Annual Sports & Cultural Meet
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The performances during the four-day Annual Sports and Cultural Meet form an important part of Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba’s philosophy of values-based integral education, practiced in all Sathya Sai educational institutions.
This is one of the many occasions that contributes to the concept of a modern gurukula—where students and teachers live and grow together. For a period of 3 to 4 weeks, teachers and students work together, ceaselessly, towards one end – to put up a performance that will please their beloved Mother Sai. Each student is given an opportunity to highlight her or his talent and perform in the Divine presence. For some this may be athletics, for others it is fine arts and yet others it is some form physical display or cultural performance.
The uniqueness of Sai Educational Institutions is that in this endeavor the spirit of cooperation supersedes the spirit of competition. A high quality of performance is achieved through determination, dedication and commitment with a single pointed goal of pleasing the Lord. This results in developing a sense of equanimity that nurtures creativity, innovation, entrepreneurship, judicious time management and the quest for excellence – the main ingredients for achieving success.
As a result, when students go through multiple Annual Sports and Cultural Meets during their stay at Sai Educational Institutions, they inculcate lifelong qualities of hard work, self-control, respect for others, Self-confidence, Self-reliance, leadership, entrepreneurship, and the like. These qualities help them in their professional careers, social service activities and their personal spiritual quest.

Annual Sports and Cultural Meet 2015 - A Report

11-14 January 2015 | Prasanthi Nilayam
The Sri Sathya Sai educational institutions held their Annual Sports and Cultural Meet from 11 to 14 January 2015 at Prasanthi Nilayam, Andhra Pradesh. The event is a culmination of a month-long, intensive preparation of athletic displays, acrobatics, cultural dance routines, dramas and the like, by over 2000 students of the Sri Sathya Sai Primary and Higher Secondary Schools, Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning, and its allied institutions. The unique aspect of the event is the display of courage, skill and temperament exhibited by students ranging from ages five to twenty-five.
The format of the event was similar to previous years. The sports event was held on 11 January at the Sri Sathya Sai Hill View Stadium in Prasanthi Nilayam and the cultural events were held on the evenings of 12, 13 and 14 January at Sai Kulwant Hall in Prasanthi Nilayam. The Prize distribution ceremony—where students of all Sai educational institutions are recognized for their excellence in individual and team events for sports, cultural and fine arts—was held on the morning of 14 January.

Sports Presentations – 11 January 2015

To mark ninety years of the Advent of our beloved Lord, Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba, the theme for this year’s meet was White & Orange (students and Swami). It is representative of the special bond of love that Swami shares with His students. The sports event was spilt into morning and afternoon sessions climaxing in a grand finale of a synchronized LED performance and fireworks under the night sky.
The Sathya Sai Hill View stadium was decorated all around with banners highlighting both, the White & Orange theme and the 90th Year of the Advent of Sri Sathya Sai Baba, avatar of the age. The galleries had filled up almost to their capacities. Students, teachers and staff of the Sai educational institutions, parents, devotees and the residents of Puttaparthi, all were seated before 8 a.m. to welcome their Lord, Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba into the stadium.
Bhagawan’s car with a beautiful photograph of Him was escorted by motorcycle escorts, and welcomed by the women’s brass band of the Anantapur Campus of Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning (SSSIHL). This was followed by an escort 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—the house captains of the university saluted Him through a canopy of flags before a group of students chanting the vedas offered a ceremonial welcome to Swami, and the Vice-Chancellor, SSSIHL along with senior members of the Sri Sathya Sai educational institutions, offered salutations to Bhagawan.
The colourful and courageous presentations by all the various institutions that unfolded throughout the day in the Divine presence in front of a crowd of over 10,000 spectators were divided into two sessions- the morning and afternoon sessions.

The March Past, Flag Hoisting and Sports Meet Oath
The first event is the march past, which is a spectacle in itself. It is a wonderful sight. For almost twenty minutes, accompanied by the women’s and men’s brass bands of the University, all students of the Sai educational institutions (one after the other) 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 2015 was lit, carried around the stadium to Hanuman Hill. It was then carried by the mascot to light the sports flame on top of the hill. This year’s mascot was a pure white Pegasus, a winged divine stallion (male horse) that is one of the most famous creatures in Greek mythology.

Men’s Campuses, SSSIHL, SSMCM and SSSHSS (Boys)
This year was unique in that all the three men’s campuses of the university (Prasanthi Nilayam, Brindavan and Muddenahalli), Sathya Sai Mirpuri College of Music (SSMCM) and Sri Sathya Sai Higher Secondary School (SSSHSS) (Boys) performed as one unit (instead of the typical individual presentations). They had lived together and practiced for over two weeks prior to the final events in an effort to perfect their coordination, technique and final presentations.
The first presentation of this year’s Sports Meet was a Lion Dance. Dozens of students (dressed as lions in pairs) harmoniously performed daring jumps from high blocks, all synchronized to the beats of a drum in roaring strength, courage and leadership, qualities that are fitting to lions. This was followed by acrobatics stunts using iron German Wheels, which required a lot of finesse and skills of balance, teamwork and agility. Lastly, an excellent awesome display of bike stunts (named Throttle) had the spectators gushing in excitement. Stunts included driving without hands touching the bikes, various creative formations with multiple students on each bike and crisscrossing bikes at high speeds.

Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Medical Sciences (SSSIHMS)– College of Nursing and Allied Health Sciences
Next up were the students of SSSIHMS, Nursing College in Whitefield. They put up a Chinese fan dance, which is a highly notable and fascinating art symbolizing the Chinese tradition, beauty, grace and pomp. Performing various movements with long, colorful sizzling fans, the formations included the awakening orange sun, colourful blocks, tornado, rainbow, energetic twirls and blooming flowers.
Anantapur Campus, SSSIHL
The first and only women’s campus of the university, established in the late 1960’s, has perhaps the most experience in performing in the Divine presence. They opened with Bouncing Blues- a synchronized fitness drill employing gymnastic balls to the rhythm of workout music. This mass gymnastic performance incorporated sit-ups, curl-ups and other workouts into symmetric and visually pleasing patterns, much to the delight of the audience.
Next, an incredibly demanding gymnastic form, Aerial Acrobatics consisted of displays on aerial diamonds or lyra (a constellation in the sky) as well as aerial silks. Dexterously executing various elegant postures and yogasanas at an intimidating altitude of nearly thirty feet, this event highlighted the fine balance between grit and grace.)
The next routine, Wonder Wings of Sai, was a mass drill that used ingenuously crafted wing-like props with alternating red and white shades. The performers gracefully aligned themselves in patterns such as a heart, flower, star and spirals, representing the inner human aspiration toward freedom. They ended their presentation with a grand finale formation offering pranams and gratitude to Bhagawan.
The Arati offered to Bhagawan marked the end of the morning session.

The afternoon session commenced at 4.25 p.m. Escorted by motorcycle escorts, Bhagawan was ceremonially welcomed to the Sri Sathya Sai Hill View stadium by an army of tiny Hanumans of the Smt. Eswaramma English Medium School. It was a wonderful sight that melted everyone’s hearts. Their seniors, the brass band of the Brindavan Campus, SSSIHL then accompanied Swami’s procession to Shanti Vedika.
Smt. Eswaramma English Medium School
Hanuman. The very word elicits the notion of love and devotion in each one of us. With the theme of Bend the Body (Gymnastics), Mend the Senses (Dance) and End the Mind (Vanaras), epitomizing perfect spiritual attunement, the various aspects of Lord Hanuman were depicted beautifully by the children of Smt. Eswaramma English Medium School. The Way To Ananda was a colourful spectacle of synchronized dance movements. Following this, the army of little Hanuman’s took the stage, forming a bow and arrow and other beautiful formations depicting the example of a devotee who had been able to achieve mind control through devotion, with constant repetition of God’s name. Their performance ended with the human formation of the words U R THERE in full colour.

Sri Sathya Sai Primary School
No Sports Meet is complete without the heart melting performances of some of the youngest students of the Sai educational institutions. This year, they worked even harder to bring us a series of eight performances. These included a Dance presentation, Gymnastics, Bunny Drill Dance, Structure, Umbrella, Birdie & Stars, Drill with Maypole, Rope Malkhan, Ribbon Drill with pots on the head, a LED Lights Show and a Grand Finale Song. Each performance highlighted the tireless efforts the teachers and students had put in to match the props, dresses, formations, dance sequences and the music. The LED show, for example, was particularly creative with the LED lights forming the contours of wings of various children as they performed under the fading light.

Men’s Campuses, SSSIHL, SSMCM and SSSHSS (Boys)
Following their impressive morning performance, the Men’s campuses started the final performance of the Sports Meet with dances from various parts of India including Dandia of Gujarat, the Bhangra of Punjab, and the Panduranga Dance of Maharashtra. This was followed by a more serious adventure comprising of the ancient martial art forms of Tai Chi, Karate, Stick Karate and Nun-chaks. While the other forms deal with physicality, Tai Chi deals with one’s inner vitality. Showing off a mix of offensive and defensive moves—mostly in large groups—the performance was both educative and entertaining to the audience.

This was followed by one of the larges formations the Sports Meet has ever seen, comprising 243 students. A blend of dance and flair, poise and innovation, Jai Ho was the first of its kind. The energy levels then geared up a notch when daring and fearless students from all campuses, and those of the music college and the higher secondary school performed a series of gymnastic feats. Given their age and relative inexperience, the scenes of these young men jumping over two cars, over fire and the like were quite extraordinary and awe inspiring. It made everyone witnessing realize that love and faith in Swami combined with His Grace can accomplish anything.

