Art of Living Foundation

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The Art of Living Foundation
Art of Living official logo.png
FounderSri Sri Ravi Shankar
Headquarters21st Km, Udaypura, Kanakapura Road, Bengaluru
Websitewww.artofliving.org

The Art of Living Foundation is a volunteer-based non-governmental organization.[1] It was founded in 1981 by Ravi Shankar.[2] The Art of Living Foundation has centers in more than 156 countries.[3]

Organization[edit]

Art of Living International Centre in Bengaluru

Art of Living Foundation has been an educational and humanitarian organization in the U.S. since 1989.[4] Accredited as a United Nations non-governmental organization in 1996, it works in special consultative status with the UN's Economic and Social Council.[5]

The majority of the officers of the organization, along with most of its teachers and staff, are volunteers.[6] Many of its programs are conducted through, or in conjunction with a partner organization, the International Association for Human Values (IAHV).[7] It's programs draw on Advaita Vedanta tradition and practices.[8] The Foundation operates as a charitable or a non-profit organization with chapters in many parts of the world.[9]

According to the tax return filed by the American chapter, AOL Foundation had total revenues of $US5.5 million, an income of $US3.5 million from course fees and expenditure of $US3.4 million from July 2006 to June 2007. Net assets at the beginning of July 2007 amounted to $US7.7 million.[10][11]

Programmes and courses[edit]

Its stress-elimination and self-development programs are based on the breathing technique Sudarshan Kriya, meditation and yoga.[9] This technique is a major part of Art of Living courses.[12][13] These courses have been conducted for students and faculty,[13] government officials,[14] firemen,[12] ex-militants,[15] and prisoners.[16]

Social service[edit]

Its areas of work cover disaster relief,[8] poverty alleviation,[17] prisoner rehabilitation,[16] empowerment of women, campaigns against female foeticide,[18] and environmental sustainability.[19]

Project Vidarbha[edit]

In 2007, with the support of state government, volunteers from the foundation provided training to farmers in six Vidarbha districts in organic and zero-budget farming, rainwater harvesting and multiple cropping as well as teaching them the Art of Living course. The next year, the foundation said it had to reduce the scale of its work after the state government announced loan waiver for farmers and pulled back funding to the foundation's project[17]

In 2008, Ravi Shankar announced the extension of the program to Andhra Pradesh to end farmer suicides from financial stress in that state.[20]

Mission Green Earth[edit]

in 2008, the foundation launched 'Mission Green Earth Stand Up Take Action' campaign to plant 100 million trees to help reduce global warming and protect the environment, in partnership with United Nations Millennium Campaign and United Nations Environment Programme.[19][21][22] In 2010, in Bangladesh the foundation participated in the 'Billion Tree Campaign' started by United Nations Environment Programme.[23][24]

River Rejuvenation Projects[edit]

In February 2013, the foundation launched a three-year program to rejuvenate the Kumudavathi River (in Bangalore) under its 'Volunteer for Better India' campaign along with civic authorities and environmentalists to address water shortage problems [25][26] Ravi Shankar led a walkathon in Bangalore to create awareness about the program.[27][28] The project had revived five water-recharge wells, constructed 74 boulder checks, cleaned up 18 step wells and planted 2,350 saplings in seven villages by June 2014.[29]

Similar efforts were held to revive Pallar River in Andhra Pradesh, Manjra river in Maharashtra,[30] and Vedavathi River in Karnataka.[31]

Volunteer For a Better India[edit]

The Art of Living, along with UN agencies, NGOs and civil society, launched Volunteer For a Better India (VFABI) on 5 December 2012.

VFABI protested against the 2012 Delhi gang-rape case.[32] In May 2013, 1,634 volunteers distributed medicines worth Rs. 2.2 million under the guidance of 262 doctors to over 20,000 slum dwellers in Delhi through 108 free health camps organized in collaboration with the Indian Medical Association.[33]

In September 2013, the 'I vote for better India' initiative was launched to increase awareness of the importance of voting as a responsibility towards the nation.[34][35][36]

Controversies[edit]

Settlement with anonymous bloggers[edit]

In 2010, Art of Living sued two anonymous bloggers for defamation, trade libel, copyright infringement and disclosing trade secrets. The two claimed to be former teachers/followers of Art of Living and had written posts critical of the foundation. The Foundation's request to unmask the bloggers' identities was denied, and the judge allowed only the trade secrets claim to go to trial.[37]

