Sri Sri Ravi Shankar

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar

Who is Sri Sri Ravi Shankar?

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar is an Indian spiritual leader. He is frequently referred to simply as “Sri Sri as Guruji or Gurudev.[1] He is a spiritual leader, and founder of the Art of Living Foundation created in 1981, which aims to relieve individual stress, societal problems, and violence.[2] In 1997, he established a Geneva-based charity, the International Association for Human Values, an NGO that engages in relief work and rural development and aims to foster shared global values.[3][4] For his service, he has received some of the highest awards of several countries including India, Peru, Colombia, and Paraguay. In January 2016, he was awarded the Padma Vibhushan by the Government of India. Sri Sri Ravi Shankar is a humanitarian leader, spiritual teacher, and ambassador of peace. His vision of a stress-free, violence-free society has united millions of people the world over through service projects and the courses of The Art of Living.

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar

Early Life and Education

Ravi Shankar was born in Papanasam, Tamil Nadu in 1956, to Visalakshi Ratnam and R. S. Venkat Ratnam. He was named “Ravi” (a common Indian name meaning “sun”) because his birth was on a Sunday, and “Shankar” after the eighth-century Hindu saint, Adi Shankara, because it was also Shankara’s birthday. Ravi Shankar’s first teacher was Sudhakar Chaturvedi, an Indian Vedic Scholar and a close associate of Mahatma Gandhi . By the age of four, he was able to recite parts of the Bhagavad Gita, an ancient Sanskrit scripture and was often found in meditation. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree from the St Joseph’s College of Bangalore University.[5][6] After graduation, Shankar traveled with his second teacher, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, [7] giving talks and arranging conferences on Vedic science, and setting up Transcendental Meditation and Ayurveda centers.It is worth to be mentioned that like Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, another alternative medicine advocate and meditation guru Deepak Chopra took shelter to Maharishi Mahesh in his early life to learn TM.

His personal life

Was Sri Sri Ravi Shankar married? That was a question people say time to time. But he was never married.
He has very clear ideas about balancing a relationship and saving marriages. Thousands of people got benefits in solving their marital and other relationship issues by following Sri Sri advises. However, the man who understands so much about the relationship between husband and wife has never been married; but why? Because Sri Sri has always remained a Brahmachari. [In the Hindu, Jain, and Buddhist monastic traditions, Brahmachari implies, among other things, the mandatory renunciation of sex and marriage. It is considered necessary for a monk’s spiritual practice].

So his advice to make conjugal life happy is like comparing an oncologist giving the advice to fight cancer. The doctor doesn’t need to be a cancer patient to give one advice. He needs to study and understands various facets of the disease. Similarly, Sri Sri endeavors to understand various parts and parcels of marriage and relationships and gives useful advice – without being ever involved with one.

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar
Ravi Shankar Biography

Spiritual Journey

Shankar teaches that spirituality is which enhances human values such as love, compassion, and enthusiasm. It is not limited to any one religion or culture. Hence it is open to all people. He feels the spiritual bond we share as part of the human family is more prominent than nationality, gender, religion, profession, or other identities that separate us.[8]
In Shankar’s view, “Violence-free society, disease-free body, quiver-free breath, confusion-free mind, inhibition-free intellect, trauma-free memory, and sorrow-free soul is the birthright of every human being.”[9]
According to him, science and spirituality are linked and compatible, both springing from the urge to know. The question, “Who am I?” leads to spirituality; the question, “What is this?” leads to science. Emphasizing that joy is only available in the present moment, his stated vision is to create a world free of stress and violence. His programs are said to offer practical tools to help accomplish this. He sees breath as the link between body and mind, and a tool to relax the mind, emphasizing the importance of both meditation/spiritual practice and service to others. In his view, “Truth is spherical rather than linear; so it has to be contradictory.”[10]

The Art of Living

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar entered a ten-day period of silence in Shimoga located in the Indian state of Karnataka. Shankar says that every emotion has a corresponding rhythm in the breath and that regulating the breath can help elevate the individual and help relieve personal suffering [11].
The Sudarshan Kriya, a powerful breathing technique, was born after this silence program in 1981. With time, the Sudarshan Kriya became the centerpiece of the Art of Living courses.

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar founded The Art of Living as an international, non-profit, educational and humanitarian organization. It’s educational, and self-development programs offer powerful tools to eliminate stress and foster a sense of well-being. Appealing not only to a specific population, but these practices have also proven effective globally and at all levels of society. In 1983, Shankar held the first Art of Living course in Switzerland. In 1986, he traveled to Apple Valley, California in the US to conduct the first course to be held in North America. [12][13]

Sri Sri Academy.
Sri Sri Academy ,Hyderabad

IAHV

In 1997, he also founded the International Association for Human Values (IAHV) to coordinate sustainable development projects, nurture human values and coordinate conflict resolution in association with The Art of Living. In India, Africa, and South America, the two sister organizations’ volunteers are spearheading sustainable growth in rural communities, and have already reached out to 40,212 villages.

What is Sudarshan Kriya?

