the inaugural issue, we wrote that things are beginning
to happen that we never dreamt of. This article will
take you behind the scenes and tell you how the Lord
makes things happen, and quietly too, all in His own
way of course. And there is a message behind it, which
is that things will happen only when Samayam and Sandarpam
are right, meaning the time and the circumstances must
years ago, a devotee from America brought a team of
about seven or eight people. The members of theteam
seemed to be important, judging from the attention given
to them in veranda seating! They of course also got
an Interview. At that time, we did not know anything
else; it was only later we learnt that the group had
come with a view to persuade Swami to give His blessings
to put up a radio station here in Prashanti Nilayam,
as a part of a chain of radio stations the world over,
spreading religious and spiritual teachings. We don't
know if the general idea took off, but this we do know;
no radio station came up in Prashanti following this
visit, which means that Swami ignored the idea of a
radio station at that time.
there were constant attempts to "talk Swami into"
agreeing to have a web site and make that the vehicle
for the dissemination of His Message. People said, "Swami,
this web business is a great thing. All spiritual organisations
have it. You must bless one for us also." Swami
just smiled. But Internet addicts would not take the
hint; they started their own web sites, many of which
often became gossip and rumour sites! So much so, in
one Discourse, Swami went to the extent of saying what
we need is INNERNET and not Internet.
grumbled: "Swami does not understand how useful
the Internet is. Why is He so much against computers?"
Is Swami against computers as such? If so, how come
there are so many computers in His hospitals? How come
the Central Trust uses computers extensively for its
administrative and accounting work? Would these computers
have got in without His permission? How come there is
even a Master of Technology [M.Tech] Course on Computer
Science in Swami's University, the Sri Sathya Sai Institute
of Higher Learning? The answer is loud and clear. Swami
is NOT against computers as such but their irrational
and irrelevant use.
now to September, 2001. One afternoon that month, a
group of four people came from Bangalore for Darshan.
Two were from overseas and two were from India. They
seemed like important people because they were seated
right in the front. Swami came out for Darshan, and
these people were duly granted an Interview. Nothing
very special in that since this sort of thing happens
from time to time. But this time, there was something
different. That became known a few days later when Bhagavan
Baba announced that one of those who came earlier was
Dr. Samara, the Chairman of the WORLDSPACE Corporation,
and that he had offered free a radio channel on his
satellite the ASIASTAR, for digital broadcast of Swami's
Message, 24 hours a day. It happened just like that
- no one here asked for it or even dreamt about it,
and yet it happened because the time had come!
was decided that the radio service would be up on Birthday,
2001, and that Swami would inaugurate the service that
morning. All this was fine but no one here knew anything
about broadcasting, and much less digital radio broadcasting
via satellite! But now, we had to know all that and
there was so little time left! That is how He always
tests us; as He says, "Test is taste for God!"
We here sure know what that means!
hurriedly a radio team was formed with just two people
to start with, and hardly any equipment dedicated for
this purpose. But living in Prashanti, we know how to
improvise and come up with something or the other in
the last minute. And thus it was on 23.11.2001, RADIO
SAI came on the air when Bhagavan pressed a button in
Sai Kulwant Hall, as a part of the Birthday celebrations.
When Swami pressed the button, a message was flashed
from the Mandir to Melbourne in Australia by cell phone
- we had two cell phones just in case one of them failed!
- and the person in the Melbourne uplink station of
WORLDSPACE switched on the computer which then started
sending a pre-recorded program to the satellite. That
program was received by a receiver we had set up in
the Mandir, and this signal was fed to the Public Address
system. Thanks to all this, the people assembled in
the Sai Kulwant Hall heard the inaugural program, which
lasted seven minutes - we had arrived! By the way, when
Swami pressed the switch, a big board that was kept
in the Hall lit up and that was the symbolic inauguration.
spite of all the announcements made, few really understood
that the program that they heard that morningACTUALLY
came via satellite from Melbourne and that it was a
part of the Radio Sai activity. In fact, even after
a year or so, many still did not have the foggiest idea
about Radio Sai, though they had witnessed the inaugural
on the air seemed difficult, but once we were up, that
looked like child's play; it was staying on the air
24 hours a day that proved difficult. In those days,
we did not have a studio for recording or even proper
microphones, and many would not believe that we got
by using just a tie clip mike! But we went past this
seemingly impossible difficulty of staying continuously
on the air, and believe it or not, to celebrate our
100th day, we had a marathon 20 hour program covering
the entire life of Swami. This program was entitled
SATHYAM, SIVAM, SUNDARAM, and Swami heard a part of
it on the radio installed in His chamber, the African
trip part, to be precise!
back it all seems amazing and unbelievable, even to
us. It just goes to show, that somehow things fallinto
place and start happening, though we do not know how.
We now move to the summer of 2002, and Swami in His
own way, was bringing some other instruments of His
into the picture; and the instrument that helped us
to take a giant leap forward was Mr. Gopal Srinivasan,
Director, TVS Electronics, a leading hardware manufacturing
company in India. Brother Gopal was not only an ardent
devotee of Bhagavan, but also an audio-video buff, and
blessed with a keen desire to make his knowledge and
resources available for the benefit of Swami's Mission.
