Spectacular Sports & Cultural Meet…

Bending their bodies, mending their senses aiming at ending their minds students from various Sathya Sai institutions battled in the Divine Presence, not for sporting glory, but for the glory of “Beloved Mother Sai”, celebrating the Annual Sports and Cultural Meet yesterday, 11th January 2014 at the Sri Sathya Sai Hill View Stadium, Prasanthi Nilayam.

It was a beautifully cool morning when Bhagawan was symbolically ushered in to the stadium to the escort of motor bikers and University Brass Band. As is the convention for the past two years, Bhagawan was ushered in an open top car at the stroke of 0800 hrs.

After Bhagawan had ‘taken’ His special seat on the Shanti Vedika, the grand All Students’ March Past, from the four campuses—Anantapur, Prasanthi Nilayam, Brindavan and Muddenahalli — commenced. In a thrilling rally that followed next, disciplined band of colourfully decked students, tiny tots of the Primary School to senior students, marched past the Shanti Vedika, the Seat Of The Chancellor, to the lilting beats of the Institute Band. Each group, led by a captain carrying a distinctive flag, offered salutations to Bhagawan as it filed past the Santhi Vedika.

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Customary procedures affiliated to the event followed next. The Institute Flag was hoisted first. Symbolising Love and Peace two white doves were released next followed by bunches of colourful balloons.  The ‘Olympic Torch” lit subsequently was carried by relays of pairs of runners to the top of Vidyagiri Hill where the “Olympic” flame was lit. The mascot for the year was “Flying Hanuman”, symbolizing courage, strength and valour.

The “Olympic” oath of fair competition in true spirit of sportsmanship was administered to all the participating students next.

The women’s campus from Anantapur was the first one setting the field for the morning. Beginning at a high note, declaring: “The motivation is His… He is the Doer…Everything is His…Nothing is ours”, colouful dancers forayed into the centre-stage, swaying merrily to the rhythm of music. Gutsy students with gumption displayed stunning feats riding their motorbikes with great control, displaying greater harmony. Beginning with saluting Bhagawan, the riders displayed a variety of stunning feats, criss-crossing each other veering at great speed, riding with flags in hand, performing yoga while balancing themselves precariously on a ladder, smashing through an obstacle, jumping through a ring of fire and leaping over a bunch of 15 students with immaculate precision. The bikers signed off in style with a united show of harmony, riding over seven bikes, balancing flags and the audience joined showering plaudits on these brave hearts.  This was followed by formation of a beautiful pattern with pyramid-shaped structures.

If stunts can be performed with bikes then why not with bicycles, seemed to be the message from the youngest campus in the group, SSSIHL – Muddenahalli as the young riders began their feats beginning the Muddenahalli programme. Exhibiting great wheeling skills, criss-crossing, balancing with flags dexterously, the young lads enthralled the audience with their innovative item that requires skill and practice. In a stunning display, one student walked effortlessly from one carrier of the cycle to another in motion, and if that was not enough, the student even walked backwards. Stunts on ramps, smashing obstacles etc. also followed. Tap dance, and synchronised dance and aerobic exercises were the other items by the campus.\

The Brindavan Campus began with innovative formations called “Celestial Rhythms” done on a raised structure. They displayed their skills with formations like cascading effect, balancing upside down, triangle formation to finally end with a formation of “We Love Sai”.

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Cricket Drill followed next. Bringing in the finer aspects of the game, the drill displayed various cricketing strokes namely, sweep shot, forward defence and hook shot etc. Simulating real match-like situation of an India-England tie, the students then played a shortened version of cricket.

A disaster management programme was the final item for the session. Simulating a real-life situation in the face of disaster, the show turned out to be a good learning exercise for the capacity audience. The situation simulated was a burning 3-storey building with lives ready to burn inside. How to save lives from a burning building, how the affected are to be ferried to safer places, how to save a victim caught in fire etc. were shown before another simulation, wherein a motor cyclist struck down by a speeding car, injuring the victim’s leg, was quickly transported to an ambulance after tying a cloth on the affected part. Another educative item was how to make a makeshift stretcher with bedspread and two bamboos and in a dire situation, the victim’s shirt was used to carry him to the nearest hospital.

