Your List of 15 Greatest Indians in History

Feb 2019
530
Thrace
No need to feel sorry for me, I'm among the most fortunate of men. I live at a time in a world that for all of its problems, human-kind generally lives far better than our forebearers ... even those who we might have known. Science and Technology has given us both a magic Looking-glass and a the ability to travel to the furthest reaches of our world in less time than it took to travel from London to Paris a hundred years ago. Modern medicine has wiped out many of the terrible diseases that once killed millions long before their time, and has eased the suffering of even more. I've had the good luck to be born an American at it's zenith, a place where the quality of Justice and prosperity has made princes of paupers, where outsiders and minorities have made great strides in being treated fairly. My wife died, but what is more common than that? Thankfully we all die, and being a widower for me is much easier than it would have been had I lost the coin-toss would have been for Natalie. What a life I've been privileged to participate in and to witness. I've traveled widely, seen strange and beautiful things, known and learned from some of the giants still living during my lifetime. I've studied in fine colleges and universities and learned to think, to structure, organize and analyze almost anything. I've been tested by extreme poverty, physical dangers, and the daily grind of living in the 20th century ... a time when we all managed to escape Nuclear War or the victory of Communism. I witnessed the evolution of the Old Values into what now exists. I've been shot at and shat upon; loved, hated, and tolerated. I think that I've faced all life's challenges, with honor. Above all, I was fortunate to have heard the Buddha's Teaching, and have, I hope managed to mitigate my wee share in the Suffering all sentient creatures must bear.
:eek: Proper champion!
 
Aug 2017
210
USA
In no particular order:

1. Buddha
2. Ashoka
3. Chandragupta Maurya
4. Aryabhatta
5. Mahavira
6. Madhava of Sangamagrama
7. Satyendra Nath Bose
8. Brahmagupta
9. Ramanujan
10. Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar
11. Guru Nanak
12. Gandhi
13. Nehru
14. C. V. Raman
15. Amartya Sen
 
Mar 2019
1,979
Kansas
I have tried to be eclectic in terms of human endeavors and geography while not compromising on perceived "greatness". Do you agree with my list ? What does your list look like ?
No list would complete without Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar

An absolutely brilliant astrophysicist from the mid 20th Century
 

rvsakhadeo

Ad Honorem
Sep 2012
9,224
India
In no particular order:

1. Buddha
2. Ashoka
3. Chandragupta Maurya
4. Aryabhatta
5. Mahavira
6. Madhava of Sangamagrama
7. Satyendra Nath Bose
8. Brahmagupta
9. Ramanujan
10. Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar
11. Guru Nanak
12. Gandhi
13. Nehru
14. C. V. Raman
15. Amartya Sen
Misses two great Indians. Adya Shankaracharya born at Kaladi, present day state of Kerala, and Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, born in Shivneri fort, present day district of Pune, state of Maharashtra. Amartya Sen and Nehru can be deleted instead. Who is Madhav of Sangamagrama ? And what did he do ? You are missing out on saints like Kabir or Meera bai and Poets like Kalidas, are you not ?
 
Feb 2019
530
Thrace
Misses two great Indians. Adya Shankaracharya born at Kaladi, present day state of Kerala, and Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, born in Shivneri fort, present day district of Pune, state of Maharashtra. Amartya Sen and Nehru can be deleted instead. Who is Madhav of Sangamagrama ? And what did he do ? You are missing out on saints like Kabir or Meera bai and Poets like Kalidas, are you not ?
He has been called the greatest mathematician-astronomer of medieval India. So his spot in a top 15 Indians is well deserved.
 
Aug 2017
210
USA
Misses two great Indians. Adya Shankaracharya born at Kaladi, present day state of Kerala, and Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, born in Shivneri fort, present day district of Pune, state of Maharashtra. Amartya Sen and Nehru can be deleted instead. Who is Madhav of Sangamagrama ? And what did he do ? You are missing out on saints like Kabir or Meera bai and Poets like Kalidas, are you not ?
Any such list is bound to reflect the poster's biases and preferences. As I am a scientist by training my list is biased towards Indian scientists and mathematicians. This is why I included Amartya Sen, who is a highly regarded Nobel-prize-winning economist. I do agree Kalidasa should take his place though.

I believe Adi Shankara is much less important than figures like Mahavira, Buddha, or Guru Nanak who established distinct religions or whose ideas led to the establishment of distinct religions. Shankara's impact was limited primarily to within strands of Hindu thought. On a personal level, I have a low opinion of the individual and his ideas.

Shivaji is a figure whose importance in his time and his influence beyond has been greatly exaggerated by Hindu nationalists. For better or worse, the Mughals and the British had a far deeper impact on subsequent Indian civilization than the Marathas ever did.

Nehru had a fundamental impact in shaping the development and course of the Indian nation as well as its institutions.

Madhava of Sangamagrama is widely considered to be one of the greatest mathematicians and astronomers of the middle ages not just in India but in the entire world. He and the school of mathematics he founded made important contributions that were mirrored later in Europe, such as in the infinite series expansions of trigonometric functions.