In a 2012 settlement, the bloggers agreed to freeze their existing blogs with no restriction on starting up new blogs critical of Art of Living.[38][39]

Land encroachment[edit]

In 2011, a public-interest litigation petition filed in the Karnataka High Court alleged that Art of Living had constructed structures on the Udipalya tank. The government of Karnataka found on inspection that the foundation had encroached upon 6.53 hectares (16.1 acres) of the tank area and issued a show cause notice.[40][41]

World Culture Festival on Yamuna flood plains[edit]

Art of Living Foundation organised the World Culture Festival on the Yamuna Flood plains in March 2016. A committee appointed by the National Green Tribunal recommended a fine of Rs 1,200 million on Art of Living Foundation for damaging the ecology of the flood plains.[42] The fine was later reduced to Rs 50 million, with no further events to be allowed at that location.[43] After initially disputing the fine,[44] with Ravi Shankar declaring that he would rather go to prison,[45] the foundation paid on 3 June 2016.[46]The matter is still under litigation with the Foundation denying any wrongdoing.

Burning of the Islamabad center in Pakistan[edit]

After the organization's yoga center in Islamabad, Pakistan was burned down by armed men in March 2014,[47][48] the Foundation reported receiving threats from the Taliban.[49] The center has since been rebuilt and is functioning.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Art of Living Foundation". GuideStar USA, Inc. Retrieved 20 September 2013.
  2. ^ "Sri Sri Ravi Shankar". The Indian Express. 22 November 2018. Retrieved 17 December 2018.
  3. ^ "Sri Sri Ravi Shankar's 59th Birthday: 10 Interesting facts you shouldn't miss about him". India Today. 13 May 2015. Retrieved 19 December 2018.
  4. ^ "United Nations Civil Society Participation (ICSO) – Login". United Nations – Civil Society Participation. UN. Retrieved 9 January 2019.
  5. ^ "List of non-governmental organizations in consultative status with the Economic and Social Council as at 1 September 2019" (PDF). United Nations – Civil Society Participation. UN.
  6. ^ "AOL's volunteers". Wired. October 1999.
  7. ^ "School for tsunami-affected children inaugurated in Tamil Nadu". The Times of India. 21 July 2007. Archived from the original on 2 February 2014. Retrieved 30 July 2013.
  8. ^ a b Chryssides, George D. (2012). Historical dictionary of new religious movements (Second ed.). Lanham, Md.: Scarecrow Press. p. 39. ISBN 9780810861947. OCLC 828618014. AOLF draws on Indian Advaita Vedanta (nondualism) tradition
  9. ^ a b Gautier, Francois. The Guru of Joy. New York: Hay House, 2008.
  10. ^ "Art of Living Foundation, Fairfield, IA – Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax, IRS 2006" (PDF). Retrieved 20 July 2010.
  11. ^ "Art of Living Foundation". GuideStar. Retrieved 19 December 2018.
  12. ^ a b "Pranayam lessons for Mumbai firemen". The Times of India. 4 February 2013. Archived from the original on 21 September 2013. Retrieved 1 August 2013.
  13. ^ a b Naseer, Briana (4 March 2013). "USF community learns 'The Art of Living'". usforacle.com. Archived from the original on 2 February 2014. Retrieved 26 April 2017.
  14. ^ "30 state officials try to master Art of Living without stress". The Times of India. 14 June 2003. Archived from the original on 21 September 2013. Retrieved 1 August 2013.
  15. ^ "Ex-rebels head for meditation courses". The Times of India. 12 March 2012. Archived from the original on 21 September 2013. Retrieved 1 August 2013.
  16. ^ a b Walker, Andrew (24 December 2008). "South African prisoners embrace yoga". BBC News.
  17. ^ a b "After loan waiver, no Art of Living course for Vidarbha farmers". The Indian Express. 27 June 2008.
  18. ^ "Voices against female foeticide filed by: Nirmala". The Times of India. 13 September 2009. Archived from the original on 13 September 2011.
