Annual Sports & Cultural Meet
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The sports and cultural activities at the University culminate at the Annual Sports and Cultural Meet, held on the 11 January every year, marked by a grand display of cultural and athletic items. These include national and international sports items like equestrian events, two and four wheeler stunts, para sailing and gliding, bungee jumping, carabining, martial arts, lion and dragon dances, eastern and western dances, musical medleys, gymnastics, human formations and many others.
During these events, the best in the students emerges in myriad forms, not so much for their personal glory, as for a deep sense of satisfaction. Students of all the Campuses of the University get a chance to present their talents and skills before the Revered Founder Chancellor.

Annual Sports and Cultural Meet 2014 - A Report

11-15 January 2014 | Prasanthi Nilayam
The Annual Sports and Cultural Meet, is a major event in the calendar of the Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning (SSSIHL), and the Sri Sathya Sai educational institutions founded and nurtured by Bhagawan Baba. This year, the event was held over five days from 11th to 15th January 2014 at Prasanthi Nilayam in the Divine presence.

Annual Sports Meet – 11 January 2014

The Sports meet on 11th January each year is a culmination of a month-long, intensive preparation of athletic displays, acrobatics, cultural dance routines and the like, by students from all campuses of the University and the Sri Sathya Sai educational institutions.
The colourful and courageous presentations unfold in the Divine presence, in front of a crowd of over 10,000 spectators seated in the viewer galleries of the Sri Sathya Sai Hill View Stadium. The presentations are divided into two sessions, the morning and afternoon sessions.
This year, the morning programme commenced at 8.00 a.m. when Bhagawan’s car with a beautiful photograph of Bhagawan, was escorted by motorcycle escorts, and welcomed by the women’s brass band of the Anantapur Campus of the University. This was followed by a welcome by the Captains of the University and finally Bhagawan was escorted by the Slow March Squad, a special contingent that was led by the men’s brass band of the Prasanthi Nilayam Campus of the University. When Bhagawan arrived in a grand procession at the Shanti Vedika (the stage where senior members of the Sai institutions and Trusts along with invited guests sit in the Divine presence), a Veda chanting group of students offered a ceremonial welcome with Poornakumbham and the Vice-Chancellor along with senior members of the Sathya Sai Educational Institutions, offered salutations to Bhagawan.
The March Past and Sports Meet Oath
The March past is a spectacle in itself. The training, coordination and camaraderie of the march past is evident in the execution of it. It is a wonderful sight. Accompanied by the women’s and men’s brass bands of the University, the students of the Sai educational Institutions marched from the north end of the stadium and gathered in front of the Shanti Vedika to offer their salutations to Bhagawan. Following the hoisting of the University flag, the customary Sports Meet oath was administered to the participants and the sports torch for 2014 was lit and carried to Hanuman Hill by the mascot in the form of Flying Hanuman to light the sports flame.

 
 
Morning Session
The women students of Anantapur Campus, SSSIHL, made the maiden presentation of the sports events. Their first item was a Russian Folk Dance, perform to the tune of ‘Kalinka Malinka’ (a Russian folk song) celebrating the beauty of nature in swift, rhythmic movements. This was followed by a flamboyant display of crisscrosses (at high speed), display formations, an array of jumps (including on ramps and through fire) on motorbikes. They concluded with a pyramid formation. Lastly, the students performed a mass drill in various formations of rockets named Mystic Whites in blue and white colours.
The students of Muddenahalli Campus, the youngest campus of SSSIHL, followed with two presentations. First up was a well-coordinated exhibition of wheeling skills using bicycles. The stunt items consist of the wheelie, the endo, the ramp endo and the bunny hop. Secondly, they performed a series of western dance steps, beginning with the tap dance. This ‘Art in Motion’ performance saw aerobic dance movements, symbolic formations (such as ‘Aum Sai Ram’) and the like.
The Brindavan Campus – the last performance for the morning – began with innovative formations called “Celestial Rhythms” done on a raised structure. They displayed their skills with formations like cascading effect, balancing upside down, triangle formation to finally end with a formation of ‘We Love Sai’. Their next act, “Master Strokes’ included various cricketing strokes such as the sweep shot, forward defense and hook shot in colourful uniforms. Their final item, ‘Disaster Management’ turned out to be an educational performance even for the spectators as they simulated real-life situations such as making stretchers for injured people to saving lives from a burning building.
The Brindavan Campus – the last performance for the morning – began with innovative formations called “Celestial Rhythms” done on a raised structure. They displayed their skills with formations like cascading effect, balancing upside down, triangle formation to finally end with a formation of ‘We Love Sai’. Their next act, “Master Strokes’ included various cricketing strokes such as the sweep shot, forward defense and hook shot in colourful uniforms. Their final item, ‘Disaster Management’ turned out to be an educational performance even for the spectators as they simulated real-life situations such as making stretchers for injured people to saving lives from a burning building.
The morning programme concluded with a final formation of Brindavan students offering their heartfelt gratitude to Bhagawan followed by arati.