God has a way of recognising selfless desire calculated
to bring Ananda to all, and pretty soon, with Swami's
blessing, the building previously known as the EHV Building
[where Mr. Hejmadi had his office and morning talks
used to be given], was taken over for conversion into
a modern digital studio.
and his dynamic team now swung into action. During the
whole of summer while Bhagavan was away in Brindavan,
carpenters, electricians, air-condition mechanics, sound
engineers and what have you, transformed the old EHV
Building into not a modern but a dream studio! And we
who had worked earlier with just one computer and two
tie clip mikes, were knocked out flat.
wouldn't believe it; once a listener asked us, "Why
don't you give a postal address? Some of us do not havecomputers,
e mail and all that. How do we communicate with you?"
And do you know what reply we gave? We said, "Sir,
even people here do not know we exist! We have no room
of our own. If we give a postal address, the Postman
would not be able to find us!" We don't know if
the listener was satisfied with the answer, but that
was the truth!
29th August, all that changed. At last, thanks to Brother
Gopal, Radio Sai at last had a home! In the morning,
after Darshan, Swami accompanied by Gopal, drove to
the new studio. There He was lovingly and ceremoniously
received, and walking up the entrance, Swami set His
Divine Feet in the Studio premises. We felt truly blessed,
and it was a wonderful, moment for all of us. We can't
exactly you how exactly we all felt, but you can get
an idea of how happy we must have been by looking at
the pictures that accompany this story. Swami was so
relaxed and happy! He took His time to tour the facilities,
asking questions here and there, and patiently saw all
the things we were eager to show Him. It was funny,
when you come to think of it - He it was who had made
it all happen; and yet here we were trying to show Him
what "we had done"! The Lord in His Infinite
Love puts up with up all this and allows us to imagine
we were the doers!
walking round, Swami went to the main recording hall
where He sat down on a chair that had been specially
placed for Him. He then conversed in a most leisurely
manner with one and all, in the process drawing attention
to how Mr. Gopal had worked tirelessly to create these
wonderful facilities. All this was being done in order
to spread Ananda; spreading Love and Ananda must be
the aim of one and all, and Gopal had shown how everyone
can use his skills and endowments in his or her own
way to be part of the Lord's Mission. As a sign of Divine
Blessing, Bhagavan then materialised a Rolex watch for
Brother Gopal! Some more remarks and advice, and it
was time for Aarathi and departure. Swami had spent
full forty minutes but it seemed like just forty seconds!
So finally, we had a wonderful studio.
With Swami's blessings, it was named the Prashanti Digital
Studio. Nice place, wonderful air-conditioning and all
that. But we could not relax! More work and more challenges
ahead! Birthday was fast approaching, and it was decided
that on 23.11.2002, the first anniversary of Radio Sai,
we would broadcast live for the first time! When we
decided to go live on Birthday, we had little idea of
the problems involved. Gopal and his team worked closely
with us, as did Mr. Venugopal and his team from WORLDSPACE
and Mr. Madhav Murthy and his team from S.N.Informatics
[with whose help we are running the Radio Sai web site
and our audio download cum streaming service]. Many
things did not quite go the way we wanted, and our BP
was going up all the time. We prayed furiously of course,
but glitches kept popping up. On the morning of 22nd
November, things seemed to work out well, and we did
a successful trial "live" broadcast. But that
afternoon, when we went live with the Convocation function,
the broadcast had hiccups; it was not 100 % OK. A sleepless
night followed, even as phone calls flew all over the
place, from here to Bangalore, form Bangalore to Melbourne
and all that.
Birthday morning. We assembled in the
Mandir, where the Bhajan Hall had become our studio.
6.15 A.M., the hiccups were still there. Swami was due
shortly and how we could we have this problem when He
was giving His Discourse? We simply did not know what
caused the problem, much less the way of fixing it.
We just prayed. Swami came, gave Darshan and went to
the dais. He started speaking. Believe it or not, the
broadcast went through perfectly, not one single hiccup!
Truly, it was miracle! The world simply did not know
how thrilled we all were!!
The miracles seem to go on, for now
we have four new developments. First, we now have a
service to Africa and Europe, on the Afristar, as most
of you are already aware. And this again we owe to Dr.
Samara. Next, we have not only a web site of our own
but also a download service that greatly benefits people
living in Australia, New Zealand, and the America Continent,
which are outside the foot prints of the WORLDSPACE
satellites. Third, a TV channel [Sanskar TV] is now
carrying our video programmes three times a week, and
this time we are able to broadcast Bhajans sung in Swami's
presence. This is something absolutely wonderful; earlier,
video cameras were simply not allowed inside the sanctum
but now, Bhagavan has graciously permitted us to video
tape Bhajan programmes, so that viewers all over India
can experience the Prasanthi atmosphere intimately -
that is His Compassion.
Meanwhile, the ever-active Gopal, has
created more new dream facilities involving high-bandwith
connectivity and all that. Some of these are related
to the new Information Technology Centre inaugurated
by Swami recently - we carried a report on that in our
last issue. Thanks to these facilities, we expect to
soon telecast events over the web, web Darshan as Gopal
refers to it. So wonders are happening all the time.
Who knows, we might even have live telecast on Sivarathri
night! Just imagine what an impact that would have!
Blessed are all of us here on the SGH
Team, who have been given a chance to be associated
with all these momentous events. We offer our reverential
and most grateful salutations to our Beloved Swami for
blessing all of us in this manner and to give us all
a chance to serve the world in many different ways,
using the tools of modern technology.
Jai Sai Ram.