Watkins’ Spiritual 100 List for 2014

Monday 17th, February 2014 / 23:07

100 List in 2014: #1-20#21-40 | #41-60 | #61-80| ##81-100

The 100 Most Spiritually Influential Living People in 2014

It’s February again and that means it’s time for Watkins’ Spiritual 100 list. The Spring issue of Watkins Mind Body Spirit magazine has just come out in the UK and will soon be available worldwide (including Barnes and Noble and Whole Foods stores in the USA and Canada, Easons in Ireland, and WH Smiths in the UK). You can also get a copy of the current issue  or take out a subscription directly from Watkins Books.

cover_sWatkins bookshop in London has been encouraging spiritual discovery and providing seekers with esoteric knowledge for over 120 years. In 2011 we started publishing the 100 list with the goal of celebrating the world’s living spiritual teachers. As you read through this list, we hope that you are as inspired as we are by each individual’s significant impact.

We’ve done our best to consider as many people as possible and our spiritual database includes the names of over six hundred candidates from which we selected this list of the top 100, highlighting the most proactive individuals – ranging from political and religious leaders to writers, filmmakers and artists.

There are several factors that are taken into account every year when compiling the list. The main three criteria are:
1) The person has to be alive as of January 1st, 2014
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 is actively talked about throughout the Internet. (By taking into account the amount of times that a person is googled or how many times their Wikipedia profile is viewed, the list gains a highly democratic parameter. In a sense, being googled is a form of digital voting, and illustrates just how often someone is being sought out).

Watkins’ Mind Body Spirit magazine publishes the 100 Most Spiritually Influential Living People list on an annual basis and we welcome your suggestions in the comments below or at: editor(dot)watkins@gmail.com

Ultimately, this list is meant to celebrate the positive influence of contemporary spiritual teachers.

#1-20 on the 100 Most Spiritually Influential Living People of 2014

1 Dalai Lama
Born in Taktser, Tibet / 6 July 1935 (Cancer/Pig) / Spiritual Leader
shutterstock_30793477c 360b dalai lama BERLIN Born Lhamo Dondrub, Tenzin Gyatso is the 14th Dalai Lama and the spiritual leader of the Tibetan people. Tibetan Buddhists believe him to be a reincarnation of his predecessors and the Buddha of compassion. He is a vocal activist for Tibetan independence and has made an incredible contribution to global spirituality. He was awarded the Templeton Prize in 2012 and donated most of the prize money to the Save the Children fund in India. On the first day of his tour of India in January 2014, His Holiness visited Bishop Cotton School in Bangalore to address the opening session of the 92nd Annual Association of Heads of Anglo-Indian Schools in India’s Conference. The talk “Preparing Globally Responsible Citizens” is available to watch on his website and YouTube. His latest book The Wisdom of Compassion: Stories of Remarkable Encounters and Timeless Insights is now available in paperback. www.dalailama.com

2 Eckhart Tolle
Born in Lünen, Germany / 6 February 1948 (Aquarius/Rat) / Modern teacher and writer
Eckhart Tolle at the 2009 Vancouver Peace Summit _c_ dalailamacenter Photo by Bradford Noble Eckhart’s profound yet simple teachings have helped countless people throughout the world find inner peace and greater fulfilment in their lives. At the core of the teachings lies the transformation of consciousness, a spiritual awakening that he sees as the next step in human evolution. His books, The Power of Now and the highly acclaimed follow-up A New Earth are two of the best-selling Mind, Body, Spirit books in the world. A film of his children’s book Milton’s Secret, written with Robert Friedman (publisher of Conversations with God) is now in pre-production with Peter Fonda confirmed to play ‘Grandpa Howard’. The producers and director Barnet Bain (What Dreams May Come, The Celestine Prophecy) are hoping to keep the film true to the book by raising the finance through a co-creation campaign. To find out more about the film, the campaign and how to support it, go to miltonssecretmovie.com. www.eckharttolle.com

3 Pope Francis
Born in Buenos Aires, Argentina / 17 December 1936 (Sagittarius/Rat) / Current Pope
shutterstock_157605893 c ROME - MARCH 2013 Pope Francis Born Jorge Mario Bergoglio, Pope Francis is the 266th Pope of the Catholic Church. He worked briefly as a chemical technician and nightclub bouncer before entering the seminary, and was ordained a priest in 1969. He became the Archbishop of Buenos Aires in 1998, and was created a Cardinal in 2001. Following the resignation of Pope Benedict in February 2013, Bergoglio was elected his successor in March 2013. Choosing the papal name Francis in honour of Saint Francis of Assisi, Bergoglio is the first Jesuit Pope, the first Pope from the Americas, and the first non-European Pope since Gregory III in 731. In less than a year he has almost tripled the size of crowds attending events in Vatican City and has stated that Catholics have concentrated excessively on condemning abortion, contraception, and homosexual acts, while neglecting the greater need for tenderness, mercy and compassion. His decision to include a Muslim woman when he washed the feet of young offenders last Easter and his instinctive hug for a man whose face was badly disfigured by disease are examples of his own compassion in action. www.news.va/en

