India has a great tradition of spiritual seekers. In most of the traditions, a lineage between master and disciple is found. All these great men strived hard to seek the ultimate truth. After attaining their goal they freely spread this knowledge to society. Here we discuss 10 great spiritual leaders that found a movement for mankind.
Swami Vivekananda gave India, a global identity. His speech in the world religious parliament in Chicago was a historic moment. Through this speech, he spread the Indian outlook about religion in the world. A disciple of Ramkrishna Paramhansa, he initiated a movement, known as Ramakrishna Mission. Service to man is service to god, was the motto set by him.
Swami Abhedananda was also a direct disciple of Ramkrishna Paramhansa. Vivekananda sent him overseas shouldering him the responsibility of The Vedanta Society of New York. Abhedananda also delighted the dignities in the world’s religious parliament. Thoroughly spreading the message of Vedanta he wrote several books on it. He founded the Ramakrishna Vedanta Math, in Kolkata.
Prabhupad dedicated his life to love and compassion towards Krishna. He gave a new dimension to the path of devotion (Bhakti Marg) established thousands of years ago. He weaved a new age philosophy based on the Bhagavadgita. The movement called the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON), founded by him is spread worldwide.
As a spiritual seeker, Swami Muktananda roamed around many villages of India. Finally, he came to the feet of Swami Nityananda, whom he had met in his childhood. Nityananda initiated him with Shaktipat Diksha. After that Muktananda spread the Siddha Yoga message of his master to the world. He founded Siddha Yoga Ashram in the village Ganeshpuri, which has branches and centers around the globe.
Most commonly known as Lahiri Mahashay, is a very important figure in the lineage of Kriya Yoga. He was initiated to Kriya Yoga by none other than the great Maha Avtar Babaji. Lahiri then made a pilgrimage to various parts of India, spreading the message and popularizing the practice of Kriya Yoga. His disciples have founded many different movements for the same cause.
Krishnamurthi was a spiritual seeker having a very analytical mind. He always analyzed worldly things on scientific grounds. His discourses were very popular due to his unique style and analysis. He founded the J. Krishnamurthy foundation to spread his message. Many youths attracted to his work and joined him in his mission.
He was a self-made personality. Throughout his life, he enquired about his life, existence, and death. Through his inquiry and practice emerging from within, he became freed his soul from all the worldly bounding, as his disciples believe. He did not found any movement but his devotees have found a movement named Ramansharanam.
Lahiri Mahashay – Yukteshwar Giri – Yogananda is the lineage of Kriya Yoga. He is a widely known spiritual leader and founder of the Self Realization Fellowship/Yogoda Satsang Society. His book ‘Autobiography of a Yogi’, which contains his spiritual experiences is translated into many languages and hugely appreciated worldwide.
In his teenage, he met many spiritual teachers to seek knowledge of the ultimate truth. After several years of practice, he became enlightened and entered into silence. He maintained this Silence until the end of his life. His disciples claim him as an incarnation of God. He got wide acceptance in the world. His Ashrams and centers attract huge gatherings.
Osho is the most popular as well as a controversial spiritual leader of the world. He founded the OSHO COMMUNE. Osho got a massive worldwide following. He condemned traditional spiritual knowledge and developed new ways of it. His expensive cars, dress, and luxury style was always an issue of controversy. His unique style of argument gained him popularity in a very short time.
I do not say these were the only spiritual leaders. Around the globe and even in India, there are hundreds of such personalities and movements who are engaged for the betterment of human life. These are a few of them. One should choose any movement from the above, read their books, and try to find the way for himself.