Famous humanitarian leader to teach Memphians guided mediation

Humanitarian leader Sri Sri Ravi Shankar is visiting Memphis Monday night as part of his “I Stand for Peace” tour.

Shankar, 66, addressed by followers with honorifics such a Sri Sri and Gurudev, is the founder of the Art of Living, a volunteer-based, non-governmental organization that offers several stress-elimination and self-development programs based on breathing techniques, meditation and yoga.

"Today we will be doing a meditation, a talk on peace. It will be what I am doing globally, a sign of peace to bring about the value of peace in life and nonviolence," Shankar said in an interview before the program. "...We will be doing some processes and also taking some questions from people."

The public event, which starts at 7 p.m. Monday Nov. 28 at the Hilton Memphis, will include guided meditation, music and wisdom led by Shankar. It will also include an interactive session where audience members will have the opportunity to pose questions.

“Let us come together to spread the message of global peace,” Shankar said in a news release. “Conflicts and wars not only destroy our environment but also harm the physical and mental health of the individual. World peace is impossible without individual peace. We must achieve inner peace if we hope to achieve outer peace.”

The Art of Living foundation has worked in areas such as environmental sustainability, poverty alleviation, disaster relief and empowerment of women. Its projects include Cities4Peace, an initiative to design community-specific solutions to promote public health and safety, and IAHV Prison Program, a rehabilitation program aiming to reduce re-offending.

"We had this one vision of the world as one family, humanity as one family," Shankar said about starting the foundation. "Reaching across all religious divides, race, cultural differences, coming together to celebrate life."

It is Shankar's first time visiting Memphis and he also plans to visit the National Civil Rights Museum while here.

"People have been inviting me to this city for the last 15 to 20 years," Shankar said. "Somehow I kept missing [it], my tours used to get occupied in the east and west coast most of the time."

His “I Stand for Peace” tour will end next year at the National Mall in Washington, D.C., 60 years after Dr. Martin Luther King’s famous “I have a dream” speech, from the very same place King gave his memorable remarks. According to the news release, Shankar will "once again send out the message of global peace and harmony in diversity."

The two-hour public event ends at 9 p.m. Monday. Attendees can get tickets at the Art of Living website.

Gina Butkovich covers South Memphis, DeSoto County, storytelling and general news. She can be reached at gina.butkovich@commercialappeal.com.

This article originally appeared on Memphis Commercial Appeal: Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, famous humanitarian leader, visits Memphis