ANNUAL SPORTS AND CULTURAL MEET 2003 REPORT

 

SRI SATHYA SAI INSTITUTE OF HIGHER LEARNING, PRASHANTI NILAYAM

MORNING PROGRAMME


Bhagawan Baba always says, "Life is a Game". Truly, sports and games conducted in a spirit of solidarity and cooperation can achieve what formal lessons in the classrooms may take much longer. They help students face the challenges of life in a spirit of equanimity. It was in this spirit that the much-awaited Annual Sports day celebrations of the Sri Sathya Sai Institutions were conducted in the Divine presence on 11 January with great fervour and enthusiasm.

Devotees from far and wide, including students of many schools, had started gathering in the gigantic and beautiful Hill View Stadium as early as 4.30 a.m. By 6.00 a.m., the stadium was fully packed with eager devotees and every inch of space on the stands was occupied. The program began at 7.30 a.m. with the arrival of the revered Chancellor of the Institute - Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba. The stadium came alive with Bhagawan arriving in a white topless car, donning white robes. The entire crowd was exhilarated to see Bhagawan in whites. Bhagawan waved to the devotees and blessed them with 'abhayam' by raising His hands.

The procession to the Stadium was a Divine sight to behold. Beautifully bedecked and decorated, Sai Geeta - Bhagawan's pet elephant, was leading the spectacle. She was followed by the women's band of the Anantapur campus of the Institute. The slow march group mesmerized all present by their perfectly coordinated movements, with their multicolour flags fluttering in the air. Royally dressed horses and their riders added elegance to the procession. Midway to the dais, the brass band of the Prasanthi Nilayam men's campus took the lead and gracefully accompanied the procession until the end. The whole convoy gave a feeling as if the 'King of kings and the Lord of lords' was on His way to victory - Truly, Bhagawan, the king of the Hearts of millions of devotees all over the world, is ushering in a new era of Righteousness and Peace by conquering the forces of unrighteousness with the infallible weapon of His selfless love.

Bhagawan was formally received in front of the Shanti Vedika by the Vice Chancellor, the Registrar, the principals and the wardens of the different campuses and the other office bearers of the university. The gathering was delighted to see Bhagawan ascending the dais on a special lift fabricated by a devotee. After Bhagawan lit the ceremonial lamps and occupied His seat, the programme commenced with march-past by the students. The first to salute their Divine Master were the tiny tots of the Sri Sathya Sai Primary School, followed by the girl students of the Sri Sathya Sai Higher Secondary School. They were followed by the girl students from the Anantapur Campus of the Institute. It was then the turn of the boys from the Sri Sathya Higher Secondary School, Prasanthi Nilayam followed by the students from the Brindavan campus. Finally came the Undergraduate and Postgraduate students from the Prasanthi Nilayam campus of the Institute. All the students were dressed in a variety of formal dresses, donning ties and gloves. They looked magnificent while marching in perfect coordination and keeping rhythm with the beats of the Institute brass band that played melodiously. Needless to say, the students won the appreciation of Bhagawan and the spectators in the form of a loud round of applause.

After this, Bhagawan, the revered Chancellor of the Institute, hoisted the Institute flag in front of the Shanti Vedika and released pigeons and balloons. It seemed as if Bhagawan was indicating that He has incarnated to release humanity from the bonds of illusion and make it soar high in the sky of peace and bliss. And all the Gods, Goddesses and the founders of religions were a witness to this. The Institute Captain administered the oath of sportsmanship to all the students and urged them to dedicate their efforts to the Lotus Feet of their Mother Sai.

The lighting of the torch on the top of the Hill was next on the agenda. After Swami lit the torch, a Dove - a 12-feet long mascot for the meet, highlighting the theme of the programme -"Global Harmony", 'flew' up to the Hanuman Hill and lighted the flame. While this ceremony was going on, the theme song for the function, which the students of the Institute composed and sang, was played on the audio system. It is worth noting that all the gigantic structures and backdrops had been made by the students themselves with minimal outside help.

After the impressive march past ceremony, began the performances by each of the three campuses of the Institute wherein the first was the Brindavan campus.

Brindavan campus

The first presentation by the campus was a dance performance which was a blend of the dances of East and West. It was a feast for the eyes to see Mexican, Bhangra and the Red Indian dance arts being performed with perfect fusion and synchronisation. Sometimes during the performance a part of the group remained stationary, while the other groups performed. The dancers were dressed colourfully and danced to the fabulous music associated with their dance performances. They proved the point that we are all the children of one Divine father and have the capability to live in perfect peace and harmony in spite of apparent outward differences.

