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The World Culture Festival 2016: Making Life a Celebration
The World Culture Festival 2016 is a celebration of The Art of Living’s 35 years of service to humanity. The festival will bring together people from different cultures, nations and faiths as a one world family in a resounding message of peace.
Marking 35 years of The Art of Living, The World Culture Festival (WCF) is expected to host over 35 lakh people from 155 countries in Delhi from March 11-13, 2016.
“We are a part of one humanity and we express ourselves differently through clothes, food, music. Celebrating our diverse cultures binds us together and expands our perspectives. The WCF emphasizes co-existence,” shares The Art of Living founder, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar?.
World Culture Festival 2016
The festival will have a 7-acre stage to seat thousands of artists, dignitaries and guests. The Ministry of Culture, Ministry of Tourism, Sangeet Natak Akademi, Lalit Kala Akademi, National School of Drama are supporting the event.
Global leaders from diverse fields and nationalities will be coming together to guide and renew their vision of work towards the welfare of the global community.
The first day (March 11) will see a medley of world cultures share a common platform to showcase how we co-exist in the world. The stage will host more than 10,000 artists who will play 40 traditional instruments in an unprecedented symphony. The aim is to bring the variety of music and artists on one platform and keep it alive for future generations. The second day of the WCF will have an all-inclusive inter-faith meet where spiritual and religious leaders across the world will participate in discussions on global concern.
A 2-day Global Leadership Forum on March 12 and 13 will bring together leaders from varied backgrounds like business, government, politics, sports, science, NGOs, spiritual and religious organizations, media and academia. The 3-day festival will be marked by a ‘Peace Meditation’ that will be led by The Art of Living Founder, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar and will be joined by millions from across the globe.
In 2011,the 30th anniversary of the organization was marked by around 50,000 people from across 151 countries where led by Sri Sri the gathering meditated with the sole aim of promoting peace and harmony in the world from Berlin’s Olympic stadium. Similarly, in 2006, 25 lakh people had gathered in Bangalore for Art of Living’s 25th year celebrations. Ten years on, the dream of creating a one world family that is stress-free and violence-free is bigger and closer to reality.?
Do join us at the World Culture Festival 2016.
You are also invited to donate and partner with us in supporting this epic event.
Your contributions will enable thousands of artists from far flung corners of our country to express their art forms at this world platform.
We are all part of the same, yet express ourselves differently - through clothes, food, music, dance, festivities. Through culture. Culture binds us together and showcases our diversity. The underlying joy that culture brings resonates across the globe. When we celebrate culture, we celebrate all our communities and enjoy the different expressions of the commonality. Building bridges between people and nations, it is culture that preserves our roots and deepens our bonds. And more than ever, the world needs people to come together.
In the past decade, The Art of Living has prominently worked towards giving people a platform to showcase their cultures. From orchestrating the biggest ensemble of bagpipe players to hosting the world’s largest vegetarian buffet. The number of people who have enjoyed these events and supported them has only grown larger over the years. And some of these celebrations have been recognized by the Guinness World Records as remarkable feats.
12 Art of Living Guinness World Records
9th January, 2013 - Horns: The largest horn ensemble consisted of 444 musicians and was achieved by Art of Living Foundation (India), in Kollam, Kerala, India. The 444 musicians all played the C-shaped long Indian horn called the Kombu or Sringa. The performance lasted for 25 minutes.
13th November, 2012 - Diwali Candles: The most candles lit simultaneously at a single venue is 12,135 and was achieved on Diwali by Art of Living Foundation (India) in Ahmedabad, India.
16th May, 2012 – Bagpipes: The largest bagpipe ensemble was achieved by 333 participants at an event organized by the Art of Living Foundation at the National Palace of Culture in Sofia, Bulgaria
17th January, 2012 - Taal Ninaad: The largest hand drum ensemble consisted of 1230 people playing tabla drums and was achieved by the Art of Living Foundation (India) at Humbarwadi Estate, Solapur, India.
21st February, 2011 - Abhanga Naad: The largest dhol drum ensemble was achieved by 1,356 participants in an event organised by Art of Living at Shivaji University Ground, Kolhapur, India. (Duration: approx 23 minutes)
12th February, 2011 - Naatya Vismayam: The largest Kathakali dance was achieved by 150 participants at an event organised by the Art of Living at Putharikkandam Grounds in Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala, India. (Duration: 2 performances of approx 20 minutes each)
30th January, 2011 - Naada Vaibhavam: The largest choir consisted of 121,440 people and was organised by The Art of Living (India), in Perungalathur, Chennai, India.
