Famous Indian Philosophers

‘As long as I live, so long do I learn’ a famous quote by Indian philosopher, Ramakrishna Paramahamsa aptly defines Indian philosophy. India has a deep-embedded history of culture and traditions. The country has been home to many prominent men and women who have shaped much of the ideologies and beliefs that Indians today live on. These men and women have been the country’s most outright thinkers and philosophers whose main aim was to bring world peace, humanity and equality in the animosity-driven times. Indian revolutionary and philosopher Mahatma Gandhi’s non-violence movement and ahimsa were a standing example for the world to follow. Through his pacifism, he not just helped the country gain independence but showed the world that battles needed no battleground or bloodshed. They could be won peacefully as well. When Swami Vivekananda introduced Hinduism at the Parliament of the World's Religions in Chicago in 1893, by starting his speech with ‘Brothers and sisters of America’ he revamped the way the world looked at Hindus and Hinduism. He was a key figure in introducing Indian philosophy of Vedanta and Yoga to the western world. Other eminent Indian philosophers include Ramakrishna Paramahamsa, Chanakya, Sri Aurobindo, Gautam Buddha, Ramanuja, and so on. Check out this section to get detailed information about Indian philosophers, their life and their works.

This ranking is based on an algorithm that combines various factors, including the votes of our users and search trends on the internet.

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Rabindranath Tagore
13
Birthdate: May 7, 1861
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Kolkata, West Bengal, India
Died: August 7, 1941

Rabindranath Tagore was an Indian polymath who contributed greatly to the fields of literature, art, and philosophy. Referred to as the Bard of Bengal, Tagore is credited with reshaping Bengali literature and music. The first non-European to receive the Nobel Prize in Literature, Tagore is also credited with composing the national anthems of India and Bangladesh.

 2 
Chanakya
(Philosopher, Theologian)

Chanakya
21
Birthdate: 0371 BC
Birthplace: India
Died: 0283 BC

Chanakya was an ancient Indian philosopher, teacher, jurist, economist, and royal advisor. Widely regarded as the pioneer of economics and political science in India, Chanakya is believed to have played a key role in the formation of the great Maurya Empire. He authored the ancient Indian political treatise, the Arthashastra, which is considered as one of the seminal texts on statecraft.

 3 
Amartya Sen
(Economist & Philosopher)

Amartya Sen
5
Birthdate: November 3, 1933
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Shantiniketan, West Bengal, India
Indian economist Amartya Sen was awarded the 1998 Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences for his contributions to welfare economics and social choice theory. Sen is known for his development of more sophisticated measures of poverty, and also for his work on the causes and prevention of famines. He is considered an important contemporary liberal thinker for his views about the nature and primacy of liberty. 
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 4 
Raja Ram Mohan Roy
(Socio-religious Reformer)

Raja Ram Mohan Roy
9
Birthdate: May 22, 1772
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Radhanagore, West Bengal, India
Died: September 27, 1833

Raja Ram Mohan Roy was an Indian social and religious reformer. He is credited with co-founding the Brahmo Sabha, a social-religious reform movement. Often referred to as the Father of the Bengal Renaissance, Roy has had an influential role in fields like politics, education, and religion. In 2004, he was ranked 10th in BBC's Greatest Bengali of all time poll.

 5 
Gautama Buddha
(Founder of Buddhism)

Gautama Buddha
4
Birthdate: 0563 BC
Birthplace: Lumbini Province, Nepal
Died: 0483 BC

Gautama Buddha is said to have lived in the 5th to 4th century BC and is revered as the founder of Buddhism. He is said to have spread his teachings for around 45 years based on his insights regarding suffering, nirvana and cycle of birth and rebirth. He had a large following. He obtained ‘enlightenment’ in India’s Bodh Gaya.

 6 
Swami Vivekananda
(Hindu Monk)

Swami Vivekananda
13
Birthdate: January 12, 1863
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Kolkata, West Bengal, India
Died: July 4, 1902

The founder of the Ramakrishna Mission and Ramakrishna Math, Swami Vivekananda was an Indian Hindu monk, philosopher, and spiritual leader. He is credited with introducing the Indian philosophies of Yoga and Vedanta to the Western world. He is also credited with elevating the status of Hinduism as a major religion in the modern world by raising interfaith awareness.

