The new Gandhi? who exactly is Sri Sri Ravi Shankar?

22nd of Apr 2013

Following in the spiritual and inspirational footsteps of Gandhi, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar has touched and changed millions of lives through his teachings, youth programs and social initiatives.

Here’s how his philosophies inspired and changed my own life.

There is a new sensation in India, and it is spreading all over the world. Similarly to Gandhi, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar is a spiritual leader who is working hard on motivating his nation and all his followers.

Originally a yogi and professor of complementary medicine, he has done more for the country in the past few years than all the politicians of India, and he has started several peace, education and social initiatives all over the world. He is internationally recognized and holds several worldwide honours.

So, for the uninitiated, let me introduce you to the essence of his movements, ideologies and teachings.

global presence and impact

One cannot neglect the fact that Sri Sri is using information technology to spread the word about his teachings. He has his official website, a Facebook page, a Google Plus profile and newsletters. He has written several books in English, created video courses and attended several European and American universities. He is a true global figure of spirituality today.

the art of living worldwide

If you have not heard about The Art of Living yet, you surely will in the near future. It is a humanitarian and educational NGO, spread around 152 countries.

Its basis in the United Kingdom is strong, with several Art of Living centres around the country. Trainings are held on a regular basis and there are thousands of followers attending events, concerts and educational programs.

Starting with the “Prison Smart” program in the early 90s, today the society is focusing on social issues and disaster relief. They offered free courses for the victims of the 9/11 trauma and the Kosovo conflict, too.

According to Sri-Sri, “When you feel generous, your life becomes abundant, full of compassion and love.”

youth programs

Leadership is a skill that is extremely valuable in today’s society. The Art of Living has various Youth Leadership Programs to help Indian graduates and young people achieve their best potential. This movement is extremely similar to Gandhi’s education reforms. The program has already provided training for 110,000 young people living in rural India, who work alongside rural communities to establish basic facilities, plant trees, establish hygiene services and medical camps.

education

The Art of Living has some introductory programs teaching participants the basics of meditation, yoga, correct breathing and stretching. Follow-up courses are also held to deepen participants’ knowledge about self-healing, yoga, thinking and Ayurveda (an Indian system of traditional medicine).

Additionally, members are able to take part in meditation and wisdom training. Spirituality is on the rise, and reaching back to the wisdom of the Vedas – India’s oldest and most profound religious and philosophical tradition – in the 21st Century seems to provide the right solution for many who are lost in the jungle of the Western society.

personal experience 

Personally, the first time I heard about Sri Sri was when I met my yoga teacher in India during my travels. He was the kindest guy I have ever met, period.

While at first I envied his smile and calmness, he soon taught me the secret of breathing, warming up the body, moving the joints and the 12-step salutations. He was a true example of a real yogi who considered himself a servant to others.

I am really grateful that I could participate in the course, take on all I could and learn the breathing technique that has helped me recover from serious asthma problems.