100 Spiritual Power List by Watkins, 2011

Thursday 24th, February 2011 / 00:00

The 100 Most Spiritually Influential Living People (2011)

Current Spiritual 100 List

~UPDATED: We release a new list every year. CLICK HERE TO SEE Spiritual 100 List 2014 ~
We’re delighted to share our début list of the 100 most spiritually influential living people, that was published in the Spring issue #26 of the Watkins Review (now Watkins’ Mind Body Spirit).*  Yes, we’ve taken up the not so simple task of naming the most popular authors and spiritual teachers, whose contribution in spirituality and spreading awareness is affecting us all.

We live in an age of lists – from groceries and obituaries to Facebook friends, resume facts, lists of city capitals and lottery numbers. Of course, lists that classify the past, are easier to compile than lists that attempt to predict the future. With the holy grail of sorting algorithms, the world is sure to be your oyster.

The 100 Spiritual Power List

Cover of the Watkins Review #26

Lists help us organize, explore and perceive our environments. But are so many lists really necessary? It is very much in vogue to publish lists of people: Time Magazine publishes an annual list of the 100 people who most influence the world; Forbes publishes several lists including a Celebrity 100 list, the World’s 100 Most Powerful Women, and a list of 1000 Billionaires; Art Review’s Power 100 is an annual list of the worlds 100 most powerful collectors, artists, gallerists, etc…

The lists of lists of people, just keep going and going. However, the Watkins Review believes that an important list has been long overdue, and we are delighted to share with you our list of the 100 Most Spiritually Influential Living People. Lists of influential people contribute to the discourse and issues that each person represents, and the Watkins Review hopes that our list will nurture the debates surrounding contemporary spirituality.

There are several factors that were taken into account when compiling the list. Listed below are the main three:
1) The person has to be alive
2) The person has to have made a unique and spiritual contribution on a global scale
3) The person is frequently googled, appears in Nielsen Data, and highlighted in throughout the blogosphere
It’s interesting to think about the amount of times that a person is googled; in a sense, being googled is a form of digital voting, and illustrates just how often someone is being sought out.

*The Watkins Review magazine (published by and available from Watkins Books at £4.99 or as a subscription) not only offers reviews of all the latest releases in the Mind, Body, Spirit field, but also features articles and interviews with leading authors. The Review is published three times a year and has a readership of over 30,000 people worldwide.

~UPDATED: We release a new list every year. CLICK HERE TO SEE Spiritual 100 List 2014 ~

List at a glance:
1. Eckhart Tolle 34. Joseph Alois Ratzinger 67. John Bradshaw
2. Dalai Lama 35. Krishna Das 68. Jeff Foster
3. Dr Wayne W. Dyer 36. Drunvalo Melchizedek 69. Patrick Holford
4. Thich Nhat Hanh 37. Sai Baba 70. Andrew Cohen
5. Deepak Chopra 38. Jack Kornfield 71. Vladimir Megre
6. Louise L. Hay 39. Pema Chödrön 72. Thomas Cleary
7. Paulo Coelho 40. T.K.V. Desikachar 73. Daniel Pinchbeck
8. Oprah Winfrey 41. Esther & Jerry Hicks 74. Jonathan Goldman
9. Ken Wilber 42. Dan Brown 75. Sonia Choquette
10. Rhonda Byrne 43. Z’ev Ben Shimon Halevi 76. Seyyed Hossein Nasr
11. James Redfield 44. Diana Cooper 77. Mother Meera
12. Neale Donald Walsch 45. Ram Dass 78. Barefoot Doctor
13. Doreen Virtue 46. Andrew Weil 79. Richard Bandler
14. Alejandro Jodorowsky 47. Satya Narayan Goenka 80. Robert Bly
15. Richard Bach 48. Jon Kabat-Zinn 81. Adyashanti
16. Alex Grey 49. Alan Moore 82. Sogyal Rinpoche
17. Byron Katie 50. Dan Millman 83. Li Hongzhi
18. Masaru Emoto 51. Bruce Lipton 84. Sri Bhagavan
19. Nelson Mandela 52. Peter Kingsley 85. Rupert Sheldrake
20. Bernie Siegel 53. Karen Armstrong 86. John & Caitlín Matthews
21. Caroline Myss 54. Judy Hall 87. Chogyal Namkhai Norbu
22. Brian Weiss 55. Colin Wilson 88. Kenneth Grant*
23. Mantak Chia 56. Joscelyn Godwin 89. Stanislav Grof
24. John Gray 57. James Lovelock 90. James Hillman
25. Gregg Braden 58. Satish Kumar 91. Clarissa Pinkola Estés
26. Stephen R. Covey 59. Shakti Gawain 92. Stephen Levine
27. Marianne Williamson 60. Elaine Pagels 93. Candace Pert
28. Desmond Tutu 61. Kyozan Joshu Sasaki 94. Barbara Ann Brennan
29. Mata Amritanandamayi 62. Gary Zukav 95. Coleman Barks
30. Philip Berg 63. Erich von Däniken 96. Robert Thurman
31. Ervin Laszlo 64. David Deida 97. B.K.S Iyengar
32. Andrew Harvey 65. Oberto Airaudi ‘Falcon’ 98. William Bloom
33. Don Miguel Ruiz 66. Stuart Wilde 99. Lynne McTaggart
(for full details read the 100 List in the Watkins Review #26) 100. Marion Woodman

Interesting statistics:
Male: 76%
Female: 24%
Median age: 67 years
The oldest: 104 years, Kyozan Joshu Sasaki
The youngest: 30 years, Jeff Foster

*88. Kenneth Grant passed away on January 15th, 2011. His extraordinary influence will continue to be felt.

Next: Read current Spiritual 100 List 2014

~Please note, the comments are now closed. CLICK HERE TO SEE Spiritual 100 List 2014 ~

 

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420 Comments on “100 Spiritual Power List by Watkins, 2011

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    • We were going to include Sylvia Browne but when we read about her criminal convictions regarding her gold-mining venture, the editors decided not to add her:

      In 1992, Browne and her estranged husband, Kenzil Dalzell Brown, were indicted on several charges of investment fraud and grand theft. The Superior Court of Santa Clara County, California, found that Browne and her husband had sold securities in a gold-mining venture under false pretenses. In at least one instance, they told a couple their $20,000 investment was to be used for immediate operating costs. Instead, the money was transferred to an account for their Nirvana Foundation for Psychic Research. Browne pleaded no contest to securities fraud and was indicted on grand larceny in Santa Clara County, California on May 26, 1992.
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sylvia_browne

      • Hello. I realize this was a difficult project so congratulations on this effort. Just wondering why Rev. Michael Bernard Beckwith was not included.

    • je ne connais pas Joyce McCallister,
      Il y a 31 ans que je passe le message de la vie de Jésus et Marie madeleine et la suite.
      ainsi que beaucoup d’autre choses.Je suis heureuse de savoir que d’autres personnes connaissent et donne ce message de vérité.

    • She didn’t ‘out’ them. This has been a theory discussed in many circles for almost 2000 years. Get your facts straight.

