Annual Sports & Cultural Meet
Home Integral Education  Annual Sports & Cultural Meet

 
 

Annual Sports & Cultural Meet – The underpinnings of Sri Sathya Sai 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.
This year, the event was held at Prasanthi Nilayam from 11 to 15 January 2017. Over three thousand 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
The main event was held on 11 January 2017 at the Sri Sathya Sai Hill View Stadium and was split into two sessions, morning and evening.

11 January - Morning Session

The morning session 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 women students of Anantapur campus of SSSIHL who performed Rythmic Yoga, a form of Vinyasa or Artistic Yoga which offers a perfect blend of thirty-six yogasanas in tune with mellifluous music of Indian mantras. Following this, a presentation named Pattern Striders created patterns and symmetry as students marched together in unison, with synchrony, synergy and discipline. The last presentation was Sai Rangers, a motorcycle item sport characterized by stunts involving creative and daredevil maneuvering of motorcycles to display various formations, dead defied jumps, blind jumps, fire jumps and long jumps. The presentation ended with a human formation of the words: Ever Yours.

 
 
The students of SSSIHMS College of Nursing and Allied Health Sciences then reminded us of the importance of traditional art and dance. The first item was Kamsale Dance, a unique dance form that combined the sounds of cymbal instruments with vigorous rhythmic beats followed by Dollu Kunitha, an ancient art created and evolved from a group of villagers. It was characterized by vigorous drum beats, quick movements and synchronized group formations.
The morning session ended with an energetic display by the students of Brindavan Campus, SSSIHL. The first item, Yobics, showcased the notion of wellness and optimum health through the art forms of yoga and aerobics. Following this, strength and coordination come to the fore as the Dexters showcased their dexterity with a performance involving creative formations on planks. The final performance of the morning was definitely the showstopper. Skyrunners, as the name suggests, saw daring acts of jumping into the sky using jumping stilts, inline skates and pogo-sticks. Fearlessness, vigour and passion are the qualities that come to mind as the students demonstrated that the sky is certainly not the limit.

 
 

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.
Students of Smt. Eswaramma High School presented five colourful and creative presentations. The first one (by Class 1-5 boys) Sponge Bob and Starfish brought the American animated television characters to life. The presentation chronicled the adventures and endeavours of the characters and their friends. Next up were the Class 1-5 girls that performed a Hoop and Umbrella Dance. They artistically juggled hoops around their waist, hip, chest and neck.
Students of Smt. Eswaramma High School presented five colourful and creative presentations. The first one (by Class 1-5 boys) Sponge Bob and Starfish brought the American animated television characters to life. The presentation chronicled the adventures and endeavours of the characters and their friends. Next up were the Class 1-5 girls that performed a Hoop and Umbrella Dance. They artistically juggled hoops around their waist, hip, chest and neck.
Semi-classical Formations by the students of Class 6-10 girls then portrayed a series of semi-classical formations of Goddess Durga, Shiva and Swami. The boys of the same classes then complimented it with a gymnastic display named Body, Mind & Spirit. The senior students of Class 9-10 then did a Puppet Dance that staged a true learning experience and sent across an inspirational message to young learners out there.
Next up were the tiny tots and senior students of Sri Sathya Sai Primary School. They commanded everyone’s presence with a series of routines starting with a dance as a humble and loving offering of gratitude to Lord Sai. The floor was then painted red for a gymnastics display followed by a Ganesh Dance, after which the item Floral Rhythms depicted dainty angels of Lord Sai creating fountains of joy. German Wheels, an evergreen performance was followed by a Fairy Drill and a frolicking Hat on The Stick performance to a celestial beat. After a balancing on planks act, they ended their presentation with the item, Fan Fantasy, when enthusiastic trail blazers spread waves of delight as they made waves with their soothing colourful fans with a lovely song of devotion for God whilst hundreds of balloons were released into the evening sky.
It was then time for the senior boys of Prasanthi Nilayam Campus, SSSIHL and Sri Sathya Sai Higher Secondary School to take center stage. They began with a huge display of Open Hearts ushered into the ground. Rajastan Royals, a mass colourful display of dance and formations with the combined styles of Rajasthani and Gujarati folk art performed with props like sticks, swords, drums, fire, etc. was followed by Impavidos (Gymnastics with trampoline), a display of various types of jumps using the trampoline.
The boys then piloted RC planes flying across the stadium offering their aerial pradakshina and pranams to Bhagawan Baba. Following this, it was time for a brilliant display of Martial Arts. From synchronized moves to tile breaking to nostalgia for Bruce Lee fans with the use of the nunchaku, the audience were treated to a brilliant display of coordination, deftness and skill. GODS (Game of Daring Stunts), an exhibition of gymnastics skills on the floor, combined with a few stunts through rings was followed by BOS (Balance, Order and Skill), various formations on structures of different heights.
Riders Legion, a scintillating performance with different formations on cycles with stunts thrilled the audiences. They then mixed it up with an item, Punjabi Gabrus, that mixed traditional and contemporary bhangra with jhaal in the timeless spirit of youth and cheerfulness. The stadium was then lit with the ever-popular item, LED Light. Visual effects created with props having LED strips dazzled everyone with jazz, funky and intergalactic themes leading home to Prasanthi Nilayam.
Fittingly, the students from Muddenahalli, the youngest campus at SSSIHL brought the event home with a Torch Drill, a visual display of various patterns, including symbols of faith, simple animation and expressions. The last routine of the day was LED & Fire Poi – A visual display of various patterns with LED lights and fire hangings from strings and chains. These patterns include a hue of different colours with fire adding to the thrill.