 
 
Afternoon Session
The afternoon session commenced at 4.30 p.m. with the ceremonial welcome to Bhagawan by the brass band of the Brindavan Campus of the University along with children of the Smt. Eswaramma English Medium School on stilts and children from the Sri Sathya Sai Primary School on skates.
The first performance was by the students of Smt. Eswaramma English Medium School. Dubbed ‘The secret of Happiness’, this dance presentation used the metaphor of a child’s dream to express joy towards the feeling of the constant presence of the Lord. Their performance was punctuated with colour, acrobatics and innovative costumes portraying animals and fruits.
Next up were an array of performances through dance and music by students of the Sri Sathya Sai Primary School. A traditional dance involving gymnastics and floor exercises was followed by tiny tots gyrating to a song whilst carrying lotus flowers. Roller Skaters performing balancing acts whilst jumping off ramps led to an interesting game of hockey on roller skates.
Next up were an array of performances through dance and music by students of the Sri Sathya Sai Primary School. A traditional dance involving gymnastics and floor exercises was followed by tiny tots gyrating to a song whilst carrying lotus flowers. Roller Skaters performing balancing acts whilst jumping off ramps led to an interesting game of hockey on roller skates.
An array of dance sequences followed. Girl students, in bright blue costumes dancing with luminescent sunflowers were succeeded by the little ones doing a Punjabi dance, much to the delight of everyone. The offering concluded with the final formation of all the students to the song ‘Sayeesha Nee Namam Entho Ruchi Ra’ (Sai, how delicious is Your Name).
A martial arts themed dance known as Kung Fu Fan Dance by the students of SSSIHMS, College of Nursing and Allied Health Sciences was next. They followed up this by a bamboo lantern performance, an artistic display of balancing lanterns placed on long bamboo poles.
The first offering by the students of Prasanthi Nilayam Campus, SSSIHL was an invocatory dance. An assortment of acrobatic displays while balancing on giant wheels was executed with great skill and dexterity. The next item, Ropes and Rings: Gravitons was performed on rings and bungee ropes hanging from a 35-feet high iron structure. It included flip movements, moonwalk, free falls, jumping through fire rings and the like.
By this time, the setting sun had given way to the enveloping darkness, a fitting platform for the next performance – Let Everybody Dance (LED). This inventive item that involved brisk, wave-like movements with saber swords emitting blue and green light concluded with synchronous dances steps with LED suits.
The students of Sri Sathya Sai Higher Secondary School made the final presentation. Their first item was Gymnastics: Lords of the Ring – a form of floor gymnastic where we will see dives through the rings at different heights, back flips, somersaults, air cartwheels, aerial acrobatics, etc. Next was Aerial Acrobats – Yoga postures by balancing on three tall wooden poles. Lastly, 130 students literally played with fire. Graceful movements offered with synergy using fire sticks, fire staffs and Hula-hoops showcased the courage that is the backbone of all Sports & Cultural Meets at Sai educational institutions.
A magnificent colourful flying exhibition using remote-controlled lit planes soaring in the night sky, aided by a fireworks display served as a finale before Mangala Arati offered to Bhagawan Baba at 7:15 p.m. marked the end of the special day’s offering.

