Prasanthi Nilayam, 12 January 2024:
Sri Sathya Sai Educational Institutions held the main event of the Annual Sports & Cultural Meet on Wednesday, 11 January 2024 at the Sri Sathya Sai Hill View Stadium, Prasanthi Nilayam, Andhra Pradesh, India.
The Sri Sathya Sai Educational Institutions include Sri Sathya Sai Primary and Higher Secondary School, Smt. Eswaramma High School, Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Medical Sciences College of Nursing and Allied Health Sciences, and all four campuses of Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning (Deemed-to-be University).
The gala event is a culmination of various sports, cultural, and fine arts competitions held at all the above campuses/Institutions throughout the academic year.
The Morning Session
The morning session unfolded with the majestic ceremonial entry of our beloved Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba into the Sri Sathya Sai Hill View Stadium at 8 a.m. Bhagawan was welcomed by a procession of motorcycle escorts and the women’s brass band from the Anantapur Campus of Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning (SSSIHL). This was followed by a flag salute from House and Institute Captains of the SSSIHL, schools, and allied institutions, and later escorted by the lion dancers and the slow march squad, a special contingent led by the men’s brass band of the Prasanthi Nilayam Campus, SSSIHL.
The Veda Chanting group then ushered Bhagawan to the Shanti Vedika dais. The Chancellor, SSSIHL along with senior members and students representing each of the Sai educational institutions, offered salutations to Bhagawan.
The March Past saw 46 strong contingents featuring over 2200 students from across all Sai educational institutions marching in unison towards the Shanti Vedika dais offering their salutations to their Revered Founder Chancellor. This included a special ‘States Contingent’ in traditional attire from the Anantapur campus, representing all Indian states and fostering a celebration of national integration. The University flag, a symbol of unity and commitment, was then hoisted, and students took the Sports Meet oath, promising to uphold the honour and glory of Sri Sathya Sai’s mission.
The mascot Airaavat, the celestial white elephant, flew to the hill’s top, lighting the principal torch and officially inaugurating the 2024 Annual Sports & Cultural Meet. The bands of all the campuses then beat the retreat with divine renditions setting the stage for the day’s presentations.
The morning presentations commenced with the SSSIHL Prasanthi Nilayam campus and Higher Secondary School. The SSSIHL boys began with a mesmerizing Lion Dance, showcasing a splendid display of agility coupled with spirituality and a rhythmic synergy between the lions and the percussion instruments. This was followed by a synchronized modern dance performance that made a brilliant ode to the timeless ‘Nataraja’. The spotlight of their presentation was the 32-foot-tall float of Lord Krishna’s Vishwaroopa darshanam to Arjuna while conveying the timeless essence of the Bhagawad Gita on the battlefield.
The young boys from the Higher Secondary School took centre stage showcasing the evolution of Archery from a hunting tool to an Olympic sport, followed by synchronized rhythmic juggling with balls, clubs, and rings, on skates and cycles, the ancient martial art form of Kerala ‘Kalarippayattu’, fearlessly displaying their skills using sticks and swords, and acrobatic manoeuvres on aerial hoops. This was followed by a colourful and captivating Bhangra dance performance by the SSSIHL boys.
The highlight was ‘Throttling Tornadoes’ by the SSSIHL boys, featuring daredevils on 26 bikes, performing breath-taking stunts, daring jumps, riding through a ring of fire, and spectacular formations leaving the audience enthralled and stunned with their sense of balance, timing, and fearlessness, most importantly, their devotion to and love for their Divine Master. The students in the end came together to form the message ‘Forever Yours Sai’.
The SSSIHL Muddenahalli campus then offered a sequence of events from the Ramayana, highlighting Hanuman’s qualities of “Utsaham, Saahasam, Dhairyam, Bhakti, Shakti, Paraakramam” by way of dance, stunts, tutting, and acrobatics.
Finally, the students from the SSSIHL Brindavan campus presented ‘Tags & Chases’, a competitive sport that combines the game of tag with parkour and obstacles, followed by Lezims & Drums, a folk dance from the state of Maharashtra in India, and daring stunts on roller skates, skateboards, U ramps, and German wheels.
The morning session concluded with Mangala Arati to Bhagawan.
The Evening Session
The evening session commenced at 4.15 p.m. with the ceremonial procession welcoming Bhagawan Baba into the Sri Sathya Sai Hill View Stadium.
The students of Smt. Eswaramma High School began the session with the inaugural dance invoking the blessings of the Divine Creator. The tiny tots stole the spotlight with a synchronized peacock dance alongside the fearless freestyle, skating enthusiasts followed by a playful, yet captivating pillow dance. The children then demonstrated their self-defense prowess through various Karate moves and the Sikh martial art, ‘Gatka,’ seamlessly blending vigor, precision, and grace. The cultural journey continued with a vibrant ‘Garba’ dance, fusing devotion, joy, and community spirit. They concluded with a transformative performance, guiding the audience through yogic wisdom portrayed through lively dance and yoga asanas.
Adding to the charm, the tiny tots from the Primary school took center stage, presenting a series of nine adorable acts. The lineup featured an ecstatic dance extravaganza, celebrating the eternal Eshwara, followed by little gymnasts and acrobats showcasing their impressive flexibility and balance. The angels of love graced the stage with a heartwarming dance, while the peaceful warriors depicted their devotion to Maa Durga. The performance repertoire also included a scintillating skating match, a devotional dance offering to Lord Ram, a breathtaking balancing act on risky beams, and a mesmerizing display of formations and movements by the magnificent magenta.
Following the delightful performances by the children, the students from the SSSIHMS College of Nursing and Allied Health Sciences presented ‘“PRANADAATRI’ demonstrating lifesaving evacuation techniques during earthquakes & fire accidents, including first aid measures, and cardiopulmonary resuscitation. Continuing the evening’s diverse cultural tapestry, the audience was treated to a graceful and mesmerizing ‘Mohiniyattam’ performance portraying the inherent qualities of love, tranquility, and kindness within a woman.
The grand finale was presented by the students of the Anantapur Women’s campus, depicting a symphony of divine feminine powers (Naari Shakti). The performances, using LEDs and illuminating props, showcased the three kinds of shakti – Kriya shakti (Power of Action), Ichcha shakti (Power of Will), and Jnana shakti (Power of Knowledge), to overcome obstacles in the physical, mental, and intellectual planes. Eventually, they seek divine harmony with Adi Shakti, signifying a symphony of unified energies.
The event came to a glittering end with fireworks lighting up the skies in the Hill View stadium even as the theme song of the 99th Year of the Advent of Bhagawan filled the stadium.
The evening session concluded with Mangala Arati to Bhagawan, bringing to close the main event of the Annual Sports and Cultural Meet 2024 – a captivating celebration of talent, devotion, and youthful exuberance, leaving the audience enchanted and inspired by the multifaceted showcase of the student’s abilities.
View the recording here: