Ravi Shankar, born on 13 May 1956 in Papanasam, Tamil Nadu, to Visalakshi Ratnam and R. S. Venkat Ratnam is an Indian spiritual and humanitarian leader. He is also known as Sri Sri, Guruji or Gurudev. Here are Interesting facts about Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
- He was named “Ravi” which means the sun, as he was born on a Sunday. When he was four, he could recite Bhagavad Gita and would often go into meditation.
- Sudhakar Chaturvedi was his first teacher who was an Indian Vedic Scholar and a close associate of Mahatma Gandhi.
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- Sri Sri completed his Bachelor of Science from St Joseph’s College of Bangalore.
- After graduation, he started travelling with Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, giving talks on Vedic science, and setting up Transcendental Meditation and Ayurveda centers.
- In 1981, he founded the Art of Living Foundation, a volunteer-based international non-profit, educational and humanitarian organization. ‘Art of Living’ is one of the largest NGOs in the world which is working in over 156 countries.
- He has a sister, Smt. Bhanumathi Narasimhan, who is the Director of Women Empowerment & Child Care Programs of The Art of Living Foundation. She has also authored a book Gurudev: On the Plateau of the Peak which is the biography of Sri Sri Ravi Shankar.
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- He entered into a 10-day period of silence process on the banks of the River Bhadra in Shimoga, Karnataka in 1982. From there, “Sudarshan Kriya” which is a very powerful breathing technique, was born. With time, the Sudarshan Kriya has become the center-piece of all the courses of Art of Living.
- The first course of Art of Living in Switzerland was held in 1983 and in 1986 in California, USA.
- In 1997, he established the International Association for Human Values, a Geneva-based charity, an NGO that works for relief and rural development and aims to promote shared global values.
More Interesting facts about Sri Sri Ravi Shankar
- He believes that spirituality enhances human values such as love, humanity and compassion. It is not limited to any one religion or culture and open for all. He describes the spiritual bond as a part of the human family which is more important than nationality, gender, religion and profession, that differentiates us.
- He tells that breath is the link between body and mind, and a tool to relax the mind. His teachings tell the importance of both meditation/spiritual practice and service to others. According to him, “Truth is spherical and it has to be conflicting.
- Presence of Art of Living and the International Association for Human Values has been rapidly growing, having reached across 156 countries. Through these, Sri Sri has reached more than 450 million people all over the world.
- Under the guidance of Sri Sri, the Art of Living Foundation has done a lot for River Rejuvenation across Maharashtra, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, and Odisha, which has benefitted more than 49 lakh people.
- More than 1 million people in 22 states have been trained in Natural Farming through the Art of Living foundation.
- Around 71 million trees in 36 countries and 26 Indian states have been planted under the guidance of Sri Sri.
- Under the project, Light A Home, more than 90000 people have benefited from various solar projects undertaken.
- Sri Sri has a long list of Awards and recognition. Some of them include Padma Vibhushan (January 2016), “Medalla de la Integración en el Grado de Gran Oficial” – Highest Award of Peru, Colombia’s highest civilian award, “Orden de la Democracia Simón Bolívar”, Highest civilian award of Paraguay “National Order of Mérito de Comuneros”, Tiradentes Medal, the highest honour from Rio de Janeiro State, Brazil, The Sivananda World Peace award, Sivananda Foundation, South Africa, and many more.
- Sri Sri has started around 618 schools providing free education to underprivileged children in the remotest of areas. More than 67,000 children have benefitted from this initiative.
- The Art of Living Prison program, aimed to help prisoners in rehabilitating, has reached more than 7 Lakhs prisoners globally.