 
 

Cultural Presentations – 12 to 15 January 2014

As part of Sports and Cultural Meet 2014, the students of Sri Sathya Sai Higher Secondary School and Brindavan Campus, Prasanthi Nilayam Campus, and Anantapur Campus, SSSIHL performed dramas 12, 13 14 and 15 January 2014 respectively. All performances took place in the evening at Sai Kulwant Hall in Prasanthi Nilayam in the Divine presence.
Revolving around the story of a group of pilgrims, who met at Shivapuram, a temple city, the drama – Prem Ki Pukar – by the students of Sri Sathya Sai Higher Secondary School brought to the fore life’s most essential values for man to earn Divine Grace. The message was portrayed through the story of four pilgrims who come together on a pilgrimage. Their stories and interactions brought finer spiritual values to the fore, helping each one of them (being at the crossroads of their societal and spiritual lives) in turning to the right direction in life through greater spiritual awareness.
In their drama, the students of Brindavan campus, SSSIHL portrayed the life and message of Saint Thyagaraja, a great devotee of Lord Rama, whose love and search for God rendered thousands of devotional compositions to the world of devotional music. This portrayal of devotion to God through kirtanam (music) was done through snippets of Thyagaraja stories. The drama, intertwined with beautiful songs and dance sequences, turned out to be an audio-visual-devotional treat for the august assembly on the eve of Makarasankranti.
The students of Anantapur Campus, SSSIHL put up a drama based on the Chinna Kathas told by Bhagawan Baba on various occasions in His divine discourses. Through these stories, Bhagawan conveys the deepest philosophy in the simplest of styles. The drama was enacted with the folk art form of puppetry. It saw both doll puppets and human puppets in action. It had three acts, each of which highlighted significant human qualities all devotees and spiritual aspirants must aspire for. The drama was interspersed with two folk puppet-dances.
The students of SSSIHL, Prasanthi Nilayam Campus offered a drama presentation titled Jaya. The drama was based on selected episodes from Mahabharata. The episodes depicted were Yaksha Prashna, Game of Dice, Krishna’s test of Karna at the time of his death and Karna’s redemption, Draupadi forgiving Ashwathama and Mahaprasthan.
The planning, script, production, direction, props, costumes and overall execution of all dramas were done completely by students of respective campuses and institutions without any help from outside.

 
 

The Prize Distribution Ceremony – 14 January 2014

The Prize Distribution Ceremony of the Sports and Cultural Meet was held on the auspicious day of Makarasankranti, 14 January 2013 in Sai Kulwant Hall, Prasanthi Nilayam.
All the cups, trophies and prizes for students displayed on the dais were complimented by buntings, festoons, flowers and fruits of the new harvest, along with special decorations of fresh flowers on the Samadhi of Bhagawan.
The programme commenced with a grand procession comprising the University brass band, Veda chanting group of students and a flag-bearing squad, which started at 8.00 a.m. from Yajur Mandir, the abode of Bhagawan. The master of ceremonies, Sri Sanjay Sahni, Director, Brindavan Campus, SSSIHL made an introductory speech, and delved into the significance of the festival of Makara Sankranti and the prize distribution function of the Sports & Cultural Meet. Thereafter, Dr. (Miss) Kiron Bala Arora, Associate Professor in Hindi, SSSIHL and Warden, Anantapur Campus, SSSIHL drew parallels between the Annual Sports & Cultural Meet and man’s sojourn on earth. This was followed by brief talks by four students, Amrit Prasuthas, Sai Abhinav Mudaliar, Padma Lalitha, Vijay Sai and Lakshmikanth Sharma from Sri Sathya Sai Higher Secondary School, SSSIHL Muddenahalli Campus, SSSIHL Anantapur Campus, SSSIHL Brindavan Campus and SSSIHL Prasanthi Nilayam Campus respectively. These students’ speeches bore testimony to their unflinching faith in Bhagawan, ever ready to do anything to make Him happy.
The Prize distribution ceremony then began with awarding of The Founder Chancellor’s trophies to all the Sai educational institutions. They were given away by Prof. Shashidhara Prasad, Vice-Chancellor, SSSIHL. In the proceedings, the lists of winners were offered at Bhagawan’s Lotus Feet. Subsequently, Championship Trophies were given away to various representatives, under various categories, for all the campuses and SSS Higher Secondary School, where intra-campus competitions on various disciplines were held.
In His Divine Message that followed, Bhagawan spoke on the greater relevance of the students to seek and acquire the degree of Makarasankranti. The function concluded with Prasadam distribution followed by Arati at 10:00 a.m.

 
 
We, the children of Sai, swear that, we shall take part in the Annual Sports & Games of Sri Sathya Sai Institutions, in fair competition; respecting and abiding by the rules which govern them and with a desire to participate in the true spirit of sportsmanship, for the honour of our country, the glory of sport and our beloved Mother Sai.
Sports Meet Oath, Sri Sathya Sai Educational Institutions
© Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning, Vidyagiri, Prasanthi Nilayam - 515 134, India.