“A culture of encounter demands that we be ready not only to give, but also to receive. [...] The internet, in particular, offers immense possibilities for encounter and solidarity. This is something truly good, a gift from God.- Pope Francis

4 Thich Nhat Hanh
Born in Thua Thien, Vietnam / 11 October 1926 (Libra/Tiger) / Spiritual Leader
thichnhathanh Thich Nhat Hanh is a Vietnamese Buddhist Zen Master, poet, scholar and peace activist. During the war in Vietnam, he worked tirelessly for reconciliation between North and South Vietnam and his courageous efforts moved Martin Luther King to nominate him for the Nobel Peace Prize in 1967. He founded the Order of Interbeing and the Unified Buddhist Church, along with monasteries and spiritual centres in Vietnam, the USA and France. He lives in Plum Village, his meditation centre in France, and travels widely, leading retreats on the art of mindful living. His latest book The Art of Communicating was published last August. www.plumvillage.org

5 Rhonda Byrne
Born in Australia / 12 March 1951 (Pisces/Rabbit) / Writer and TV/Film producer
rhondabyrneWell known for The Secret book and DVD, Byrne advocates the belief that we can all transcend our suffering by not falling prey to negative thoughts. She has been listed among Time Magazine’s list of 100 people who shape the world, and has also produced television shows. Her latest book Hero, was published in December (see the interview with Rhonda on pages 22 and 23, Watkins MBS issue #37). thesecret.tv

6 Deepak Chopra
Born in New Delhi, India / 22 October 1946 (Libra/Dog) / Physician, writer and public speaker
deepakchopraAs a writer on Ayurveda, mind-body medicine and spirituality, Chopra has had huge success with titles such as Ageless Body, Timeless Mind and The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success. His latest books are What Are You Hungry For?: The Chopra Solution to Permanent Weight Loss, Well-Being and Lightness of Soul (see page 81 Watkins MBS #37), Self Power: Spiritual Solutions to Life’s Greatest Challenges, and Super Brain: Unleashing the Explosive Power of Your Mind, co-written with neurologist Rudolph E. Tanzi. www.deepkchopra.com

7 Oprah Winfrey
Born in Kosciusko, Mississippi, USA / 29 January1954 (Aquarius/Snake) / Talk Show Host, actress, producer and philanthropist
c Rena Schild Shutterstockcom / shutterstock_163754729 oprah winfrey presidential awardOprah might just be the most influential person in the world. She has discovered and advocated many spiritually influential thinkers — from Obama to Eckhart Tolle. Her multi-award-winning talk show became the highest-rated program of its kind in history. In 2013, she was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Obama and an honorary doctorate degree from Harvard. She is also up for numerous awards for her role as Gloria Gaines in the film The Butler, including a BAFTA for Best Supporting Actress. www.oprah.com

8 Dr.Wayne W Dyer
Born in Detroit, Michigan, USA / 10 May 1940 (Taurus/Dragon) / Author and Speaker
drwaynedyerAffectionately called the “father of motivation” by his fans, Dyer is one of the most widely known and respected people in the field of self-empowerment. His childhood was spent in orphanages and foster homes, and he has overcome many obstacles to make his dreams come true. Today he spends much of his time showing others how to do the same. His first memoir I Can See Clearly Now has just been published (see his article on pages 26-28, Watkins MBS #37). www.drwaynedyer.com

I would not worship a God who is homophobic and that is how deeply I feel about this. I am as passionate about this campaign as I ever was about apartheid. For me, it’s at the same level.” – Desmond Tutu

9 Desmond Tutu
Born in Klerksdorp, Western Transvaal, South Africa / 7 October 1931 (Libra/Goat) / Cleric and Activist
Desmond Tutu c s_bukley shutterstock_107645708Now retired, Tutu was the first black South African Anglican Archbishop of Cape Town. He received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1984 and has campaigned to fight AIDS, tuberculosis, homophobia, transphobia, poverty and racism. In July 2013, he stated that he would rather go to hell than a homophobic heaven: “I would refuse to go to a homophobic heaven. No, I would say sorry, I mean I would much rather go to the other place. I would not worship a God who is homophobic and that is how deeply I feel about this. I am as passionate about this campaign as I ever was about apartheid. For me, it is at the same level.” www.tutu.org

