The Art of Living, founded by Sri Sri Ravi Shankar on whose life an attack was allegedly made Sunday evening at his ashram near the Karnataka capital, has a presence in 150 countries.
Born in Shimoga district in 1956, the spiritual guru was said to be a precocious child. At the age of four, he was reciting parts of the Bhagavad Gita, Lord Krishna's discourse at the war front to Arjun, the hero of epic Mahabharata. He was also interested in meditation.
In 1973, when he was 17 years old, he had graduated with degrees in both Vedic literature and physics.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar founded the art of Living in 1982, after a ten-day period of silence in 1981 during which he developed the Sudarshan Kriya, a breathing technique. Sudarshan Kriya is the centre-piece of Art of Living.
'The Sudarshan Kriya came like an inspiration. After I came out of the silence, I started teaching whatever I knew and people had great experiences,' the guru said about the technique.
He set up Art of Living as an international non-profit educational and humanitarian organisation. It has consultative status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar set up the International Association for Human Values (IAHV) in 1997 to coordinate sustainable development projects, foster human values and coordinate conflict resolution in association with AoL.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar is a frequent traveller, visiting around 40 countries a year on peace and relief missions. He been to conflict zones in Sri Lanka, Iraq, the Ivory Coast, Cameroon, and in countries hit by the 2004 tsunami.