Annual Sports & Cultural Meet
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A event that showcases the underpinnings of the system of Values-based Integral Education
Why do all the Sai educational institutions at Prasanthi Nilayam have an elaborate Annual Sports & Cultural Meet every year? What is the genesis?
The singular focus of all Sai students for the Annual Sports & Cultural Meet has always been to please Swami and make Him proud. On the other hand, Swami—with His divine vision—made sure that these pure feelings of Love were translated into the pursuit of excellence in every facet of a student’s evolution.
One of the foremost of these facets was developing Self Confidence. From concept to performance, each event brought home challenges that seem unsurpassable at first; but with dedication, teamwork and facing fears and doubts, they culminate into outstanding performances.
Sometimes Swami would even cancel events in the eleventh hour if they were not up to the mark. Dealing with those disappointments taught students a different (but perhaps necessary) set of life lessons.
The other amazing aspect of Sports Meet was thriftiness. With meagre resources, students put together props that are beautiful, often with recycled materials. This brought to the fore not just creative energy and original ideas, but also a sense of unity as you must work with one another to achieve excellence in a limited amount of time under immense pressure.
The fact that the Sports Meet has 100% participation from teachers and students is an amazing feat, unparalleled in the field of education. This fact also encourages the cultivation of discipline. If one student is late for practice, the entire team is held up.
In this manner, slowly, over the years, Swami evolved the culture behind the scenes of the Annual Sports & Cultural Meet to put in effect all the underlying principles of Sri Sathya Sai Values-based Integral Education for students and teachers.
Perhaps as He always said, The End of Culture is Perfection.
Radio Sai Global Harmony ( has produced a documentary on the Annual Sports Meet. It will give you a visual feel of the presentations on 11 January. Click here to view the documentary.
This year, the event was held at Prasanthi Nilayam from 11 to 15 January 2018. Over 2800 students and hundreds of teachers from all the Sri Sathya Sai educational institutions—which includes all the four campuses of Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning, Sathya Sai Mirpuri College of Music, Sri Sathya Sai Primary and Higher Secondary Schools, Smt. Eswaramma High School and SSSIHMS College of Nursing and Allied Health Sciences—participated
11 January – Sports Presentations
The main event was held on 11 January 2018 at the Sri Sathya Sai Hill View Stadium and was split into two sessions, morning and evening.

11 January - Morning Session

The morning session of the Annual Sports and Cultural Meet this year commenced at 8 a.m. with Bhagawan Baba's car entering the Sri Sathya Sai Hill View Stadium 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. Following the ceremonial welcome to Bhagawan, the Vice-Chancellor, SSSIHL along with senior members of the Sri Sathya Sai educational institutions, offered salutations to Bhagawan.
The March Past that followed included each of the two thousand Sai students marching in unison towards the dais at Shanti Vedika where Bhagawan Baba sits, offering their salutations to their Revered Founder Chancellor.

The first presentation was by the students of Prasanthi Nilayam Campus, SSSIHL and Sri Sathya Sai Higher Secondary School. They performed four items each.
The first item was Gymnastics, an item that included dive rolls, somersaults and obstacle jumps, all on a trampoline. Giant Wheel, the next item, necessitated supreme poise and confidence. The stunts and formations were performed on a Ferris wheel-like structure controlled and maneuvered by two performers at either end. Soaring almost a hundred feet at its highest end, students walked on the top, summersaulted in the rings at each end.
A synchronized act, Meteors, involved students holding a rope with two balls hanging on either side. The item had formations and stunts such as walking on drums and blindfold walking. This then gave way to Aerial Acrobats, vertical jumps and acrobatic feat using two large circular trampoline supplemented by formations and synchronized acrobatic movements on the floor.

