became manifest, took shape. But that connection has always been there, and the blessings have always been there.

May Dattatreya bless us!

Swami Vishnudevananda Giri

On February 8, 2013, for the first time in history, a woman from Europe, Swamini Ananda Leela Giri, a Russian speaking nun and disciple of Guru Swami Vishnudevananda Giri, received the status of Mahamandaleshwar of the Juna Akhara Order. For many years, she was Abbot of the Divya Loka monastery. She is known for her ascetic practices, inspiring sadhus both in Russia and India.

Свамини Ананда Лила Гири

Джуна Акхара

Свами Вишнудевананда Гири

Кумьха Мела



Juna Akhara Mahamandaleshwaras


Swami Avdeshanand Giri, Acharya Mahamandaleshwar of the Juna Akhara Order


Mahamandaleshwar Mahayogi Somnath Giri Pilot Babaji


Mahamandaleshwar Swami Vishnudevananda Giri


Mahamandaleshwar Shraddha Mata Giri


Mahamandaleshwar Swamini Ananda Leela Giri


Mahamandaleshwar Kabita Mata Giri


Mahamandaleshwar Swami Sarveshavarananda Giri Avdut Baba


Mahamandaleshwar Chetana Mata Giri


Mahamandaleshwar Yoga Mata Keiko Aikawa Giri


Mahamandaleshwar Amita Mata Giri


Mahamandaleshwar Durga Mata Giri

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