11 November 2010 - Mehran De Rang: The largest bhangra dance included 2,100 participants and was achieved by The Art of Living at the Punjab Agricultural University Campus, Ludhiana, India. (Duration: approx 15 minutes)
2nd November 2010 - Annam Brahma: The largest vegetarian buffet consisted of 5612 different dishes in an event organised by the Art of Living at Sri Sri Dham, Ahmedabad, India.
12th January, 2010 - Antarnaad: The record for the largest simultaneous sing-along was organized by the Art of Living and involved 1,04,637 participants singing 'Vande Mataram' at Antarnaad in Pune, India. (Duration: over 5 minutes)
21st November 2008 - Brahm Naad: The largest sitar ensemble consisted of 1,094 participants at an event organised by the Art of Living in Noida, Delhi, India. (Duration: 3 symphonies of approx 7 minutes each)
28th November 2006 - Mohiniyattam: The most people performing a mohiniyattam dance was 1,200 as part of the Silver Jubilee celebration of the Art of Living at the Jawaharlal Nehru International Stadium in Cochin, Kerala, India. (Duration: approx 12 minutes)
Theme: Global Cultures Coming Together in Times of Conflict
It is easy to create an agitation in today’s society: the frustration and stress levels are high. Any just cause can flare up emotions and get people to take violent actions. However, it is a much more challenging and skillful task to create inner peace and have people stand up in a peaceful, non-violent and happy mode to work towards collective, constructive action
Based on research done on the Global Conflict Panorama by an independent think-tank, there were 424 conflicts in 2014, of which 21 were classified as wars and 25 as limited wars.
Stress and tension are the root cause of violence. Rather than simply focusing on resolving surface conflicts through external solutions, The Art of Living brings an experience of peace to stressed minds. Powerful breathing and meditation techniques have not only calmed the minds of violent aggressors in different parts of the world, but also provided solace and emotional strength to victims of violent conflicts.
When stress is released from the system, peace results in the mind and human values such as cooperation, responsibility, friendliness and a sense of belongingness naturally develop. With a greater sense of belonging and responsibility, a sense of humanity is awakened, and individuals naturally want to take action to improve the world around them.
Love moves the world
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar has both personally and through thousands of volunteers, fostered peace through dialogue and strategic initiatives that engage multiple levels of government, business, and humanitarian organizations. A mission that requires resilience and high levels of commitment, it is genuine care and love that heals hurt hearts and then includes them in the journey of touching more lives.
The Art of Living has initiated conflict resolution and trauma-relief programs in many countries including Afghanistan, Brazil, Cameroon, India, Indonesia, Iraq, Israel-Palestine, Kenya, Kosovo, Lebanon, Mauritius, Morocco, Nepal, Pakistan, Russia, South Africa, Sri Lanka and the United States.
A multi-pronged strategy is followed including typically more than one of these components:
Inner Peace: trauma-relieving powerful interventions to bring peace to disturbed minds and elevate energy for positive action
Multi-group dialogue: all factions are brought to the table for constructive conversations with The Art of Living playing a facilitative role.
Community building: Local leaders and change agents are inspired and developed to help lives support each other in the process of healing
Necessities: Immediate help is made available based on need e.g. food, shelter, medicines
Creation of platforms: Conferences, larger think-tanks and external support is garnered through creating awareness of the situation
Jammu and Kashmir
Seeds of Peace after Decades of Violence
“We supported militancy and suffered a lot. We now really realize that if we had educated them (the militants), we would not have suffered so much. Thanks to Sri Sri, we now have the tools to transform Kashmir and bring back peace.”- Asif Bhatt, Jammu and Kashmir
Since the partition of India in 1947, the state of Jammu and Kashmir has been in a state of tension, violence and instability that continues till today. Decades of destruction of life and property has devastated the minds and lives of Kashmiri communities. The hold of militancy runs deep. Young boys can disappear suddenly in the middle of the night, turning to militant groups who promise revolution. They may return in the garb of a militant, putting their family immediately under legal scrutiny. Families cannot move freely, perpetually afraid of attacks.