Blazing Rangers, was a mass item of various drill movements, synchronized steps and formations depicted using red and yellow colours. Then, the Synergy Squad deftly displayed of choreographed hip-hop steps, including acrobatic moves and dynamically changing formations.
No Sports Meet is complete without the tried and tested Bike Stunts performance. This event consisted of both display and stunt items. Display items include formations such as crisscross and scissor cross by multiple bikes. The stunt items include ramp jumps, jumps through fire, breaking the glass. Using Scramblers a few stunts like wheeling were also performed. Perfect coordination was an essential part of this item, to ensure all were injury-free and the item looked flawless to the viewer.
The last item was perhaps the most nostalgic. The Life of a Jawan was depicted in this cultural item. Through various simulations of real-life battle situations that these brave jawans face when they protect our country, the item elicited the feeling of pride, sacrifice, difficulty, dedication and values in all spectators.

The women students of Anantapur campus, SSSIHL put up perhaps the classiest of all Sports Meet presentations in several years. Their first item was a display using Penny-farthing bicycles and Half-bikes, also known as a high wheel, high wheeler and ordinary. It is a type of bicycle with a large front wheel and a much smaller rear wheel. These vehicles-a throwback to the bygone nineteenth century-were refreshing to see. Students rode them in perfect files with elegant synchronicity. The items represented the heroic and the indomitable spirit of womanhood.
Their next item, Fabric Gymnastics, reiterated Bhagawan Baba's expositions on 'The Triangle of Life - God, Man and World'. Students displayed various patterns and formations, using a dual-coloured stretchable fabric that illustrated the trials of the world, subtle qualities of adaptability of women, and the way to direct our lives to Sai in the path of light.
Next up was a Gymnastics performance on an oscillating structure. Breathtaking stunts on the structure exhibit students' determination, flexibility and stability. They formed multiple patterns on and off the structure to end the morning session with a visually pleasing performance.
The final enactment was Wings, a delineation of the Egyptian Goddess of Prosperity and Peace. The performance was a dance drill using shimmering wings with beauty, elegance and grace.


11 January - Evening Session

The evening session began at 4 p.m. with the ceremonial procession welcoming Bhagawan Baba into the Sri Sathya Sai Hill View stadium.
Smt. Eswaramma High School had the privilege to break first ground with their presentation, Surrender to God, that included an interplay of dances and combat skills depicting the journey of man from the long-lost innocence of peaceful times of earth, when truth and righteousness reigned this earth and peace and love had made a home in every heart and every Radha had her Krishna and beauty and harmony prevailed.
The routine took the viewer on a journey to the gradual loss of this peace to the current day times of strife, division and disharmony. Eventually, the inner conflict within man leads to the ultimate surrender of his will, intellect, emotions and impulses to God at His Lotus Feet in an effort to win back that very peace.
No Sports Meet performance touches the heart more than that of Sri Sathya Sai Primary School. Hundreds of little students, some as young as five years of age, put on the most colourful and adorable set of items. Starting with Dance, a prayerful offering of love to Lord Sai to Gymnastics, an exuberant gymnasts gambol in gratitude to Lord Sai, to Chirpy Birds, when the mirthful tots tweeted in joyful abundance, thy were a sight for all the Gods at Sri Sathya Sai Hill View stadium.
Other items included Droplets of Pure Love, where these little angels dove deep, deep into the ocean of love and bliss; The Magnificent Trailers, when the trailers mesmerized us with their mind- blowing feats on wheels; The Message of Lord Sai, when the divine harbingers highlighted the message of the Lord with their hands; Sai Ganas In Ecstatic Worship, a Sai Ganas dance to the cosmic rhythm in prayerful adoration; Sunny Sunbeams, a frolic in joy to the celestial beat, and Feats on The Ladder, a trailblazing balance on ladders performing amazing feats. They ended with beautiful Waves of Love, fanning the flames of divine love in every heart.

The students of Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Medical Sciences, College of Nursing and Allied Health Sciences, Whitefield, Bangalore then performed The Leela's of Lord Krishna, a dance item that highlighted wonderful events like the birth of Lord Krishna, Kaalinga marthanam, Dhandiya, Peacock dance and Vishwaroopam.
Muddenahalli Campus, SSSIHL gave us three items this year. The first was Bhangrā from 'The Sai Gabroo Team', a Punjabi dance that is the best exercise to gain control over the body and also the mind, Full of beats and energy, this electrifying dance included some stunts with the Gatka which will amplify the performance. The dancers sung the chorus of the song whilst dancing around the drum or dhol, which sets the unique beat of the dance.
Next up was Janbaaz - The gallant stilt adventurers, a performance with stilts and walking poles. Students marched in files in unison, race with the prop tied to their feet, play games on stilts, performed yoga postures and skipped around with their feet levitated. They also walked on fiery embers and bravely battled with sticks of fire.
The concluding item was The Inspirators. Using Buugeng (Japanese for Martial Arts combined with Illusion), these unique, S Shaped sticks made a fine display of a focused, synchronized effort, producing an infinite, amazing geometric patterns and optical illusions, resulting in this phantasmagoria - a spectacle of creative beauty.

