Madonna says she is not content to be the Queen of Pop - she wants to be like Gandhi.
The singer adds peace campaigners John Lennon and Martin Luther King to a roll call of individuals she emulates.
Madonna, 48, said: "For me the best thing in the world is to see something or hear something and go 'damn, I wish I did that, damn, I wish I could do that. That's inspiring'."
She told Sirius Radio in the U.S.: "I want to be like Gandhi, and Martin Luther King, and John Lennon... but I want to stay alive."
The Material Girl defended her controversial crucifixion scene in last year's Confessions tour, saying: "We all need to be Jesus."
She said of the show, which featured video messages of Aids orphans in Africa: "For me, we all need to be Jesus in our time.
"Jesus's message was to love your neighbour as yourself and these are people in need.
"I hope that people got that message. Of course some people thought, 'Oh she's just being controversial, she's just getting on a cross and trying to piss people off,' but that wasn't my intention at all.
"The cross is a very powerful symbol and it symbolises suffering, but it also is connected to a person who was loving and sharing and his message was about unconditional love.
"I tried to take a powerful image and use it to draw attention to a situation that needs attention," the Kabbalah follower said.
Madonna, who has modelled herself on Eva Peron and Marilyn Monroe in the past, added: "I'd like to think I am taking people on a journey; I am not just entertaining people, but giving them something to think about when they leave."
In comments which may annoy her British film-director husband Guy Ritchie, the star, who has been under fire for her adoption of Malawian baby David Banda, shed light on her friendships with gay men.
People online quoted her as saying: "Gay men are perfect men for girls who are tough. They're not threatened by strong women, and they're usually very in touch with their feelings and pay attention to details. I've always had an affinity with gay men."