    • This might be a “list” of the most popular or common ones – great persons no doubt, but there are thousands of wonderful spiritual hard working women and men on this planet who have a wonderful influence to other people and our planet without being very common. For me a “list” dont come up with spiritual people.

    • We’ve updated the entry – the list / 26th issue of the magazine went to print before this sad news was made public. His immense contribution will continue to be felt through his books.

  • A lot of the people on the list are in my opinion light-weight and a waste of time and money. The most important individuals have been left out. But that’s what happens when you are combining mass market consumerism with spiritual influence.

      • Kenneth Wapnick would be on the top of my list. He helped edit A Course in Miracles, and has subsequently been publishing and teaching it.

            • Yes, Wapnick is a significant ACIM teacher who worked with Helen Schucman and shares responsibility for its publication. He is the only well-known teacher of the Course that has avoided becoming a spiritual celebrity. Maybe you should do him a favor and not include him next year.

              • Absolutely, Wapnick should be on this list. And where are Joseph Campbell and Michael Talbot? Is it because they have passed on that they are not included, even though they have both had weighty influence to current generations? For that matter, where is George Lucas?

                There is a long list of light weights included here, my opinion of course, but still…this list most definitely does not accurately reflect the teachers most highly valued during my life long quest.

                • Joseph Campbell (and maybe Michael Talbot) would have been on the list if he had been alive. Joseph’s legacy and teachings are passed in the wisdom of many modern teachers.
                  George Lucas is certainly interesting, but why do you believe that he is spiritual? James Cameron might make more sense as Avatar has empowered the Gaia hypothesis.

        • When I read down through the list, I was very surprised that Kenneth Wapnick was not included. Such an influencial speaker/writer about an incredible spiritual path documented in “A Course In Miracles”. I do hope Kenneth Wapnack will be considered for the next list.

      • Colette Baron Reid. She has made an enormous contribution to the spiritual community. http://www.colettebaronreid.com .

        I’ve been to a workshop with both her and Doreen Virtue and they were both incredible.

        I have read books from both of them as well. I would say they are my main source for inspiration right now.

        Kind Regards

      • I saw the mention of Daisaku Ikeda being on the list – I would say that one should definitely be included. I know a great deal about his world-wide efforts to create peace. However, I am wondering why Dannion Brinkley was left out? He, like James Van Prague and others of that genre, has enlightened many people about the “other side” – and eliminated a great deal of fear. Dannion also champions hospice – and advocates an organization which teaches the skill of being there for someone who is dying. Why was he left off?

        • Brinkley is among the many other wonderful individuals that have made a wonderful spiritual contribution to the world. Unfortunately, the list had to be capped at 100, and so, not everyone could be included.

  • After reading over the list I realize that I’ve interviewed about half of them. In my opinion the order is a bit off, but that’s just my opinion. Also, John Bradshaw belongs in the top 5 or 10. Others don’t belong on here at all. And BTW, where’s Jean Houston and Joan Borysenko?

    All in all however, an accurate list.

    Thomas Pecora
    The Thomas Pecora Show

  • I have seen Your spiritual power list and I want to say this: It is not good idea to pick hundered and leave others. There are so many Spiritual powers if comparison is the issue. This kind of list implies that on the list are more valid than not on the list. It is better to stop this kind of ramification. This is not good spiritual practice.

    • Thanks and I understand that this list is controversial, but overall, Watkins Books believes that we are doing a positive service by celebrating 100 living spiritual teachers. Maybe we’ll have a 1000 list next ;-)

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  • I respectfully suggest Geoffrey & Linda Hoppe. Crimson Circle has offered such fresh sparkles and splashes in the often stagnant spiritual waters.

  • Prem Rawat aka: Maharaji travels the planet speaking to millions every year on finding inner peace. The Prem Rawat Foundation http://www.tprf.org donates 1000′s of dollars to people in need throughout the world. Words of Peace Television show has won numerous awards. http://www.wopg.org. Prem has spoken about peace at the UN, Italian Parliment, Rotary International and many, many others.

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    • God sounds pretty good to me. Time Magazine had ‘You’ as number one relating to all of the bloggers and content creators out there!

  • For me the list is missing – Robert Holden (Happiness project) – Miranda Mcpherson and Gangaji – For me also the order is somewhat askew – but that’s just IMHO

    • There is more info in the magazine explaining why each person is there (11 pages just for the 100 list ;-)
      Oprah has introduced many spiritual teachers to the world, including Eackhart Tolle. The Alchemist is one of the best selling books in history, and holds the guiness book of world records for being translated into the most languages by a living author!

  • I agree with the comment of the list being a bit off due to combining mass market consumerism with spiritual influence. In my opinion, someone that really should be at the top of that list that didn’t even make it…Michael Beckwith.

    • Several ppl have been asking for him–he def has a good shot for next year. Admittedly, he wasn’t considered this first time around. We hope to improve the list every year.

    • I agree with the simple concept of a list to appeal to the masses…maybe they will pick up on something. For the rest of us, happily we know that the number of spiritually influential people this world contains cannot be counted!! In future years, let the lists circulate other, unknown names as well, perhaps by region or country, to attract more energy to them at the local level. Globally, lets not narrow our field of view to the famous, but expand it by recognizing the spiritual leadership that is exponentially emerging!!

  • This list is missing many of the folks at Truth and Transmission Foundation (TAT) who were former Richard Rose students (former because he passed away a few years ago) and now there are many teachers. Unique group in that there is no head leader but rather a round table of seekers seeking truth — and some finding it!

  • Seriously, no Billy Graham? I may not share his views, but surely he has made a “unique and spiritual contribution on a global scale”.

    • Interesting. There are many Christians on the list, from James Redfield to the pope, Desmond Tutu, etc… is he really that high up?

  • As crazy as these lists are, this one is really not bad. I also don’t think it’s a good idea to “rank” spiritual teachers. That being said, I think Tolle and the Dalai Lama certainly deserve to be at the top as they have probably had the biggest impact on non-Christians in the last twenty years. Ken Wilber and Andrew Cohen are very big in the evolutionary spirituality movement and Wilber’s books and Cohen’s magazine, EnlighteNext (formerly What is Enlightenment?) would put them on the list. I agree that Michael Beckwith should be on the list as well as Wapnick. I can’t leave this comment without a deep bow to Ram Dass, the guy who probably more than anybody else started the whole thing.

    • As to Mother Teresa, she was a spiritul Icon. However the first requirement ist to be alive. Mother Teresa passed away several years ago.
      Neale Donald Walsh is #12.
      I know that I have many favorites that did not make the list. It is interesting to see which ones did. You can’t please everyone nor should you try. These people all speak to our souls and are great teachers. As lists go, not too bad!

  • che falta claudio maria dominguez!!!
    jajaja
    no en serio… jodorosky viene despues de oprah —-
    no es serio esto

  • For me, Stephen without Ondrea Levine doesn’t really capture the truth of their teaching…also surprised not to see Angeles Arrien, and Jerry Jampolsky…

  • I would have liked to see Dr. Marshall Rosenberg on this list. His work in communication and conflict resolution (Nonviolent Communication) remains the most powerful approach to conflict and relationship building I have ever come across. He gets very little press and I am quite sure that one day, he will be recognized as one of the greatest contributors in his field.

