Sri Sri Ravi Shankar-The Spiritual leader
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, The well known spiritual guru was born on 13th of May 1956. He is also referred as “Sri Sri” or as Guruji. He is a spiritual leader and founder of the Art of Living Foundation, The foundation aims to relieve individual social stress, societal problems, and violence. In the year 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.
Ravi Shankar was born in Papanasam in Tamil Nadu. He was named “Ravi”, Indian meaning is “sun”, because his birth was on a Sunday, and “Shankar” after the eighth-century Hindu saint, Adi Shankara. By age 4, he was able to recite verses from the Bhagavad Gita. Ravi Shankar’s first teacher was Sudhakar Chaturvedi, an Indian Vedic Scholar and a close associate of Mahatma Gandhi.Ravi shankar holds a Bachelor of Science degree (B.sc) from Bangalore University, St. Joseph’s College. After graduation, Shankar travelled with Maharishi Mahesh Yogi giving talks and arranging conferences on Vedic science, and setting up meditation and Ayurveda centres. In the 1980s, He says that his rhythmic breathing exercise, Sudarshan Kriya, came to him in 1982 an inspiration after a ten-day period of silence on the banks of the Bhadra River in Shimoga, Karnataka.He initiated a series of practical and experiential courses in spirituality around the globe. Later he started teaching it.According to him, every emotion has a corresponding rhythm in the breath and regulating breath could help relieve from personal suffering. In the year 1983, Shankar held the first Art of Living course in Europe in Switzerland. He then later travelled to apple valley, california to conduct the first course in North America.
Shankar teaches spirituality which according to him enhances human values such as love, compassion and enthusiasm.H adds,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 which separate us.On his view, A violence-free society and a 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. According to him, science and spirituality are linked and compatible,He sees breath as the link between body and mind, and a very useful tool to relax the mind, emphasising the importance of both meditation/spiritual practice.
Sudarshan Kriya is a breathing-technique that is a core component of the Art of Living courses and the cornerstone of The Art of Living Foundation’s trauma relief programs.It involves “Ujjayi breathing” and “Bhastrika” in “Vajrasana” followed by rhythmic breathing in “Sukhasana”. In the 1990s, Shankar initiated a number of humanitarian projects, which continues till date under the auspices of the Art of Living Foundation and its numerous national organisations. In 1997, he started the International Association for Human Values, a humanitarian organisation, and its 5H program, for sustainable development in rural areas and revive human values. A number of medical studies on its preparatory practices have been published in international peer-reviewed journals. A wide range of mental and physical benefits are reported in these studies, including reduced levels of stress,reduced cortisol—the “stress” hormone levels and improved immune system, relief from anxiety and depression,Increased antioxidant protection, and enhanced brain function (increased mental focus, calmness and recovery from stressful stimuli), among other findings.
In 2003, he initiated the Ethics in Business – Corporate Culture & Spirituality dialogue with an aim of strengthening human values and ethics in business. This evolved later on in the formation of the World Forum for Ethics in Business which convenes international conferences on ethics.World Summit on Ethics in Sports, a one day event held in September 2014 at the FIFA headquarters in Zurich, focused on “morality and openness” in sports.In the year 1992, he started a prison program to rehabilitate prison inmates and help them reintegrate into the mainstream.
Ravi Shankar has authored several bestselling books also :
- An Intimate Note to the Sincere Seeker; (Vol. 1-Vol.7)
- Buddha: Manifestation of silence
- Be A Witness: The Wisdom of the Upanishads (1999)
- God Loves Fun : (2000)
- Celebrating Silence: Excerpts from Five Years of Weekly Knowledge (2001)
- Celebrating Love
- Narada Bhakti Sutra (2005)
- Hinduism & Islam, The common thread