About Our Founder

Art of Living founder Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar is a globally revered spiritual and humanitarian leader. He has spearheaded an unprecedented worldwide movement for a stress-free, violence-free society. Through a myriad of programs and teachings, a network of organizations including the Art of Living and the International Association for Human Values, and a rapidly growing presence across 180 countries, Gurudev has reached an estimated 500 million people.

Gurudev has developed unique, impactful programs that empower, equip and transform individuals to tackle challenges at global, national, community, and individual levels. srisriravishankar.org

The Beginning

Born in 1956 in southern India, Gurudev 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. 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, and in that silence, Sudarshan Kriya—a powerful breathing technique—was born. Later Sudarshan Kriya (SKY) became the centerpiece of the Art of Living courses.

The Art of Living Foundation

Gurudev founded the Art of Living Foundation as an international, non-profit, educational, and humanitarian organization. As a spiritual teacher, he has rekindled the traditions of yoga and meditation and offered them in a form that is relevant to the 21st century. The educational and self-development programs of the Art of Living Foundation provide powerful tools to eliminate stress and discover inner reservoirs of energy and peace in daily life. Programs include breathing techniques like the SKY, meditation, yoga, and practical wisdom for daily living. In a mere 30 years, his programs have empowered millions of people across 151 countries to transform their lives.

Inspiring Humanitarian Service

In 1997, Gurudev created the International Association for Human Values (IAHV) as a global platform for humanitarian initiatives that solve problems by uplifting human values. Through its country organizations and partners, IAHV conducts service projects and raises funds for humanitarian and disaster relief initiatives throughout the world. Activities administered or funded by IAHV include prisoner rehabilitation, trauma relief for veterans, youth and community development, disaster and trauma relief, and organizational excellence programs. The strength of his message has inspired a wave of service-based spirituality through a diverse body of volunteers, who are driving these projects forward in critical areas around the globe.

A Figure of Peace

As an ambassador of peace, Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar plays a key role in conflict resolution and spreads his vision of non-violence at public forums and gatherings worldwide. Regarded as an unbiased figure promoting the sole goal of peace, he represents hope to people in conflict. He is credited 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 have been 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.” He has also shared the idea 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.