    • Thank you! My trust level is way down with this publication when a person like Dr. Marshall Rosenberg does not make the list. For me, his work is the most important as it teaches you how to communicate authentically and remain in the heart. For many years I read many of these authors, and stopped reading when I discovered Dr. Marshall Rosenberg’s work. I needed practical guidance that would help me connect with myself and others as a human being. No matter how much I read, I lived with judgments of others and myself. I would put him at the top of the list.

  • Is this not a bit of a contradiction? We are all spiritual beings having a human experience… Why do we always have to do this and rate people. I’m pretty sure that 99% of these individuals would not even approve of this exercise.
    But that’s what happens when you are combining mass market consumerism with spiritual influence.

    • Actually, everyone on the list has been informed they have being providing great feedback. Deepak Chopra even tweeted about the list.

  • I suggest Hale Dwoskin who has taught the Sedona Method for decades. Many people around the world have transformed their lives and achieved real freedom through it. There are people on your list who are Sedona Method graduates.

      • Should Esther Hicks/Abraham be after Rhonda Byrnes? “The Secret” was based on information that Jerry and Esther Hicks shared. Also, the Hicks have 5 NY Bestsellers, as well as year round workshops and downloading of them plus DVDs, CDs, books etc. off their website.

  • The #1 most influential person is not known by name (yet) but is God incarnate on Earth, who has been performing Divine Magic and inspiring all of humanity from behind the scenes for many years. This person will soon step forward.

  • I think people are missing that this is a list of the most influential, not the greatest. I adore David Hawkins and some of the others mentioned; but not that many people have read him. Of course it is heavy on the media darlings. They may not always be heavyweights, but they do influence a lot of people

  • To create such a list show me how stuck we are in the “old energies”. The new era we are directed into and what many of those on the spiritual power list are talking about is stepping out of competition, the Law of Jante and the external things that mostly are a substitute for daring to go into those inner things spiritual leaders talks about …

    Do we realy need this list? I ask myself: Is this list making more love to the humanity or is it feeding the selfish fear?

    • A good question. So far we’ve gotten a lot more loving feedback than negative, but we certainly hope that the list is a positive force.

    • You’re not the only one that has been critical of dan brown. but yes, ppl are very happy about wilber and jodorowsky.
      Dan Brown’s books do promote spiritual discussions and debate.

  • This list is misleading in one huge way: it’s a list of spiritual leaders popular in the Western world. If you just made a list of top-25 spiritual leaders in India, for example, they would all be on this list for one simple reason: they would each have a larger following than many people on this list. This is one of the reasons why “being googled” is a seriously flawed parameter to measure influence. Perhaps the list should be named: The 100 Most Spiritually Influential Living People for the Western and Internet-Addicted People. I’m not against making such a list, just against calling a list something it’s not. How many Gurus does the West need before it accepts that the West is not the only world and that, in fact, it represents a small portion of the world population (about 1.4 billion against 6.5 billion total)?

    • India is certainly a hotbed of spirituality and a very large population. However, this list aims to be global. The top ten include Australia, Brazil, India, Germany, US, etc…
      What parameter would you use rather than being googled? on a side note, the watkins review ipad app (which is FREE) was banned in china because it includes the dalai lama…

  • Wayne Dyer, Deepak Chopra Dlai Lama, Paulo Coelho, Eckhart Tolle, Louise Hay, Gregg Braden, Stephen Covey, Byron Katie… This is like the wonder land for spirituality!!!!
    Infinite Love

    • I disagree, but I do understand your point of view. just as the oscars celebrate actors, why should the spiritual community discuss and celebrate who we find inspirational?

  • How did Mike Dooley get left off this list? He is teaching all that Jerry and Esther Hicks teach…who I love by the way, he is just delivering the message through a different lense. I think that it is so wonderful and important that there are so many choices, because each person relates to a different author’s words. Mike is very fun and uplifting! I often recommend Mike Dooley’s work to young people who might find Eckhart Tolle (who I also love) or Abraham-Hicks to be beyond their current understanding. I have been reading books of this nature for over 20 years . As my level of understanding evolved, so did the authors I connected with.

  • No Debbie Ford?! 7 (or is it 8?) NY Times’ Bestsellers, pioneer of Shadow work, and transformative teacher. If anyone doesn’t know about Debbie and her life-changing Shadow Process, don’t miss it! She’s phenomenal–and I’ve been to workshops by other people on this list. Debbie is transcendent.

    • interesting, but being frequently googled is important and according to google stats, she isn’t sought out that often

  • As the CEO of Enlightenment.Com and someone who has interviewed a half dozen or so of the folks on your list, I would say you’ve done a pretty good job, but I’d like to see your criteria. For example, Dr. Emotu is an artist posing as a scientist, and I think we should call what’s bunk “bunk.” Similarly, Dan Brown is a novelist-qua-novelist, i.e., his stuff is interesting, but he really isn’t a spiritual teacher per se or a source of coherent spiritual information or practice as far as I can tell. I agree that Beckwith should be there, and definitely Jean Houston. For an allied list of 50 spiritual websites based on traffic, see http://www.enlightenment.com/scoreboard/index.cfm

    • Thx for the positive feedback. Any list is controversial, but we are delighted that you agree with most of the names. In the magazine, we have a full 11 pages explaining why each person is on the list.

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  • I think this is sooooo cool! It allows everyone to learn even more from teachers that they may not otherwise have been exposed too! However, I would like to make note that 3 people I think would have just made this list light up are James Van Praagh, Colette Baron-Reid and John Holland! They are so dedicated to serving, teaching and are all supremely gifted!!! Something to think about….either way, thank you soooo much!

  • Shakti Gawain….

    … I f the world is a hologram… there are way more people that are not working in the public arena that has contributed for enlightment and love…
    For instance a streetchild named Jonathan whom I meet in South Africa… A boy with the soul in his eyes and a wise heart, whom nobody heard of made such an impact in my life. <3
    But many in the list I do allso love ;)

  • A fair grouping, but it only marks t the beginning. The median age of “67″ will drop dramatically in the years of the next decade. New Age souls are populating this planet exponentially. Unconditional Love is the next realm of consciousness. This is the Next Human.

  • I suggest Bryan Farnum. Bryan is a highly gifted spiritual advisor and messenger. Since 2006, he has hosted a free weekly internet radio program, Blunt.fm Truth Radio, broadcast to 133 countries around the world. Bryan has been given a powerful spiritual gift that enables him to accurately discern truth on a yes, no, and thought basis. Bryan uses his gift to reveal truth in the fields of science, medicine, health, current events, politics, and religion. His weekly messages are given with love, to empower individuals with truth, to help reduce the suffering in the world, and to help mankind move towards peace. No other spiritual, political, or religious leader today is speaking the truth in such a direct, blunt, simple to understand, much needed, and FREE way. Bryan gives of himself unconditionally almost every single week without fail, simply to help humankind. His messages are like no other I’ve heard anywhere. Bryan gives all glory to God, taking none for himself, and I’m certain he would agree with Holly, post #13, who suggested God be #1 on this list. Great idea, Holly!