The next item was named "Celestial rhythms". Using two gigantic cranes, there was a grid placed at a height of 60 feet from the ground level. The boys performed various formations on the grid. It was a show of perfect self-confidence and coordination and was truly a feast for the eyes to watch. The dexterity and nimbleness with which the feats were performed made the audience applaud enthusiastically. Accompanying these dare-devils, who as if wanted to prove the saying of Bhagawan, "Why fear when I am here" was a kettle drum troop which provided the beat for the boys to perform various formations. The boys came down using ropes, at times using only their legs and their arms spread-eagled! In a hearty appreciation for this stupendous performance, the audience was unanimous and the Hill view stadium thundered with a long round of applause. As these students came towards the dais to offer their efforts at the lotus feet, Bhagawan raised both His hands and showered His blessings on them.

The next programme was show jumping on horses. These animals that have held the fancy of man for ages were now the attraction of the audience. Three boys jumped over the hurdles, though two of them had to do a re-mount. These boys proved by their grit that though difficulties come while we face the challenges of life, what is important is that we try and try again till we succeed. The next item was tent pegging which was performed flawlessly by four boys. All the boys exhibited their dexterity and were successful in picking up small pegs from the ground with lances as their mounts thundered by.

This was followed by a final formation by these performers from the Brindavan campus of the Institute while a melodious song, expressing their feelings of love and dedication to Bhagawan, played in the background. Swami blessed these children from the dais by lifting both His hands in 'abhayam'.

ANANTAPUR CAMPUS

The second presentation was by Anantapur campus . Their first programme was a horse dance. In a simple but effective way it brought out the lessons we can learn from this animal and the benefits of having a disciplined horse that represents a disciplined mind. There was melodious folk song accompanying the dance. The song conveyed the meaning that horse was the messenger of Sai which conveyed the message of Sathya, Dharma, Shanti and Prema.

They then placed three structures on the ground which had rotating ladders, using which girl students performed various complicated formations and gymnastics in coordinated movements. They then presented the programme of mono-cycle riding. They performed various stunts and formations using these cycles having only one wheel. They also performed formations on normal cycles which were appreciated by the audience.

This was followed by a programme of martial arts. In this programme various self defence techniques were presented that showed that these students are perfectly capable in self defence through Self-confidence that Bhagawan had infused in them. They broke bricks and planks with bare hands, feet and their foreheads to the amazement of all present. They presented a sword dance and performed various stunts and formations on go-carts. On the whole there was lot of variety in the programmes.

Prasanthi Nilayam school and Institute

The boys from the Prasanthi Nilayam campus of the Institute and the students from the Sri Sathya Sai Higher Secondary School put up a joint performance on this day. And it was really a memorable day not only for the boys who performed in front of their most beloved Bhagawan, but also for the audience who were astounded by the professionalism in their approach and diversity and innovative thinking that these performances brought out.

The first item presented by them was 'Synchronous Acrobatics'. Nearly 80 students from the school put up a wonderful, colourful and perfectly coordinated performance. The perfection in their movements was simply amazing.

This was followed by an item called "Ballet of Balance" wherein students of the Institute performed various feats on a giant wheel structure weighing 2,500 kg and having a height of 33 feet. These feats involved a lot of courage and the students did a remarkable job. Not even wearing helmets or having the support of crash mats on the road below, these students proved that faith can make you achieve anything in life.

Then we had an item called "Triple Trapeze" wherein the students from the school and the Institute who called themselves "The leaping panthers" jumped over a vaulting horse in various combinations. The feats involved tug jumps, dives and cart wheel movements that take a long time to master. These 'little masters' nevertheless performed these feats as if these were the easiest thing in life. They even leaped with perfect ease through a ring of fire. Finally a boy jumped over a pyramid of eight boys. Their coordination and deftness had the audience overawed.

Thereafter, there were two items on a specially prepared 45 feet structure just opposite the Shanti Vedika stage. One of them was called the "Lord of Rings" and the other one was "Bungee Ropes". The students performed great feats at that height and with ease and finesse, winning the hearts of the audience.

Then we had one of the highlights of the morning programme - the Motor Bike Stunts and the performing students called themselves -"The Thunderbolts". They performed a number of daring feats, balancing perfectly on the motorcycles and had at one point 7 students on a single motorbike in a breathtaking formation. They were head over heels, played chess, gave an orchestra performance and exercised while standing on the seats, making one feel that the handles of the bikes were an optional accessory. They even negotiated curves while juggling with balls or performing other dare-devil feats. This was followed by truly laudable performances through tunnels of fire, over ramps at a distance of 15 students and also crashing in to a screen of tube lights. While watching these, the spectators were at the edge of their seats. The audience was so thrilled by the performance that at the end of every feat they gave a thunderous round of applause. As these boys came to take Bhagawan's blessings, He blessed them with 'Abhaya' for a long time.