  19. ^ a b "AoL project to tackle global warming". The Times of India. 14 March 2009. Archived from the original on 2 February 2014.
  20. ^ "Sri Sri to help AP farmers". The Times of India. 7 January 2008. Retrieved 16 November 2021.
  21. ^ "Art of Living launches 'Mission Green Earth Stand Up Take Action'". news.oneindia.in. Retrieved 11 June 2013.
  22. ^ "Students take up 'Mission Green Earth'". The Hindu. Chennai, India. 4 October 2008. Archived from the original on 8 October 2008. Retrieved 11 June 2013.
  23. ^ "Planting a billion trees". The Daily Star. Retrieved 11 June 2013.
  24. ^ "News from the Campaign". United Nations Environment Programme. Archived from the original on 13 May 2012. Retrieved 11 June 2013.
  25. ^ "Art of Living initiates Kumudvathi River rejuvenation program". The Times of India. 18 March 2013. Archived from the original on 24 June 2013. Retrieved 23 June 2013.
  26. ^ "Hoping for more water". The New Indian Express. 22 June 2013. Retrieved 23 June 2013.
  27. ^ "Kumudvathi revival plan draws citizens' interest". DNA. 9 June 2013. Retrieved 23 June 2013.
  28. ^ "Ravi Shankar leads walkathon for water". Business Standard. 8 June 2013. Retrieved 23 June 2013.
  29. ^ "He tames criminal instincts in jailbirds". The Times of India. TNN. 9 June 2014. Retrieved 25 June 2014.
  30. ^ Basu, Ipsita (6 December 2017). "Reviving water bodies is an Art of Living now". The Economic Times. Retrieved 17 December 2018.
  31. ^ "Copying nature is the only way to revive our rivers". downtoearth.org.in. Retrieved 17 December 2018.
  32. ^ "Mumbaikars hold public vigils to condemn Delhi horror; seek security for citizens, not VIPs". The Times of India. 21 December 2012. Archived from the original on 21 September 2013. Retrieved 19 December 2018.
  33. ^ "Free health camps for slum dwellers by Art of Living". Business Standard. 10 May 2013. Retrieved 29 July 2013.
  34. ^ "Foundation urges citizens to vote". The Times of India. 15 October 2013. Retrieved 28 November 2013.
  35. ^ "NGO volunteers enrol 35,000 people in voters' list". Sakal Times. 1 November 2013. Retrieved 28 November 2013.
  36. ^ "YCCE Supports 'I Vote For Better India' Campaign". Nagpur Today. 11 October 2013. Retrieved 28 November 2013.
  37. ^ "Unmasking The Art of Living". East Bay Express. 6 June 2010. Retrieved 7 February 2013.
  38. ^ "Blogger vs. Alleged Cult Case Ends in Favorable Settlement". East Bay Express. 26 June 2012. Retrieved 7 February 2013.
  39. ^ "Art of Living Foundation v. Does 1–10". Citizen Media Law Project.
  40. ^ "AoL has encroached tank". The Hindu. Chennai, India. 16 December 2011. Retrieved 17 February 2013.
  41. ^ "Sri Sri Ravishankar grabs Rs 50 cr land illegally in K'taka?". OneIndia News. Retrieved 17 February 2013.
  42. ^ Dasgupta, Piyasree (28 February 2016). "Sri Sri Ravi Shankar's Art Of Living Foundation Fined 120 Crore For Ecological Damage". huffingtonpost.in. Retrieved 26 April 2017.
  43. ^ Express Web Desk (10 March 2016). "Sri Sri Ravi Shankar event gets NGT nod, Art of Living fined Rs 5 crore". The Indian Express. Retrieved 26 April 2017.
  44. ^ "Art of Living Foundation hints at moving SC against NGT order". The Hindu. 6 June 2016. ISSN 0971-751X. Retrieved 18 December 2018.
  45. ^ TNN (11 March 2016). "Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Will go to jail, but won't pay Rs 5 crore fine; NGT fixes deadline". The Times of India. Retrieved 26 April 2017.
  46. ^ "Sri Sri Ravi Shankar gives in, pays Yamuna fine". asianage.com. 7 June 2017. Retrieved 26 April 2017.
  47. ^ "Police Investigating If Yoga Center Was Targeted Due To Links To India And Founder Sri Sri Ravi Shankar". Newsweek. AG Publications. Newsweek. 10 March 2014. Retrieved 25 June 2014.
  48. ^ "Did Pakistan TV Debate Prompt Burning of Yoga Center?". NBC News. 10 March 2014. Retrieved 25 June 2014.
  49. ^ "Taliban Threatens Art of Living Volunteers in Pakistan: AOL". Outlook. Retrieved 25 June 2014.

Coordinates: 12°49′33″N 77°30′32″E / 12.825845°N 77.508759°E / 12.825845; 77.508759