By then, the skies were totally dark. This was a perfect prerequisite for the final performance of the evening, LED: Light Ends Darkness. Using selective LEDs on their own clothes, students formed wonderful formations on both the ground and in the air on the bungee ropes.
An assortment of magnificent and colourful remote-controlled lit planes then took to the sky, and ushered in the final hurrah – a colourful display of fireworks across the stadium. The Mangala Arati was offered to Bhagawan Baba at 7:15 p.m. to mark the end of the special day’s offering.


Cultural Presentations – 12 to 14 January 2015

The cultural events took place in the evenings at Sai Kulwant Hall in Prasanthi Nilayam in the Divine presence. It was a fitting platform for students from all background to display their diverse talents and offer them to their beloved Lord. Just like the sports presentations, the planning, script, production, direction, props, costumes and overall execution of all dramas and presentations were done completely by students of respective campuses and institutions without any external assistance.
12 January – Brass Band Performance, Brindavan Campus, SSSIHL
Offering their feelings of love and gratitude through a musical tribute, the Brass Band of Brindavan Campus, SSSIHL presented pieced together five compositions with interludes of expression of gratitude. The programme conducted by Sri C R Santosh C R CR Santosh, III B.Sc. (Hons.) in Physics. The started with a popular western piece, Limbo Rock to begin with, followed by piece on the melody and beauty of Swami’s Brindavan, a couple of Prasanthi Bhajans and concluded with yet another popular western piece, Cartoon Symphony.

13 January – Musi-visual Presentation, Anantapur Campus, SSSIHL
With the aid of visual footages synchronized with live enacting/chanting, the presentation depicted love as the essential core of all religions. It celebrated the unifying spirit of love in diverse faiths. Echoing Bhagawan’s message, the presentation captured in sequence, the unsullied beauty of various world religions, namely, Hinduism, Islam, Christianity, Buddhism, Zoroastrianism, Sikhism, Judaism, Jainism, Sufism, and ending Bhagawan’s very own, Religion of Love. Presenting the central theme even as the backdrop with colourful visuals kept changing (representing each religious teachings), groups of students in colourful costumes chanted various religious hymns illustrating each faith.
The presentation concluded with the reiteration of the oneness of all faiths, in Bhagawan’s words: when we understand the oneness of humanity, one can understand divinity.

14 January Morning – The Prize Distribution Ceremony
The Prize Distribution Ceremony consisted of speeches and giving away the cups and prizes to the students of all Sai educational institutions that excelled in individual and team events for sports, cultural and fine arts at their respective institutions during the academic year 2014/15.
The programme commenced at 8 a.m with a grand procession comprising the university brass band, veda chanting group of students and a flag-bearing squad. Following brief opening remarks by Sri Sanjay Sahni, Director, Brindavan Campus, Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning (SSSIHL), a series of brief talks by four students of different institutions highlighted the significance of the event for the students and teachers involved. They narrated by various examples and incidences, how the event highlights the bond of love between students and the Founder Chancellor of these institutions, Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba.
Following the talks, the Founder Chancellor’s Cups—symbolizing the grand effort put in by each institution—were awarded by Sri K Chakravarthi, Member, Sri Sathya Sai Central Trust, the Registrar, SSSIHL and Controller of Examinations, SSSIHL. The respective captains and vice-captains of each Sai institution received them.
Prof. K B R Varma, Vice-Chancellor, SSSIHL then awarded the trophies to 28 students, all of whom were individual champions at their institution, under various categories.
The ceremony came to an end at 9:45 a.m. with the Divine benediction of our Beloved Swami. In His brief discourse, Swami advised that education is useful only if every student has a sense of fear (of sin), devotion and faith, which in turn can be used to discharge one’s duties with confidence and follow the right path in life.

14 January Evening – Drama Presentation, Men’s Campuses, SSSIHL, SSMCM and SSSHSS (Boys)
The stimulating drama entitled Sri Sathya Sai Avatara Rahasya, marked the grand-finale of the Annual Sports & Cultural Festival. The drama scripted the journey of life—muddled with inner foes—and how the Almighty descends in various forms, from time to time, to help annihilate these inner foes.
Using the metaphor of an attorney’s fight for justice in the Royal Supreme Court of Almighty, the drama highlighted through several episodes the ascent of a human being from man to God, to the point of saying, I am I.
Illustrating this profound Truth, scenes changed from Rama’s time to Krishna’s and ‘beyond’ bringing the sum and substance of the quintessential truth that the cosmic creation is His Vishwaroopa and He alone descends in a myriad form to help ascend man to the Supreme Reality. The programme ended with a group song by the entire crew singing with love to Beloved Bhagawan.

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.