Ravi Shankar is more commonly recognized as Sri Sri Ravi Shankar in the whole world. Frequently referred as Guruji or Sri Sri as a form of respect, he is from India and has world recognition for his spiritual philosophy. He is the founder and spiritual leader of the ‘Art of Living’ Foundation. This was built in 1981 and aims at solving societal problems, violence and individual stress.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankhar established a Geneva-based charity in 1997 called the International Association for Human Values. It is an NGO that involves in rural development and social relief work. It also aims to nurture shared global values. For his works and services to mankind, he has received some of the very prestigious awards in many countries like Colombia, India, Peru and Paraguay. He has been awarded the Padma Vibhushan by the Government of India on January 2016.
Early Life and Background
He was born on 13th May, 1956 in Papanasam, Tamil Nadu, India, to R. S. Venkat Ratnam and Visalakshi Ratnam. His name Ravi was formed after Sunday, the day he was born and Shankar, was kept after an 8th century Hindu saint, Adi Shankara as it was his birthday. He has a Bachelor’s of Science degree from the University of Bangalore, St Joseph’s College. After graduation he travelled with one of his teachers and gave lectures on Vedic science. He set up Ayurveda centres and Transcendental Meditation during this time.
In the year 1980s he started a chain of experiential and practical courses in spirituality around the world. According to Ravi Shankar, “every emotion has a corresponding rhythm in the breath and that regulating the breath can help elevate the individual and relieve personal suffering”. He held the first Art of Living course in Switzerland in 1983. In 1986, he went to Apple Valley situated in California, US, to hold the first ever course in North America.
Teachings, Philosophy and Social Contributions
Ravi Shankar is a master of spirituality who spreads positive messages that influences millions of people around the world. He enhances basic human values like compassion, love and enthusiasm. He doesn’t limit his teachings to particular culture or religion. His teachings are open to all. He believes that spirituality bond should be a part of every human and every family than in gender, nationality, profession, religion or other identities that only divide us.
He included the Sudarshan Kriya (a breathing technique), as a core part of Art of Living. He has done a lot of humanitarian, social initiation and peace work. He has tried to spread peace messages, helped the victims of hurricane Katrina, 2004 Tsunami victims, Ethics in Business- Corporate Culture & Spirituality dialog. He is the board member of World Religious Leaders for the Elijah Interfaith Institute. He has discussed issues about gender discrimination, stigma, HIV prevention and gender based violence.
Ravi Shankar was involved in the activities of “Volunteer for a Better India” and launched “NONVIO” Movement in 2013 to eliminate violence. Both focused on issues like 2012 Nirbhaya Delhi gangrape case and Lokpal Bill respectively.
He has received several awards, written many books and is on the most powerful leader list under Forbes Magazine, 2009.
He was under a controversial situation when World Culture Fair was held in Delhi. It was about the amount of money spent on the location claiming disregard towards the environment and continuing the show.
There was also a phase when Art of Living was claimed as a scam and fraud business.
In 2012, he stated that government school produces Naxalism and that all government schools plus colleges should be privatized.
He hasn’t had any relationships in his past and is not married.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar – Net Worth
His net worth is estimated to be $184,094,000 dollars according to the 2013 records.