  • I’d love to know where in the States (Tampa Bay, FL) I might be able to get a copy of this… Any list of retail or online stores I might find it?

  • Eye opening. Low name recognition for me. No James Dobson, Rick Warren, Francis Chan? Not fans of the first two but I like Chan and they seem very influential. But thanks for presenting me with many new names to check out.

  • I have to weigh-in. I find it interesting the list is mostly men and mostly white. How is Amma #29? Dr. Michael Beckwith didn’t even make the list, nor did Osho, Iyanla Vanzant…any Native American or Aboriginal elders??

    • A quarter are women, but I def hope to see more women in future lists. Note that the ppl have to be alive, which rules out Osho, but beckwith and vanzant are def worthy candidates.

  • So Sylvia Browne is not listed, but Gregg Braden is, although the guy has been working for Martin Marietta Defense Systems, a missile and weapon systems producing company? And now he’s talking about visions of peace and growth and stuff? Oh dude.

  • Excuse me, but something is glaringly askew with this picture–e.i. list. There have been and still are so many more female spiritual/new age leaders. Your percentages just don’t ring true for me. Please don’t make Google God! Nonetheless, there are many deserving names on this list, and I thank you!

      • Sri Sri should be no1 spritual leader..
        These ppl have hardy done any work compared to sri sri whoz organization is the biggest volunteer based NGO in world..

  • I agree with Astrid. This list is glaringly wrong. There are many true living Masters who are not listed. A true spiritually influential person can actually TRANSMIT the EXPERIENCE of GOD as real. I do not think that there is a single person on your list that can do that.

  • It would have been great to see Ra Uru Hu on this list—especially since he past over just this last weekend. Saniel Bonder is another one missing. Also Timothy Freke.

    How many of these folks would still be on this list if it where, “100 People Actually Raising Consciousness on the Planet?”

    • Sorry to hear about Ra Uru Hu. Freke was very close but didn’t get quite enough google searches to make the top 100. Saniel Bonder is an interesting suggestion.

  • Thanks for making this list. Still, I don’t understand why the people have to be alive. There are people who are already dead who keep being teachers for all of us no matter what. I think that as many have mentioned above, Osho and Mother Teresa, at least should be in the list. Also, I don’t understand why you have Oprah there, but I don’t know, I don’t even watch her TV Show. I believe that in your list you are definetely missing Geoffrey and Linda Hoppe, Lee Carroll and Steve Rother as well as many others who are working on the awakening of humanity, just to mention the most important ones. You have Eckhart Tolle on number one and the only person I have heard that reads his books is everything but spiritual. Hope this helps to make this list much better. Also, BarbaraAnn Brennan number 94? Wow!

    • Thx for the feedback and suggestions. I think that it could be interesting to compile a list that does not include the living. It would have to be a very long list though… Oprah has been criticized but most ppl seem happy with other ppl on the list. In the magazine, we have a full 11 pages that discusses why each person was chosen.

      • Thanks for your answer. Well, maybe the first thing we need to do is make a definition of what “spiritual” is and then go from there. I understand that this is a list of the most comercial or probably best sellers, or the most charitable. My opinion is that in this times spiritual is more than that, it is about the people who are helping or guiding others to become better people; to awaken, to heal and to live in compassionate love; to remember who they are and colaborate in the leap to the New Era.

  • How horribly ‘Western’ and 21st Century to even think of compiling a pecking order list of the supposedly most spiritually ‘influental’.
    Most of them false prophets (or should that be profits) listed in order of the success at fame and fortune they have gathered in total contradiction of every real teacher who would have shunned such endeavours; truly awful and Watkins has sunk a great deal in my estimation for doing this.

    • Thanks for your criticism. It’s very challenging to list 100 living spiritual teachers, so its true that some may turn out to be false prophets. Nevertheless, I believe that this is a worthy endeavor and am proud to see that so many ppl are taking time to comment and talk about contemporary spirituality.

  • Paramahamsa Nithyananda of India has contributed tremendously in past few years to the humanity with more than 1000 discourses uploaded on you tube & on No 1 spot as most watched spiritual guru on you tube. Should be considered.

  • I suppose one name should have been Sri Sri RaviShankar ji.
    also Osho Siddharth who is living model of Zorba the Buddha.

  • Dear Sir,
    I think there are only 2 or three people that are muslim,in islam the spirituality is the important part of islam. I think two people from Pakistan deserve to be in this list one is Maulana Abdulwahab chairman of tablighi jamat Raiwend and second is Abdulsattar Edhi.

    • You’re absolutely right that the list aims to be global, and there are many spiritual islamic teachers. We have about half a dozen teachers currently on the list, but I think that your suggestions are very relevant. I hope to see more islamic spiritual teachers on the next 100 list.

  • all fine
    i felt more indian names will make up in the list, instead i see indians who are more popular in the west are figured here. what about Sri Sri Ravi shanker, shankaracharya, Robin sharma? and the list is endless in india and yet there is dearth of moral values, that apart.

    • thx for the suggestions. several ppl have also mentioned ppl such as ravi. it’s great to see that there are so many spiritual teacher in the world!

  • Swami Kriyananda and Roy Eugene Davis should be in the top 100 – two American direct disciples of Paramhansa Yogananda, who are doing great work to change the consciousness through kriya meditation.

  • Kriya yoga meditation is the highest. It has powerful spiritual transformative techniques , a sound spiritual philosophy, and an authentic and pure line of Masters.

  • Interesting list… though I must admit I have not heard of many names in it. But I really trust your site and will definitely check out the names from this list. I would suggest you also check out Sri Sri Ravi Shankar. He has been quite influential in his unique Yoga and spiritual teachings especially for the down trodden of the world. Bill Gates once declared that Sri Sri is the most powerful spiritual person in the world today. You can check out the website link to learn more about Him. I don’t say that he should have been in the list because frankly a list of this kind should not be meant to pass judgement on spirituality (destroys the whole purpose, doesn’t it?) and I am sure that was never the intention here too. The main purpose is to spread as much of spiritual love around the world. So this list is immensely helpful that way. Hence I have mentioned Sri Sri Ravi Shankar here with the intention that more people can benefit with his teachings and Yogic techniques, just like I will benefit from getting to know more spiritually influential people from this list. Thank you for doing a good job.

  • The Big Three that I see are missing from this list are: Jean Houston, Barbara Marx-Hubbard and Michael Beckwith. Jean is a founding leader of the Human Potential and New Thought movement, Barbara is a pioneer in evolutionary consciousness and Michael is… well… Michael; an amazing spiritual light that brings wisdom and love into all his connections.

  • An interesting conversation to invoke..
    a good beginning… Wondering what the criteria were the definition of “Influential” for the list. It seems the number of people reached (i.e. books sold, television audiences, household name etc.) seemed to be an important factor… vs. depth of insight, awareness, breaking new ground, creating lasting change… Fair enough
    for that level of discussion..
    Perhaps this might inspire even more multi-dimensional questions.

