Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar is a humanitarian leader, a spiritual teacher, and an 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.
Numerous honors have been bestowed upon Gurudev, including the highest civilian awards of Colombia, Mongolia and Paraguay. He has also been conferred with 15 honorary doctorates from around the world.
Gurudev is the Chancellor of Sri Sri University and the Chairman of the Quality Control of India Yoga Certification Committee. He is also a member of the Amarnath Shrine Board (appointed by Government of Jammu and Kashmir, India). Gurudev was the Chairman of Reception Committee for the 500th anniversary celebrations of the Coronation of Krishnadevaraya (by Government of Karnataka, India).
Born in 1956 in Southern India, Gurudev was a gifted child. 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 degrees in, both, Vedic literature and physics.
In 1982, Gurudev entered a ten-day period of silence in Shimoga located in the Indian state of Karnataka and in that silence, Sudarshan Kriya – a powerful breathing technique – was born. Later Sudarshan Kriya became the centerpiece of the Art of Living courses.
Founding the First Organizations
Gurudev founded The Art of Living Foundation as an international, non-profit, educational, and humanitarian organization. The educational and self-development programs of the Art of Living Foundation provide powerful tools to eliminate stress and improve well-being. These programs include breathing techniques, meditation, yoga, and practical wisdom for daily living which have helped millions around the world to transform their lives.
In 1997, Gurudev created the International Association for Human Values (IAHV) as a global platform for humanitarian initiatives that solve problems by uplifting human values. Through its country organizations and partners, IAHV conducts service projects and raises funds for humanitarian and disaster relief initiatives throughout the world. Activities administered or funded by IAHV include prisoner rehabilitation, trauma relief for veterans, youth and community development, disaster and trauma relief, and organizational excellence programs.
Inspiring Service and Globalizing Wisdom
Gurudev is a noted humanitarian leader who has developed and led programs that provide assistance to people from a wide range of backgrounds-victims of natural disasters, survivors of terror attacks and war, children from marginalized populations, communities in conflict, among others. The power of his message has inspired a wave of service based on spirituality through a huge body of volunteers who drive these projects forward in critical areas around the globe.
Gurudev is a spiritual teacher. He has rekindled the traditions of yoga and meditation and has offered them in a form that works in the 21st century. By reviving ancient wisdom, he has created new techniques for personal and social transformation. These include a powerful technique called Sudarshan Kriya® which has helped millions of people to find relief from stress and discover inner reservoirs of energy and peace in daily life. In only three decades, his programs and initiatives have touched the lives of over 370 million people in 155 countries.
A Figure of Peace
Gurudev is an ambassador of peace. He plays a key role in conflict resolution, spreading his vision of non-violence at public forums and gatherings worldwide. He is regarded as a neutral figure with peace as his sole agenda, representing hope to people in conflict. He is credited with bringing hostile parties to the negotiating table in Iraq, the Ivory Coast, Kashmir, and Bihar.
Through his initiatives and addresses, Gurudev has consistently emphasized the need to reinforce human values and recognize humanity as our highest identity. He has fostered interfaith harmony and called for multi-cultural education as the remedy for fanaticism and to achieve sustainable peace on our planet.
His work has touched the lives of millions of people around the world, going beyond the barriers of race, nationality, and religion with the message of a “one-world family.” He has shown that inner and outer peace are possible and that a stress-free, violence-free society can be created through service and by reawakening human values.