20 Famous Spiritual Gurus in India

Posted by Kenneth K on December 4, 2022

Who Is Number 18?

1. Osho aka Rajneesh

Osho aka Rajneesh

Osho by Unknown Author – Wikipedia

Osho, as he became known later in his life was born on 11th December 1931 as Chandra Mohan Jain. He was also known as Acharya Rajneesh and Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh. Osho passed away on 19th January 1990 as a result of heart failure but his commune insists, he died because “living in the body had become a hell”.

He became a full-time guru in 1966 and quit his job at the University of Jabalpur. He was not a believer in any single religion and had a unique take on spirituality. Osho claimed that each human was a divine being and that god was present in everything that exists.

As a guru, he taught a form of meditation called dynamic meditation and advocated that his followers live fully but without attachment. He also claimed that Sexual activity is a normal aspect of life and need not be shunned in order to pursue spiritual fulfillment. This take was highly controversial and got him the label 'sex guru'.

2. Gyanvatsal Swami

Gyanvatsal Swami

Gyanvatsal Swami by Unknown Author – Wikipedia

Gyanvatsal Swami is a spiritual guru, motivational speaker, and social reformer from Akshardham. His guru name is Pramukhswami Maharaj and he uses spiritualism to motivate his followers.

He consistently encourages his listeners to uphold the Dharma since, in his opinion, ethics are one of the most important qualities in a person.

According to Swami, a significant component of spirituality is morality. He has discussed a variety of common problems, including stress management, depression, and even more contemporary subjects like how to be a good employer or employee.

3. Mata Amritanandamayi

Mata Amritanandamayi Devi

Mata Amritanandamayi Devi by Unknown Author – Wikipedia

Recognized as Amma by her devoted and loving followers, Mata is known for giving unconditional love. This is expressed mostly through her motherly and affectionate hugs. In fact, it is said she has hugged over 33 million people!

According to Mata (Amma), three things are necessary to achieve absolute bliss; knowledge, action, and devotion. She feels her purpose on earth is to help people and to serve her Lord Krishna. She, therefore, encourages all people more so her followers to help mankind in any way they can.

4. Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev

Jaggi Vasudev

Jaggi Vasudev by Isha Foundation – Wikipedia

Sadhguru was born in 1957 and other than being a spiritual guru, he is the founder of the Isha Foundation, an author, and a public speaker. He is the author of New York Times bestsellers Inner Engineering: A Yogi’s Guide to Joy and Karma: A Yogi’s Guide to Crafting Your Destiny.

Sadhguru is particularly famous with younger generations mostly due to his charming personality and charisma. He is famous for advocating for the protection of the environment against climate change.

He is an accomplished yoga teacher who can and will convince those who have never been interested in yoga or spiritual practices. He’s been questioned by a number of famous individuals, and he always has an appropriate and evocative answer.

5. Maharishi Mahesh Yogi

Maharishi Mahesh Yogi

The Maharishi during a 1979 visit to Maharishi University of Management in Fairfield, Iowa by Keithbob – Wikipedia

Mahesh Prasad Varma is the birth name of former spiritual and yoga guru Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. The names Maharishi, which means 'great seer', and Yogi were given to him as an adult. Mahesh is famous for popularizing Transcendental Meditation (TM).

Transcendental Meditation is a yoga and meditation technique where one shuts their eyes for 20 or so minutes while mentally repeating hymns. The technique is highly effective and helped many people relax deeply reducing or eradicating their stresses.

The technique is highly recommended by psychologists as a form of therapy for mental health. It is reported that Yogi was a guru for the Beatles, the Beach Boys, and other celebrities.

6. Sri Sri Ravi Shankar

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar by Firoze Edassery – Wikipedia

Born in 1956, Ravi Shankar is a spiritual and yoga guru from India. Ravi also goes by the names Sri Sri, Guru Ji, and/or Gurudev. He was Mahesh Yogi's apprentice in the 1970s. However, he split from Yogi's Transcendental Meditation (TM) and founded the Art of Living foundation.

According to Sri Sri, spirituality is the only means of enhancing the core principles that make life more fulfilling. It is essential to love everyone, regardless of their specific race, religion, or ethnicity, as well as other intelligent beings like animals.

7. BK Shivani

BK Shivani

BK Shivani and Suresh Oberoi appearing on the television program Awakening with Brahma Kumaris in Bangkok by Pawaskar Vinayak – Wikipedia

Shivani Verma, popularly known as BK Shivani is one of the most famous spiritual leaders in India. She is a teacher and follower of the Brahma Kumaris spiritual movement of India.

