"Our music has gone through so much development," Shankar told The Times in 1997. "But its roots — which have something to do with its feelings, the depth from where you bring out the music when you perform — touch the listeners even without their knowing it."
With his wife, Sukanya, and daughter Anoushka, Shankar moved to Encinitas in 1992 but spent several months a year in India. He devoted much of his time to establishing the Ravi Shankar Foundation for Indian music education, based in Encinitas, and a similar center in New Delhi. In 2001, he received his final Grammy, in the world music category, for "Full Circle."
He was born Robindro Shankar on April 7, 1920, in Varanasi, India, to a Brahmin family. The youngest of four sons who survived to adulthood, he changed his name to Ravi, meaning "sun," when he was 20. His father, Shyam Shankar, was a scholar and lawyer who was absent for most of Ravi's childhood.
At 10, Ravi moved to Paris with his mother to tour with his brother Uday Shankar's Company of Indian Dancers. In 1938, the great sarod player Allauddin Khan joined the troupe as a guest artist in the U.S., and Shankar was drawn back to Indian classical music. He returned to India to study the sitar with Khan for seven years.
His 1969 autobiography, "My Music, My Life," is considered one of the best general introductions to Hindustani music.
When Shankar performed last year at Disney Hall, Times reviewer Swed wrote that "he opened ears and remade sensibilities" — and deserved to be called a legend.
Shankar's personal life was complicated. In 1941, he married Annapurna Dvi Allaudin, the daughter of Allauddin Khan and sister of master Indian musician-composer Ali Akbar Khan. The couple had a son, Shubhendra, and divorced in 1958. His son died in 1989.
Shankar had relationships with dancer Kamala Sastri, Sukanya Rajan and concert producer Sue Jones, who is Norah's mother. He married Rajan in 1989.
Besides his wife and daughters, he is survived by grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
Times staff writer Valerie J. Nelson contributed to this report.