 7 
Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar
(Educator & Social Reformer He is Considered the "Father of Bengali prose")

Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar
8
Birthdate: September 26, 1820
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Birsingha, West Bengal, India
Died: July 29, 1891

Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar was an Indian social reformer and educator. He is best remembered for his efforts to modernize and simplify Bengali prose for which he is widely regarded as the father of Bengali prose. As a social reformer, Vidyasagar played a crucial role in enacting the Hindu Widows' Remarriage Act, which legalized the remarriage of Hindu widows in India. 

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 8 
Muhammad Iqbal
(Poet & Philosopher)

Muhammad Iqbal
8
Birthdate: November 9, 1877
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Sialkot, Pakistan
Died: April 21, 1938

Muhammad Iqbal was a Scholar, poet, and politician. Born in British India (present-day Pakistan), Iqbal's poetry in Persian and Urdu languages is regarded as one of the greatest of the modern era. Also an influential politician, Muhammad Iqbal's vision of an independent Muslim state helped inspire the creation of Pakistan where he is recognized as the national poet.

 9 
Sir Syed Ahmad Khan
(Founder of Aligarh Muslim University)

Sir Syed Ahmad Khan
8
Birthdate: October 17, 1817
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Delhi, India
Died: March 27, 1898
Sir Syed Ahmad Khan was the founder of the Aligarh Muslim University. He is accredited as the father of Two-Nation Theory and is regarded as the originator of Muslim nationalism in India. A proponent of freedom of speech and democratic ideals, he propelled social and educational reforms.

 10 
Vinayak Damodar Savarkar
(Independence Activist, Reformer)

Vinayak Damodar Savarkar
17
Birthdate: May 28, 1883
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Bhagur
Died: February 26, 1966

Vinayak Damodar Savarkar was an Indian politician and independence activist. He formulated the Hindu nationalist philosophy of Hindutva and was a leading figure in the Hindu Mahasabha. He was known for his strong oratory skills and was an eloquent writer. He was initially charged as a co-conspirator in the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi but was later acquitted.

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Ramanuja
(Philosopher)

Ramanuja
8
Birthdate: 1017 AD
Birthplace: Sriperumbudur, Tamil Nadu, India
Died: 1137 AD

 12 
Osho Rajneesh
(Spiritual leader)

Osho Rajneesh
20
Birthdate: December 11, 1931
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Raisen, Madhya Pradesh, India
Died: January 19, 1990

Osho Rajneesh was an Indian godman and mystic. Also known as Acharya Rajneesh and Bhagwan Shri Rajneesh, he was the founder of the Rajneesh movement. He preached the importance of meditation, mindfulness, celebration,  love, courage, and creativity and called for a more open attitude to human sexuality, because of which he was considered a controversial new religious movement leader. 

 13 
Kabir
(Saint and Mystic Poet)

Kabir
8
Birthdate: 1440 AD
Birthplace: Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, India
Died: 1518 AD

Kabir was an Indian saint and mystic poet whose works influenced Hinduism's Bhakti movement, which in turn played a key role in the formation of Sikhism, the fifth-largest organized religion in the world. Kabir is an important figure in both Hinduism and Islam and his legacy continues to live through a religious community known as the Kabir panth.

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Tiruvalluvar
6
Birthdate: 0000 AD
Birthplace: Uncertain: Madurai,Chennai, India

Tamil poet Tiruvalluvar, also known as Valluvar, had written some of the finest masterpieces of Tamil literature, such as his collection of couplets, Tirukkural. His towering statue adorns the coast of Kanyakumari, the southern-most tip of India. He is also known as the patron saint of bus drivers in Chennai.

 15 
Nagarjuna
(Philosopher)

Nagarjuna
3
Birthdate: 0150 AD
Birthplace: Andhra Pradesh, India
Died: 0250 AD

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Ramakrishna Paramhamsa
(Spiritual & Religious Leader)

Ramakrishna Paramhamsa
7
Birthdate: February 18, 1836
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Kamarpukur, West Bengal, India
Died: August 16, 1886

The widely revered Hindu religious leader and saint who had a large following was known for promoting the ancient Indian philosophy of Advaita Vedanta and Bhakti. Ramakrishna Paramahamsa was a devotee of Goddess Kali who he worshipped as the universal mother. His marriage to Sharada Devi was never consummated. Swami Vivekanada was the most famous disciple of the Bengal-born mystic.

