In 1956 CE, 1168 years later another boy is born in Paapnasanam Village of Tamil Nadu. His Birth time/date matched with that of Adi Shankaracharya i.e Shukla Paksha Panchami of Baisakh Month( Indian Lunar calendar) .
The Boy was named Ravi Shankar. This later got changed Sri Sri Ravi Shankar (name changed because a particular Musical maestro felt young Sri Sri was getting mileage due to commonality of the name.) By His 17th year, Sri Sri was well versed in Shastras. That is when Maharishi Mahesh Yogi ji spotted the brilliance and the light and took young Ravi Shankar into his wings.
The Sant Samaj and spiritual stalwarts across India had high hopes with the prodigy who seemed to be at home already with the truth that was to be realized. Three-four years before The Art of Living was founded, Maharishi ji and his spiritual peers asked Ravi Shankar to assume the seat of Shankaracharya peeth in Govardhan Math, Puri. Ravi Shankar sat down in a Kaali temple and asked for guidance from Goddess herself. The inner voice became very prominent and Ravi Shankar knew that something different was to happen through him. He politely declined Maharishi ji. Maharishi ji also had inkling about the future of the young man. He would say “The moment Ravi (Sun) rises there will be light everywhere and ignorance from Earth would be removed.” Ravi Shankar continued to represent Maharishi in various Science and Veda conferences.
Meanwhile, it was very difficult to miss the resemblance in voice and way of imparting knowledge of Ravi Shankar to that of late Shankaracharya of Joshimath Poojyapaad Brahmanand Saraswati. Maharishi ji was direct disciple of His Holiness. Swami Brahmanand ji is credited with resurrection of Shankaracharya tradition in all the 3 peethas : Dwarka, Govardhan Math and Jyotirmayi Peeth(joshimath). These seats for some 300 years were struggling in some measure to get the right inheritor to the seat. The current Shankaracharya in above mentioned three Seats is direct disciple of Brahmanand Saraswati ji. Lot of people were drawn to Ravi Shankar when they found profound Similarity between him and Shankaracharya Brahmanand Saraswati ji who had left his body three years before Ravi Shankar’s birth.
In a true tradition, there will be resemblance between immediate acharyas and also all the masters in Tradition. That’s the power of tradition. Same consciousness descends and propagates from one acharya to another acharya. Another important thing about a parampara is that it may not have a continuous chain of master. Joshimath peeth did not have a Shankaracharya for 300 years and then the ascension of Brahamananda Saraswati happened. Similar instances can be seen in Bhakti traditions as well. To understand more about Guru Parampara, one can attend Guru Puja that is conducted from time to time by Guru Puja Pandits from Art of Living across the world.
In year 1982, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar ji went into 10 days of continuous samadhi . This happened to him in Shimoga, Karnataka. The supreme gift of Sudarshan Kriya was unveiled to him. Even after such immense experience, young Sri Sri was still shy to commence teaching. This was because of his background and position in TM. Finally, it was the 300 year old mystic Devraha Baba who asked Sri Sri to begin new chapter in Indian spirituality. He was asked to do satsangs and teach Sudarshan Kriya. Since then it has been 33 years and Art of Living has touched millions of people.
The Art of Living serves in 150 plus countries. Sri Sri runs this organization with unparalleled smile and repose. We will let time put its last stamp on Sri Sri Ravi Shankarji’s Spiritual legacy.
A tale of one Jayanti and two Stalwarts is authored by Vijay and Ankita Dwivedi