What Is a Hindu Saint or Sage Called?

hindu-saint-sage-called Credit: hadynyah/E+/Getty Images

Hindu saints and sages are called by various names, including gurus, swamis, rishis and sadhus. These men and women are renowned for their purity and wisdom.

Hindu saints are not formally canonized but rather are recognized for their achievements by popular acclaim. Each type of saint has a different focus. Gurus are teachers, and swamis are yogis or religious gurus who also have a formal religious credential. The rishis are sages or poets. Sadhus are ascetics, mendicant monks and others who have renounced the world. Beyond saint, a siddha is one who has attained perfection or magical powers, and a mahatma is a great and renowned saint, often a guru.