Famous Indian Philosophers

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‘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.
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 1 
Gautama Buddha
(Founder of Buddhism)
Gautama Buddha
7
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.

Rabindranath Tagore
18
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.

 3 
Swami Vivekananda
(Indian Monk & Philosopher Who Introduced the Vedanta and Yoga to the Western World)
Swami Vivekananda
17
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.

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 4 
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.

 5 
Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan
(2nd President of India (1962 – 1967), 1st Vice President of India (1952 - 1962))
Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan
7
Birthdate: September 5, 1888
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Thiruttani, Tamil Nadu, India
Died: April 17, 1975

Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan was the second President of India and served from 1962 to 1967. He is regarded as one of India’s most eminent scholars and wrote extensively on Indian philosophy and religion. Lifelong he defended Hindu traditions and culture against criticism from the West. September 5, his birthday, is observed as Teachers Day in India, in his honour.

 6 
Kabir
(Saint and Mystic Poet)
Kabir
9
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.

 7 
Amartya Sen
(Indian Philosopher, Economist and Winner of 1998 Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences)
Amartya Sen
9
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. 
 8 
Raja Ram Mohan Roy
(Socio-religious Reformer)
Raja Ram Mohan Roy
12
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.

 9 
Jiddu Krishnamurti
(Public Speaker & Philosopher)
Jiddu Krishnamurti
10
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.

 10 
Ramakrishna Paramhamsa
(Spiritual & Religious Leader)
Ramakrishna Paramhamsa
8
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.

 11 
Jaggi Vasudev
(Yoga Guru)
Jaggi Vasudev
34
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.

 12 
Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar
(Educator & Social Reformer He is Considered the "Father of Bengali prose")
Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar
10
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. 

Paramahansa Yogananda
8
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.

 14 
Adi Shankara
(Indian Vedic Scholar and Advaita Philosopher)
Adi Shankara
3
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.
 15 
Ramana Maharshi
(Indian Hindu Sage and Jivanmukta)
Ramana Maharshi
10
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.

 16 
Sir Syed Ahmad Khan
(Indian Islamic Reformer and Educationist Who Founded the ‘Muhammadan Anglo-Oriental College’, the First Muslim University in Southern Asia)
Sir Syed Ahmad Khan
10
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.
 17 
Vinayak Damodar Savarkar
(Independence Activist, Reformer)
Vinayak Damodar Savarkar
18
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.

 18 
Osho Rajneesh
(Indian Spiritual Leader and Founder of the ‘Rajneesh Movement’)
Osho Rajneesh
23
Birthdate: December 11, 1931
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Bhopal, 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. 

 19 
Tiruvalluvar
6
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.

 20 
Nagarjuna
(Philosopher)
Nagarjuna
3
Birthdate: 0150 AD
Birthplace: Andhra Pradesh, India
Died: 0250 AD
 21 
Ramanuja
(Philosopher)
Ramanuja
8
Birthdate: 1017 AD
Birthplace: Sriperumbudur, Tamil Nadu, India
Died: 1137 AD
 22 
Vyasa
(Author)
Vyasa
8
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.

 23 
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.

 24 
Patanjali
(Author)
Patanjali
6
Birthplace: India
Died: 0150 AD
 25 
Basava
(Indian Saint, Philosophers, Poet, Theologian and Social Reformer During the Reign of the Kalyani Chalukya)
Basava
6
Birthdate: 1131 AD
Birthplace: Basavan Bagewadi, India
Died: 1196 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.

 26 
Abul A'la Maududi
(Philosopher)
Abul A'la Maududi
9
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.

 27 
Vinoba Bhave
(Indian Social Reformer and Philosopher Best Known for the 'Bhoodan Movement')
Vinoba Bhave
4
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.

 28 
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.  

 29 
Madhvacharya
(Philosopher)
Madhvacharya
7
Birthdate: 1238 AD
Birthplace: Pajaka, India
Died: 1317 AD
 30 
Purandara Dasa
3
Birthdate: 1484 AD
Birthplace: Shimoga, Karnataka, India
Died: January 2, 1564
 31 
M. N. Roy
(Indian Marxist Revolutionary, Political Theorist and a Noted Philosopher of the 20th Century)
M. N. Roy
7
Birthdate: March 21, 1887
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: West Bengal, 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.

