40 years of The Art of Living

The Art of Living has turned 40 today. The movement that took root as a framework for spreading knowledge & wisdom has today grown into one of the most dynamic, multi-faceted organisations in the world, with a presence in over 155 countries.

Over these last 40 years, the organization has worked ceaselessly to make the world a better place and life a celebration for everyone. It has endeavoured to enliven wisdom, kindle compassion, unite people of diverse backgrounds, restore peace, work as a channel for social & human development to create a stress-free, violence-free world.

Old photo of Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar in conversation with disciples outside his room at the International Center in Bengaluru

The Art of Living today is acclaimed as one of the most unique and inclusive voluntary movements in the world. Thousands of our teachers and millions of volunteers around the world have been working with exemplary passion to spread happiness in the world.

It’s a time for everyone associated with the Art of Living to feel proud of their efforts in bringing happiness to the doorstep of millions around the world. The volunteers have done commendable work cutting across race, religion, nationalities, language and other man-made barriers. The movement stands as a beacon for a happy, prosperous, better and more ethical world.

People from different countries waving their flags during Silver Jubilee celebrations in 2006 at Jakkur Airfield in Bengaluru

It’s hard to define it in a word or two. From rural development programs to the rejuvenation of water bodies to resolving global conflicts to promoting organic farming to providing value & quality education to children, the organization has been doing all that is necessary to make life a celebration on this planet. I take pride in sharing that our volunteers have worked to revive 48 rivers and 1000s of water bodies like lakes and ponds across India.

I recall how the seeds of this phenomenal movement were sown in 1981 when two eminent personalities with opposing ideologies came to me in Bangalore. Justice PN Bhagwati, a deeply spiritual persona & Justice VR Krishna Iyer, a known atheist, came together to become the founder trustees and roped me in, a reluctant recluse into a framework of an organization with noble objectives. This in itself was a divine design.

The organisation, which was registered on November 13, 1981, boasted other renowned personalities such as former chief secretary of Karnataka, Ved Brahma Gunju, Narayan Shastri, acclaimed administrator of Banglore city Narasimha Rao and my father Pitaji Acharya Ratnanand as its initial trustees. Today, the journey is being carried forward by many well-accomplished people.

The Art of Living is not an isolated phenomenon. I consider anyone anywhere in the world who is compassionate and passionate about spreading love and joy as part of this empowering movement.

So let’s all celebrate the 40th year of this beautiful journey. All the public service has happened as an expression of joy and love that our volunteers feel for mankind. Let’s recommit ourselves to the goal of putting a smile on every face and uniting the world into one family.

All the best to everyone.

art of living service projects impact infographic nov 2021

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