Art of Living – Overview
Founded in 1981 by Sri Sri Ravi Shankar,The Art of Living Foundation is a not-for-profit, educational and humanitarian NGO (Non-Governmental Organisation) engaged in stress-management and service initiatives. The organisation operates globally in 151 countries.
The organisation’s programs are guided by Sri Sri’s philosophy of peace: “Unless we have a stress-free mind and a violence-free society, we cannot achieve world Peace.” To help individuals get rid of stress and experience inner peace, The Art of Living offers stress-elimination programs which include breathing techniques,meditation and yoga. These programs have helped millions around the world to overcome stress, depression and violent tendencies.
The Art of Living Foundation has spread peace across communities through diverse humanitarian projects, including conflict resolution, disaster relief, sustainable rural development, empowerment of women, prisoner rehabilitation, education for all, and environmental sustainability.
The Art of Living is a multi-faceted organisation with one of the largest volunteer bases in the world. The international headquarters is located in Bangalore, India. Globally, the organisation operates as The Art of Living Foundation formed in 1989 in the United States of America and in Germany. Since then, local centres have been established across the world. In the Art of Living’s organisational structure, there is a board of trustees with a term of two years. Two thirds of the trustees change every two years. All the Art of Living teachers and the previous trustees are allowed to nominate a new board. There is a provision for an advisory board that monitors and guides the organisation. All the accounts are regularly audited by an external auditor. Other than expenses, no trustee is entitled to benefits in terms of salary, etc.Art of Living programs directly help to fund its humanitarian projects. The proceeds from the sales of The Art of Living Publications and Ayurveda products are also directed to our social initiatives.
An Introduction to Sri Sri Ravi Shankar
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar is humanitarian leader, spiritual teacher and 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.
Born in 1956 in Southern India, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar 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. His first teacher was Sudhakar Chaturvedi, who had had a long cooperation with Mahatma Gandhi. By the age of seventeen, in 1973, he had graduated with degrees in, both, Vedic literature and physics.
Founding The Art of Living and The IAHV
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar 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.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar 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 co-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, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar’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, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar 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, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar 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 30 years, his programs have raised the quality of life for participants in 151 countries.
A Figure of Peace
As an ambassador of peace, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar 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. He was appointed the Chairman of Reception Committee for the 500th anniversary celebrations of the Coronation of Krishnadevaraya (by Government of Karnataka, India). Sri Sri Ravi Shankar is also a member of the Amarnath Shrine Board (appointed by Government of Jammu and Kashmir, India).
Through his initiatives and addresses, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar 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