Watkins’ Spiritual 100 List for 2017

Thursday 02nd, February 2017 / 17:07

We are delighted to share with you Watkins’ 2017 list of the 100 Most Spiritually Influential Living People – spiritual teachers, activists, authors and thinkers that change the world. The list comes out in print in the Spring issue of Watkins Mind Body Spirit magazine on February 7 (you can get a copy of this issue here or take out a full year subscription here).

Watkins 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. Our special magazine issue features 16 pages dedicated to interesting details, bios, photos and highlights about each person on the list. As you read through this list, we hope that you feel as inspired as we are by each individual’s significant impact.

2017 Spiritual 100 list at a glance:

1 Pope Francis 35 Vandana Shiva 69 Doreen Virtue
2 Dalai Lama 36 Marianne Williamson 70 Gregg Braden
3 Desmond Tutu 37 Rupert Sheldrake 71 Daniel Pinchbeck
4 Eckhart Tolle 38 Michael Bernard Beckwith 72 Ajahn Brahm
5 Oprah Winfrey 39 Rob Bell 73 Bruce Lipton
6 Sadhguru (Jaggi Vasudev) 40 Graham Hancock 74 Akhtar Raza Khan
7 Paulo Coelho 41 Hamza Yusuf 75 Stanislav Grof
8 Rhonda Byrne 42 Thomas Moore 76 Richard Bandler
9 Bob Dylan 43 Justin Welby 77 Robert Bly
10 Deepak Chopra 44 Mooji 78 Larry Harvey
11 Malala Yousafzai 45 Martin Seligman 79 Teal Swan
12 Thomas S. Monson 46 Richard Bach 80 Steve Taylor
13 Alice Walker 47 Rowan Williams 81 Jack Kornfield
14 Matthew Fox 48 Karen Armstrong 82 Qamaruzzaman Azmi
15 Alejandro Jodorowsky 49 Alex Grey 83 Fritjof Capra
16 Fethullah Gülen 50 Ken Wilber 84 Satish Kumar
17 David Lynch 51 Robert Thurman 85 Clarissa Pinkola Estés
18 Tony Robbins 52 Pema Chödrön 86 Caroline Myss
19 Arianna Huffington 53 Prem Rawat 87 James van Praagh
20 Iyanla Vanzant 54 Gabrielle Bernstein 88 Adyashanti
21 Elisabeth Gilbert 55 Andrew Weil 89 Muhammad Abdul Wahhab
22 Sam Harris 56 Richard Rohr 90 Starhawk
23 Sri Sri Ravi Shankar 57 Thich Nhat Hanh 91 Sogyal Rinpoche
24 Byron Katie 58 Daniel Goleman 92 David Frawley
25 Ram Dass 59 Gary Snyder 93 Elaine Pagels
26 Esther Hicks 60 Neale Donald Walsch 94 Daniel J. Siegel
27 Amma 61 Jack Canfield 95 Elizabeth Lesser
28 Francis Chan 62 Eben Alexander 96 Salman al-Ouda
29 Robin Sharma 63 Dan Millman 97 Lee Carroll
30 Don Miguel Ruiz 64 Daisaku Ikeda 98 Mario Reading
31 Jon Kabat-Zinn 65 Andrew Forrest 99 David Deida
32 Louise L. Hay 66 Brian Weiss 100 Tara Brach
33 James Lovelock 67 Julia Cameron
34 Erich von Däniken 68 Anita Moorjani

To discover more about each spiritual teacher, get a copy of issue 49, Spring 2017.

There are several factors that were taken into account when compiling the list. The main three criteria are:

1) The person has to be alive as of January 1st, 2017
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, has a Wikipedia page, 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 and transparent parameter. Additionally, we were highly selective in creating this list and did our best to remove candidates who spread messages that were hateful or intolerant. Ultimately, this list is meant to celebrate the positive influence of today’s spiritual teachers.





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7 Comments on “Watkins’ Spiritual 100 List for 2017

  • Very surprised to see Brother David Steindl-Rast is not on this 2017 list! He was at the 62 location in 2016 and since then has been the most appreciated of all the speakers at the initial “Tolle Foundation”/ Sounds True start up last fall..(and that included participates like Williamson, Kornfield etc. ) Brother David’s “Gratitude” website is also far more active then Tolle’s Now site. Also, Brother David’s “TED Talk” has 5 million (plus) views and is still going strong!!

  • Thank you for the most interesting list. Glad to see Eckhart Tolle is still at the very top of the listings. No dogma and “religion” attached to him at all.
    I wonder if you ever consider those who have massive influence but who dont reach “fame” or “celebratey” status. I know of a truly spiritual teacher who has well over a million followers, but who keeps a very low profile. He is a Master who teaches in India and has meeting halls all over the world. His teachings are about Truth, and is inclusive of all world religions where Truth shines through. He has compiled many spiritual books ( the most recent …”A Treasury of Mystic Terms” in 10 volumes) most of which can be purchased for just a few pounds.
    The main sangat is based at Dera in Beas India. If you havent visited the web site you will find it at RSSB Dera Beas India, just go onto the Official site. There is a 2hr video (or a shorter one) which tells of the 100 and more years history and present day working of this “heaven on earth”
    The teachers name is Gurinder Singh, affectionately known as Baba Ji. Perhaps having visited the site and getting some of the many books, you may wish to add this teacher to your list for 2018. There is a headquarters in Bedford at Haynes Park (RSSB Haynes Park) which anyone can visit. They have spiritual a library there. (but a better one at Dera)
    I am sure it will be an eye opener if you havent heard of this wonderful spiritual teacher before..