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Jaggi Vasudev
(Yoga Guru)

Jaggi Vasudev
30
Birthdate: September 3, 1957
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Mysore, Karnataka, India

The recipient of Padma Vibhushan, the second-highest civilian award of India, Jaggi Vasudev is a mystic, yogi, and author.  His spiritual program called inner engineering is famous all over the world, particularly in the Western world. Popularly known as Sadhguru, Jaggi Vasudev's yoga programs, environmental initiatives, and educational and social initiatives have earned him celebrity status in India.

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Vyasa
(Author)

Vyasa
8
Birthdate: 0000 BC
Birthplace: Kalpi

Indian sage Vyasa, also known as Vedavyasa, is regarded as the author of one of the most significant Indian epics, the Mahabharata. Considered one of the seven immortals of Hinduism, he is also credited with dividing the Vedas into four parts and penned the eighteen Puranas.

 19 
Sri Aurobindo
(Philosopher, Spiritual Leader)

Sri Aurobindo
6
Birthdate: August 15, 1872
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Kolkata, West Bengal, India
Died: December 5, 1950

Sri Aurobindo was an Indian philosopher, poet, yogi, teacher, and nationalist. He was one of the most influential leaders of the Indian independence movement before becoming a spiritual reformer, focusing on spiritual evolution and human progress. He is credited with founding the Sri Aurobindo Ashram in Pondicherry, which continues to serve spiritual aspirants from all over the world.

 20 
Patanjali
(Author)

Patanjali
6
Birthdate: 0000 AD
Birthplace: India
Died: 0150 AD

 21 
Basava
(Hindu religious leader)

Basava
6
Birthdate: 1105 AD
Birthplace: Basavan Bagewadi, India
Died: 1167 AD

Basava was an Indian poet, philosopher, social reformer, statesman, and saint who lived in the 12th century AD. He is credited with spreading social awareness through his poems. Although hagiographic texts and traditional legends claim that Basava founded Lingayatism, modern scholars believe that he refined and popularized the already existing religious tradition, which is popular in Karnataka, South India.

 22 
Abul A'la Maududi
(Philosopher)

Abul A'la Maududi
7
Birthdate: September 25, 1903
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Aurangabad, India
Died: September 22, 1979

Islamic scholar and philosopher Abul A'la Maududi was born into an elite Aurangabad family. He grew up to be fundamentalist who believed Islam should be free of Western influences and launched the Jamaʿat-i Islami. Though an important figure in Pakistani politics, he was also imprisoned for a while for opposing the government.

 23 
Vinoba Bhave
(Social Reformer & Philosopher)

Vinoba Bhave
3
Birthdate: September 11, 1895
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Mumbai, Maharashtra, India
Died: November 15, 1982

Vinoba Bhave was an Indian social reformer and advocate of human rights and nonviolence. A close associate of Mahatma Gandhi, Bhave played an important role in the Indian freedom movement. In 1958, he became the first person to receive the Ramon Magsaysay Award for Community Leadership. In 1983, Vinoba Bhave was posthumously honored with the prestigious Bharat Ratna award.

 24 
Adi Shankara
(Advaita Philosopher)

Adi Shankara
2
Birthdate: 0700 AD
Birthplace: Kaladi, India
Died: 0750 AD
Indian philosopher and theologian Adi Shankaracharya, or Adi Shankara, promoted the Hindu philosophy of Advaita Vedanta. His Sanskrit works talk about concepts such as the Ātman and Nirguna Brahman. He criticized the Mīmāṃsā school and explained the differences between Hinduism and Buddhism. He also established four "mathas," or monasteries.

Paramahansa Yogananda
7
Birthdate: January 5, 1893
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Gorakhpur, Uttar Pradesh, India
Died: March 7, 1952

Paramahansa Yogananda was an Indian Hindu monk, yogi, and guru. He is known for introducing the teachings of meditation and Kriya Yoga through his organization Self-Realization Fellowship (SRF) / Yogoda Satsanga Society (YSS) of India to millions across the world. He authored the book Autobiography of a Yogi and is considered the Father of Yoga in the West.