    A series of lists might add more to the conversation. Another way to tease out the meaning of influence or importance might be to ask… 1) “Who would you chose to be your own, one personal spiritual advisor for you and your family”
    2) Who would you chose to be the spiritual advisor and curriculum maker
    of your children’s school(s).
    3) Who’s work is so profound and deep
    and ultimately influential that we will be talking about them 500 years from now. (think about those from 500 years ago, and .how might we have wanted to engage with them at that time, and
    how might we chose to see the current ones from that lens)
    4) If Civilization as we know it ended this week, who would you chose to be
    the leader(s) of the spiritual council
    seeding a new humanity.
    now ask… who has done the work toward that end and/or means.. from the current list…
    Namaste

    • Great comment. We’ll have to see who stands the test of time. One of the great things about this list, is that it attempts to celebrate living spiritual teachers. Who’d we want to represent humanity is a certainly a lot to think about ;-)

  • Also: “Who do you want to be like when you grow up ?” and “”who do you perceive others might want to be like”…

  • if they knew deepak chopra and what his personal life was like, he would probably not be listed here. probably true for many of these people.

  • Dear Watkins. Please research Patriarch Dr. Granville Williams of Barbados. He is the leader and founder of the Sons of God Apostolic Spiritual baptist Faith. I think he should be consisered for the top 100 Spiritual People List.

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    • Actually she is number 8, but well deserved: it is due to her that the world learnt about Eackhart Tolle. Time and CNN have referred to her as the most influential woman in the world, and her philanthropy has been tremendous. She has also been fighting AIDS and poverty in Africa, and continues to be an global inspiration.

  • Joseph Chilton Pearce identified the Cosmic Egg, and cracked that puppy wide open for the rest of us. Still going strong at close to 90

  • I propose a list of fictional, including animated, spiritual characters who live in the imaginations of people, especially children.

    I nominate Po, the Kung Fu Panda, as number 1, and Pi of The Life Of Pi as number 2.

  • Inspiring list…Thank you so much for all you invested to compile this valuable resource.
    I’m a little surprised not to see Rick Warren on it, though. “The Purpose Driven Life” sold over 30 million copies, making it the bestselling hardback non-fiction book in U.S. publishing history. I think it was #1 on the NY Times Bestseller List for something like 60 weeks.
    I think that’s implies influence, right?

    • Tanya,
      Thank you for your positive feedback. Admittedly, Rick Warren was overlooked when compiling the list (he has now been added to our database for future lists ;-)
      He is certainly very much alive and influential–even graced the cover of Time magazine.

  • Disappointed not to see Matthew Fox, author of Original Blessing over 25 years ago. He continues to be a true prophet and was a huge influence on many of these people. His latest book on the Pope comes out May 3rd this year. Very sad oversight.

    • we’ll have to wait and see how his new book does, as he was very close. if he gets a bit more attention,he should be in next year.

  • By not including author/teacher Matthew Fox, you render the rest of your list irrelevant. How in the world could you generate a list of spiritually influential living people and not include one of the most important theologians of our time?

    • Fox is great and almost made it (he was around 120th place). He didn’t do that much last year on a global scale, and was not googled very often.

  • What about David R. Hawkins (Power vs. Force)??? Pretty big miss there, considering how much he has contributed… tho he may not be googled much, he has added something none of the others have… and that is the ability to discern truth from falsehood. Also Sailor Bob Adamson (Advaita). Hale Dwoskin (Sedona Method). Bill Harris (Holosync). So glad you included Alex Grey!

  • Thanks for not forgetting about Deida ^^

    One question: can Jed Mckenna be considered a spiritual teacher?
    Nothing to do with the list, just curious.

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  • Such a great list! Many names are new to me. Glad to see that Stephen Levine is on the list. I came across Levine’s website, http://levinetalks.com after reading A Year to Live and it has been great to learn from his new teachings. Cheers Watkins!

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  • I’d have added Grant Morisson for sure. Nice too see Alan Moore on the list so at least one Chaos magician is represented : )

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  • C’mon! No mention of David Hawkins? Major error of omission. Wayne Dyer in the top 10…nothing original from him IMHO.

    Top 4: Tolle, Hawkins, Wilber, Thay

  • This is nothing but marketing garbage.
    Whoever created this stupid , meaningless list doesn’t know the difference between ‘spiritual’ and well, perhaps ‘psychic’ might be an appropriate word, or even ‘therapist’.

    Typical so-called ‘New Age’ delusion.

  • I recently attended a Wayne Dyer lecture and he had a comical view of this list, as seen through his ego. Should he hire someone to bump off Eckhart Tolle so he could move up a spot, etc. Very entertaining!

  • Esther and Jerry Hicks should be MUCH higher on the list, as Abraham’s work has moved the entire spiritual conversation significantly, more so than any other person on the list, IMHO. Also, SETH should be very high on the list, but technically he isn’t a person, so maybe you should do a “personality” list too!

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  • I cannot find the Ven. Urgyen Sangharakshita in you list. He is the founder of the Triratna Buddhist Order and Community. He has brought Buddhism to the UK in a form that can be practised by Westerners in todays society.

  • Dr. David Hawkins. Although I’m sure not googled as much as others, your level of consciousness affects far more than your popularity on google. Sai Ma Lakshi Devi is a huge miss also, as are many. The list shows the level of consciousness the masses are presenting in.

  • Nithyananda is currently the most watched spiritual master on youtube, and the bestselling author of over 200 books in 26 languages.

    He has more than 20 million followers in 197 countries.

    Can anyone beat that….

    I dont agree to the above list ……the person who has prepared this list has not done research…..

  • Is this a joke? Pope Benedict XVI isn’t even on the list? Are you kidding me? Oprah and the “Barefoot Doctor” are more spiritually influential than the SPIRITUAL LEADER of 1.2 billion people? I’m a World Religions and Philosophy major, and I haven’t even heard of half these people. What are you thinking?

  • Another very important person missing in this list is ‘Radhanath Swami’. Read his unique & inpspirational spiritual journey in his book ‘The Journey Home: Autobiography of an American Swami’. He has been doing great contributions to the world upliftment.

  • What about Syedna Dr. Mohammed Burhanuddin. He is renowned spiritual leader of Bohra(Muslim) community. His followers are from all over the world.

  • sri sri ravishankar ji the master of all masters on spiritiual world ( even H H dalai lama is his very closed ) is beyond the number game. The “energy” is what “he” is. Thanks 4 not including “energy” in “human beinbs” : )

  • No one listed on here is filled with the holy spirit and any spirit not of God is one of darkness. Anyone filled with God’s spirit is only filled because of the work of Jesus Christ and would be horrified to be on such a list as this.

  • I wonder if a better understanding of Wilber’s pre/trans fallacy might change this list and your perspective of what is spiritual. Not everything that masquerade’s as spiritual is authentically spiritual.

    Or, as the old saying goes: “all are not hunters who blow the horn…”

  • Isn’t the idea of a Spiritual 100, and worse, a ranking, completely in opposition to spirit? Your list ought to be more accurately titled “A List of 100 People with Good Marketing Agents.”