  • I appreciate the articles in this magazine and your efforts to introduce influential and inspirational people around the world. I see that Fetullah Gulen is in the 16th place in this list. To be honest, I was surprised by his ranking mainly because you say you tend to pick people who spread positive messages and display exemplary acts of altruism.
    Please read and research more about Gulen and his cult and then reevaluate your choice. Being a religious leader with millions of followers does not always mean this person is exemplary in every sense. Gulen society has loads-and loads- of skeletons in their closet and they are known for their cunning ways of filtering into the military, administrative, judicial and educational bodies of Turkish society. They’ve done more harm than good to our country since 1980s. I am not affiliated with any political organisations by the way. Nor am I a troll. I’m a Turkish national (an educator) who lives abroad and loves to expand her knowledge in every way possible.

    I’ve attached an article by an international writer. I hope this will enlighten you a little bit about the financial and political power Gulen society has. Thank you for your attention.

  • EDIT of above comment. Pls admin, approve this edit instead of my first comment. TX a lot

    For those of you who care, I left this comment below this list of “Spiritually influential people”….I wish they would do more with their influence for ALL sentient beings.

    “Thats an impressive list. Though Im not familiar with every person on it, I have meet quite a few of them & familiar with some of these people’s fine work & concepts.
    I like to sincerely raise a point, that I’ve been baffled by for many years.
    Having been around the so-called ” Human potential movement” for quite a few decades, I find it increasingly surprising that so relatively many “Spiritually motivated” people are still participating in exploiting our sentient Friends, causing tremendous suffering via their animal product intake. Not to mention the environmental destruction & other scientifically proven reasons to live a Cruelty Free Footprint.

    For how “awake” many of these people claim to be, how can it be so nonchalantly acceptable to “talk the talk of compassion etc” but not walk the walk ? How about doing a survey of above list & how many of them are vegans ? How about raising this concern to them directly & ask them to use their influence in “Active spirituality”….such as to inspire: ALIGNING VALUES WITH DAILY ACTIONS.
    Ask them pls, to Join the Cruelty Free Revolution, make the connection & inspire Mercy for Animals.
    Thanks for your consideration & kind attention.
    Liv Clausen

  • Please consider Ilchi Lee for next year’s list. While his Wikipedia page is not up to date, his contributions to society are consistent and constant. He has written over 35 books on natural healing and lectures world wide with a message of self-acceptance, connection to the true self and living a life motivated by spiritual values and our ultimate inter-connectedness as stewards of the earth, rather than on materialistic and artificial man-made values. His messages encourage self-reflection and personal growth as the underpinning of our human evolution toward a more peaceful world. He reaches thousands of people world wide, provides spiritual guidance through his blogs and is always providing new methods to help people attain a higher level of health and happiness in their lives. My personal favorite books are ‘Living Tao,’ ‘The Power Brain’ and ‘Calligraphic Meditation’ and ‘Earth Management’ (not listed on the wikipedia page). He writes a blog on http://www.changeyourenergy.com where you can directly ask him questions and he submits answers for the public.
    I sincerely hope you will consider him for this list.

  • The wisdom and vision Osho gave to world was incredible. Osho revealed the practical and meaningful explaination to ancient teachings of masters, whether it’s teachings of Jesus or Mohhamad,whether Lao Tzu or Krishna,whether Tantra or Budha.Osho told that coming century will neither be of Budha nor be of Riches.It will be belong to Zorba the Budha,fusion of (laughter and silence),(Science and spirituality),Modern and Simplicity).Osho told that in coming future their will be mystery Schools where seeker will experience divine.Osho told that secret of Samadhi and Divine remembrance will disclosed soon.
    Though spiritual leader mentioned in the list are remarkable but are only doing the motivational work to direct one toward oneness,non duality.But in 21st century we get confuse with so many spiritual teachings in internet and so many publications.All teaching contain one thing “Be Here an Now”
    The divine secret can be deliver to one who truly seek the answer.
    Living master is most essential in the path of spiritual journey who can clear your illusions and and keep an eye on your spiritual growth .
    I am not here to advertise but giving my genuine opinion that the stream of Osho teaching has reached to Oshodhara (tributary of Osho) where you can have the practical experiences of spiritual essence under the grace of enlightened masters Osho Sidharth(Osho disicple whom Osho gave the responsibility to continue his work),Osho Shailender(Osho disciple and younger brother) and Ma Osho PriyaOsho disciple.28 enlightenment phase and several wisdom sessions .
    At last I would conclude that do not rely on books or internet rather search for grace of Living master(there are many as enlisted above but ask them to disclose the divine secret of divine sound).They are not permitted by existence for it but Oshodhara is only mystery school where existence has permitted Sadguru’s to deliver direct experience to seeker.
    I pay my regards to all living Masters and thankful to see list of so many enlightened who also influenced my life.
    At least have one look on oshodhara.org
    Thanks its only because of people like you our world is still exist.

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