Hindu Guru Sri Sri Ravi Shankar Leads Meditation for Peace

23 Apr 2010

Hindu spiritual leader Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar led about 800 people in a mass meditation for peace Friday at the Midwest Airlines Center. The event was billed as the largest meditation gathering in Milwaukee. Shankar founded the Art of Living Foundation, which works with the United Nations in programs related to health, education, sustainable development, conflict resolution and disaster relief. In the 90-minute buildup to the meditation, the soft-spoken Shankar shared snippets of wisdom on topics ranging from materialism and marital harmony to religion and spirituality. "Religion without spirituality is disastrous," he said. His meditation technique centers on rhythmic breathing exercises meant to calm the mind. Shankar enjoys a wide following around the world, but his technique and message of compassion and nonviolence attract non-devotees as well, said Lakshmi Bharadwaj, associate professor of sociology at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and board member for the Hindu Temple of Wisconsin, which worked to bring the guru to Milwaukee. "His teachings are universal," said Bharadwaj, who is Hindu but does not practice Shankar's particular technique of meditation.