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Sri Sri Ravi Shankar (not to be confused with the late sitarist Ravi Shankar) is a leading voice in the pursuit of non-violence and, in 2010, was designated the fifth most influential person in India by Forbes Magazine.

Despite whoa-bro-ical assertions such as "Truth is spherical rather than linear; so it has to be contradictory," it’s hard to argue with Shankar’s underlying philosophy:

"Violence free society, disease free body, confusion free mind, inhibition free intellect, trauma free memory, and sorry free soul is the birth right of everybody."


It is in this spirit that Shankar is embarking on a five-city U.S. tour, starting in San Diego, to generate one billion acts of non-violence.

According to a press release:

“This movement began when Mr. Shankar, an internationally known meditation guru, organized an online initiative called Non-Violence: No Higher Calling, which encourages participants to commit to an act of non-violence – anything from playing life-affirming video games to doing yoga – and everything in between.

“Despite his traditional look, Mr. Shankar has adapted with the times and is taking advantage of a technology-driven culture to create a movement that utilizes social media to make an impact… Supporters of this groundbreaking initiative, powered by Mr. Shankar’s Art of Living Foundation, are encouraged to share their commitments on the ‘Non-Violence: No Higher Calling’ website in an effort to make non-violence go viral… The goal is to accumulate 100 acts of non-violence for every act of violence and eventually reach one billion acts.”

Shankar will be at the Spreckels Organ Pavilion (1549 El Prado - Balboa Park) on Monday, March 25 (7 p.m.)

Mayor Bob Filner will be in attendance to give a keynote address.

Shankar’s tour will continue on to Los Angeles, Chicago, New York, and Atlanta, where Shankar will be honored with the Gandhi, King, Ikeda Community-Builders Prize.

"The Wright brothers appeared crazy before they flew, and I have this crazy idea–a world without violence,” Shankar says in the press release.

“With all the violence in the world, this idea may appear to be hoping for utopia, but we need to dream and we will get there. If we instill pride in being non-violent, compassionate and helpful to others, our lives will take a new direction. And that should be our unwavering commitment!”

Sri Sri Ravi Shakar is a spiritual leader and founder of the Art of Living Foundation (founded 1982), which aims to relieve individual stress, societal problems and violence.

In 1997 he established a Geneva-based charity, the International Association for Human Values, an NGO that engages in relief work and rural development and aims to foster shared global values.

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