Throughout history there have been spiritual leaders that have changed the course of the future. When you look at historical documents and religious history, you will see that there were many leaders that were speaking of peace and spirituality. Some of them were modern, some of them were ancient, but their message seems to resonate with many people today. No matter how you look at things, you’re going to find that there’s an incredible world found through the history of spiritual leaders. The following is just a brief rundown of the most iconic leaders and spiritual tutors that are still spoken about today.
Mhoandas Karamchand Gandhi
Perhaps one of the most popular, and famed spiritual leaders, Gandhi spoke of peace in the 20th century. He came into prominence during the changes that were coming through India. Before he came into fame, India was ruled by Britain. It wasn’t until he came to speak of peace and freedom that the country changed and left the British empire. He spoke of nonviolence methods in protesting, including the famed Dandi Salt March which pushed to protest against a salt tax. This 250-mile trek really pushed things, but not without imprisonment. He advocated peace throughout his push for independence, and freedom.
In his teaching and spiritual movement, the Hindu leader took on extreme fasts. Some of which were meant to unite Indian under pluralism. Despite his push, there were many issues that flowed through India. Even though he would explain that there is no “Gandhism”, many attribute things to a philosophy and religious points towards metaphysics and political leanings. Many things have been written about this spiritual leader, but one overpowering message is of peace and nonviolence at all costs.
The central figure of Islamic faith, this is a spiritual tutor and leader that many don’t fully understand. He is regarded as the founder of the faith of Islam and is the central figure and holy prophet for believers. His first push into spiritual elements pushed him to seclusion, much like Jesus. It’s in his prayers and seclusion that it was stated he met an angel and that he should proclaim God being the sole god. He moved forward to preach the message that he had been given and was very much a man of peace early on.
It was under Muhammad that many tribes in and around Mecca and Medina united. Unity was the message that was spread, and conversions to the newfound Muslim faith swelled around 629 – 630 CE. There was violence in the areas where Muhammad was, and a lot of turmoil that has hit the regions to this day. Even so, Islam is still seen as a religion of peace. It’s very difficult to compile a shortened version of the life and religious principles of Islam, as there’s a lot to explore, beyond the initial elements of peace. However, underlying the tumultuous message, there is in fact peace found in the original message that is supposed to be spoken of when dealing with the Quran.
Buddhism is founded on the teachings and studies of Guatama Buddha. His message of enlightenment was one of great peace. The teaching is to seek to remove violence, anxiety, and other issues of life and find an inner circle of nirvana. The goal of his teachings were to move away from self-indulgence, and self-mortification. Within the confines of the “Four Noble Truths” Buddhism seeks to eliminate suffering, and seek peace throughout life.
Buddha’s story is mixed with a variety of folklore, making a true biography difficult. However, what scholars can agree upon is that he had a great deal of followers, and was a spiritual leader that harkened to peace above all else. Focusing on removing indulgences, and things that can stifle the unity that man and nature may need to have. The life of this teacher was spent traveling and teaching about Buddhism, and ideologies of peace overall.
Jesus of Nazareth as he is referred to has been written about by many texts, including the Holy Bible. It’s within the concepts and histories of this teacher that Christianity is born. The history of Jesus has many different elements, but what can be agreed on is that he was a central figure during the Roman Empire. He rose during the Herodian Tetrarchy and lived 33 years before he was crucified. In his teaches he taught a love for God and a love for man.
While there’s a lot of debate about the things he says, one can draw parallels with the aforementioned teachers. Teaching and amassing quite the following while alive and subsequently upon death, he taught a Jewish based faith, that would push towards divinity of a new kind. Whereas Jewish faith was based on religious principles and ritual, Jesus taught a new kind of faith that was found in the heart alone. Through his teachings he taught non-violence, including peace and did not promote fighting or war of any kinds. His following became so great, that he was crucified in public view. The Bible discusses his resurrection after the fact, and the belief of Christianity is based on this story.
The Common Ground of All Spiritual Leaders
The aforementioned is a very brief rundown of some of the most iconic figures in the world of religious studies. These are the central figures of faith and deities if you ask people. The common elements that they share are simple, peace, love, and understanding. While many may argue finite points that each one has, the overall elements are within the role of teacher. Each one taught, had followers, and discussed the need to disciple and tutor others within the confines of faith and change. Without these pushes towards teaching, there would be no followers that continue to discuss each one, and share faith with their teachings. Whether you look at Hinduism, Buddhism, Christianity, Islam, and even belief systems that are outside of these, you’ll find that the need for tutoring, discipleship, love, peace, and more are the center points of all of them. Belief in God aside, the role of each leader here is to share a message of unity, and that’s the one constant through the lives of each person mentioned above.