    • It’s good that ppl are talking and thinking about spirituality, and we believe this list was long overdue. btw, not everyone is an author (e.g. desmond tutu, the pope, etc…)

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  • Barbara Marx Hubbard should definitely be in the top 10. But even more shocking is that few if any of the above comments have mentioned that every single person in every single number as well as each and every one of us is simply All That Is physicalized – All That Is is totally represented.

  • What a pleasure to read the comments of this list and to see the spiritual equanimity ‘Etan’ is using in responses! Thank you for modeling how to react to criticism with respect, even when it’s ‘not deserved.’
    I found the list thought provoking and amusing and useful. Esther and Jerry Hicks are my favorite teachers, and I (soon) found it funny that I felt ‘offended’ that my hubby’s favorite teacher Deepak, ranked higher. Ha!
    All of these people have something to offer, and speak to individuals differently.
    And anything that gets people thinking about spirituality, even if it appears to be ‘competition,’ is useful.

    My favorite comments: “Actually, Desmond Tutu has thanked us for being on the list.”
    and
    “Who’d we want to represent humanity is a certainly a lot to think about ;-)”

    LOL!

    So, some nominations for consideration next year:
    SARK
    Sanaya Roman and Duane Packer (Orin and DaBen)
    Darryl Anka (Bashar)

    Thanks for a fun read on a Sunday. This was my ‘church’ today!

    • The Pope is #34 on the list. Note that in the Watkins Review magazine, which features 11 pages on the list, we’re quite ambivalent about him. Ratzinger is influential and often in a positive manner, but he is also prejudiced and homophobic.

  • Great list ! some other suggestions: Mathew Fox, Amit Goswami, Genpo Roshi, Shinzeng Young, Tenzin Wangyal, Zhi Gang Sha, Surya Das, Sharon Salzberg, Swami Pujya Chidanand , Sadghuru Jaggi Vasudev, Tom Kenyon, JJ Hurtak

  • I had great fun reading this list of ‘most transparent messengers’ in the realm of Consciousness awakening. I’m glad that what came through Eckhart resonates with enough people to give him a ‘first’ spot. I’m glad the internet is and will be of great help in this evolutionary and necessary shift…..and in that sense Ghandi’s words came to mind in this divine play ‘If you don’t find God in the next person you meet, it is a waste of time looking for him further’. E Pluribus Unum.

  • Hello, interesting And inspiring list! I will looking up some people on it who I haven’t heard of before. The books the Power of Now, the Alchemist, the Tibetan book of living and dying, and Oprah’s website :) are close to my heart and I’m happy that their ‘creators’ are on the list so that others can be introduced to them.
    A suggestion for next year: Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev, http://www.ishafoundation.org ?

    Oh and what about Elizabeth Gilbert ?

    The list will just keep on growing and growing :)

    Thanks!

  • I am surprised to see such a thing being published on this site. It seems to me to be more stuff of the ego to have a published list with rankings of the ‘spiritually influential’. I agree with some on the list and don’t think others should be on there at all but this is just my opinion, which when it comes down to it is what the list represents, just random opinions.
    I am surprised to see the great Andrew Cohen only at number 70 and Ken Wilber at 9. I think both of these should rank much higher in this if there needs to be a list at all (again just an opinion).
    In the paragraphs introducing the ‘list’ it states that we live in a world of too many lists, so why add to it with this?! It seems totally arbitrary and has infuriated me enough to submit a comment (which I don’t normally do). A pointless and unnecessary commercial exercise as far as I am concerned.

    • Helen, Thanks for taking the time to submit a comment. I mention that there are a lot of lists, but I also believe that a spiritual 100 list has been long overdue. Surely, the main stream media list (time, forbes, etc…) deserve a spiritual counterpart. After all, it’s because of this list that we’ve already gotten over 50,000 unique views on this blog post and almost 300 comments–so it’s clearly getting ppl to think about and discuss today’s spiritual people. I admit that no list is perfect, but we this list is def getting ppl to think about who’s making a significant impact (including wilber and cohen ;-)

  • Hi , Thanks for the list. The main person I feel missing is Dr. Micheal Beckwith,
    and Louise HAY.
    Some of the people on your list have been very good business minded people who was able to make big business , but I don’t agree that they are very Spiritual people. They maybe Humanitarians, but you don’t have to be spiritual to be that. Maybe you can do a new list. I also realize Eckhart that you may not have made the list up yourself, because if you did half these people would not be on it. I understand. Love Vanda

  • Count me among those baffled by the absence of David Hawkins: Transcending the Levels of Consciousness: The Stairway to Enlightenment is the clearest description of human consciousness and its potential for evolution I have ever read.

  • Count me among those baffled by the absence of David Hawkins: Transcending the Levels of Human Consciousness: The Stairway to Enlightment is the clearest description of the human mind and its potential for enlightenment that I have ever read.

  • People who complain about having Oprah on this list, do not know her work. I am pleased to see Eckhart Tolle and Wayne Dyer at the top. Both of these teachers have changed my life.

    • Thanks Lucy! It’s true that Oprah has had an incredible impact and is very spiritual. I think that most ppl that don’t know much about her, just have a knee-jerky anti-commercialism reaction, thinking that she only represents the mainstream. In fact, she has helped bring to the forefront many self published authors.
      The Watkins Review is proud to list her in the top 10!

  • Couldn’t read ALL the comments, just too many – but did anyone suggest Michael Roads? I participated in two Intensives with him and that truly impacted my life. The same goes for Phoebe Lauren (don’t know whether she is still alive), and Nicky Scully.

  • Two suggestions: Harry Palmer, creator of the Avatar course, which has taught compassion and the tools for using consciousness deliberately to over 200,000 people in 20+ languages since 1987; and Qigong master Chunyi Lin (Spring Forest Qigong) who has been teaching self-healing through unconditional love in the US and abroad since 1995. Namaste’

  • I thought this was a joke when I first read that someone first mentioned to me. something like how many angels can you fit ion the head of a pin.

    when i discerned that you were serious – i did take some time to read the suggestions.

    I cannot call it a waste of time – but time might be better spent in spiritual endeavours. perhaps you might have a TV show like TOP model, or American Idol? or a show on who can offend the most people in the shortest amount of time?

  • My suggestions are- Kenneth Wapnik- he is one of the original and best teachers of A Course in Miracles. Gary Renard for staying true to the Course and writing books that save people 20 years or so from studying the Course! :)

  • Great list!
    I would add Gangaji, Baba Hari Dass, Sadhguru, Almine, Mooji, Barbara Marciniak and Dan Millman.

  • I fear that most on that list are mainly “public”figures who are popular with people and have done other good work in the world. I wonder whether these can be called “spiritual”?Someone knowing a spiritual person or talking about one publicly does not make that person spiritual. Seems like the word “spiritual” has a vague meaning here and is taken very lightly.

  • I would suggest Steven Hairfield Ph.D, ( An American Monk ) and author of ; The Twelve Sacred Principles of Karma / The Metaphysical Interpretation of the Bible.
    Check out Interviews on the consciousmedianetwork.com.