 26 
Jiddu Krishnamurti
(Public Speaker & Philosopher)

Jiddu Krishnamurti
9
Birthdate: May 12, 1895
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Madanapalle
Died: February 17, 1986

Jiddu Krishnamurti was an Indian philosopher, speaker, and writer. Many years after his death, Krishnamurti's supporters oversee several schools based on his views and ideas. The Krishnamurti Foundation runs several schools in India and foreign countries. Among those who were influenced by his works were Toni Packer, Dada Dharmadhikari, and Achyut Patwardhan.

 27 
Pampa
(Poet)

Pampa
5
Birthdate: 0902 AD
Birthplace: Vemulawada, Telangana, India
Died: 0975 AD

Pampa was an Indian poet remembered for his works written in the Kannada language. A court poet of Arikesari II, Pampa is renowned for writing epics like Vikramarjuna Vijaya and Adipurana. These epics served as a paradigm for future works written in the champu style. Along with Ranna and Ponna, Pampa is counted among the three gems of Kannada literature.

 28 

Purandara Dasa
3
Birthdate: 1484 AD
Birthplace: Shimoga, Karnataka, India
Died: January 2, 1564

 29 
M. N. Roy
(Revolutionary, Philosopher)

M. N. Roy
7
Birthdate: March 21, 1887
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Changripota, 24 Parganas, Bengal Presidency, British India
Died: January 25, 1954

Apart from being one of the co-founders of the Communist Party of India, M. N. Roy also established the Mexican Communist Party. Jailed for his political activities, he penned the nine-volume Prison Manuscripts in prison. He later joined the Indian National Congress but quit it soon after.

 30 

E.M.S. Namboodiripad
3
Birthdate: June 13, 1909
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Perintalmanna, Madras Presidency, British India
Died: March 19, 1998

Communist Party leader E.M.S. Namboodiripad, better known as EMS, had been the chief minister of Kerala twice. Educated according to the tenets of the Namboodiri Yogakshema Sabha, he had initially been part of Mahatma Gandhi’s civil disobedience movement and an Indian National Congress supporter.

 31 
Debendranath Tagore
(Philosopher)

Debendranath Tagore
3
Birthdate: May 15, 1817
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Kolkata
Died: January 19, 1905

Akka Mahadevi
4
Birthdate: 0000 AD
Birthplace: Karnataka

 33 
Ramananda
(Poet)

Ramananda
4
Birthdate: 1380 AD
Birthplace: Prayagraj, India
Died: 1475 AD

Ramananda was a 14th-century Vaishnava devotional poet-saint who lived in India. He is considered the founder of the Bairagi Sampradaya, popularly known as the Ramanandi Sect. He was a pioneering figure of the Bhakti movement and an early social reformer. Unlike many other saints of his era, he accepted disciples without any caste or gender discrimination. 

 34 
Ramchandra Gandhi
(Author, Philosopher, University teacher, Writer)

Ramchandra Gandhi
3
Birthdate: June 9, 1937
Sun Sign: Gemini
Died: June 13, 2007

 35 
Vātsyāyana
(Philosopher, Writer)

Vātsyāyana
0
Birthdate: 0000 AD
Birthplace: Bihar, India

 36 
Shaykh Aḥmad Sirhindī
(Islamic scholar)

Shaykh Aḥmad Sirhindī
7
Birthdate: June 26, 1564
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Sirhind, India
Died: December 10, 1624

Shaykh Ahmad Sirhindi was an Indian Islamic scholar. A member of the famous Naqshbandī Sufi order, Sirhindi was widely known as a reviver for his work in resurrecting Islam during Mughal Emperor Akbar's reign. He is also remembered for his contributions to Sufi practices and epistemology. There is a shrine named Rauza Sharif dedicated to Sirhindi in Sirhind, Punjab, India.

 37 
Ramana Maharshi
(Philosopher, Hindu Sage)

Ramana Maharshi
9
Birthdate: December 30, 1879
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Tiruchuzhi, Virudhunagar, India
Died: April 14, 1950

Indian Hindu sage Ramana Maharshi had run away to Arunachala, a sacred mountain in Tamil Nadu, at 16, and had stayed there throughout his life. He propagated vichara, or self-enquiry, as the primary means of self-realization, instead of the study of scriptures as proposed by the Advaita Vedanta philosophy.

