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Excited I will be spending Guru Purnima with Gurudev @ Hartford !! JaiGurudev

After reading various blogs discussing the values of Sri Sri Ravi Shankar and the Art of Living Foundation, I was looking for a forum to share my personal experiences of being involved with the Foundation. As one of the founding members of the organization, I have worked closely with Sri Sri for more then 22 years. Having spent countless hours in his presence, I have seen him in many diverse situations that have shown me again and again that his is a total commitment to a mission of eliminating human suffering on this planet. Besides sleeping just a few hours a day and taking meals, all of his time is spent in teaching, serving and uplifting others. He doesn’t seem to have any personal agenda or a separate personal life.
Yet in spite of Sri Sri’s dedication, he has received criticism from a few individuals who want to portray him as a fraud.
As the current president of his organization in the US for the last 5 years, I see where every dollar goes. The finances of all of his organizations reflect this emphasis on service. Because all of our organizations are registered 501c3 non-profits, all of the foundation’s 990 financial information is available to the general public to view on the Guidestar website after taxes are filed each year.
Sri Sri has a very Gandhiesque approach to running his foundation. He is more concerned about the future growth and expansion of the organization rather than in any personal gain. He refuses to take any of the honorariums he receives for his personal use and insists that all donations that have been given to him are to be used to support the numerous social service projects he has inspired in India and abroad. In fact, if his staff did not look after his personal needs, I’m sure Sri Sri would still be living in his original hut-like room at his ashram in Bangalore. His life is an open book. When he is not flying across the globe meeting political, religious and business leaders, sharing wisdom and collaborating on ways to improve the quality of life on the planet, he is either sharing knowledge, answering the plethora of emails he receives form Art of Living members and volunteers from 154 countries or spending personal time attending to all the individuals who come to meet him and receive his guidance.
At all hours of the day and night there is a sea of people waiting outside his room eager for a few moments to meet with him. And inside his room or hotel suite there are numerous volunteers assisting him in whatever way they can. Besides the few hours he sleeps or meditates, Sri Sri doesn’t have any alone time. I’ve often played the roll of being his secretary and spent more then 16 hours a day with him. There are so many interruptions, that getting work done is always a challenge. Getting a few moments alone with him is very rare. There is a constant revolving door to his room with someone entering and grabbing his attention at almost every moment.
Many times I’ve questioned Sri Sri’s motives for adhering to a daily schedule that is so grueling and physically demanding. No matter how many demands and challenges he faces, Sri Sri remains exuberant, posed and attentive to all who came to meet him. He is clearly there for one purpose, to ignite a spark of self-awareness and compassion that can help people lead a more fulfilling and productive life.

Michael Fischman

President of Art of Living Foundation , USA

Denver and Milwaukee have declared Apr 20 and 23 as ‘Sri Sri Ravi Shankar day’ in honor of the spiritual leader’s humanitarian and spiritual contributions worldwide.
The press release of Art of Living foundation said that the two cities are the latest addition to the 12 other US cities that had already made similar announcement.
John Hickenlooper, the Mayor of Denver and Tom Barrett, Mayor of Milwaukee signed the declaration.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar  is on 21-day US tour.
IANS, 16th March, 2010

New Delhi, India: Spiritual leader Sri Sri Ravi Shankar announced here Tuesday a seven-month long campaign to clean the Yamuna river and have a clean and green Delhi before the Commonwealth Games.

The campaign – ‘My Yamuna, My Dilli’ – was launched by the spiritual guru here at Purana Qila Tuesday evening.

‘The responsibility for cleaning up the Yamuna lies with us – the people she nurtures,’ Sri Sri Ravi Shankar said.

‘This movement is a call to remind us what this river has given to generations before us, and to allow her to nourish generations after us. It is a platform for our individual voices that will become a collective echo and an unstoppable force,’ the founder of the Art of Living movement told reporters at the launch of the campaign here.

‘I know thousands of crores have been spent over the years but the condition of the Yamuna has not improved… Let us go and clean the banks of the Yamuna from tomorrow (Wednesday),’ he added.

A recent report by the Central Pollution Control Board’s (CPCB) revealed that the faecal content in the water of the Yamuna is so high that the river resembles a drain.

According to the CPCB’s 10-month-long monitoring of the Yamuna river at Nizamuddin, the water is unfit not just for drinking but even for bathing or washing.

According to stipulated standards, water can be made potable with treatment if faecal coliform is less than 500 per 100 ml. It is fit for bathing if the number is less than 5,000 per 100ml. However, the lowest level of faecal coliform in the Yamuna, measured May 4, 2009, was 4.4 lakh per 100ml — almost 100 times above the level considered safe for bathing.

Originating in the lower Himalayas, the Yamuna is 1,376 km long. The 22-km-long stretch that passes through Delhi is one of the most polluted.

Hundreds of NGOs, organisations and corporates are part of the initiative.

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