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 is the recipient of the Padma Vibhushan, India’s highest annual civilian award and has also been conferred with 16 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 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. The Sudarshan Kriya, a powerful breathing technique, was born. With time, the Sudarshan Kriya became the center-piece of the Art of Living courses.
Founding the First Organizations
Gurudev founded The Art of Living as an international, non-profit, educational and humanitarian organization. Its 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, these practices have proven effective globally and at all levels of society.
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.
Inspiring Service and Globalizing Wisdom
A noted humanitarian leader, Gurudev’s programs have provided assistance to people from a wide range of backgrounds – victims of natural disasters, survivors of terror attacks and war, children from marginalized populations and communities in conflict, among others. The strength of his message has inspired a wave of service based on spirituality through a huge body of volunteers, who are driving these projects forward in critical areas around the globe.
As a spiritual teacher, Gurudev has rekindled the traditions of yoga and meditation and offered them in a form that is relevant to the 21st century. Beyond reviving ancient wisdom, Gurudev has created new techniques for personal and social transformation. These include the 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 a mere 35 years, his programs and initiatives have touched the lives of over 370 million people in 155 countries.
A Figure of Peace
As an ambassador of peace, Gurudev plays a key role in conflict resolution and spreads his vision of non-violence at public forums and gatherings world-wide. Regarded as a neutral figure with a sole agenda of peace, he represents hope to people in conflict. He has received particular credit for bringing opposing parties to the negotiating table in Iraq, the Ivory Coast, Kashmir and Bihar.
Through his initiatives and addresses, Gurudev has consistently emphasized the need for reinforcing human values and recognizing humanity as our highest identity. Fostering interfaith harmony and calling for multi-cultural education as the remedy for fanaticism are significant parts of his efforts 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”; that inner and outer peace are possible; and that a stress-free, violence-free society can be created through service and the reawakening of human values.