Internationally-known humanitarian, spiritual leader and champion of the cause of world peace Sri Sri Ravi Shankar is bringing his message of unity and diversity to Loyola Marymount University.

Shankar and members of his Art of Living Foundation will host “Experiencing Unity, Honoring Diversity,” an evening of wisdom, meditation and music at 7:30 p.m. Friday, April 28th; and a workshop designed for Los Angeles, “Leading Into the Light,” based on deepening knowledge and experience, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, April 29th, at the Loyola Marymount University Gersten Pavilion, 1 LMU Drive, Westchester. Admission to the Friday evening event is $15 to $25, and admission to the Saturday workshop is $100.

Shankar’s teachings are based on the yoga or Vedic tradition. Art of Living Foundation is a nongovernmental organization (NGO) involved with the United Nations. The tenets of the nondenominational group include Shankar’s philosophy of “love, practical wisdom and service.”

The emphasis of the group’s work is on education and humanitarian service.

Among the group’s main teachings is the “sudarshan kriya,” a breathing technique developed by Sri Sri Ravi Shankar.

The group currently has organized charitable service projects in about 148 countries, contributing to community development, education, schools, orphanages and work skills for women.

Shankar founded the International Association for Human Values (IAHV) in Geneva, Switzerland, in 1997 to further this mission.

Art of Living Foundation commonly runs trauma relief programs in war- or disaster-torn areas including Kosovo, Afghanistan and Iraq. Following the September 11th, 2001 attacks, the group ran trauma relief workshops in donated rooms of hotels near where the World Trade Center had stood. The group ran post-traumatic stress relief workshops in war-torn Sri Lanka and visited countries ravaged by tsunamis.

Earlier this year, a 25-year silver jubilee celebration for Art of Living Foundation in India drew presidents, prime ministers and kings and a crowd estimated at over 250,000.

In conventional Western medicine, treatment for diagnosed depression has included electroshock therapy and more recently antidepressant drugs. The National Institute of Mental Health in India concludes from its research that Shankar’s breathing techniques are just as effective in treating depression, according to Art of Living Foundation. A number of American psychiatrists seeking to minimalize the use of drugs in their practice, including Columbia University associate clinical professor of psychiatry Dr. Richard Brown, agree and promote the technique.

Santa Monica resident John Osbourne is president of the Art of Living Foundation in the United States. Osbourne works as an investment advisor and volunteers his time with the group.

“People look for love outside themselves or look for ways to make themselves more loveable,” says Osbourne about the group’s philosophy. “One of the things that Art of Living teaches is that you yourself are a source of love.

“Wisdom allows us to experience ourselves as a source of love and to share that with other people in a practical way. And sharing love in a practical way usually winds up as some kind of service to others.”

A member of the congregation of St. Monica Catholic Church, Osbourne says that the teachings of Sri Sri Ravi Shankar in no way conflict or interfere with his traditional Catholic beliefs.

“It has only encouraged me to become more involved in my Catholicism,” he says.

A main mission of Sri Sri Ravi Shankar has been bringing people of varying religious beliefs (sometimes even traditional enemies like certain sects of Pakistani Muslims and Indian Hindus) together in harmony.

“We hope that people are able to discover a deeper kind of harmony than they ever had before through our work,” says Osbourne.

Information, (310) 820-9429.