The students of Brindavan Campus, SSSIHL brought the show home. Brindavan Campus has always treated us with creative performances and this year was no different. They presented five items. The first was Zorbonauts, which saw the introduction of the bubble-ball, a high energy, high fun sport showcasing a colourless inflatable capsule over the upper body. Zorbonauts wrestled with other players, played soccer, and performed unique gymnastic stunts.
The second item, BrinHkers (Brindavan Hockey Players), allowed the Brindavan Hockey team to showcase their skills with the sticks with a synchronized display of skills with some real match experience. Twilight Swings was a dance item that demonstrated a Western style of dance, the Jabbawokeecz style, that involves brisk vigorous movements interspersed with slow continuous movements. It was imaginatively integrated with Bhangra, the popular Indian dance.
The fading evening light made way for the Illuminati, an enthusing blend of dance moves and human formations wearing indigenously created LED costumes. The dance styles included freestyle and dance-pop genres.
The grand finale of the day was Celestial Rhythms, with students performing a rope display highly parched on a tall crane. The strokes of courage and love scripted a fitting final offering unto the Lord with prayers to Him to bless us all to be a perfect note in His Celestial Rhythm.

12-15 January – Cultural Presentations
Following a spectacular display on 11 January, a series of cultural presentations took place at Sai Kulwant Hall, Prasanthi Nilayam every evening.

12 January – Tūhi Karam, Tūhi Kartha - a drama presentation by Sri Sathya Sai Higher Secondary School (Boys)

The Lord of the Universe, the Creator, the Sustainer, the Master Sculptor sculpts our mind-sets, chiselling us into his perfect creation. Despite this, we allow our minds to lead us into an illusion thinking that we are the ones responsible for our actions.
The drama depicted this journey through Keshav, a blind sculptor with a robust vision. In the attempt to gain sight, Keshav gradually loses his vision. He leaves the Lord's hand blinded by ego, and all he sees is his own creation. He has his eyes and yet he is blind. He isn't able to summon his talent during the most opportune moment of his life.
Left in the lurch, Keshav had no option than to ponder within, over and over again. Understanding his folly, Keshav realizes that the The Lord is now his only refuge! His Master appeared in the nick of time, granting the final touch of sculpting...sculpting the real Keshav. He declared: You were a mere instrument in My hands oh child, as I was the Divine dramatist.


13 January – Bhakta Purandara Dasa - a drama presentation by SSSIHL, Brindavan Campus

The drama featured the transformative journey of Bhakta Purandara Dasa, one of India's one of the most celebrated poet-saints, from a miserly goldsmith interested only in hoarding wealth to a devoted poet saint who ultimately realizes the transience of all worldly wealth and possessions, and how he dedicates his life to composing songs in the Kannada language in praise of Lord Vithala.
Beginning with a flashback, the drama talks about the story of Srinivasa Naik, who was known for his tightfistedness and greed for money. As fate would have it, Lord Krishna came to him in the guise of a Brahmin seeking alms, seeking his helping hand in conducting his son's thread ceremony. After being turned down repeatedly, finally Krishna played His Divine sports wooing Sriniavasa's wife, who out of reverence for the Brahmin give Him her nose-ring as charity. Finding out the truth of Krishna leela, Naik was puzzled and deeply ashamed of his conduct, thus the great transformation into Purandara Dasa.


14 January – The One Step - a drama presentation by SSSIHL, Muddenahalli Campus

The drama portrayed the journey of transformation in a devotee. It highlighted how the Lord is waiting for that one true step towards Him in order to rush and embrace His devotee. It beautifully featured the fact that transformation in a devotee is that One step that the Lord expects of us!

