Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, a spiritual and wellness guru from India, returns to Silicon Valley this week after his appearance drew thousands of followers last year.

Shankar disciples will offer workshops from his "Art of Living" courses at the Santa Clara Convention Center. He will speak about compassion at Stanford University later in the week.

Shankar travels the world delivering a nondenominational message and techniques that incorporate meditation, yoga and breathing exercises to reduce stress.

His appearance in San Jose last year attracted more than 8,000 to the conference.

A son of an auto executive, the young Ravi took a spiritual path, followed the Marharishi Mahesh Yogi and developed a rhythmic breathing exercise to help relieve personal stress.

Not to be confused with the famous sitar player who mentored the Beatles, Shankar founded the nonprofit Art of Living Foundation in 1982 to conduct programs for people of all religions and cultures.

One of his most popular disciples, Rajshree Patel, will teach a program on attaining happiness at the Santa Clara Convention Center June 27 to 29.

Shankar will speak at Stanford's Center for Compassion and Altruism Research on July 1. More information at www.myhappinessprogram.org and 650-479-6548.

--Joe Rodriguez