The Totally Honest Guide To Baby Names: From Celebs To Spiritual Leaders

06/04/2011 22:16 | Updated 22 May 2015

After last week's celebrity baby names article, I'm feeling all a bit sensitive that you might be finding the Totally Honest Guide to Baby Names series a touch superficial. So, in case any of you out there are feeling that I've as much depth as a baby pool, this week's post will focus on names inspired by our favourite spiritual leaders.

I don't mean religious types, though there might be some of those in here. I'm talking spiritual in the generally inspiring, soul-nurturing type people of the world, not including Gok Wan (though what a name!). Just imagine your baby as an 18-year-old undergraduate telling that gorgeous guy / girl at the Freshers' Week party that, "yah, mum and dad named me after the 1976 Nobel Peace Prize Winner". You can bet they'll have more pulling power in our educational establishments than the Brooklyns and Princesses.

If you're temped by naming your offspring after a spiritual leader, or a broadly inspiring type, here's my pick. No apology if the occasional personal biases break through. If you disagree, leave a comment! Please also help build up the list by adding your ideas. You'll get extra points for adding girls' names too.


Named after Nelson Mandela, lifelong activist against oppression, former Robben Island Prison inmate and President of South Africa. In his 1993 Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech Mandela said: "We stand here today as nothing more than a representative of the millions of our people who dared to rise up against a social system whose very essence is war, violence, racism, oppression, repression and the impoverishment of an entire people."


After Barrack Obama, a vision of change for a nation that desperately needs it.


Named after Eva Peron. From Wikipedia: "Spiritual Leader may be a position within the government of a nation. For example, Argentina had only one governmental Spiritual Leader of the Nation of Argentina, First Lady, de facto cabinet minister and co-president, and national labor chief, "La Presidenta" Eva Duarte de Perón, who served in 1952 at the end of her rule which spanned from 1946 to 1952."


Named after, well, Jesus. Have to admit, I've always quite liked the name. Might not blend with the other family names though.


Confucius was a famous Chinese philosopher, who was born in (circa 551- and died in 479 BC) who did a lot of profound talking. Confucius say...


Named after Martin Luther King, one of the principal leaders of the American civil rights movement. Considered a human rights icon and recognised as a martyr by two Christian churches. Author of the famous and inspiring "I have a dream" speech. Assassinated in 1968. Has a national day's holiday in his honour.


Named after the current Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso, (Lhamo Thondup). Published spiritual books by the Dalai Lama include "The Art of Happiness: A Handbook for Living", "How to Practice : The Way to a Meaningful Life", and "An Open Heart: Practicing Compassion in Everyday Life". Not bad.


Named after Mother Theresa, the Catholic nun who devoted her life to caring for the poor. She was actually born as Agnes, which is lucky as that name's a tad more contemporary. Published spiritual books by Mother Teresa include "In My Own Words", "Simple Path", "No Greater Love", and "Meditations from a Simple Path".


Named after Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, the pacifist and political and spiritual leader for India, when India was still under the rule of the British Empire.


Named after Martti Ahtisaari, the former president of Finland and winner of the 2008 Nobel Peace Prize. Ahtisaari has toiled away in the background for over three decades trying to bring resolution to international conflicts.


Named after Al Gore, winner of the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts to spread the word about global warming around the world and inspire necessary change.


After Bob Dylan. I struggle to see the appeal myself, but Dylan does seem to inspire spiritual-like devotion amongst fans, who herald him as the wise man of folk. While on a musical tip I might also have chosen Jimmy (Hendrix), Joni (Mitchell), John (Lennon) and Meatloaf as types who fans claim had the power to bend spoons with the spiritual force of their musical talent.


Baby Names
Suggest a correction