    Love and Light
    Ken

  • the first feeling i got when reading the headline ’100 spiritual power list’ is ‘why are they making a list and ranking it? this goes totally against the all pervading spirit. who has more power than who… yes, i agree it may be helpful in sparking a new interest in spirituality, but people will be guided when it is their time, and to the books and teachings that they need… right?

  • I also don’t see Guy Finley, Owen Waters,Patricia-Cota Robles andBill Harrison these people make up my top ten which includes Don Miguel Ruiz, Mike Dooley, Sylvia Browne, Neal Donald Walsh, Father and Mother God. The way it looks we all probably have our own top ten spiritual people. So we all had someone that made an impact on our lives to reach out and find our true Selves.

    • A good candidate that is in our database. Not googled enough at the moment, but maybe next year will be different.

    • That’s an interesting point. However, we decided that inciting hatred and violence isn’t really spiritual. Unfortunately, religion and spirituality are not always aligned (e.g. Spanish inquisitions, etc…)
      Note that there are several islamic spiritual ppl on the list, mostly drawing from sufism.

  • Bhante G (Henepola Gunaratana) his books “Mindfulness In Plain English”, “Beyond Mindfulness In Plain English”, “Eight Mindful Steps to Happiness” are wonderful spiritual sources.

  • Thanks for this. I appreciate the work, thoughtfulness and care that went into it. It’s great to see so many names I’m familiar with and a few new ones to look into as well. The people who wrote to you here may have suggested a few more names who could be added on, but by and large, this is the most comprehensive attempt I’ve seen. Especially while keeping it to 100 LIVING people. It gave me pause to think about how fortunate we are to be living in a time when alternative ideas in spiritual thought are bursting forth. I find it inspirational to see this list and the popularity of the spiritually progressive MESSAGES that are circulating in our human culture today. We as a species are growing in our spiritual & conscious awareness – and it’s a great time to be alive…

    • This is an amazing time to be alive, and we all have the ability to contribute to the world. It’s thanks to the internet that we can even communicate on this blog ;-)

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  • no offence, unimportant if persons are living or departed,sources of light shine on through teachings,books,lives touched,minds liberated.top of my list is carlos castaneda,changed/saved my life,made me a tiny source of light when all i could see was darkness and all my acts/thoughts were born of cruelty.

    • Carlos Castaneda’s writings have inspired many. However, while we must be able to differentiate the message from the messenger, it should be noted that he is a controversial figure and that his five female companions became missing persons shortly after his death:
      “Shortly after Carlos died, Florinda and Taisha disappeared, along with Patricia Partin. Talia Bey (Cleargreen president – born Amalia Marquez) and Tensegrity instructor Kylie Lundal had their phones disconnected and also disappeared.”
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carlos_Castaneda

  • At first i was put off by the whole idea, but I love the connecting conversation that is ensuing.
    Someone who is quietly influencing thousands of people internationally is Tom Kenyon (www.tomkenyon.com) first through the contribution of Acoustic Brain Research and now with the gifts of sound healing (he has a 4 octave voice), loving Hathor transmissions and his encyclopedic knowledge of world religions.

  • How many leaders will you edit to add new one’s that you keep saying “Will consider then for next year?” or probably ” Good suggestions.”

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  • Rankings and omissions/submissions aside (obviously can’t cover every base!)– it looks to be a wonderful resource to discover and learn about many great spiritual teachers of our time. Thanks for this list!

  • Where is Starhawk?? The Neo-Pagan movement is, according to several independent views, one of the fastest growing spiritual paths in the world, and Starhawk is one of the most recognizable and well-loved leaders for Earth-centered spirituality.

    • John and Caitlin Matthews are on the list and represent neo-paganism wonderfully. John has published over 100 books, and Caitlin is acknowledged as a world authority on Celtic Wisdom.

  • I am surprsed that SN Goenka who is one of the leader of the vipasana movement is not there.

    he is alive
    he has contributed immenesely to spiritualism
    he is googled a lot more than some pthers mentioned for sure

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  • How about David Spangler? or Dorothy MacLean – co-founder of Findhorn? or Shirley MacLaine? Her books were extremely popular in the 80′s.

  • Hi Everyone.

    Its great to see a list of this kind on the web – in a way.

    Sarlo’s Guru Rating Service has more humour & general tongue in cheek for the discerning ‘seeker’ if you need some lightness in all the ‘spiritual seeking’ game.

    I must say I have problems with the data collection & decision making for the 100. The 2 of the 3 parameters are bit off, ie
    1) The person is alive (Yes OK – Good!)
    2) The person has to have made a unique and spiritual contribution on a global scale (Who assesses this & how!?)
    3) The person is frequently googled, appears in Nielsen Data, and highlighted in throughout the blogosphere (What does this really mean? To paraphrase McLuan “The Medium is NOT the message” in this case.

    If you really want to know about ‘spirit’ look for people who point to ‘nothing’. There are plenty of people who speak clearly from a place of no-thing(no-me)-ness and clarify that we are all no-thing other than nothing or emptiness manifesting as everything, and that the sense of ‘you’ (and me) and the concomitant sense of separation is essentially what gets in the way of recognising this basic and obvious fact. Adyashanti, Jeff Foster do this and are on the list – but there are many others who are not. Scott Kiloby,Tony Parons and Sailor Bob for starters. Anyway, enjoy what you look for.

  • I am missing Margaret Starbird, who is the leading expert on Mary Magdalene.,And Vicky Wall the founder of Aura Soma.

    I certainly don’t think that Sri Baghavan belongs on a list with people like tha Dalai Lama … Baghavan who charges people huge amounts of money for studies …

    Of course, these are only my personal opinions.

    • Thx Tina! Making a list of 100 ppl is not an easy feat. We’re glad that you approve of most of the names.

  • Interesting. I guess you got it more or less right when you talk about spiritual influence. But then the question is whether that influence leads to(wards) truth or away from it. In that sense I see Ratzinger with all his dogmas as a great enemy of true spirituality.

    My personal favourites?
    Dolano, Adyashanti, Jed McKenna.
    Great enlightened masters in whose presence many people wake up. But if google is the criterion you are probably right that only Adyashanti makes it of these 3.

    • The Watkins Review magazine (that dedicates 11 pages to the list) mentions that Ratzinger is homophobic and in many ways un-spiritual. Also, thx for the suggestions!

  • what about Pastor Adeboye Enoch Adejare. It’s intresting no pastor made your list – I wonder what you consider as spirituality – sure you are not interested in christianity neither do you count it appropraite to identify with Ach Desmound Tutu to silence your critics maybe.

    • I just checked on google’s adwords keywords tool and Adeboye Enoch Adejare is googled reasonably often, but not as much as the other candidates on the list; I agree that he is worthy of consideration but it’s tough to be squeeze into the top 100, which is pluralistic in its pov and highlights Christians, Buddhists, Muslims, Jews, pagans, spiritualists, etc… it is not our job to advocate for any particular religion. If a candidate is spiritually influential on a global scale, then they deserve consideration.