 32 
Debendranath Tagore
(Philosopher)
Debendranath Tagore
3
Birthdate: May 15, 1817
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Kolkata
Died: January 19, 1905
Akka Mahadevi
4
Birthplace: Karnataka
 34 
Ramchandra Gandhi
(Author, Philosopher, University teacher, Writer)
Ramchandra Gandhi
3
Birthdate: June 9, 1937
Sun Sign: Gemini
Died: June 13, 2007
 35 
Chinmayananda Saraswati
3
Birthdate: May 8, 1916
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Kerala
Died: August 3, 1993
 36 
Keshab Chunder Sen
(Indian Philosopher and Social Reformer Known for Incorporating Christian Theology in Hindu Framework)
Keshab Chunder Sen
3
Birthdate: November 19, 1838
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Kolkata, India
Died: January 8, 1884

Keshab Chunder Sen was an Indian social reformer and philosopher. Although he was born a Hindu, Sen thought highly of Christian theology and wanted to incorporate the theology of Christian practice into the framework of Hindu thought. By the use of Christian missionary methods, Keshab Chunder Sen effected several social reforms in India.

 37 
Shah Waliullah Dehlawi
(Muslim Scholar)
Shah Waliullah Dehlawi
5
Birthdate: February 21, 1703
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Delhi, India
Died: August 20, 1762

Trained in Islamic education by his father, who established the Madrasah-i Rahimiyah, Shah Waliullah Dehlawi had memorized the Qur'an by age 7. He grew up to be a prominent Islamic theologian who modernized Islam with ideas such as taṭbīq and the practice of ijtihad. Asrār al-dīn remains his best-known work.

 38 
Vātsyāyana
(Philosopher, Writer)
Vātsyāyana
0
Birthplace: Bihar, India
 39 
Ahmad Sirhindi
(Indian Scholar, Jurist and Philosopher)
Ahmad Sirhindi
7
Birthdate: May 26, 1564
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Sirhind, Punjab, 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.

 40 
Anandamayi Ma
(Philosopher)
Anandamayi Ma
6
Birthdate: April 30, 1896
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Bengal
Died: August 27, 1982
 41 
Aśvaghoṣa
(First Sanskrit Dramatist, and the Greatest Indian Poet Prior to Kālidāsa)
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.

 42 
Eknath
(Indian Hindu Saint, Philosopher and Poet)
Eknath
2
Birthdate: 1533 AD
Birthplace: Paithan, India
Died: 1599 AD

Sant Eknath was an Indian Hindu saint, philosopher, and poet who lived in the 16th-century. A devotee of the Hindu deity Krishna, he is considered a major figure of the Warkari tradition. Hindu scholars often view him as a spiritual successor to the prominent Marathi saints Dnyaneshwar and Namdev. He wrote a variation of the Hindu religious text Bhagavata Purana.  

 43 
Bagha Jatin
(Philosopher)
Bagha Jatin
2
Birthdate: December 7, 1879
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Kushtia District
Died: September 10, 1915
 44 
Pandurang Shastri Athavale
5
Birthdate: October 19, 1920
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Maharashtra, India
Died: October 25, 2003

Born to a Sanskrit teacher, Pandurang Shastri Athavale was taught as part of a separate school system set up by his father. The Padma Vibhushan-winning activist and spiritual leader later started his own Vedic movement known as the Swadhyaya Parivar. Shyam Benegal’s Antarnaad was based on his movement.

 45 
Ashfaq Ahmed
(Philosopher, Literary critic)
Ashfaq Ahmed
4
Birthdate: August 22, 1925
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Firozpur
Died: September 7, 2004
 46 
Yajnavalkya
(Philosopher)
Yajnavalkya
4
Birthplace: Vadnagar, India
 47 
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
 48 
Shishunala Sharif
(poet, teacher)
Shishunala Sharif
3
Birthdate: 1819 AD
Birthplace: India
Died: 1889 AD
 49 
Abhinavagupta
(Indian Philosopher and Theologian)
Abhinavagupta
2
Birthdate: 0950 AD
Birthplace: Kashmir
Died: 1016 AD

Abhinavagupta was a 1st-century philosopher, mystic, and aesthetician from Kashmir. He was also known as a musician, dramatist, theologian, and poet. Born into a family of scholars and mystics, he received his training from multiple teachers. His best-known work is Tantrāloka, an encyclopedic treatise covering a wide range of topics. Despite traveling widely, he was not a wandering monk. 

 50 
Prabhat Ranjan Sarkar
2
Birthdate: May 21, 1921
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Bihar
Died: October 21, 1990