Shri Shri RaviShankar
Always dressed in white, hair flowing down his shoulders and with a low and soft voice, he is usually seen on our television channels answering queries or talking to a large gathering. He is one of the most followed spiritual ‘gum’ or leader of the modern times.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar was born on 13th may, 1956 in Papanasham, Tamil Nadu. Venkat Raman, a scholar of languages is his father and Vishalakshi is his mother. His biographies tell that he was an extraordinary child, who could recite verses from the Bhagvad Gita at the age of four and meditate for long hours. He took lessons with his first teacher. Pandit Sudhakar Chaturvedi who was a close associate of Mahatma Gandhi. Ravishankar became a scholar in Vedic literature and obtained a degree in modem science at the age of seventeen! He was a disciple of Maharishi yogi and taught Pandits at his charities. He prefixed ‘Sri Sri’ to his name in the early 1990 s since the world renowned sitar player Pt. Ravishankar had objected that the ‘guru’ was banking on his fame.
It is said that once in 1982 during, a ‘maunvrath’ or vowed silence observed for a week on the banks of Bhadra River. ‘SudharshanKriya’ —a powerful rhythmic breathing exercise, came to him “like a poem and just learnt it and started teaching it”.
Sri SriRavishankar is one more human being who felt that we have lost touch with our ancient ways of living and the importance of it. He founded the Art of Living foundation, in 1981 and its main aim was to relieve stress. Its main center is in Bangalore. Art of living Foundation (AOLF) is now an official Non- Governmental organization in special consultance status with United Nations. Its ashrams and centers arc spread across the world; present in 140 countries.
Sri Sri believed every emotion has a corresponding rhythm and regulation of breath could help deal with suffering. In today’s world of fast life, people have many problems (personal. social or professional life) and don’t find means to deal with it at the right times. Neglect of health and lack of time to devote to do something which relaxes our body & mind — adds to the problem. ‘Sudharshan Kriya’ has come as a boon to many people in India & around the world who have found relief. According to Sri Sri, ‘Sudharshan Kriya’ infuses the body with energy; harmonize the natural rhythms of the body, mind and emotions. He feels one must practice it; experience it to understand its significance. He has brought the ancient ways to masses and these techniques have helped people to overcome depression and suicidal tendencies. The beauty of the whole thing is, he is like a bridge, trying to bridge religious, social, economical and ideological divides in our society, by reviving the ancient ideal of “Vasudaiva Kutumbakam” (one world family).
His organization conducts workshops of AOL for people in different cities, offers free service to the war torn victims in Iraq. Kosovo and Afghanistan. He and his volunteers have helped prisoners around the world. He is a humanitarian leader too because he extends his work and efforts to spread peace. He travels a lot (visited Iraq & Pakistan as part of his efforts to promote global peace). He has many followers and reaches out to 300 million pixiple through interactions, public events and gatherings. lie has also founded the charitable organization. International association for human values in 1997.
He has won many awards for his contributions. Two of them are- Mahavir- Mahatma Award for contribution to peace, from times foundation, India in 2005 and National Veterans Foundation Award. USA in 2007.
Sri Sri Ravishankar, a very humble person whose vision is “to create a world free of stress & violence through wisdom”. It’s amazing that he has influenced so many people.