The last item from Prasanthi Nilayam campus was "Mass Expression Harmony" which consisted of a beautiful mixture of Music and Dance accompanied by colour, water bubbles and fire blowers. One had to see it to believe the superb presentation that was put up by nearly 75 students of the Institute. The drummers were mounted on two trucks and their perfect music was highly appreciated by one and all.
 

The show ended with the Closing Ceremony with students dressed in various dresses representing different cultures and holding placards, which gave Bhagawan's message to the spectators -"Life is a Challenge, Meet It, Life is a Game, Play It, Life is a Dream, Realise It." The highlight of the Closing Ceremony was a huge and massive rotating globe, which was placed on a model of Bhagawan's palm. This was prepared by the students of the Institute and symbolized the theme of the programme -Global Harmony and that the world is now in the hands of the Lord Himself who is amidst us to bring peace and harmony in the world and in the hearts of man.

This was a spectacular offering of the boys at the Lotus Feet of their Beloved Mother Sai. While the Closing Ceremony was on, a song was played which said that Sai is the Hero, Sai is our Friend and Sai is our All. Bhagawan was so pleased and delighted with the students that He came to the grounds to pose for photographs with the students. The students were sitting in formation wherein Bhagawan represented the Sun and the students His rays.

After blessing the students and the crowds, Bhagawan returned to the Mandir. Thus came to close a memorable morning of the sports meet 2003 and the multitudes that had gathered returned to their home satisfied, contented and blesses.

AFTERNOON PROGRAMME

The afternoon Programme was a cultural presentation by the Students of the Sri Sathya Sai Primary School, Prasanthi Nilayam.

Swami came to the Hill View stadium at 3.00 pm. As He took His seat on the dais, 4 small students form the primary school offered their floral obeisance to their Loving Sai Maa.

Then began the colourful performance of the tiny tots. The students started with a Ganesh Vandana. Boys in red dhothi and colourful costumes danced in coordinated steps to invoke the grace of Lord Sai Ganesha. This was a true representation of the Indian culture where each act is performed as a dedication to God.

These students first performed excellent balancing feats on "Chinese poles". They hung on the rods without any support formed many beautiful formations. They climbed the vertical poles with such amazing dexterity that one wondered whether their feet could stick to the poles. Two of the boys also jumped from one pole to another, defying all laws of gravity. The spectators were thrilled by this excellent performance and clapped nearly continuously in great appreciation.

Then there were these little boys performing various big feats on the small motor bikes. They jumped from a ramp and drove through huge screens of paper with perfect ease. One could not but help wondering what these boys would be capable of doing when they grew up a little more!

The third item was a colourful dance presentation of the Oriental style called the "Lion Cub dance". Nearly 50 students dressed as lions performed a splendid dance performance. The movement of the ears and blinking of the eyes of the lions brought a smile to every face.

Thereafter we had a cycle show wherein 4-5 students per cycle performed acts of balancing in various formations and patterns. Then there was a train dance wherein nearly 70 students in the form of 4 trains named Prashanti Express, travelled across the stations of Sathya, Dharma, Shanti and Prema carrying the message of their Loving Mother Sai. In this delightful little song, the entire message of Bhagawan was presented in a lucid form. The audience was thrilled as the background song too was sung by these tiny tots.

The last item of the afternoon programme was a dance presented by the girl students wherein more than 50 students participated. It conveyed a short story about a small bird who against her mother's wishes wanted to see the wide wild world outside. However, when she went out, she realised that there was no one to help her and she was lost. Finally, she came back to her ever loving and ever forgiving Sai Maa.

Bhagawan was very happy with the sweet and delightful performances by these small children. Bhagawan in His infinite grace went and posed on a small golden lotus for photographs with the little children who were overjoyed at this opportunity to be with their Divine Mother Sai. The programme came to a close with 'Arati' to Bhagawan. After blessing the students and the massive gathering at the Sri Sathya Sai Hill View stadium, Bhagawan returned to the Mandir for the evening Bhajan session at 4.45 p.m.

Though the programme came to an end, its sweet memories will linger for a long time to come. The students of Bhagawan's Institute proved without an iota of doubt that they are capable of performing any task that the world may consider difficult, as they have perfect faith in their beloved Mother Sai. It is no surprise that the world today looks at Sri Sathya Sai Institutions as the breeding grounds for leaders who will change the face of the world and usher in the Golden Age of Sai.

sourced: Sri Sathya Sai Org