A modern peace maker
Ravi Shankar was born on 13 May 1956 in Tamil Nadu, India. He is also frequently referred to simply as "Sri Sri" (honorific) or as Guruji or Gurudev. He is a spiritual leader and founder of the Art of Living Foundation created in 1981, which aims to relieve individual stress, societal problems, and violence.
In 1997, he established a Geneva-based charity, the International Association for Human Values, an NGO that engages in relief work and rural development and aims to foster shared global values. For his service, he has received some of the highest awards of several countries including India, Peru, Colombia, and Paraguay. In January 2016, he was awarded the "Padma Vibhushan" by the Government of India.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar teaches that spirituality is that which enhances human values such as love, compassion and enthusiasm. It is not limited to any one religion or culture. Hence it is open to all people. He feels the spiritual bond we share as part of the human family is more prominent than nationality, gender, religion, profession, or other identities that separate us.
In Shankar’s view, “Violence-free society, disease-free body, quiver-free breath, confusion-free mind, inhibition-free intellect, trauma-free memory, and sorrow-free soul is the birthright of every human being.”
As an ambassador of peace, Gurudev 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 regions of conflict. He has received particular credit for bringing opposing parties to the negotiating table in Iraq, the Ivory Coast, Kashmir and Bihar.