Inspiring Leaders towards Peace
2004 - 2007
“We are with Sri Sri in his efforts to revive and develop human values. We will tread his path, leaving politics aside and extend all our support to his initiatives.” -- Zafar Akbar Bhat, Chairman, Jammu and Kashmir Salvation Movement.
Sri Sri has taken his message of unity to members of different political and religious groups in Jammu and Kashmir since 2004. Meeting with leaders and youth, Sri Sri urged them to find a common solution. He offered prayers at the Islamic Hazratbal shrine for restoring peace, harmony and unity in the Valley. The Chief Minister, the Deputy Chief Minister, the Army Chief, and the Governor sought counsel with Sri Sri regarding insurgency and militancy.
In June 2005, Sri Sri visited Srinagar, where he was greeted by more than 500 Muslim youth. The Foundation initiated a conference on Human Values and Non-Violence for leaders of opposing factions, such as the Hurriyat Conference, Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front, and Kashmiri Pandits. The historic meeting was the first time that the leaders had come together. As a result of Sri Sri’s visit, the conference attendees committed to work towards peace and progress in Kashmir. Sri Sri also held talks with a number of separatist leaders, including Syed Ali Shah Geelani, then-chief of the undivided Hurriyat Conference.
During Sri Sri’s visit to Jammu in 2007, Sri Sri met refugees, convicted militants and others under trial in the high-security Kothalwal Jail, which houses more than 300 foreign and local militants.
Sri Sri and the Foundation’s approach to building trust among different factions reinforces ties between people, and has been praised widely by the Indian Army, which invited Art of Living teachers to show them how to gain the trust of residents. One of these training sessions was held in Dhansal Hills for more than 800 youth.
Transforming Instigators of Violence in Agents of Change
“I was a district commander of a military outfit. I used to carry a gun with me all the time. Sleep would come hard, so engulfed was I with worries and guilt. I had to resort to taking sleeping pills. After I underwent The Art of Living Course, I realized the futility of what I was doing and gave up the path of violence. My life has changed.” - Mansoor Ahmed, a reformed militant
Providing youth with tools to overcome years of turmoil, the YLTP instills self-confidence in youth and provides them with support to rebuild their society. The first YLTP in Kashmir was held in January 2003 in Doda with 100 youth. Today, 1,200 youth leaders have been trained, and special courses in Doda and Baramullah have inspired 1,500 youth to give up violence and their allegiance to violent groups.
Prison staff work in incredibly stressful conditions. The overcrowding that exists in many institutions adds to the anger and frustration of inmates, which results in more frequent altercations between inmates and increased threats of staff assault. The Foundation’s prison program addresses the problems of stress for both inmates and law enforcement officers. About 1,000 inmates have undergone the Sri Sri’s prison program in jails in Baramullah, Poonch, Jammu, and Udanpur districts.
Providing New Possibilities for Youth
“I used to think that my brain has stopped working, there was no retention power left. Now, after the course, I am feeling very fresh and I am thinking about the future.” - Ashfaq Ahmed, 15
Children are soft targets for recruitment into military groups. To take care of them, His Holiness started an orphanage where about 100 children reside. These young victims are given a multi ethnic, multi-cultural education to safeguard their young minds from fanaticism. These children also undergo The Art of Living program, which helps them overcome their painful past.
“Every morning I used to wake up with a jolt, my whole body used to ache and at night, I used to be very scared of noises. I missed my mother who died in an earthquake. After practicing the techniques learnt at the course, I am feeling very relaxed and no longer afraid of noises.” - Arshad Khan, 14
Nursing the scars of conflict
“I believe the principles of the Art of Living program are vital for lasting peace in Kosovo, and am taking an active role in integrating it in the society.”- Dr. Fadil Beka, Executive Director of University of Clinical Center
Violent unrest in Kosovo broke out in March 2004. Kosovo Albanians, numbering over 50,000, took part in wide-scale attacks on the Serbian people, compared by the then Serbian Prime Minister Vojislav Koštunica to ethnic cleansing. It was the largest violent incident in the province since the Kosovo War of 1998-99. During the unrest, 19 civilians were killed (8 ethnic Serbs and 11 ethnic Albanians), over 4,000 Serbs were forced to leave their homes, 935 Serb houses, 10 public facilities (schools, health care centers and post offices) and 35 Serbian Orthodox church-buildings were desecrated, damaged or destroyed, and six towns and nine villages where ethnically cleansed according to Serbian media
Sri Sri’s Art of Living Foundation has been involved in bringing aid to post-war Kosovo, delivering relief materials and supplies, working for conflict resolution, and assisting victims of post-traumatic stress disorder.