Sudarshan Kriya is explained in Sri Sri Ravi Shankar website (https://www.srisriravishankar.org/sudarshan-kriya/). Breath is the main source of prana – the vital life-force energy. Prana is the very basis of health and well-being for both, the body and mind. When the prana is high, one feels healthy, alert and energetic. Sudarshan Kriya elevates the prana by flushing out more than 90% toxins and accumulated stress, every day.
Day follows night, seasons come and go, a tree sheds its old leaves to get new ones ~ This is Nature’s rhythm. Similarly, there are biological rhythms of the body, mind, and emotions corresponding to those found in Nature. When stress or illness distort these biological rhythms, we experience discomfort, discontent, and feel upset and unhappy.

Sudarshan Kriya® harmonizes these rhythms of the body, mind, and emotions with those of Nature. It involves Ujjayi breathing and bhastrika in vajrasana followed by rhythmic breathing in sukhasana. Being in sync, we experience better health and joy which in turn brings harmony in our activities and relationships. Studies show that Prolactin, a well-being hormone, significantly increases from the very first session.
It facilitates physical, mental, emotional and social well-being and is an integral part of the Art of Living programs. Sudarshan Kriya practitioners have reported better immunity, increased stamina and sustained high-energy levels. It has benefited millions of people on this planet making their lives a celebration! The technique eliminates stress, fatigue and negative emotions such as anger, frustration, and depression, leaving the mind calm, focused and the body energized, completely relaxed.

Peace and humanitarian work

Sri Sri Ravi shankar visited several countries to spread his peace and humanitarian work. Art of living was the centerpiece of all of his peach and humanitarian work.

Pakistan

He visited Pakistan in 2004 on a “goodwill mission” and again in 2012 when he inaugurated Art of Living centers in Islamabad and Karachi. The Islamabad center was burned down by armed men in March 2014.[16]

Iraq

During his visits to Iraq, at the invitation of Prime Minister Nouri al Maliki, in 2007 and again in 2008,[17] he met with political and religious leaders to promote global peace. In November 2014, Ravi Shankar visited the relief camps in Erbil, Iraq. He also hosted a conference to address the dire condition of Yazidis and other non-Muslims in the region.[18]
Colombia and FARC
Ravi Shankar “brokered” the peace deal between the Colombian government and the guerrilla movement FARC during his visit to Cuba in June 2015. The FARC agreed to follow the Gandhian principle of non-violence to attain its political objectives and social justice.

Kashmir, India

The South Asian Forum for Peace was launched in November 2016 at a conference titled “Kashmir Back to Paradise” in Jammu. According to Ravi Shankar, 90% of people in Kashmir want peace but are neglected. He added, “The solution to the Kashmir problem can only come from the Kashmiris.” This forum would bring together eight South Asian countries to cooperate and work in areas such as entrepreneurship, skill development, cultural exchange, educational partnerships, and women empowerment initiatives among others.[14][15]

Northeast India

68 militants from 11 militant outfits surrendered to the government in Manipur on the eve of India’s 71st Independence Day in August 2017. The Chief Minister of Manipur, N. Biren Singh, lauded Ravi Shankar for his efforts in making this happen and “bringing peace in troubled areas.” Ravi Shankar’s organization has been working in Manipur for the last 15 years.[19]

In September 2017, at the “Strength in Diversity – North East Indigenous People’s Conference,” Ravi Shankar claimed that another 500 militants were waiting to “lay down weapons and join the peace process.” The conference was attended by representatives from 67 rebel outfits from the Northeast. Expressing his willingness to facilitate the peaceful transition of any rebel group wanting to join the mainstream, Ravi Shankar claimed that his organization has been working for this for the last 10–12 years and “will continue to work until the last gun is laid down.” Former ULFA General Secretary, Anup Chetia, who was also the convenor of the conference, appreciated Ravi Shankar’s interest and efforts for peace in the region.[20]

Ayodhya Ram Temple Dispute, India

Ravi Shankar’s efforts at mediation in the Ayodhya dispute in 2017 received a mixed response from both Hindu and Muslim leaders. Based on the Supreme Court of India’s suggestion for an out-of-court settlement[21], he proposed a mutual compromise where both communities “gift” neighboring pieces of land to each other. This proposal was met with a lot of skepticism and resistance.

Interfaith Dialogue

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar is involved in interfaith dialogue and currently sits on the Board of World Religious Leaders for the Elijah Interfaith Institute. Through interfaith summits in 2008 and 2010, he has been engaging faith-based leaders for collective action against HIV. In July 2013 at a meeting in UNAIDS headquarters in Geneva, issues including HIV prevention, gender-based violence, stigma, and discrimination were discussed.

Prison Program

In 1992, he started a prison programme to rehabilitate prison inmates and help them reintegrate into society.
Natural Disasters. His volunteers assisted the 2004 tsunami victims, Hurricane Katrina victims, in Haiti, and many other regions of conflict and natural disaster.

Sri Sri University

Sri Sri University in Odisha was established in 2009 on the initiative of Sri Sri Ravi Shankar. The school won a Best Innovative University Award at the 2017 National Education Excellence Awards.

