Sri Sri Ravi Shankar

GURU RATING: 2 / 5 (QUESTIONABLE) — NET WORTH: 150 MILLION.


Sri Sri Ravi Shankar is a spiritual guru known for his Yoga breathing techniques as well as his peace initiatives. He is the founder of the Art of Living Foundation and the International Association for Human Values charity.

Ravi cut his spiritual teeth working alongside his teacher, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. He helped him set up Ayurvedic centres around the world and, essentially, run his business.

During a 10-day silent retreat, Ravi claims that a rhythmic breathing technique called Sudarshan Kriya suddenly came to him. The practice remains at the core of his teachings to this day.

The Apple Never Falls Far from the Tree

You may remember Maharishi as one of the first Indian gurus to achieve fame and fortune in the Western world.

Maharishi Mahesh Yogi introduced simple mental techniques to relax the mind.

Maharishi Mahesh Yogi introduced simple mental techniques to relax the mind.

He was the so-called spiritual advisor to The Beatles. Legend has it that he weaned them off LSD with his Transcendental Meditation technique. According to some reports, the band broke their relationship with him when he tried to rape Mia Farrow.

Viewed in a more critical light, Maharishi essentially repackaged an ancient mental method into a slick product.

In business, timing is everything. The West was thirsty for wisdom from the East. Maharishi made hundreds of millions of dollars selling it to them. His mansion reportedly had 200 rooms.

Nevermind that Transcendental Meditation (TM) is only a means of focusing and relaxing the mind. It’s harmless but beyond these benefits, it will not open you to the silence within.

Maharishi would have made no money at all with TM in India as it was well-known. The West, however, was ready to shell out big bucks for promises of spiritual growth and enlightenment.

The Business of Breathing

One can easily see parallels between Ravi & Maharishi. They both took a commonly understood technique and repackaged it into a spiritual product, earning many millions of dollars along the way.

Is this why they had a reputed falling out? Was Ravi undercutting his boss by setting up his own rival business?

His volunteer initiatives mostly pertain to introducing his breathing techniques to crisis situations. Perhaps helpful, or perhaps another self-serving business move.

We certainly do appreciate his frequent appeals for world peace, though it’s easy to cynically dismiss them as just another marketing campaign to draw attention (money) to his charities and foundations.

Questionable motives

The bottom line is that there’s absolutely nothing wrong with Sudarshan Kriya, including paying for courses or feel-good retreats. If it improves one’s life in any way — great!

On the other hand, it is quite limited in scope. Serious seekers may wish to move beyond the glitzy marketing campaigns and find a true spiritual guru, one who has realized the truth of his or her own nature. One less motivated by profit and attention-seeking.

We rate Sri Sri Ravi Shankar as questionable. We doubt his spiritual enlightenment. This said, Sudarshan Kriya may help some. Also, the world can always use another cheerleader for peace!



“Yoga is not just doing some exercises. It is much more. It is to expand your awareness, sharpen your intellect and enhance your intuitive abilities.” — Sri Sri Ravi Shankar


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8 Comments

  1. Is it bad for a guru to make a lot of money? Maybe not if it is well spent…

  2. He is a bad guru for not having his own experiential reckoning of what he’s teaching. He’s a parrot, and a poor one at that, as it’s all in the service of his image, which is 100% the only reason he gets any traction at all as a “guru.”

  3. The techniques taught by him has helped to tackle many problems of my life . They are in fact life saviours . An easy method that lead to stress free life , supplies required energy and ever smiling face . While taking about money making , the money is used in various service projects .:) 🙂

  4. “The money does not go into service projects, it is utilized for the growth of the organization for future generations.” These are his own words. Please verify if required. Followers looking for stress relief & solving life problems, and increased energy go to him not spiritual seekers looking for the Truth. He is a psychotherapist charging money hidden behind the title of a Guru. Live Drama.

  5. Sri Sri Ravishankar is a Guru in this world is really making difference in peoples life, on the other hand he is serving the world with various projects like river rejuvnation, gift a smile and many more projects.

    His efforts to bring peace are really appreciable.

  6. He is the real deal. Anyone who spend a few weeks in silence with him feels the grace flow. He doesnt care about money, sex and fame. He is 24/7 at service always thinking of the next person next to him. There is no doubt he is enlightened for those with eyes to see and whom has been around him enough. He is one huge Heart chakra basically. Now as to his organization….. its full of Ego’s. Its HUGE and has been commercialized. Its not really controlled by Sri Sri himself. He is the spiritual leader, not the practical leader of it. This creates some very bad experiences for those in contact with AOL who expects the “energy” of the Guru and his “wisdom”. You will only find that next to his feet on the courses themselves. The rest is noise and irrelevant. Also….. there are teachers out there who is more well spoken than Sri Sri. And to get his “shakti” through transmission takes effort as one needs to get on the long silence retreats with him. Amongst 1000s of others shuffling to get the same thing. I was with him over 25 years ago when it was easy to catch him and it was crystal clear the grace around him. Things where simple back then. Now its a circus….. too many people. He is popular. Very popular. So for the individual its hard to navigate this scene around him these days. He really tries to give everyone special attention but its hard.
    He is real deal. Just very few who hang in long enough to find out.
    I understand why the “outside” world just see him as a charity guy.
    Also he wont talk advaita that often. He did in the old days. More straight. But now he is more mainstream and “digestible”. He is aiming to reach as many as possible to give them some peace of mind.
    All these teachers each have their purpose and function in the world. Sri Sri cast a wide net. And that entails certain methods and ways the more seasoned seeker might not be attracted to immediately. And they rare get so far they see the depth really IS there. Its just not shown public. One would have to really dig in. Over time. To me he woke me up in a big way. I was lucky to have access to him way back when he was less known. I personally have never met anyone with such enormity as Sri Sri since then. And I have been around many of these who is still alive on this website. Just my 2 cents.

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