Inspiring Leaders towards Peace
In September 2007, Sri Sri met with the president of the Judicial Parliament Council, Hyadjet Hyesni, and vice-president of the Alliance New Kosovo, Ibrahim Makolli during a two-day visit to Kosovo. He also addressed a gathering of doctors, police officers, war veterans and staff of the United Nations.
“We thank Kosovo for sending Mother Teresa to India. India would reciprocate by bringing the benefits of yoga and its ancient spiritual knowledge, which is much needed in Kosovo today,” Sri Sri said at the gathering.
Sri Sri has promoted dialogue between Albanians and Macedonians through its conflict resolution programs, and helped reintegrate victims of imprisonment, torture and internal exile in Albania.
“The participants, many war veterans, experienced great healings from the program. I experienced great relief from anger, irritability, sleep disorders and depression.”- Vehbi Rafuni, retired director, Association of Disabled Kosovo Liberation Army Veterans
More than 500 nurses, doctors, psychologists, psychiatrists, counselors and social workers employed in seven Mental Health Centers across Kosovo participated in Art of Living workshops. Based on positive results, the Ministry of Health requested that all the Mental Health Workers in Kosovo participate in the workshops to learn how to deal eliminate stress and prevent burnout. The Ministry also requested that several of these health workers be trained to teach the Art of Living’s Trauma Relief workshops to reach out to larger numbers of Kosovars.
Providing food and clothing to the needy, Art of Living volunteers have conducted trauma relief courses for 700 Kosavars, including United Nations peacekeepers, torture victims, massacre witnesses and disabled KLA veterans in cooperation with the Ministry of Health, and 120 officers of the Indian Special Police unit
“I often used to jump up in my bed searching for a gun, and afterwards I couldn’t sleep…Now the flashbacks and nightmares have reduced, and I sleep much better. I now use the Art of Living program instead of pain killers.”- Afet Billali, disabled war-veteran
“It feels wonderful to laugh instead of suffering from panic attacks. The Sudarshan Kriya has transformed my life.” - Ferid Billali, war veteran
Cote D’Ivoire & Cameroon
Bridging Racial Tensions
“How can someone sitting far away in India care so much for us and send somebody to help us?” -- Jean–Claude, Cote D’Ivoire referring to Sri Sri
Cote D’Ivoire and Cameroon have both been mired in tribal conflict for decades, exacerbated by economic deprivation. Cote D’Ivoire’s two-year civil war, which began in 2002, saw the division of the country into a rebel-led north and government-led south. In both countries, there has been a breakdown in public services, the financial sector and infrastructure.
The Deula and Guéré are two warring tribes in Deukoué, Cote D’Ivoire. Differences over land and economic issues have caused such disharmony that one group cannot walk in the village of the other without being attacked.
Inspiring Leaders Towards Peace
“Sri Sri’s initiatives consider human beings in their entirety, and heal the body, mind, and spirit. The Art of Living is one of the rare NGOs which works at the grassroots level, close to the population and goes to the core of the problem.” - Djedje Dano Sebastien, Minister of National Reconciliation, Ivory Coast.
Recognizing the effectiveness of the Art of Living projects, the Minister of Reconciliation in Ivory Coast personally lent his support to the work initiated by Sri Sri. The administration and 60 non-governmental organizations expressed strong interest in forging partnerships with the Foundation. On September 6, 2005, the Cameroon government recognized the work of Art of Living.
On December 1, 2007, a Peace Conference was held in Duékoué. Mr. Djedje Dano Sebastien, Minister of National Reconciliation and his wife Patricia Dano Sebastien lauded the Foundation. Mr. Tihi Kpao Victor, Mayor of Duékoué, was so impressed with the work done by the local youth leaders trained by the Foundation that he pledged support for future projects. The Police Commissioner of Duékoué, the Iman of Duékoué, youth leaders and village heads also attended the conference. All attendees expressed optimism for progress and peace.
Building Local Leaders
Youth leaders rebuild their communities
“We lived together and discovered our ways were so similar. There is no fear. We are brothers.” - Adama, member of the Deula tribe.