The Brahma Kumaris (Daughters of Brahma) movement was founded in the 1930s by Lekhraj Kripalani. It teaches a type of meditation that emphasizes identity as souls rather than as physical beings. They hold that God is the origin of all goodness and that all souls are intrinsically good.

Shivani is one of the most popular teachers and leaders not only in the movement but in India as well. This is because of her captivating and powerful seminars and motivational classes. BK believes that material pleasure isn't enough. This has led her to search for answers to the more profound questions in life.

8. Bhakti Charu Swami

Bhakti Charu Swami

Bhakti Charu Swami – Wikipedia

Bhakti Charu Swami was an Indian spiritual leader of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON). Swami was also a devoted follower of A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada who founded ISKCON.

Before his untimely death at age 74 in 2020 due to Covid-19, he started the ‘Veda Foundation and Cow Sanctuary’ in Florida. His mission was to promote Vedic culture and wisdom in the West.

9. Devkinandan Thakur

Devkinandan Thakur

Thakur is an Indian spiritual guru and narrator renowned across the globe for his enchanting preaching and music. Born in 1978, Devkinandan Thakur took a keen interest in spirituality from a young age.

He is a great orator of the Bhagavad Gita and the Rama Katha and has been preaching their teachings since 2001. While his Sankirtans are attended by a huge audience of devotees who feel as though they are encircled by Lord Krishna himself, his Bhajan talks provide joy to all souls.

He has a massive following with devotees able to access live sessions for his preaching as well as recorded online versions. This is possible through his YouTube channel: Shri Devkinandan Thakur Ji

10. Kamlesh D. Patel Ji

Kamlesh D. Patel Ji

Kamlesh D Patel (Daaji) by Heartfulness Photos – Wikipedia

Kamlesh D. Patel is an Indian spiritual leader born on 28th September 1956 in Gujarat. His followers recognize him as Daaji.

Kamlesh is the fourth guru in the line of Raja yoga masters in the Sahaj Marg system of spiritual practice. He is a published author and has written two books on meditation and spirituality and conducts regular workshops to teach and enlighten his followers.

The two said books are Designing Destiny and The Heartfulness Way which he co-authored with Joshua Pollock in 2018. In 2018, The Heartfulness Way was in the top 10 best-selling non-fiction books.

11. Jagatguru Tatvadarshi Saint "Sant Rampal Ji Maharaj"

Sant Rampal Ji Maharaj

Sant Rampal Ji Maharaj – Wikipedia

Rampal Singh Jatain is the religious leader of the religious domination referred to as Kabir Panth. He was born in 1951 and in 1994 he was chosen by Swami Ramdevanand to be his successor. His followers refer to him as Rampal and claim that he is the incarnation of Kabir, a 15th-century Indian mystical poet.

Rampal preaches against going to temples, getting a dowry, worshiping idols, giving gratuities, being untouchable, adultery, and “vulgar singing and dancing.” He strongly opposes eating meat, smoking, and drinking alcohol since, in his opinion, doing so results in grave sin and severe suffering in the afterlife.

As of 2018, Rampal is a convicted murderer after being found guilty of the death of an Arya Samaj follower. The death occurred in 2006 following a violent confrontation between the two groups.

12. Gurinder Singh

Baba Gurinder Singh by Kuvampuri – Wikipedia

Gurinder Singh Dhillon is the spiritual head of the Radha Soami Satsang Beas (RSSB). He succeeded Maharaj Charan Singh, his uncle, in 1991. The RSSB reportedly has over 20 million followers around the world.

He is extremely charismatic, brilliantly intelligent, and funny. He enjoys having a good time, listening to music, discussing politics, philosophy, and economics, as well as viewing movies. On set days, typically on the weekends, large crowds come to hear him speak.

13. Avdheshanand Giri Maharaj

Avdheshanand Giri Maharaj

Avdheshanand Giri Maharaj – Wikipedia

Sri Avdheshanand Giri Ji Maharaj is a writer, spiritual saint, guru, and religious speaker. He is a guru to thousands and has inspired millions around the world.

After spending time teaching while getting involved in social work, he came to the realization that he could help more as an instrument of social reform instead of merely being a medium of reform. He got to display his orating skills and slowly became a popular orator.

Avdheshanand has faith and respect for all religions. He firmly believes that all world religions share the fundamental messages of love, peace, and fraternity. However, because of various climatic, cultural, ethnic, and regional conditions and compulsions, the approaches and means for obtaining God may change. However, realizing God is the ultimate objective.

