Sri Sri Ravi Shankar (Facebook)
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, the Art of Living founder and renowned spiritual leader, is celebrating his 63rd birthday today. Born on May 13, 1953, Sri Sri has always been a frontrunner in mediating some of the most controversial matters in India and across the world, starting from Kerala’s Sabarimala Temple to Ayodhya issue. It was Sri Sri’s Art of Living Foundation which organised a unique gathering of victims of Kashmir conflict through ‘Paigam-e-Mohabaat’. The program brought together family members of terrorists and victims of cross-firing from Kashmir and families of defence and security personnel from all over India who have been martyred in the Valley.
The initiative also received praises from former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti. The PDP chief took to Twitter and wrote, “A positive initiative by @SriSri. I earnestly hope that this marks a beginning in the process of truth & reconciliation.” “Such programmes are imperative to understand the agonising pain endured by the people of Jammu and Kashmir. The civil society in the rest of the country must do more to dismantle the walls of mutual distrust and suspicion that have isolated J&K,” she added.
However, Sri Sri Ravishankar is no stranger in bringing opposing parties to reconciliation. He effectively played a pivotal role in Colombia in 2015 by convincing the leaders of the Colombian rebel group FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia), who were holding up to global pressure for negotiations, to the adopt the Gandhian principle of Ahimsa or non-violence. His reconciliation efforts culminated not only in the rebel group, which had been waging a guerrilla war for five decades that claimed more than 220,000 lives, signing a peace treaty with the government, but also to seeking forgiveness from the victims of the conflict.
Apart from solving and mediating some of the most controversial issues in India and around the globe, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar is known for his stellar role in ending hunger strikes of many people. In 2011, when Anna Hazare drew massive, public support after he burst onto the national scene with his indefinite fast in New Delhi to demand the enactment of the Lokpal Bill, it was Sri Sri who appealed to the social activist to end his fast and continue his agitation.
In the same year, Yoga guru Ramdev also sat for an indefinite hunger strike demanding the black money to be declared a national asset under the Constitution. Soon, Baba Ramdev developed complications at the fasting venue at Patanjali Yogpeeth in Haridwar. Then, it was Sri Sri Ravi Shankar who convinced him and his supporters to break their fast. Finally, Ramdev broke his indefinite fast by accepting fruit juice from Sri Sri Ravi Shankar at the Himalayan Institute Hospital Trust hospital.
Today, on his birthday, the followers of Sri Sri are organising various social activities, starting from blood donation camps to distribution of cloths and foods. The Art of Living International Ashram in Bengaluru is also decked up to celebrate the big day.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar is a globally revered spiritual and humanitarian leader. His organisations, the Art of Living and the International Association for Human Values are rapidly growing and have presence across 155 countries. Sri Sri has reached an estimated 370 million people. He has developed unique, impactful programs that empower, equip and transform individuals to tackle challenges at global, national, community and individual levels.
(Image Courtesy: Sri Sri Ravi Shankar Facebook page)