an admirer asked Sri Sri Ravishankar: " How do you make everyone
Guruji said: " Become me."
" How do we become you?"
Guruji: " What stands between you and me is your self image. Your self-image
restricts you from being me. Self image whether good or bad causes misery. When
you think good about yourself in a very subtle manner you think bad about others.
Then anger, jealousy, hatredeverything follows."
The very sight of Guruji is enchanting. With a long and spotless white robe encircling
his slender frame, flowing hair and a trademark disarming smile, the Guruji is
as simple and natural as his prescription for the art of living one's life to
the fullest. Addressed as 'Guruji' by millions of his devotees the world over;
Sri Sri Ravishankar presented the world with his sudarshan
technique and the organizationThe
Art of Living.
ability to connect with people is perfectly effortless and his spiritual appeal
irresistible. To use the words of one of his ardent followers, Sri Sri is as compassionate
as Jesus, as playful as Lord Krishna and as erudite as Adi Shankara. He has this
uncanny ability of helping people unburden their stress-filled minds. His invaluable
sayings act as balms for wounded souls. Here's a sample: " Life is a ball
in your hands to play with. Don't hold on to the ball."
Ravishankar is a unique combination of wit and wisdom, seriousness and playfulness,
who would provoke you to "celebrate while you are alone, celebrate when you
are with people, celebrate the silence and celebrate the noise. Celebrate life
and celebrate death." It is not surprising then that, the Art of Living is
all about accepting life in its totality and its motto is to "only connect".
To connect people across all communities and countries with love, to turn the
tides of time by reviving human values and strengthening it to make our times
special. A South African member of the Art of Living teaching program says, "After
the Art of Living course, racial tolerance is no longer an issue. We've moved
beyond tolerance to unconditional acceptance and love. Love has no dislikes, no
of the spiritual master's striking personality caught peoples' attention
right from his childhood, which was an extraordinary one by all accounts.
Ravishankar was born on May 13, 1956, in a spiritual family in Papanasam,
Tamil Nadu, India. His father R. S. V. Ratnam who is well versed in
Sanskrit, Tamil and English, is also a devout social worker besides
being very spiritually oriented. It is an interesting coincidence
that Ravishankar was born in a place named 'Papanasam', for it meansthe
removal of all sins. To add to it all, he was born on Shankara
Jayanti, the birthday of Adi Shankara (the 8th century Vedantic
philosopher and founder of the Advaita theory of Truth) and
was christened on the 11th day of his birth, which also happened to
be the birthday of Ramanuja the renowned preacher of bhakti
or devotion. Certainly, an interesting combination of knowledge and
devotion, in the consciousness of the newborn!
At the age of four, little Ravishankar was discovered chanting the shlokas
of The Bhagavad Gita, and by the age of 17 he had completed his graduation in
science as well as his mastery over the Vedas (Hindu scriptures). His extreme
spiritual bent of mind also caught the attention of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, the
founder of the Transcendental Meditation movement, under whose tutelage Ravishankar
blossomed into the spiritual figure we know so well.
In fact, soon after his college days, he came into contact with many
renowned spiritual teachers and leading intellectuals. The decision
to embark on an ascetic path instead of regular materialistic life
was taken at this point of his life. He remained in Rishikesh, India,
with Maharishi Mahesh Yogi for several years, however, before going
abroad to complete his doctoral degree in the science of the Vedas.
completed his research, Sri Sri Ravishankar presented the world with
techniquea unique breathing process, which removes stress and
negative toxins from the body by rejuvenating each and every cell.
The technique is said to have been revealed to him during a spell
of silent meditation that he had gone into for 10 long days in 1982.
It was the same year that he started the Art of Living Foundation,
which propagates his programs in over a 100 countries. The Foundation
aims at fostering health at every conceivable human level-mental,
physical, emotional as well as spiritual. Sri Sri Ravishankar, also,
started off a number of educational and humanitarian organizations
for the service and all-round upliftment of society. Besides the Art
of Living Foundation,
SMART Foundation, Inc.,
are all the outcome of this selfsame and wholehearted commitment towards
humanity. But modest soul that he is, Guruji perceives these programs
to be nothing more than, seva or services for fellow human
beings who are merely reflections of our own 'selves'.
According to Sri Sri Ravishankar, even though the world is a mixture of happiness
and sorrow, it shouldn't deter any one from seeking enjoyment in whatever one
does. He elucidates, "It is written in the Upanishads, the Atman,
soul, is Satchidanandamaya (complete bliss). Spirituality is not boring.
It is the Rasa (flavor) of life."
This blissful state can only be attained when one follows the religion of humanity,
or in Guruji's termManav Dharma, by spreading love in each human
soul. Beloved Guruji has even unfolded the path to this state, simply follow it:
"How far to Heaven? Just open your eyes and look. You are in Heaven."