Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, was born on 13 May, 1956. He is a spiritual leader and founder of the Art of Living Foundation, which aims to relieve individual stress, societal problems, and violence. In 2009, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar was named by Forbes Magazine as the fifth most powerful leader in India. It shows the contribution he has done in promoting solution to resolve the problems of many people in the country.
He holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Bangalore University.
Ravi Shankar was a disciple of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. He traveled with him a lot. He was invited by Maharishi to give talks on Vedic science, arrange conferences on the Vedas and science, and set up Ayurveda centers.He was with the Maharishi at the inauguration of the first of the Golden Domes at Maharishi International University. According to him, Sudarshan Kriya, a breathing technique came to him in 1982 "like a poem, an inspiration" after a ten-day period of silence on the banks of the Bhadra River in Shimoga, state of Karnataka.
According to Ravi Shankar, every emotion has a corresponding rhythm in the breath and regulating breath could regulate emotions. After realizing Sudarshan Kriya, Ravi Shankar started sharing it with others through the Art of Living course, first held in Shimoga, Karnataka.
Shankar inspired his father and several other prominent citizens of Bangalore to found Ved Vignan Maha Vidya Peeth, an education and charitable trust, in 1981
In 1983, Shankar held the first Art of Living course in Europe in Switzerland. In 1986, he travelled to Apple Valley, California in the USA to conduct the first course to be held in North America. Shankar teaches that spirituality that he is promoting is that which enhances human values such as love, compassion and enthusiasm. It is not limited to followers of any one religion or culture. It is open to all people. He feels the spiritual bond we share as part of the human family is more important than nationality, gender, religion, profession, or other identities that separate us. The idea that World is one family (Vasudha ek Kutumbham) is being promoted by him.
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 are to be the objectives of the spirituality movement.
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. His stated vision is to create a world free of stress and violence so that people enjoy joy on earth in this life itself. 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.
Sudarshan Kriya involves "Ujjayi breathing" and "Bhastrika" in "Vajrasana" followed by rhythmic breathing in "Sukhasana". A number of medical studies on benefits of Sudarshan Kriya have been published in international peer-reviewed journals. A range of mental and physical benefits are reported in these studies, including reduced levels of stress, improved immune system, relief from anxiety and depression (mild, moderate, and severe), increased antioxidant protection, and enhanced brain function (increased mental focus, calmness and recovery from stressful stimuli), among other findings. Practitioners of Sudarshan Kriya report a state of deep relaxation while feeling rejuvenated and re-energized.
In the 1990s, Shankar initiated a number of humanitarian projects, which continue to this date under the auspices of the Art of Living Foundation and its numerous national organizations.
In 1992, he started a prison program to rehabilitate prison inmates and help them reintegrate into the mainstream. In 1997, he began the International Association for Human Values, a humanitarian organization, and its 5H program, which aims to bring sustainable development to rural areas and revive human values.[2
He is involved in interfaith dialogue and currently sits on the Board of World Religious Leaders for the Elijah Interfaith Institute.His volunteers assisted the 2004 tsunami victims, Hurricane Katrina victims, in Haiti, and many other regions of conflict and natural disaster. Through interfaith summits in 2008 and 2010, he has been engaging faith-based leaders for collective action against HIV.
The Art of Living Foundation along with UN Agencies, NGOs and civil society, launched Volunteer For a Better India (VFABI) on December 5, 2012. "Give one hour to the nation. The country has problems because good people are apathetic. Youth must take charge and Volunteer for a Better India", Shankar appealed. VFABI is involved in many activities, including protest against the 2012 Delhi gang rape case, free health camps, and voter awareness and registrations in India.
NONVIO was launched as a nation-wide movement by Shankar's foundation in March 2013 with the aim of eliminating violence. It encourages individuals to pledge one act of non-violence through different social and online media and adopt nonviolent principles in government, public health, and media.
New Year Message for 2014
Interview - Times Now Channel - 2013
Volunteer for a Better India