Udhilipa

Despite having great wealth and power, Udhilipa wanted more. He wanted to fly. A guru told him to gather many panaceas and essences, to propitiate some angels, and to recite ten thousand mantras to uncover their secrets. Udhilipa did all of this, but still could not fly. His guru then asked him to refine what…

Tilopa

Tilopa was at the top of his game. He was in charge of spiritual teaching at court, had piles of money and was loved by everyone. Despite all of this he felt empty and unfulfilled. He knew the scriptures by heart, performed the rituals and practices religiously, and was widely seen as a powerful teacher.…

Shiva

Lord Shiva is in charge of destruction, a powerful responsibility which may confuse those who don’t know much about him. He is an important example of celibacy, but has many wives and children. He is in charge of annihilation, but believes there is no death and no one to be killed. He is responsible for…

Ramakrishna

Ramakrishna lived his life without filters. As a small child, he was not self-conscious or embarrassed by the beatific experiences he enjoyed. As a young man, and when his family needed his support, he provided assistance in ways that wouldn’t impede his spiritual progress or require him to act against his beliefs. When his family…

QuanYin

QuanYin would sit and listen to the ocean flow in and out. Absorbed in the sound of the waves and the silence they left behind, she let go of all thoughts. Without thought these sounds were just vibrations so she became perfectly still. In this stillness she moved toward Enlightenment. As she transcended other types…

Padmasambhava (Guru Rinpoche)

Padmasambhava was a busy guy. Early in life he decided to abdicate his throne so he could focus on spiritual work. To do this, he traveled all over Asia and learned many different spiritual practices. Along the way he converted demons into guardians and ordinary people into spiritual guides. Rather than wanting what was unholy…

Gytha Nanny Ogg

The Discworld books, by Terry Pratchett, give examples of two extremely powerful women: Esme “Granny” Weatherwax and Gytha “Nanny” Ogg. Often in the stories they are shown as friendly contrasts: Granny as isolated, commanding and powerful; then Nanny as accessible, chummy and energetic. Many are familiar with the stereotype of the lone wolf working away…