Under Sri Sri’s guidance, Art of Living teachers trained 15 youth from each warring faction for an eight-day immersive Youth Leadership Training Program (YLTP). The program was so successful that the Art of Living was invited to conduct a second YLTP in Bouké, the headquarters of the rebels. In November 2007, the Art of Living conducted a third YLTP for 40 Ivorians in Man, a corridor of violence between Liberia and Ivory Coast.
Building a sense of trust, connection, and service, the program has resulted in tribe members handing over a forcibly occupied village, rebuilding all homes destroyed by tribal warfare, and youth-led cleanliness and infrastructure-development campaigns. With techniques to process their stress and trauma, youth who had used alcohol to shut out memories of the civil war could sleep peacefully.
In 2005, YLTP was conducted for 25 youth in Saa, Cameroon. Seven graduates represented Cameroon at the Art of Living Foundation’s 25th Year Anniversary Celebrations in Bangalore, India, in February 2006. At this time, the youth leaders began training as Art of Living teachers, and learned organic farming and biogas production techniques in India.
In June 2006, the Mayor of Saa gave a hectare of land to the Foundation, which is currently being used to promote organic farming. In places where chemicals have rendered the land infertile and biogas unaffordable, natural methods of production have come as a boon. Motivated by the results, residents from neighboring villages have requested training in the same farming techniques.
Theme: Environmental Care
The Art of Living, with its roots in spirituality, has nurtured a deep respect for our planet in thousands of people around the world. The earth may be made up of rocks, sand and water, but spirituality can help us to perceive our planet as a living vibrant entity, responding to our care and attention.
Inspired by the vision of Sri Sri Ravi Shankar and building energy as a team, volunteers from around the world have initiated several environmental projects: large scale tree plantations through Mission Green Earth, water management and protection including cleaning polluted rivers and rejuvenating dried rivers and zero-budget chemical-free farming that is both economically and organically sound.
Effective Water Management
It is said that the next world war will be fought not for money but for water. The Art of Living runs multiple initiatives to conserve (e.g. water harvesting, river cleaning) as well as increase fresh water supply sources (e.g. river rejuvenation).
The main causes for the drying up of rivers are urban encroachment and deforestation as well as unsustainable extraction of ground water and loss of traditional knowledge. Urban encroachment led to the destruction of the catchment areas that feed the river, while deforestation has loosened the soil’s water-holding capacity. The project involves four main steps:
The Kumudvathi River Rejuvenation project:
The background: Bangalore city’s drinking water needs are set to reach 22.68 TMC (thousand million cubic feet), while the river Cauvery would only be able to supply 17.22 TMC. Also, the Tippagondanahalli reservoir, located just outside the city at the confluence of the Kumudvathi and the Arkavathy rivers, which has been supplying water since the 1930s, now runs dry.
The solution: The Kumudvathi River, which flows across 278 villages, covering 460 Sq. Km in 3 taluks, has the potential to augment Cauvery's water to satisfy Bangalore’s needs.
The Approach: The Kumudvathi Rejuvenation Project, flagged off in 2013, is built on 3 cornerstones: Awareness, Basin Rejuvenation, Community inclusion
Awareness: Among the villagers, in urban Bangalore, government and civic organizations including the Gram Panchayats, corporate houses and the public at large. This has been done through walkathons, street plays, rallies and interactive sessions with villagers.
Basin Rejuvenation: This is a 4-5 year project and needs to iterate through multiple monsoons. The interim results in eight villages have been very encouraging, where the existing water bodies have been rejuvenated due to this season’s bountiful rainfall.
About 120 volunteers visit the identified villages every Sunday from Bangalore city along with school and college students and corporate professionals. They involve themselves in basin rejuvenation work and in events planned to attract villagers to become part of the Kumudvathi project. Events include tree plantation, recharge pit inauguration, Rangoli, Garland making, drawing competition, lemon & spoon race, etc. They also conduct health camps and sensitize women and children about hygiene, environment etc.
Empowering breath-based programs are conducted for the upliftment of the villagers while Youth Leadership Training Programs are also being initiated to create local leaders. Farmers are encouraged to form clubs at the Panchayat level to encourage organic farming and community farming.
Nine Gram Panchayats have so far pledged their support and the Minor Irrigation and Water Resources Department has meanwhile offered full cooperation in the restoration of existing local water bodies in the region.
There are similar heartening stories from Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra.