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  • hELOOOO,
    sRI SRI RAVI SHANKAR HAS A FOLLOWING OF 11 MILLION PEOPLE , 11 MILLION , MAYBE MORE BY NOW ,, TEENAGERS , OLDIES , ALL GENRES MEDITATING , COURTESY , SRI SRI

    AND HE’S NOT ON YR LIST ,,, DO SOME RESEARCH GUYS ,,, :)
    RESPECT TO ALL THE OTHERS

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  • Hi! Interesting list. I recognized many of these people as teachers. It is sad to find out that only 25% of the list are women. Even it is natural for us to be spiritual, a few is inclined to become a large scale teacher or do not pursue it as a career. What do you think of these statistics?
    Besides, thank God there are many many teachers not famous and out of this list.

  • Sri Sri Ravi Shankar founder of the Art of living Foundation 30 years ago.Active in 151 countries around the world,promoting humans values, charity,women and youth empowerment………….


  • PIA:

    hELOOOO,
    sRI SRI RAVI SHANKAR HAS A FOLLOWING OF 11 MILLION PEOPLE , 11 MILLION , MAYBE MORE BY NOW ,, TEENAGERS , OLDIES , ALL GENRES MEDITATING , COURTESY , SRI SRI
    AND HE’S NOT ON YR LIST ,,, DO SOME RESEARCH GUYS ,,,
    RESPECT TO ALL THE OTHERS

    Hey! im agree with PIA, what about Sri Sri Ravi Shankar? He founded the non profit organization The Art of Living that gives spiritual courses all over the world…

  • Rev. Dr. Lauren Artress instigated/initiated the recent (since the 1990s) global reconnection to labyrinths and labyrinth energy.
    Veriditas [http://veriditas.org/] is changing the world and the way people live in Spirit. She’s in my Top Five, for certain.

  • what about Amma?i cannot believe that Joseph Ratzinger is on the list….the Church is the most corrupt institution in the World!!!

    • perhaps, but ratzinger is still spiritually influential even though we don’t support him. as mentioned in the magazine, his homophobic stance is most disturbing.

  • David Wilcock, Baba Ramdev, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, Supreme Master Ching Hai. I think a combination of influence and googleability could work for a more complete list.

  • What?!!Pope’s on the list???!You gotta be kidding me…Why do you put a monster among flowers???
    Besides,where is David Icke and David Wilcock?

  • As someone who has only got into the whole spirituality things in the last five years, I think the list is a great idea, it has given me a good place to start looking for more to consume. I also agree that Mike Dooley should be considered, the only thing I actually look for in my emails is his daily message from the universe, and they always make me smile, if he’s doing the same for millions of others on the planet, how good is that?

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  • I suggest Margaret Rutherford for her performance in the film the VIP’s. Especially when she has just taken her seat on the plane and her hat box falls down from the overhead locker.
    For me that was a crucial spiritual moment, brilliantly portrayed.

  • my beloved Guru Maharishi Mahesh Yogi is missing as well although there are tons of His former disciples on this list…

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  • DEAR SIR OR MADAM: I don’t mean to be disrespectful to people who believe and people who do not believe. This story going around that Jesus of Nazareth was a lover, or even customer, of Mary Magdalene is untrue because SHE DIDN’T LIVE ON EARTH UNTIL A HUNDRED YEARS AFTER THE DEATH OF JESUS. Now that we have established that fact, let me say the world is full of people who claim to know the “secret” history and the “untold” story of that. If this is so, how come THEY are the first to hear the story? Thank you for reading this far!
    YOURS FAITHFULLY, DES, DUBLIN, SOUTHERN IRELAND.
    FRIDAY, AUGUST 5, 2011.

  • Paul Ferrini should be on the list as well .. I would replace the Swiss Erich von Daeniken with a young Swiss: Pascal Voggenhuber !

  • I’d like to put Gerald O’Donnell forward for your next list. Perhaps he’s not Googled so much as yet because not enough people have heard of him. If you want practical guidance to your spiritual practice, his website is a great place to go.

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  • I can’t believe Chris Griscom is not on here … her magnificent books, her Light Institute in Galisteo, NM, IMO she is a direct forerunner of a number of the others … On another note, Oprah did not only introduce Eckhart Tolle … she also introduced Gary Zukav … very few people had heard of him prior to Oprah, although he had been publishing for years, specifically his ‘Seat of the Soul’ came out in ’89, I believe …

  • I’ve read many of these authors, but none, not a one compares to the spiritual info I obtained through Gary Renard’s books, The Disappearance of the Universe and Your Immortal Reality.

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  • Don’t be offended by my little dissection of your list, I don’t mean to pick it apart as you obviously have spent a lot of time on it and you are entitled to your own opinion. But I believe it is a fruitless endeavour to rank people based on their ‘spiritual influence’, because those are lines that are impossible to define.

    The Alchemist may be a very popular book, it may be very good, but it is not spiritually influential because it is just a fable which has no place in the real world. It has no teachings, just cute little metaphors and talk of omens and destiny and whatnot. Oprah may have introduced the world to Eckhart Tolle but that doesn’t make ‘her’ spiritually influential, we shouldn’t be calling the middle men spiritual. I don’t believe Eckhart Tolle is all that great either, but I agree that he is very spiritually ‘influential’ and for that I agree with him being on the list, but number 1? It’s a shame that you are only doing a list for alive people, as a lot of dead teachers are far more influential today than a lot of these guys. People like Joseph Campbell, Carl Jung, Alan Watts, Ramana Maharashi and Nisargadatta Maharaj. Also, this list might apply to people from the West, but you do realise that in India right now, there are at least 100 enlightened beings living right now who have never published a book, and yet have more ‘real’ influence over people than many on this list would dream of. It’s easy to say millions of copies of The Alchemist have been read, but how many of those millions would have actually had a spiritual ‘transformation’ from reading it? Maybe 1? I’m sorry again, I’m just communicating my opinion, your list is great. The only change I would make is to take Oprah off, take Dan Brown off and to put Ram Dass way, way up on the list. Above Deepak Chopra, and maybe even above Thich Nhat Hanh, after all his book ‘Be Here Now’ was so influential it’s not even funny, it paved the way for teachers like Eckhart Tolle and his message is pretty much the same. Also, unlike Eckhart, Ram Dass is actually an enlightened being and isn’t out to make a buck.

    • Hi Michael,
      Thanks for your feedback–we always like to hear what ppl think and agree that no list is perfect. I also like the ppl you suggest if we were to include a list of living and dead ppl–certainly Carl Jung and Joseph Champbell would be there. You’re also right that it is tricky to define what it means to be spiritually influential. Nevertheless, this list does get ppl to think and introduces a lot of living teachers that readers might be unaware of. You’re also right about Dan Brown, and we’ve removed him from the 2012 list:
      http://www.watkinsbooks.com/review/watkins-spiritual-100-list-2012
      It’s interesting to note that there have been a lot of changes in position over the last year, and we hope that our list keeps improving in the years to come.
      Best wishes,
      Etan

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