My amended list is as follows:

1. Buddha
2. Ashoka
3. Chandragupta Maurya
4. Aryabhatta
5. Mahavira
6. Madhava of Sangamagrama
7. Satyendra Nath Bose
8. Brahmagupta
9. Ramanujan
10. Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar
11. Guru Nanak
12. Gandhi
13. Nehru
14. C. V. Raman
15. Kalidas
 

rvsakhadeo

Ad Honorem
Sep 2012
9,224
India
Sorry, I disagree with you in respect of Adya Shankaracharya and Chhatrapati Shivaji. Why do you think that my selection of these two is a reflection of ' Hindu ' mentality ? Many non-Hindus revere Shivaji. And Adya Shankaracharya is known for rescuing of Hinduism from the effects of Buddhism and Jainism. Had he not been there, India would have been destroyed in then forthcoming wave of Islamic invaders.
 

macon

Ad Honorem
Aug 2015
4,107
Slovenia, EU
Sequoia
Tecumseh
Cochise
Mangas Coloradas
Chief Joseph
Sitting Bull
Crazy Horse
Powhatan
Geronimo
Nana

What? Oh. Never mind.
lol.

Metacomet or King Philip
Joseph Brant
Opahancanough
Pontiac
Blue Jacket
Little Turtle
Red Cloud
Kintpuash

i'm for Tecumseh. :)

Seriously, where are on a list Chandragupta Maurya and Buddha? I would vote Buddha.
 
Aug 2017
210
USA
I have a final correction to make in my list. Panini was more important than Brahmagupta so he should make the list.

1. Buddha
2. Ashoka
3. Chandragupta Maurya
4. Aryabhatta
5. Mahavira
6. Madhava of Sangamagrama
7. Satyendra Nath Bose
8. Panini
9. Ramanujan
10. Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar
11. Guru Nanak
12. Gandhi
13. Nehru
14. C. V. Raman
15. Kalidas

Sorry, I disagree with you in respect of Adya Shankaracharya and Chhatrapati Shivaji. Why do you think that my selection of these two is a reflection of ' Hindu ' mentality ? Many non-Hindus revere Shivaji. And Adya Shankaracharya is known for rescuing of Hinduism from the effects of Buddhism and Jainism. Had he not been there, India would have been destroyed in then forthcoming wave of Islamic invaders.
You ask "Why do you think that my selection of these two is a reflection of ' Hindu ' mentality?" and then immediately state "Adya Shankaracharya is known for rescuing of Hinduism from the effects of Buddhism and Jainism. Had he not been there, India would have been destroyed in then forthcoming wave of Islamic invaders." I believe you can answer your question for yourself.

It is a common tendency among Hindus to exaggerate the importance of Adi Shankara in altering the religious zeitgeist of early medieval India and after when such an attribution is not supported by historical evidence and when there were numerous other important religious and intellectual developments in these periods that were responsible for the success of Hinduism and for the decline of Buddhism and Jainism. In the case of Buddhism, these included the Bhakti movement and the development of popular devotional cults (also applicable to Jainism's decline), the development of Tantrism, Buddhism's increasing adoption of the trappings of organized religion which did little to differentiate it from competing religions, devastation of Northwestern India due to Hun incursions, and the repeated fracturing of the Buddhist sangha.

In any case, could you clarify what you mean by Adi Shankara "rescuing" Hinduism from the effects of Jainism and Buddhism? And how exactly did this lone individual preserve the integrity of Hinduism to such an extent that he forestalled its destruction by subsequent Islamic invaders?
 
Oct 2015
1,138
India
Adi Shankara was a good organizer and I think that is at least as important as his theories, if not more.

Dashnami Saampradaya:

Firstly, he established the "Dashnami" Sampradaya (=Order) of Hindu monks. [1] Today, I think, more half the Hindu sants (=monks) belong to this tradition. many well-known saints have come from this tradition - Swami Yogananda, Swami Ramakrishna, Swami Vivekananda, Swami Shivananda.

Panchayatana-puja:

Secondly, he initiated and/or gave impetus to "Panchayatana-puja" [2], [3]. In style of worship, five Gods / Goddesses are installed in domestic / public temple. The worshipper is free to put the specific deity he worships in the centre. This method of worship, brought together different streams of Hinduism like Shaiva, Vaishnava, Shakta. Almost all modern temples in Hinduism now have multiple Gods.

Four Mathas:

Thirdly, he established four "Mathas" (Seats) in four corners of India - Badrinath, Puri, Shringeri, and Dwaraka - to propagate his philosophies and Hinduism. There was no financial corpus created, nor any grand institutional buildings. There were many changes of political setups around. Yet these four Mathas have continued till date - for more than 1000 years - without a significant break in genealogy.

One God:

Sikhism, which came later followed the view that there is only one God. Similarly, saints like Kabir, who belonged to "Sant Mat" also followed this view.

In his hurry-burry world, he also found time to compose a few books.

And all this Adi Shankara achieved in a very short life span - just 32 years [4].

References:

[1] Dashanami Sampradaya - Wikipedia
[2] Pañcāyatanapujā - Hindupedia, the Hindu Encyclopedia
[3] Shanmata - Wikipedia
[4] Adi Shankara - Wikipedia
 
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