Naganadhi: 15 years ago, Thiruvannamalai in Tamil Nadu was a familiar terrain of lush green. Today there are pockets of barren land; surveys showed that increasing the ground water level of the Naganadhi river could reverse the situation. One solution identified was the construction of recharge wells near check dams – accordingly, since September 2014, volunteers have worked on the project in Thiruvannamalai and Vellore. The construction of 5 recharge wells and 3 boulder checks have been completed to allow greater percolation of water. Some results are there to see after the rains: 7 open wells which were dry for years are now holding water.
Tawarja and Gharni: As part of its Jal Jagruti Abhiyan, a campaign aimed at finding ways to overcome the severe drought situation in Maharashtra, The Art of Living has rejuvenated two rivers in the Latur district: the Tawarja River in Ausa Taluka and the Gharni River in Shirur Anantapal.
The Tawarja River, that was almost dried, now holds 230 crore liters of water along the 13 km of rejuvenation that has been completed so far. The Gharni River is cleaned and widened to hold 45 crore liters of water after the rainfall. About 180 crore liters of water will now percolate in the river basin.
The other aspect of water management, water conservation is driven by training thousands of villagers and youth to take up water-harvesting projects in their communities. This not only conserves water and maintains the water table, but also reduces the possibility of flash floods. Some of these projects are rooftop rain water harvesting, de-silting and better maintenance of structures and distribution of water.
Using indigenous water conservation mechanisms, The Art of Living turned Kapsi, a drought-prone village in Maharashtra, India into having a water surplus.
Water Source Cleaning
A number of river and lake cleaning projects have been done, including the Yamuna and the Pampa. It was found that the level of pollution in the Pampa can cause gastrointestinal illnesses, severe diarrhea, nausea, serious liver damage and associated headaches and fatigue. Awareness, activism and actual cleaning of the river were planned to coincide with the days of the Sabarimala pilgrimage, during which the pollution peaked.
Over many months, 1500 volunteers travelled up to 450 kilometers to conduct the river cleaning and awareness programs. They removed over 30 tons of garbage manually from the river in the 5 phases, put them in sacks and transported them by tractors for safe disposal.
The one thing that can help contain global warming, soil erosion, depletion of soil fertility, air pollution, water pollution etc is the act of planting more trees. Trees generate oxygen, beautify, provide shade, provide homes, help capture rain water, support bio-diversity among other things.
The Art of Living launched a massive initiative christened ‘Mission Green Earth’ to encourage people to plant trees. The initiative, taken up in association with the United Nations Millennium Campaign (UNMC) and United Nations Environment Program (UNEP), enabled the plantation of 10.6 million trees planted across 36 countries and 26 states of India.
The Haiti Reforestation Project was born out of a need to rehabilitate the environmental crisis in the country: estimates suggested that 98 percent of Haiti’s forests were cut. Deforestation meant that 70% of land is not cultivable and that there is no more lumber to sell. In 2007, a special 10-day Youth Leadership Training Program (YLTP) was held in Les Cayes, in the South Western part of Haiti for 35 Haitian youth and 8 community leaders. These leaders have taken up the goal of planting and nurturing 1.5 million trees and every month, they move closer as they keep planting hundreds of trees.
Extending tree plantation to festivals
The Art of Living family has declared Guru Purnima as The Art of Living Environment Day with thousands of people around India planting trees, cleaning up streets and creating awareness on natural farming.
Some details from the celebrations in 2014-2015:
Excessive use of chemical fertilisers have poisoned the soil, not only reducing the yield but also making produce grown on them dangerous for human consumption. The Art of Living has launched awareness programs to encourage people to return to traditional methods of organic farming and eliminate the use of harmful chemical fertilizers and pesticides. Such methods are conducive to environment sustainability as they consume less natural resources like water. To spread this practice, The Art of Living has trained thousands of farmers in India and globally. It also runs an internship program at its Canadian Centre to educate youth about natural farming.
Innovations in farming practices:
Permaculture, a term that defines the need for a permanent or sustainable system of agriculture, is being experimented all over the world across difference climatic and geographic zones. It is about "Consciously designed landscapes that mimic the patterns and relationships found in nature while yielding an abundance of food, fiber, and energy for the provision of local needs".
What permaculture does is help recharge the ground water table, build soil from bio-waste, grow crops through multiple cropping, build garden beds and forests that also generate fodder along with offering sustainable housing. This is done without irrigation or tilling to save fossil fuels.
