Today we will start broadcasting classes by my spiritual master, Srila Hridayananda Das Goswami (see www.acharyadeva.com), live, using ustream: http://www.ustream.tv/channel/acharyadeva-darshans. Though living in Los Angeles, he will give morning class in Sydney. Thus a whole temple-full of devotees will have, practically speaking, all the benefits of his personal presence there, so far away. Two hours before starting that class, he will give class in Curitiba, Brasil, in Portuguese (he’s fluent in seven languages!). In order to see his audience and thus better interact with it, he simultaneously uses Skype or Oovoo.
Though broadcasting or recording classes is something that has been done for many years, this specific kind of interactive distance preaching, using full audio and video, is something I had not yet seen or experienced. I can see the vast possibilities of it.
Brazil, where I live and preach from, is huge. There are so many cities with interested people, yet no devotee programs for hundreds of kilometers. With this technology, we can now do regular classes in all these cities. All that is needed is a good Internet connection, a computer and a webcam.
With the rising cost of air travel and the increasing number of small pockets of interested devotees, I can see this form of preaching will play an important part in the upcoming years. I look forward to trying this out here soon.