- A Note from Prof. G. Venkataraman
Loving Sai Ram and greetings from Prasanthi Nilayam.
Those of you who are regular listeners must undoubtedly be aware of my long association with Radio Sai. Indeed there was a time when I was the sole broadcaster! Since then we have come a long way to a point where I am now merely an occasional broadcaster. That is not because I have become less active but because I had to manage a lot of other tasks.
Lately we had to face several challenges, all the way from constantly adapting to rapidly changing technologies to grooming additional human resource, and achieving both greater diversity as well as significantly-enhanced outreach.
Not many of you may be aware that behind the generic/brand name Radio Sai, there were really two teams, one a part of the Sri Sathya Sai Sadhana Trust and the other a part of the Sri Sathya Sai Media Foundation. The former happens to be a Religious Trust which is permitted to produce and sell products, while the latter being a Charitable Trust is strictly prohibited from commercial activities of any kind. Historically, this bifurcation of Radio Sai occurred around 6 or 7 years ago. This is not the occasion to go into that history but I must add that where Team Radio Sai is concerned, in spirit and in work we always functioned as one team, calling ourselves back then as the Prasanthi Digital Studio. No one gave us this name but we chose it since that was convenient for sending and receiving postal messages!
Coming now to the purpose of this particular communication, I should mention as a preliminary that for over a year I have been engaged in informal discussions with some of the members of the Sri Sathya Sai Central Trust; in large part it had to do with the archival facility coming up. For the record, the Sri Sathya Sai Archives is where all the collection of not only audio recordings and old photos would be held in permanent storage but also thousands of feet of films and video tapes. Most important of all, the archive would hold thousands of pages of original hand-written manuscripts of Bhagawan, a good many of which were found only recently.
High-tech storage of archival material was not the only issue we discussed; I also discussed the sharing of this treasure with the wider world, in particular the message they contained. Dissemination of that message, we agreed, has now become more important than ever before, especially since the Avatar has withdrawn His physical form.
Valuable media on Swami collected over the years will be carefully preserved in the archival facility
Sri Sathya Sai Archives that is to be commissioned shortly
It is important to recall here that when Swami was physically with us, He not only lived His message but also spoke extensively about the latter. Swami has on occasions pointed out that the Lord incarnated as Sri Krishna mainly to give a Message. That Message was given just once on the battle field in Kurukshetra in the form of the famous Bhagavad Gita.
In the Sathya Sai Avatar, however, Swami not only expanded the 700 slokas of the Gita into something like a thousand discourses but He also parsed many subtleties connected with Atma Jnana; and this Bhagawan did in a manner suited to address the numerous problems facing humanity presently.
As if this was not enough, Swami also executed several amazing social-welfare projects, most of which we know very little about. Let me explain what I mean by that. Speaking personally, I have over the years, given talks and also done documentaries on the water projects, the hospitals, and so on. But then when two months ago I entered the General Hospital here for prolonged treatment of a severe foot problem, I realized how little I knew about the manner in which the hospital lives Swami’s values. It was thrilling and also humbling to see how the workers in the hospital, and I mean not only the doctors but also the nurses, the people who manage the dietary, right down to the sweepers and helpers, how all these people live the spirit of Sai Seva.
Not merely that. Recently I heard that they had dealt with two cases of snake-bite. Few are aware that there are very few hospitals in India that handle snake-bite cases; and Swami’s General Hospital here in Puttaparthi is one of them. Did you know that?
One more thing. A few days ago, I recorded a long conversation with Dr. Narasimhan who is the guiding spirit of Swami’s Mobile Hospital. So stunned I was by all that Dr. Narasimhan told me that I decided then and there to work hard on making a short documentary on this incredible 'Wonder on Wheels'. I can safely say that there is nothing like this anywhere in the whole world because it is difficult to find a person so charged with Sai Love and Sai Compassion as Dr. Narasimhan! If I may advertise a bit, watch out for a compelling story told in living colour!
Now for the real purpose of this special message. As the result of extensive deliberations which included the increased funding we would now need, it was decided that Radio Sai would become Radio Sai Division and function as an independent unit of and receive its funding from the Sri Sathya Sai Central Trust, even as the various hospitals and schools do.
Thus, on July 1, 2015, the Sri Sathya Sai Media Foundation ceased to exist and the entire Prasanthi Digital Studio team got absorbed into the Radio Sai Division of the Mother Trust established by Swami Himself, namely, the Sri Sathya Sai Central Trust.
By the way, this does not mean that we no longer need your support; far from it. We would, as before, very much need your moral support because you out there are our biggest customer, shall I say? As for financial support, you can continue to contribute as before but please send them to the Sri Sathya Sai Central Trust. While doing so, you could, if you choose, indicate that you would like your contribution to be spent to support Radio Sai.
The Mother Trust can support many activities, but devotees must appreciate that the onus of keeping Swami’s various missions going rests on all of us, both those who are here and those who are outside, no matter where that so-called 'outside' is.
That’s all I have for now. Next week I shall try and record a longer, video version so that you get a clearer picture of what I have tried to communicate presently.' The video will be posted on our website when it is ready, and a link to it will be sent along with our daily mails.
Thank you. Since this message is important, please pass it on to as many people you know as possible.
God bless and Jai Sai Ram.