In a proof of concept done in 7 acres of degraded land, these principles have been applied for a few months. The team has dug swales on slopes for water harvesting, raised garden beds, grown fruit trees, and built a bamboo and mud hut. The swales, he says, have started filling up the nearby ponds; the gardens have started yielding flowers, vegetables, and fodder and the land already looks green.
With the advancement of science, many alterations and changes have been introduced in the crops and the genetic make-up of the original seed is changed. Because of this the newly developed varieties and hybrids of different seeds are susceptible to different pests and diseases. The most viable alternative to assure the stability and sustainable development in agriculture is to promote indigenous seeds. Hence a seed bank has been set up to promote time-tested, drought-resistant local seeds, protect biodiversity and educate farmers on scientific ways of crop selection.
Indigenous Specie Protection
Every plant or animal on this planet adds beauty and value to this creation simply by its presence, is part of an elaborate eco-system and must be preserved. The Art of Living has taken a step towards this and has been working to revive some indigenous breeds of cows in India. It has also been involved in preserving the wetland species habitat in Lake Herdsman Regional Park, Australia.
In India, a whole gamut of activities: agricultural, religious and economic revolve around a cow in addition to the obvious product i.e. milk. For organic farming, cow dung is the a good fertilizer; dried dung cakes are used as fuel and cow dung lined on the floor and walls of homes provides thermal insulation in cold weather, shields radiation and repels insects. Bulls are used for tilling fields and as a means of transport.
With a little intelligent selection, indigenous cows can attain very high levels of milk production. At the Art of Living International Headquarters in Bangalore, a Goshala i.e. a cow shelter, was set up with the aim of preserving pure Indian breeds. It houses over a hundred indigenous cows of different breeds such as the Ongol from Andhra Pradesh, Kangayan from Tamil Nadu, the Gir from Gujarat and the Sahiwal from Punjab.
Founded in 1981 by Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, The Art of Living is an educational and humanitarian movement engaged in stress-management and service initiatives. The organization operates globally in 154 countries and has touched the lives of over 370 million people.
The programs are guided by Sri Sri's philosophy of peace: "Unless we have a stress-free mind and a violence-free society, we cannot achieve world peace." To help individuals get rid of stress and experience inner peace, The Art of Living offers stress-elimination programs which include breathing techniques, meditation, and yoga. These programs have helped millions around the world to overcome stress, depression and violent tendencies.
The Art of Living movement has spread peace across communities through diverse humanitarian projects, including conflict resolution, disaster relief, sustainable rural development, empowerment of women, prisoner rehabilitation, education for all, and environmental sustainability.
The Art of Living has a few sister organisations which are also dedicated to the vision of a stress-free, violence-free world. The International Association for Human Values (IAHV), Ved Vignan Maha Vidya Peeth (VVMVP), Sri Sri Ravi Shankar Vidya Mandir (SSRVM), Vyakti Vikas Kendra India (VVKI), Sri Sri Rural Development Program (SSRDP) and Sri Sri Institute of Agricultural Sciences & Technology Trust (SSIAST) among others, formulate and implement humanitarian projects of The Art of Living globally.
The Art of Living is a multi-faceted organisation with one of the largest volunteer bases in the world. The international headquarters is located in Bangalore, India. Globally, the organisation operates as The Art of Living Foundation formed in 1989 in the United States of America and in Germany. Since then, local centres have been established across the world. In the Art of Living's organisational structure, there is a board of trustees with a term of two years. Two-thirds of the trustees change every two years. All the Art of Living teachers and the previous trustees are allowed to nominate a new board. There is a provision for an advisory board that monitors and guides the organisation. All the accounts are regularly audited by an external auditor. Other than expenses, no trustee is entitled to benefits in terms of salary etc.Art of Living programs directly help to fund its humanitarian projects. The proceeds from the sales of The Art of Living Publications and Ayurveda products are also directed to our social initiatives.
CONGO (Conference of NGOs in Consultative Status with ECOSOC of the United Nations), Geneva and New York
International Alliance against Hunger
UN Mental Health Committee and UN Committee on Aging, New York
International Union for Health Promotion and Education, Paris
NGO Forum for Health, Geneva
Art of Living Day celebrated
Human Values Week in Louisiana – February 23, 2007
Human Values Week in Baltimore – March 25 - March 31, 2007
Human Values Week in Columbia – March 2007
Art of Living Foundation day – in Syracuse– May 7, 2004