[Reader-list] Guru on the Air: I-Fellowship Posting

surya upadhyay surya_rajan21 at yahoo.com
Tue Aug 21 19:15:15 IST 2007

Dear All,

Please read the posting. Sorry in advance, for any
spelling mistake and fragmentation of sentence. This
is being done from a cyber cafe.

The project has tried to get into the production of
electronic material by the gurus organisation. The
practice started with some other necessity has turned
into an instrument of dissemination and production of
pictures of the revered gurus of the devotees.

In the beginning, around early 70's, people started
gathering around the guru. Few of them came from
outside of Ahmedabad. According to them, they missed
his sermons when they were back. Of this kind, I met a
devotees who belongs to Godhara. He came every month
to the Ashram in Ahmedabad. He started recording the
sermons and preachings of the guru with the aim that
he would listen to them at his home. He brought his
own two-in-one (old model of Murphy/ Philips) and
recorded the sermons. There was no permanent large
group of people who were living in the ashram. Infact,
untill mid 70s there were only two-three permanent
resident devotees who were living with the guru in his

The ashram started recording sermons only after 175.
The first audio was recorded in January, 1976. This
was also done on the simple two-in-one recording
system. The voice was recorded on simple Umatic
records. Till early 80s, there was no one who was
expert in these kinds of activities in the
organisation. However, the initial recording were not
done with the purpose of dissemination of the sermons
rather it was the reverence of the devotees who were
recording for there own purpose. The first public
audio that brought out by the ashram was "Mai Kaun
Hoon" (Who I am?). Even today this is the largest
selling cassette. 

The ashram did not had any proper organisation. Even,
the devotees lacked photograph of their guru. This was
initiated by one of this oldest devotees. He brought a
video camera from abroad. He said," At that time, rent
of video camera was very high. The owner charged
around Rs. 1000/- for one day. So I thought to
purchase and in that we could save the money of the
ashram and then only I brought a video camera".
However, he purchased it for his son's photgraphy
studio but it was used for recording the sermons. 
Moreover, with that they started recording on Betacam
amd VHS were produced. But the production was high so
it was not easy for every one to purchase a copy of
her/his own. Also, players were also very costly. 

This cost leded restriction on the dissemination of
video cassettes proved a tool in gathering people
outside of the ashram. Whosoever had the player, they
took video cassette on rent from the ashram to their
place and organised video sermon at their house.
Eventually, this became a tool in the popularity 
of the guru. This was in practise atleast till 1995 in
some areas or in some it scrolled upto 2000. From
1994, his sermons were broadcasted by ATN channel.
This also started because one of the prdouction/
broadcasting Managers of the ATN was a devotee of
Asaram Bapu. Later, his from December 1994 Zee TV also
started telecasting his morning sermons. Then, it was
also started by Sony TV. It was telcast of Sony TV
that gave a large audience and later devotees.

The sermons that were/are telecasted by these TV
channels are only those recordings that were and are
recorded by the ashram using their simple recording
methods.Till 1997-98, the ashram had simple voice
mixer, ampliphier etc. The quality could be known fron
the external noise in all the older recordings.

The first VHS recording was done in 1983. From 2001
onwards, the ashram has started using very
sophesticated and highly advanced recording manchines.
They improved in their quality boyh in picture as well
as voice of the records. Now they are recording it

However, with the advent of cheaper electonic items
such as VCD-MP3 player and also advent of high graded
convertibles, it has become easy for the devotees to
get their own copy of the sermons. The oragnisation
record each and every moment of the sermon programme.
The recording of a session are avaiavle for sale after
editing the recording after the end of session. They
have a very high quality and fast speed duplicaters.
It produces 7 CDs in just 2 mins. 

Till now, they have almost 13,500 hours or audio-video
record. But most of the records remains in the studio.
These records are later converted into columns of
their magazine called Rishi Prasad.

This is just the presentation of the data collected
from the field. I have not anlaysed it. The next
posting will cover that section. 


Surya Prakash
I-Fellow, Sarai '07

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