"THE MANIFESTO" - A VISION WE WISH TO EXPLORE
By Prof. G. Venkataraman
[Do not miss this!]
Presented below in four parts is some loud thinking on my part, to stir up some active discussion about how to take the Universal Message of Bhagavan Baba to the wide world, beyond the traditional circumference defined by Sai devotees. This is essential for several reasons, the most important of which are: a) Swami’s teachings offer the only comprehensive solution to the complex problems faced by humanity at the present time, and b) that increasingly, people on ‘periphery and beyond’ are becoming tired of solutions based on socio-economics on the one hand and technology on the other, all of which promise much but deliver little.
One example of much talk but little action is the follow-up to the famous Millennium Declarations made at the turn of the 21st century. They all mean well but at the end of the day, when complex-interlinked problems are factored and looked at in bits and pieces, one can at best offer a whole basket of individual solutions that clash with each other. A little reflection would show that the only way of dealing with such complex and inter-connected problems is to rise to a higher plane and view things from there. That precisely is what Swami has always been doing, but somehow, we have not quite made the effort to understand how potent and powerful His teachings and prescriptions are.
I urge readers to be good enough to take some time to read carefully what follows, ponder deeply and come back to us, so that together, we can evolve a way of taking the Message to the wide world in the best possible and most compelling manner. It may be added that this appeal is the direct result of the tele-serial we streamed before the 85th Birthday, which was and continues to be widely popular. Since then, we have been flooded with requests to keep offering more of that kind of material. We decided, however, that if we were going to do that, then we might as well involve at least some of you out there, who are keen to work with us.
Read on please, and kindly do not forget to get back to us with your valuable and detailed feedback.
This article has 4 parts and an Appendix
General Introduction to 'The Manifesto"
Loving Sai Ram and greetings. This article is a follow up to my earlier Musings: Joining Hands with Team Radio Sai to Spread His Message, Part-1. It may be also called a Vision Document, a Manifesto or even some kind of kite flying! Whatever one may choose to call it, what the article would deal with is outlined below.
Now if we are to rapidly jump to such a dream agenda from the modest and somewhat 'low-key' operation we are currently running, then clearly a lot more human resource would be required; which means that at least some of you out there would have to pitch in, in sizeable numbers I would say. Clearly, before we get off to this ALL OF US TOGETHER FOR SAI endeavour, we need to toss ideas and become clear about what is to be done, how exactly to go about doing it, who would do what, etc. Naturally, this 'thrashing out' would require some kind of a 'virtual meeting place' where those who would like to be actively involved can meet and exchange ideas, 'virtually' of course. So the first thing I would like to suggest is that those of you who like our new agenda and approve of our 'dream/new vision,' should please write to us about how we might conduct such a discussion in a crisp, precise and purposeful manner.
One thing is for sure. There must be focus in the 'discussions', and an understanding that something must be decided and agreed upon quickly. The important thing is to get started, even if the start is not exactly ideal. Once sufficient momentum is generated, it would automatically iron out most of the bugs. By the way, that is how Swami has always got going with His numerous projects; and that also is the way we did it in the case of Radio Sai. I guess I do not need to add anything more on this topic.
Next, I would like to say a few words about the actual reach-out, if I may call it that. Right now, we do the following:
Notwithstanding all of the above, there clearly remains a lot more to be done; and it sure can be, keeping in mind the new and emerging technologies. For example, five years ago, it was financially inconceivable to think in terms of running a Sai TV channel. The cost was prohibitive and the infrastructure required was beyond our reach. More than anything else, there was the huge problem of generating quality content in sufficient quantity. Unimaginable revolutions in communication and related technology have now changed the scenario completely. What with TV-on-the-internet coming closer and closer on the one hand, and global co-operation becoming much easier via communication channels, we can now think of many options which earlier were not even imaginable. What I am doing in this 'think-aloud' piece is basically trying to get at least some of you excited, so that together we can collectively offer to the world a compelling presentation of Swami's Message.
At this stage, I must make a reference to the confusion many have regarding Swami's Message itself. Although till recently Swami hardly missed a chance to give an hour-long and intense Discourse, many people are confused and flabbergasted when I talk to them about the larger aspects of Swami's Message. They invariably ask: What's this you are talking about? We love Swami. We attend our Samithi meetings regularly. We sing bhajans with great gusto. We come here to Prasanthi as often as possible. We chip in with seva whenever time permits, and so on. What are you complaining about?'
No doubt I have dealt with such issues in my numerous Musings talks, and in many other different ways. However, this is a different occasion and it is not inappropriate if I were to digress a bit regarding how and why Swami's teachings are absolutely vital for the survival of humanity, especially considering the numerous problems it faces today. As a sample of how Swami's Message touches upon all aspects of life, let me consider the issue of water. A brief but perspective discussion follows, restricted largely to presenting many disturbing facts. At this stage, Swami would not be mentioned. It is only later that I shall point out how much Swami's teachings impact the water crisis, as indeed they do on all the problems currently confronting humanity.