Prasanthi Nilayam, 15 January 2024:
The Prize Distribution Ceremony of the Annual Sports and Cultural Meet 2024 for the Sri Sathya Sai educational Institutions was held on 15 January 2024, on the auspicious occasion of Makara Sankranti, at the Sai Kulwant Hall, Prasanthi Nilayam, Andhra Pradesh.
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 ceremony celebrated the excellent performances in sports, cultural, and fine arts events during the academic year 2023-24 by students of the Sri Sathya Sai educational institutions by honoring them for their achievements.
The programme commenced at 8:20 a.m. with a grand procession comprising the University brass band, students chanting Vedam, and a flag-bearing squad. Welcoming the assembly, the Master of Ceremonies Sri R Sai Naveen, Doctoral Research Scholar, from the Dept. of Management & Commerce, Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning (SSSIHL) emphasized the significance and the auspiciousness of Makara Sankranti. He highlighted the unifying factor of ‘Love’ for Bhagawan inspiring students across institutions to consistently perform with enthusiasm and vigor each year. Students continue to experience His presence and pure unsullied selfless love in a myriad ways propelling them to perform exceeding their capabilities.
The first speaker Prof. Deepa Seetharaman, from the Dept. of Physics, SSSIHL spoke on how despite the various challenges and hardships faced by students while training for their performances, every event was a prayerful offering, with only a single motive, intent, and inspiration – our love for Bhagawan, true to the letters of the oath taken by the students on 11 January. Reflecting on the unchanged motive over the years, she noted that the students’ outpouring of love was infused with Bhagawan’s love and assurance, instilling fearlessness and courage to overcome limitations, giving us a glimpse into our innate strength and infinite potential. Prof. Seetharaman stressed the importance of remaining humble, acknowledging Bhagawan as both the Director and the actor in the journey of achievements.
Her address was followed by a series of brief talks by the students of both the School and the Institute. The speakers were Sri Mihir Wijaya Vishindas of Class XII, Sri Sathya Sai Higher Secondary School (SSSHSS), Ms. Kota Apurva Havisha, of II M.B.A., Anantapur Campus, Sri Manavendra Manoj Patil, of III B.B.A., Muddenahalli Campus, Sri Sai Prasanna Gurumoorthy, III B.Sc. (Hons.) of Brindavan Campus, and Sri M Sai Kirti Krishnan of II M.Sc., Prasanthi Nilayam Campus.
These students shared their experiences of accomplishing remarkable feats with just a few weeks of training, acknowledging themselves as mere instruments through which He manifested and showered grace upon surrender. The consistent theme underlying all activities and offerings across institutions was the pure love for their Master, the embodiment of love, with the sole objective of bringing joy and pride to Bhagawan.
The students emphasized how the event provided an opportunity and platform for every student to showcase their innate talents through various sports and cultural activities, all while maintaining a sense of humility. From their first day on campus, these events offered an experience that helped them transition from being ordinary students to becoming ‘Sai students.’ The environment fostered motivation for students to step out of their comfort zones, enabling them to achieve individual and collective goals that revealed surprising depths of their true capabilities.
The commencement of the Prize Distribution saw the Founder Chancellor’s Cups of Love being presented by Sri K Chakravarthi, IAS (Retd.), the Chancellor of Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning, to the captains and vice-captains of each institution and campus. This recognition honored the dedication and sportsmanship displayed by the students of each institution.
Sri R J Rathnakar, Managing Trustee of Sri Sathya Sai Central Trust (SSSCT), then bestowed the House and Individual Championship trophies to the students of Sri Sathya Sai Higher Secondary School.
Following this, Prof. B Raghavendra Prasad, the Vice-Chancellor of Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning, awarded the House and Individual Championships to the students of all four campuses of the Institute. The prestigious Sri Sathya Sai All-Rounder Gold Medals were presented to outstanding students from each campus: Kum. Rani Srivalli Sathya Subha from III BA (Hons.) at Anantapur Campus, Sri Aditya Bharadwaj from II M.Sc. Data Science at Muddenahalli Campus, Sri Pulkit Khare from III B. Com (Hons.) at Brindavan Campus, and Sri Pakala Pruthvidhar Reddy from II M. Tech (Optoelectronics & Communication) at Prasanthi Nilayam Campus.
Dr. K V Ranga Rao “Best Teacher Award” was then presented by the Vice-Chancellor to Dr. Y Lakshmi Naidu, Associate Prof., from the Dept. of Mathematics & Computer Science at Anantapur campus, SSSIHL.
The sports categories for students at SSSIHL included 10 track events – 100m, 200m, 400m, 800m, 1500m, 2000m, 5000m, 10000m, 4 x 100m, and 4 x 400m relays, as well as 7 field events – shot put, discus throw, hammer throw, javelin throw, high jump, long jump, and triple jump. Additionally, there were over 11 team and individual games such as basketball, football, cricket, volleyball, ball badminton, handball, kho-kho, lawn tennis, table tennis, tennikoit, and badminton. In the cultural category, there were over 45 segments, encompassing debate, drama, quiz, orchestra, instrumental, light vocal, modeling, mono acting, mime, painting, photography, poster making, elocution, short story writing, sketching, stotram and Vedam chanting, yoga, classical and folk dance, bhajan antakshari, Carnatic and Hindustani classical vocal, mehndi, cartooning, clay modeling, and more.
A total of 1390 prize winners, comprising 796 in sports and 594 in cultural events, were recognized at SSSIHL. This included the distribution of 121 Gold, 89 Silver, and 88 Bronze medals specifically for Athletics. The ceremony featured the presentation of 28 Championship trophies, with 12 allocated to Athletics, 12 to cultural events, and 4 to Fine arts.
For participants from the School, Individual Championship winners and runners-up, in sub-juniors, juniors, and seniors were honored, alongside awards for the Athletics House championship, Games Cup, Talent Search Programme Cup, and Overall Championship presented to the respective Captains and Vice-captains of the victorious houses.
In a gesture of gratitude, the Physical Directors, as well as all the sports and cultural coordinators from the Educational Institutions, who tirelessly guided, motivated, and supported the students until the final day, stepped forward to seek blessings from Bhagawan.
In the Divine benediction that followed Bhagawan emphasized the significance of mastering the mind, asserting that ‘true wisdom emerges only when the mind ends’. Drawing a metaphor, he likened contemporary human existence to that of a rat, driven solely by its senses towards a baited trap, oblivious to the impending danger. Bhagawan urged against squandering time, emphasizing the value of every moment in engaging in virtuous deeds that bring genuine happiness. Highlighting the transformative power of sports and cultural activities, he underscored their ability to bestow both physical well-being and joy. Bhagawan stressed the need to eliminate sentiments of hatred and jealousy during competitions, emphasizing that these events provide an opportunity for students, regardless of their diverse cultural backgrounds, to transcend differences and showcase unity in diversity. He articulated that offering one’s endeavors to God with a sense of gratitude elevates mere work to the status of worship. Portraying life as a game, Bhagawan urged students to approach it with the utmost discipline, asserting that this commitment alone can uphold the reputation and prestige of their institute.
This was followed by a performance of the Brass Bands of the Anantapur and Prasanthi Nilayam campuses, Bhajans, and Prasadam distribution. The ceremony concluded with Mangala Arati being offered to Bhagawan.
View the recording here: https://youtube.com/live/OV0n7DDMHVI