Award and recognition [B]

• Padma Vibhushan, India’s Second Highest Civilian Award, January 2016[74]
• Dr. Nagendra Singh International Peace Award, India, November 2016[75]
• Peru’s Highest Award, “Medalla de la Integracion en el Grado de Gran Oficial” (Grand Officer)[76]
• Colombia’s highest civilian award, “Orden de la Democracia Simon Bolivar.”
• Gandhi, King, Ikeda Community Builders Prize
• Highest civilian award “National Order of Merito de Comuneros,” Paraguay, 13 September 2012[80][81]
• Illustrious citizen by the Paraguayan Municipality, 12 September 2012
• Illustrious guest of the city of Asuncion, Paraguay, 12 September 2012
• Tiradentes Medal, the highest honor from Rio de Janeiro State, Brazil, 3 September 2012
• The Sivananda World Peace award, Sivananda Foundation, South Africa, 26 August 2012
• Crans Montana Forum Award, Brussels, 24 June 2011[85][86]
• Culture in Balance Award, World Culture Forum, Dresden Germany, 10 October 2009
• Phoenix Award, Atlanta, USA, 2008
• Honorary Citizenship and Goodwill Ambassador, Houston, USA, 2008
• Proclamation of Commendation, New Jersey, USA 2008
• Sant Shri Dnyaneshwara World Peace Prize, Pune, India, 11 January 2007
• Order of the Pole Star, Mongolia, 2006
• Bharat Shiromani Award, New Delhi, India, 2005
• Honorary Doctorates from – Universidad Autónoma de Asunción of Paraguay, Buenos Aires University, Argentina; Siglo XXI University Campus, Cordoba, Argentina; Nyenrode Business University, Netherland Gyan Vihar University, Jaipur; Kuvempu University, India.
In 2009, Shankar was named by Forbes magazine as the fifth most powerful leader in India.

Conclusions:

One very special characteristics of Ravi Shankar which attracts me is his total devotion to spirituality. He is not an ordinary person like other gurus, he is mentally and physical spiritual and he proves that by remaining as a Brahmachari all along his life. According to Hindu and ancient Indian tradition a Guru or a spiritual teacher should remain pure by avoiding sex and not marrying anybody and that is called Brahmachari. He follows that tradition and remains unmarried in his whole life. He is truly called the ambassador to peace.

Sources:

A. https://www.artofliving.org/ca-en/biography-sri-sri-ravi-shankar
B. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ravi_Shankar_(spiritual_leader)
C. https://www.srisriravishankar.org/

1. Salkin, Allen (28 August 2007). “Emperor of Air”. Yoga Journal. Retrieved 14 May 2018.
2. “Sri Sri Ravi Shankar”. The Huffington Post.
3. “Member Associations”. NGO Forum For Health. Retrieved 10 December 2017.
4. “Welcome”. IAHV Peacebuilding.
5. “Scan of Degree Certificate”. Bawandinesh.name. Archived from the original on 29 June 2012.
6. “Distinguished Alumni”. St Joseph’s College
7. Mani, Rajiv (12 February 2008). “Maharishi Mahesh Yogi cremated in Allahabad”. The Times of India.
8. Shankar, Sri Sri Ravi (1995). Bang on the Door. Santa Barbara, CA: Art of Living Foundation. ISBN 1-885289-31-6.
9. “Wisdom Is The Best Shock Absorber”. Art of Living.org. 10 April 2012. Retrieved 26 May 2014.
10. Copeland, Libby (5 July 2007). “Take a Deep Breath”. The Washington Post. Retrieved 7 September 2011.
11. MacGregor, Hilary E. (31 October 2004). “Art of Living: Breathe deeply to relieve stress, depression”. The Seattle Times. Retrieved 5 June 2009.
12. Pandit, Srimoyee (29 June 2011). “Art of Living founder Ravi Shankar – First Indian to receive the Crans Montana Forum Award”. Jagran Josh.
13. “History”. Art of Living.eu. Retrieved 7 September 2011.
14. Sagotra, Yogesh (24 November 2016). “Solution to Kashmir problem can only come from Kashmiris: Sri Sri”. Greater Kashmir. Retrieved 22 February 2017.
15. “Kashmir: 90 percent of people want peace”. The Indian Express. 24 November 2016. Retrieved 22 February 2017.
16. “Art of Living Center Torched in Islamabad”. Newsweek Pakistan. 10 March 2014. Retrieved 25 June 2014
17. “Sri Sri Ravi Shankar visits Iraq”. Rediff.com. 22 December 2008. Retrieved 15 September 2014.
18. Blumberg, Antonia (19 November 2014). “Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, Spiritual Leader, and Activist Travel To Iraq To Promote Yazidi Rights”. Huffington Post. Retrieved 20 November 2014.
19. “CM Biren lauds Sri Sri Ravi Shankar for peace efforts in Manipur”. The Statesman. 15 August 2017. Retrieved 11 September 2017.
20. “Sri Sri Ravi Shankar expressed willingness to rehabilitate militants back into Mainstream”. NorthEast India24. 7 September 2017. Retrieved 11 September 2017.
21. “SC calls for an out-of-court settlement in Ayodhya case”. The Hindu. 21 March 2017.