 
 

Cultural Presentations – 12-15 January 2017

Following a spectacular display on 11 January, a series of cultural presentations took place in Sai Kulwant Hall, Prasanthi Nilayam every evening.

Sri Sathya Sai Higher Secondary School – 12 January

Titled Swargadapi Gariyasi, the drama presentation by the high school students chronicled the story of two college mates from contrasting backgrounds (one affluent and another middle class) who studied at Stanford Graduate School of Business tougher. Instead of pursuing the ‘good life’, the story highlighted how one of them, owing to the love of the motherland, brought the other back home to India and follow the principles of the ideal Indian.

SSSIHL, Anantapur Campus – 13 January

The women students of SSSIHL offered a video presentation entitled ’Sai’ward: Through Sai’s Words. The way to Sai through the word of Sai. It took the audience on a journey of questions and answers. Based on examples, insights, analogies and stories culled from Bhagawan’s discourses, the presentation attempted to portray the timeless quest of mankind for his true identity, which is divinity.

SSSIHL, Muddenahalli Campus – 13 January

This was followed by a drama presentation entitled Darshan – The true vision. The drama took the audience on a journey through different stages in the understanding of the meaning of Darshan and the ‘true’ eyes one needs to see God. Narrating and illustrating Narayana, a God-fearing protagonist in the story for the evening, the drama attempted to unravel the answer for this question, answering from a broad expansive angle, and concluding that a heart with love is enough to experience His Darshan.

 
 

SSSIHL, Brindavan Campus – 14 January

This musical drama presentation on the life of Sant Surdas highlighted how the true purpose of the human senses should be, to perceive God and serve Him, which in turn shapes the unique bond between God and the devotee. It chronicled Surdas’ life in terms of his steadfast devotion to his beloved Lord Krishna. Examples included that of emperor Akbar going all the way down to Braj, Surdas’ birthplace, to listen to his voice after his invitation to the royal court was refused. The drama highlighted how, in the end, Surdas saw God in everything and everyone.

SSSIHL, Prasanthi Nilayam Campus – 15 January

The drama presentation, Bhakti Pravaham – A journey to the Divine was the final presentation for this year’s Sports & Cultural Meet. It showed us how, on the journey of devotion, the nascent steps of ritual devoid of spirit leads the seeker to ego and self-destruction. But with spirit, it becomes prayer that leads to God. But then a prayer is still a want, the final and greatest act of devotion becomes selfless love that leads to the spontaneous manifestation of the Lord in one's heart.

 
 

Prize Distribution Ceremony – 14 January 2017

The Prize Distribution Ceremony of the Annual Sports and Cultural Meet 2017 for the Sri Sathya Sai educational institutions was held on the auspicious day of Makarasankranti, 14 January 2017 in Sai Kulwant Hall, Prasanthi Nilayam.
The ceremony, which marked the end of the Annual Sports and Cultural Meet for the academic year 2015/16, 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 establishments. It included brief speeches by a teacher of SSSIHL and several students highlighting the significance of the event.
It ended with a Divine Benediction of Sri Sathya Sai Baba in which He said that atma is the combination of the power of the Mind, Intellect and Will. The Mind has the three features – reaction, reflection and resound. Thus, the effect of the mind is very powerful and needs to be known. Mind is not matter; it is a reflection of the Self, just like the intellect and the senses. The fundamental right relates to the mind as it is the form of the Self. We there must destroy the monkey nature of the mind and take it on the spiritual path. We must transform our samskara, our actions and impressions. This will help us transform us and the culture of Bharat will shine brilliantly. Our actions will follow us. So, we must act accordingly. He told students to study to be immortal and pray for the welfare of all humanity. Chant the name of God, He said.

 
 
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.