15 January – Tripurantakam, A journey of transcendence - a drama presentation by SSSIHL, Prasanthi Nilayam Campus

The thematic drama explores the three experiences of creation, sustenance and dissolution, through the journey of the self, drawing a parallel with the legend of Tripura Dahanam. The journey was portrayed through various layers of existence - the gross, subtle and causal, finally to merge back into the Supreme Divinity.
It brought to life the mystical story of the severe penance and subsequent boon won by the three demonic sons of Tarakasura from the hands of Creator Brahma, the presentation portrays how, with the help of Lord Vishnu, Mahadev finally annihilates the Tripura, symbolically signifying man's esoteric journey form 'I' to Nothingness, redeeming his Self from the three illusory levels of existence, to become one with The Supreme Divine.
15 January – Prize Distribution Ceremony
The Prize Distribution Ceremony celebrated the excellent performances in sports and cultural events during the Annual Sports and Cultural Meet and during the academic year 2017/18 by students of each Sai educational institution.
The programme commenced at 8:30 a.m. with a grand procession comprising the university brass band, veda chanting group of students and a flag-bearing squad. Following a short introduction by the Master of Ceremonies, Sri Sai Shyam, Professor, Dept. of Mathematics & Computer Science, Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning (SSSIHL), the first talk of the event was delivered by Sri B Sai Surendranath, Postgraduate Teacher, Dept. of Commerce, Sri Sathya Sai Higher Secondary School (SSSHSS) and a long-time devotee of Bhagawan Baba. His talk was aptly titled, the Three 'S's - Sai, Students and Sports. Following a short genesis on the history of the Sports Meet, he narrated how this event was a perfect example of Bhagawan Baba's unique and divine way of seamlessly integrating values-based education with secular education. He narrated his personal experiences during the Sports Meet over the years how Baba would teach students the art of balancing the heart with the mind through the event. He especially reminded students of the gratitude we all owe towards Baba, the Trust, the various offices, supports staff and the endless number of people who make the Sports Meet a grand and successful event. He concluded with Baba's famous saying, Life is a Game, play it!
Next, a series of brief talks by students of all four campuses of SSSIHL and the Sri Sathya Sai Higher Secondary School brought home the message of Swami for His students. They narrated how the Annual Sports & Cultural Meet has shaped their thinking, perceptions and growth. Some of these included: Sport Meet is not just January 11 but the journey to January 11; the importance of the power of love, and how small things make all the difference; Perfection as a habit and attribute of a lifetime; Sports Meet as an opportunity to make Sai the only priority, and how to transform a programme (Sports Meet) into an offering (to the Lord).
Their talks resonated the importance and uniqueness of this wonderful event and the powerful inner transformation it brings about in all students and the leap of faith they take, knowing that their Divine Master is with them all the time.

Following the talks, the Founder Chancellor's Cups-symbolizing the grand effort put in by each institution-were awarded by members of the Sri Sathya Sai Central Trust. The respective captains and vice-captains of each Sai institution and campus received them.
After the Physical Directors of each Sai educational institution took namaskar of Bhagawan Baba and submitted the prize lists to Him, members of the Sri Sathya Sai Central Trust and the Vice-Chancellor, SSSIHL then awarded the trophies to the individual champions of SSSHSS and each SSSIHL campus under various categories.
This was followed by the Divine benediction of Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba. He stressed how the main purpose of sports and games is unity, but that, in the current state of play, it has become more business-like. Teachers are instrumental in keeping the sanctity of not just sports but a lot of other activities outside the classroom, He said. He encouraged teachers to be more participative. He reminded us the responsibilities that teachers carry to train hundreds of children and how, with proper encouragement and material support, students can excel. Amongst all the professions, teaching is the noblest. If a student is spoilt, he alone is affected. But if a teacher is spoilt, hundreds of students will be spoilt, He said. The teacher's duty, therefore, is to see the welfare of students so that they develop sacred thoughts and sacred relationships. Hence, teachers must make every effort to encourage students and make them ideal.

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.