14. Swami Vivekananda

Swami Vivekananda

Swami Vivekananda by Thomas Harrison - Wikimedia Commons– Wikipedia

Narendranath Datta is the birth name of Swami Vivekananda who was born on 12th June 1863 and passed away on 4th July 1902. He was a Hindu monk, spiritual guru, religious teacher, author, philosopher, and disciple of Ramakrishna Paramhansa.

Vivekananda is popular for the significant role he played in the introduction of Yoga and Vedanta to the western world. He was particularly impressed at the 1893 Parliament of Religions where he made the 'perfect speech.' It started, “Sisters and brothers of America…,”.

Vivekananda saw truth, purity, and unselfishness as qualities that bolstered the intellect and connected morality to mental control. He urged his followers to practice shraddha (faith) and to be holy.

15. Paramahansa Yogananda


Paramahansa Yogananda – Wikipedia

Mukunda Lal Ghosh is the birth name of Paramahansa Yogananda, a Hindu monk, yoga teacher and instructor, and renowned spiritual guru. He is regarded as one of the greatest spiritual figures in recent history.

This guru, originally from India, immigrated to the United States where he spent more than thirty years teaching and engaging in spiritual pursuits. He was given the American title of “Father of Yoga.”

His goal in founding the Self-Realization Fellowship (SRF) was to spread knowledge of the traditional spiritual practices of India, such as yoga. The Yogoda Satsanga Society of India (YSS) continues to spread his teachings today, not just in India but also in other nations throughout the world.

16. Swami Vachananand Guru

Shwaasaguru Sri Vachananand Swamiji

Shwaasaguru Sri Vachananand Swamiji at Ganges by Shwaasaguru Sri Vachananand Swamiji – Wikipedia

One of the youngest gurus on this list, Vachananand was born in 1983. He is a yogi, social activist, and philanthropist from Karnataka India. He established the nonprofit Shwaasa, which provides yoga courses in India and other countries.

Swami took up sannyasa at a very young age. His birth is considered a miracle as he was born after a devout married couple prayed for a male successor for their family. Mystical Ascetic, Sri MaralaShankara Shivayogi initiated Vachananand's mother while he was in the womb. Vachananand, the messenger of wellness in the world and the custodian of promises, was thus born.

17. Mother Meera Ji

Mother Meera

Mother Meera by Unknown Author – Wikipedia

Kamala Reddy is the official name of Mother Meera who was born on 26th December 1960. According to her believers and followers, she is the embodiment of the Divine Mother. The divine mother/mother goddess is the personified deity of motherhood, fertility, creation, and destruction, or the earth goddess.

At the age of six, she purportedly had her first samdhi, or total spiritual absorption, lasting the entire day. Thousands of people from various religions come to Mother Meera’s darshan, which she performs in complete solitude. She performs a rite during her darshan in which she touches someone’s head before gazing into their eyes.

A famous quote from Meera goes: “One common mistake is to think that one reality is the reality. You must always be prepared to leave one reality for a greater one.”

18. Satpal Maharaj

Shri Satpal Maharaj Delivering His Speech at 66th United Nations General Assembly held in New York by Himanshu.engin – Wikipedia

Satpal Maharaj is a spiritual guru, and master as well as an Indian politician. He is currently serving as the PWD, tourism, cultural and irrigation minister in the cabinet of the Government of Uttarakhand.

He has implemented numerous strategies to improve society, including imparting spiritual wisdom. Satpal is also credited with the establishment of Manav Utthan Sewa Samiti, a socio-spiritual organization.

19. Swami Sukhabodhananda

Swami Sukhabodhananda

Swami Sukhabodhananda – Wikipedia

Swami Sukhabodhananda is a spiritual guru from Bangalore, India. He is a renowned spiritual leader who was the lone Hindu representative at the 2005 World Economic Forum in Switzerland.

Born on 25th April 1955, he was initiated into Sanyas by Swami Gayananda at age 28. SwamiJi founded the Prasanna Trust organization in 1982. His Trust provides artificial limbs and supports a number of social programs, including a girls’ orphanage. He instructs his followers to recite and repeat the five mantras.

20. Swami Dayananda Saraswati

Swami Dayananda Saraswatida

Swami Dayananda Saraswatia – Wikipedia

Born on 15th August 1930, Saraswati is a renowned traditional guru of the Advaita Vedanta. He is also the founder of the Arsha Vidya Gurukulam and AIM For Seva.

Narendra Modi, the current and 14th Prime Minister is one of the many prominent followers and students of Swami Dayananda Saraswati. The Swami Dayananda Educational Trust (SDET) was formed by Swami Dayananda in 2003.