Art of Living Foundation

Led by a Nobel Prize-nominated guru, accused of abusing his followers

(1981 - present)

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar (leader)

The Art of Living Foundation (AOL) is a non-governmental organization based in India, which emphasizes the removal of stress through meditation and breathwork. While many people have reported positive experiences with this group, two whistleblowers (the main sources for the information below) have accused the group of abuse and cult-like behavior and have leaked private documents to support their claims. The AOL launched a lawsuit against these individuals in retaliation, but were ultimately unsuccessful in having information taken down. In addition, the AOL has also faced additional controversy for land encroachment and environmental damage, although they have also been praised for their humanitarian efforts throughout the world. Today, the AOL continues to thrive, sharing their self-help techniques with millions of people.

Religion: Hinduism

Leader: Sri Sri Ravi Shankar

Founded: 1981

Location: International; headquartered in Karnataka, India

Size: 2 million

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