 38 
Aśvaghoṣa
(Philosopher)

Aśvaghoṣa
3
Birthdate: 0080 AD
Birthplace: Ayodhya, India
Died: 0150 AD

Aśvaghoṣa was an Indian Buddhist philosopher, poet, dramatist, and orator. Widely regarded as one of the greatest Indian poets of all time, Aśvaghoṣa was the most popular and important poet among a group of Buddhist court writers. He is credited with writing two of the most important Sanskrit-language poems held dear by the Buddhist community—Buddhacharita and Saundarananda.

 39 
Anandamayi Ma
(Philosopher)

Anandamayi Ma
6
Birthdate: April 30, 1896
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Bengal
Died: August 27, 1982

 40 
Bagha Jatin
(Philosopher)

Bagha Jatin
2
Birthdate: December 7, 1879
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Kushtia District
Died: September 10, 1915

 41 
Jayachamarajendra Wadiyar
(Poet, Composer, Philosopher, Philanthropist, Musicologist, Politician)

Jayachamarajendra Wadiyar
2
Birthdate: July 18, 1919
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Mysore Palace
Died: September 23, 1974

Jayachamarajendra Wadiyar was the maharaja of the Kingdom of Mysore from 1940 to 1971. He was the son of Yuvaraja Kanteerava Narasimharaja Wadiyar and Yuvarani Kempu Cheluvajamanni. Even though the monarchy was abolished in 1950, he continued to hold the title of maharaja until 1971. He was also known as a philosopher, musicologist, and political thinker.

 42 
Dayanand Saraswati
(Philosopher)

Dayanand Saraswati
2
Birthdate: February 12, 1824
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Tankara, India
Died: October 30, 1883

Dayananda Saraswati was an Indian social leader and philosopher. He is credited with founding an influential Hindu reform movement known as Arya Samaj. He is also credited with popularizing the term Swaraj which was used as a powerful tool by leaders like Lokmanya Tilak and Mahatma Gandhi during India’s freedom struggle. Saraswati influenced people like Bhagat Singh and Madam Cama.

 43 
Ashfaq Ahmed
(Philosopher, Literary critic)

Ashfaq Ahmed
4
Birthdate: August 22, 1925
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Firozpur
Died: September 7, 2004

 44 
Yajnavalkya
(Philosopher)

Yajnavalkya
4
Birthdate: 0000 AD
Birthplace: Vadnagar, India

 45 
Shishunala Sharif
(poet, teacher)

Shishunala Sharif
3
Birthdate: 1819 AD
Birthplace: India
Died: 1889 AD

 46 
Shibli Nomani
(Former writer known for the founding of the Shibli National College in 1883 and the Darul Mussanifin)

Shibli Nomani
3
Birthdate: June 3, 1857
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Uttar Pradesh, India
Died: November 18, 1914

 47 

Prabhat Ranjan Sarkar
2
Birthdate: May 21, 1921
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Bihar
Died: October 21, 1990

 48 
Shridhara
(Mathematician)

Shridhara
2
Birthdate: 0870 AD
Birthplace: India
Died: 0930 AD

Tenth century Indian mathematician, philosopher and Sanskrit scholar Śrīdhara Ācāryya is chiefly known for his two mathematical treaties; Patiganita (the science of arithmetic) and Trisatika (also called Patiganitasara ). In Bījaganita, his treaties on algebra, he provided practical algebraic applications and also a formula for solving quadratic equations.  Other scholarly treaties attributed to him are Navasatī, Bṛhatpati, Ganitasara and Ganitapanchavimashi.

 49 
Hemachandra
(scholar, poet, mathematician, philosopher, yogi, grammarian)

Hemachandra
2
Birthdate: 1088 AD
Birthplace: Dhandhuka, India
Died: 1173 AD

Hemachandra was an Indian Jain mathematician, poet, scholar, and polymath. He played an important role as King Kumarapala's advisor during the latter's reign during which Gujarat became a center of culture. Hemachandra's influence over the king helped establish Jainism as the official religion of Gujarat. He also played a significant role in banning animal slaughter in Gujarat.

 50 
Jnanadeva
(Poet)

Jnanadeva
6
Birthdate: 1275 AD
Birthplace: Alandi, India
Died: 1296 AD

Jnanadeva was an Indian poet, philosopher, saint, and yogi who lived in the 13th century AD. He is credited with authoring Dnyaneshwari, the oldest surviving work in the Marathi language. He is also credited with co-founding the Varkari Bhakti movement tradition of Hinduism. Over the years, Jnanadeva's legacy has inspired several saint-poets, including Tukaram and Eknath.