10 Paulo Coelho
Born in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil / 24 August 1947 (Virgo/Pig) / Novelist
paulocoelhoThe Alchemist
is one of the top selling books in history, with over 65 million copies sold in 150 countries. Coelho has sold more than 150 million books in over 150 countries worldwide, and his works have been translated into 71 languages. His latest book Manuscript Found in Accra has just been published in paperback. paulocoelho.com

 

11 Byron Katie
Born in Breckenridge, Texas, USA / 6 December 1942 (Sagittarius/Horse) / Author and Speaker
Byron Katie c photo by Rick RusingKatie refers to her method of self-inquiry as ‘The Work’ and promotes the idea that we can liberate ourselves from suffering by not believing/listening to negative thoughts. Katie exemplifies her methods as she has overcome paranoia, suicidal thoughts and severe depression. In addition to her bestselling books, she teaches her methods at free public events, in prisons, hospitals, churches, corporations, shelters for survivors of domestic violence, universities and schools. Her new book A Friendly Universe: Sayings to Inspire and Challenge You was published in December. www.thework.com

12 Sri Sri Ravi Shankar
Born in Papanasam, Tamil Nadu, India / 13 May 1956 (Taurus/Monkey) / Spiritual Leader
Sri Sri Ravi ShankarSri Sri is a humanitarian leader, spiritual teacher and an ambassador of peace. His vision of a stress-free, violence-free society has united millions of people the world over through service projects and the courses of The Art of Living Foundation, which he founded in 1981. In March 2013, Shankar’s foundation launched a movement called NONVIO with the aim of eliminating violence. The movement encourages individuals to pledge one act of non-violence through different social and online media and adopt nonviolent principles in government, public health, and media. srisriravishankar.org

13 Richard Bach
Born in Oak Park, Illinois, USA / 23 June 1936 (Cancer/Rat) / Writer and Aviator
richardbachBach is the author of Jonathan Livingston Seagull and Illusions: The Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah, which have been continual best-sellers since the 1970s. An avid aviator since the age of 17, Bach was badly injured in August 2012 when his aircraft clipped power lines and crashed. His latest book Travels with Puff: A Gentle Game of Life and Death (see page 57, Watkins MBS #37), about crossing the United States in an aircraft nicknamed “Puff”, was handed in to his publisher the day before the accident. richardbach.com

14 Alejandro Jodorowsky
Born in Tocopilla, Chile / 17 February 1929 (Aquarius/Snake) / Filmmaker and Author
jodorowskyJodorowsky’s contributions transcend any particular medium and range from philosophy and film to comic books. He is best known for his films, which blend mysticism and surreal images (El Topo, Santa Sangre, etc.). He developed his own spiritual system of psychoshamanism” and has written prolifically on the occult. He is an expert on Tarot and has researched and reconstructed the original form of the Tarot de Marseille. 2013 saw the release of his film The Dance of Reality (La Danza de la Realidad), a magic-realist memoir of his childhood in Chile. www.clubcultura.com

15 Alex Grey
Born in Columbus, Ohio, USA / 29 November 1953 (Sagittarius/Snake) / Artist
Alex_Grey-Studio_Portrait-ChamberlainGrey specializes in spiritual and psychedelic art, which is often associated with the New Age Movement. His work is described as a blend of post-modern art, the sacred and visionary art and has graced numerous album covers including those of Nirvana, TOOL, and the Beastie Boys. With his wife Allyson he founded CoSM, The Chapel of Sacred Mirrors (www.cosm.org), a non-profit church supporting visionary culture in Wappinger, New York. www.alexgrey.com

16 Doreen Virtue
Born in California, USA / 29 April 1958 (Taurus/Dog) / Author and Angel Expert
doreen-virtueVirtue is a best selling author and clairvoyant focusing on the angelic realm. She is the author of Healing with the Angels, How to Hear Your Angels, Messages from Your Angels, Archangels & Ascended Masters, and Angel Tarot Cards. Her latest book Angel Detox: Taking Your Life to a Higher Level Through Releasing Emotional, Physical and Energetic Toxins came out in January (see page 80, Watkins MBS #37). www.angeltherapy.com

