SRI RAVI SHANKAR Biography - Religious Figures & Icons


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Sri Ravi Shankar  is a spiritual guru and founder of the Art of Living movement to spread Vedic knowledge worldwide.


He was born on May 13, 1956 in Papanasam, Tamil Nadu, India. At age 4 Ravi could recite the whole Bhagavad Gita, and showed a gift for study of the ancient Hindu scriptures, the Vedas. At an early age his father, R.S.V. Ratnam ("Pitaji"), sought out a worthy spiritual master for his son, and entrusted him to the care of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. Maharishi’s first instruction was that Ravi (as Maharishi called him) should finish his eduction, leading to his attainment of a science degree. Subsequently Ravi joined Maharishi’s entourage. He spent much time teaching Vedic Pundits at Maharishi’s charity in Delhi, and organising Yagyas. Maharishi took Ravi to Switzerland where he spent seasons above Lake Lucerne. Often Maharishi would not start a meeting without Ravi being present, and in the eyes of many elevated him to the level of ‘favourite’.


In 1982 he went in to 10 days of silence. It is believed by some that he became an enlightened master around this time and cognised the Sudarshan Kriya breathing technique. Sri Sri then set up the Art of Living (AOL) organisation to spread the Sudarshan Kriya around the world. The Sudarshan Kriya has acclaimed health benefits (as documented on the AOL homepage - see links below), and has been taught in over 140 countries. Sri Sri and his delegate instructors also conduct the Hollow and Empty and Sahaj Samadhi Yoga advanced meditations that help create an awareness of inner silence and wellbeing.


Sri Sri Ravi Shankar holds the distinction of being the only non-Western member of the Council of the Divinity School at Yale University in the US. He was also a guest speaker at the Millennium World Peace Summit during the 50th anniversary of the United Nations in New York. He is cofounder of the IAHV (International Association for Human Values), an international nonprofit organization in special consultative status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council. The IAHV’s humanitarian service wing, 5H, focuses on providing health, homes, hygiene, human values, and harmony in diversity to needy communities. IAHV, 5H and the AOL have collaborated with several UN bodies in many humanitarian and social service programs all over the world.