17 Gregg Braden
Born 1954 / Author
gregg-bradenBraden began his career working with computers for companies such as Cisco; however, for the last two decades he has attempted to bridge spirituality and science. His books include: The Isaiah Effect, The God Code, The Divine Matrix, and Deep Truth. His latest book The Turning Point: Creating Resilience in a Time of Extremes came out in January (see his article on pages 34 and 35, Watkins MBS #37). www.greggbraden.com

18 Neale Donald Walsch
Born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA / 10 September 1943 (Virgo/Goat) / Writer
neale-walschWalsch’s Conversations with God series has sold over 450, 000 copies worldwide. His latest book What God Said: The 25 core messages of the conversations with God that will change your life and the world was published in October 2013. A new edition of his book ReCreating Your Self: Making the Changes that Set You Free is featured on page 80 of Watkins MBS #37. www.nealedonaldwalsch.com

19 Ram Dass
Born in Newton, Massachusetts, USA / 6 April 1931 (Aries/Goat) / Spiritual Teacher and Author
ram-dassBorn Richard Alpert and known for his associations with Timothy Leary at Harvard University in the early 1960s, Ram Dass acquired his name from his guru Neem Karoli Baba. In 1971 he published Be Here Now, his seminal book on spirituality, yoga and meditation. His latest book Polishing the Mirror: How to Live from Your Spiritual Heart was published in September and and a new fully revised edition of Grist for the Mill: Awakening to Oneness has just been released. www.ramdass.org

20 Louise L. Hay
Born in Los Angeles, California, USA / 8 October 1926 (Libra/Tiger) / Author, Speaker and Publisher
louse-hayLouise Hay is a motivational author and the founder of Hay House. Her best known work is You Can Heal Your Life. In 2014, she teamed up with David Kessler to produce their book You Can Heal Your Heart: Finding Hope and Light After Loss (see page 57, Watkins MBS #37). www.louisehay.com

*
100 List in 2014: #1-20#21-40 | #41-60 | #61-80 | #81-100
We will post all of the details of the next 20 on each Tuesday. Check back soon.
*
Here’s a brief summary of the full 100 list:

1. Dalai Lama 35. Peter Russell 68. John Bradshaw
2. Eckhart Tolle 36. Z’ev ben Shimon Halevi 69. Liz Greene
3. Pope Francis 37. Starhawk 70. Michael Newton
4. Thich Nhat Hanh 38. Andrew Weil 71. Don Miguel Ruiz
5. Rhonda Byrne 39. James Redfi eld 72. Daisaku Ikeda
6. Deepak Chopra 40. Iyanla Vanzant 73. Rupert Spira
7. Oprah Winfrey 41. Robin Sharma 74. Richard Bandler
8. Dr Wayne W Dyer 42. Jack Canfield 75. Gary Snyder
9. Desmond Tutu 43. Lisa Williams 76. Lars Muhl
10. Paulo Coelho 44. Mooji 77. David Deida
11. Byron Katie 45. Diana Cooper 78. Satish Kumar
12. Sri Sri Ravi Shankar 46. Lynne McTaggart 79. Larry Harvey
13. Richard Bach 47. Drunvalo Melchizedek 80. Russell Brand
14. Alejandro Jodorowsky 48. Seyyed Hossein Nasr 81. Bernie S. Siegel
15. Alex Grey 49. Dan Millman 82. Michael Beckwith
16. Doreen Virtue 50. Adyashanti 83. Prem Rawat
17. Gregg Braden 51. Richard Rohr 84. Colette Baron-Reid
18. Neale Donald Walsch 52. Erich von Däniken 85. Thomas Moore
19. Ram Dass 53. Caroline Myss 86. Lorna Byrne
20. Louise L. Hay 54. John Gray 87. Clarissa Pinkola Estés
21. Amma 55. Jack Kornfi eld 88. David J. Wolpe
22. Alice Walker 56. Masaru Emoto 89. Anita Moorjani
23. Esther Hicks 57. Dolores Cannon 90. Larry Dossey
24. Francis Chan 58. Daniel Gilbert 91. David Steindl-Rast
25. Brian Weiss 59. Jeff Foster 92. John C. Parkin
26. Matthew Fox 60. Bob Proctor 93. Jon Kabat-Zinn
27. Elizabeth Gilbert 61. Pema Chödrön 94. Sharon Kleinbaum
28. Vadim Zeland 62. Bruce Lipton 95. Marshall Rosenberg
29. Marianne Williamson 63. Julia Cameron 96. Huston Smith
30. Graham Hancock 64. Judy Hall 97. Stanislav Grof
31. Steve Taylor 65. Rupert Sheldrake 98. Kathy Jones
32. Mantak Chia 66. Vladimir Megre 99. B. K. S. Iyengar
33. Karen Armstrong 67. Krishna Das 100. Sonia Choquette
34. Ken Wilber

100 List in 2014: #1-20#21-40 | #41-60#61-80 | ##81-100

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13 Comments on “Watkins’ Spiritual 100 List for 2014

  • Purely in terms of influence, David Icke should be on this list. I personally think he’s a brazen scammer and quite probably a nutcase, yet he commands a large following, with sizable book sales and packed lecture halls around the world. Like, Coelho is just a bad writer peddling his slim volumes on superficial, “inspirational” themes, but Icke aspires to revelatory status and is stepping up his game year after year. If Watkins won’t recognise him it must be because his message is not conciliatory, yet it falls within the “spiritual” sphere.

    Reply
    • when the pie was opened the birds began to sing… it doesn’t say they all sang the same or the same song:)

      Reply
  • Bandler 74th and Oprah in the top ten? Are you joking? A man who has discovered a method of self improvement and understanding that had transformed thousands of lives, perhaps millions, and a TV host who is as politically partisan as they come? Your credibility has just evaporated.

    Reply
    • While both have made a significant impact, Bandler does have some controversy attached to him regarding a murder case and cocaine usage. In terms of the amount of Google searches, Oprah exceeds Bandler.

      Reply
  • m venkat sudhakar

    Sir,
    The list is incomplete without the name of spiritual Guru Sri Parthasaradhi Of Sri
    Ramachandra Mission, with its world head quarters at Chennai. Pl see the web site http://www.srcm.org
    thanks
    sudhakar

    Reply
  • Apparently encouraging people to think for themselves, to be rational, to test ideas empirically, to look to yourself and your friends for purpose and meaning disqualifies one as a “spiritual leader”. Spiritual leader seems to mean one who spreads superstitious clap trap that flatters people that the universe cares about them.

    Reply
    • I appreciate your comment though perhaps not so much its hint of arrogance. There are those who say intelligence has many frequencies. In the spirit of music I would suggest 7 basic “notes” to any particular octave. If this is so then the human system might be aspected into religion (the ON switch), economics (the sharing), philosophy (probabilities), science (principles), law (formulation), art (demonstration), and HIstory (recording). It certainly (IMHO) is worth considering that we learn to identify and value persons who are our best models of each of these aspects of human life. I have played for many years with substituting different words for each of these aspects, but the principles remain the same (according to my humble science) and offer a more inclusive way of organizing our (views of) reality. Who knows, one day we all may be able to see reality with a big R…. instead of the rrrrrrr of growling about this and that:) Thanks again for your comment! Have you read Drunvalo’s 2 volumes “The Ancient Secret of the Flower of Life” ? When that material is fully digested there’ll be a revolution in science that will amaze us all. But (again IMHO) in the end aren’t we all talking about the same thing? Just different symbolic systems. I’d be very interested in your suggestions in the Science area. Who for instance is the master geneticist?

      Reply
  • These “leaders” have just one thing in common: A call to abandon evidence-based understanding of the real world for subservience to an authoritarian and self-serving exhortation. A true spiritual leader would encourage people to search for truth and reject self-serving authority. May I suggest any scientist would be more worthy than anyone on your list of dignitaries?

    Reply
  • 100, as you may call it, mostly including very famous. Yet this list misses the very silent yet renowned Guru “Shri P. Rajagopalachari” his previous Guru’s “Shri Ram Chandra Ji” who is affectionately called as “Babuji”

    Someone should go thru the site “www.sahajmarg.org” & “www.srcm.org”

    Reply
  • In the days of Jesus, one devoted follower was trying to convince a fellow pharisee of the status of the Christ… and the other countered with the question: What good comes of Nazareth? In today’s language we might say “He’s not even on Facebook!” Unless it is part of the divine plan of the individual being considered, he or she will not became famous in the world’s eyes… yet it only took a single small stone to fell the Goliath of a former time… and without that fall there might have been no more Israel and hence no Christ. So what is fame? And what is influence?

    I could make recommendations based on experiences I have had and some of them are already on the list, though perhaps not as high as those with better PR skills. And anyway, perhaps your guess is as good as mine:)

    But I will say this. If there is a second coming (and I personally believe that a physical person comes) it will ALWAYS be as it has ALWAYS been. Only a few will know and believe. And although the regenerator’s following may grow, it is almost a requirement that this person and that process of renewal take us by surprise.

    So I believe I will hold back at the present time and not tell you what I believe to be so. Because what is is what will be, always and forever. Thank you for your list. It is useful to know who people are running after and to guess why:)

    Reply

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