Disaster management during floods came next. In the precarious situation of a bridge damaged, the victims were rescued by making a makeshift bridge with ropes and even a human bridge was made by persons lying on poles. The Lord is the real Apadbandhava (rescuer in the face of obstacles) was the message conveyed to the spectators at the end. The morning programme concluded with the final formation of Brindavan students offering their heartfelt gratitude to Bhagawan followed by Mangala Arathi.

Evening Session

Bhagawan was ushered in at 1630 hrs. accompanied by loud burst of fireworks. The Brindavan Brass Band welcomed Bhagawan with lilting tunes escorting the Divine Chancellor. Chirpy tiny tots from Smt. Easwaramma English Medium High School welcomed Swami in an innovative way, with stilt walking and the tiny tots from Sri Sathya Sai Primary School followed, in skates.

The first to perform this evening were students from Smt. Easwaramma English Medium High School. As the students were ready to perform, a little one in the front row pointing to the large group of students said, “I know the secret of their happiness; it is because You Are always with them.” Their performance began with tiny tots dressed in costumes of fruit-bearing trees dancing to a melody. What followed was a thematic dance offering, tiny tots dressed as roosters and hens giving much colour variation. A couple of more dances followed before little gymnasts took over offering floor exercises on stilts.

The cynosure of all eyes, Sri Sathya Sai Primary School was to come next.  Offering much colour, artistry and aesthetic touch tiny tots ruled the roost for the next forty minutes offering an array of dances and floor exercises. Beginning with a traditional dance little gymnasts took over performing delectable acts with their floor exercises.

Tiny tots soon gyrated to a song carrying lotus flowers. Now it was the turn of skaters to do balancing acts. The skaters jumped an obstacle after getting elevation from a ramp. An interesting game of hockey followed with skates. Two teams Sathya and Dharma played for honours with the majority of the ball possession was with the Dharma team which eventually won the game by three goals.

Girls in bright blue costumes danced with luminescent sunflowers was followed by tiny tots doing a Punjabi dance. It was amusing to see tiny tots grooving to the tune of the song “Dama Dam Mast Kalandar.” Again it was the turn of gymnasts… followed by girls making undulating movements in a dance; it was beautiful to see them swaying to the song. The offering concluded with the final formation of all the students to the song “Sayeesha Nee Namam Entho Ruchi Ra” (Sai, how tasty is Your Name).

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Two Chinese dances by the students of Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Medical Sciences, College of Nursing and Allied Health Sciences followed next.

As the nursing students offered their obeisance to Bhagawan, the students from Prasanthi Nilayam – Sri Sathya Sai Higher Secondary School, Sathya Sai Mirpuri College of Music and Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning wheeled a huge lighted stringed instrument in the symbol of love. The announcement was “Oh Cosmic Musician, we offer our hearts to You.” The first offering was by the students of Sri Sathya Sai Higher Secondary School, a vibrant invocatory dance.

Now the scene shifted to a giant 25 feet structure, where Wheel Wizards had something special to offer. Giant wheels – two cart wheels were manoeuvred by students as the wheels rotated with speed. Calling themselves “Wheel Wizards,” the students offered a variety of feats exhibiting great dexterity. Gymnastic feats followed before the “Malkhamb Masters,” offered balancing acts on poles. True to the dictum of Bhagawan: “Bend the body, mend the senses, end the mind, the students performed adroitly displaying great balancing skills.  Floor exercises on mats followed next had impressive feats like jumping through rings of fire etc.

Twilight was slowly giving into the shades of darkness and still much more was to come, this time with much of radiance. A dance with beams of luminescent lights followed. A dazzling display of men in action with their bodies stroked with lights of blue and white hues turned out to be a visual treat.

Dare-devilry followed next wherein 130 students of Sri Sathya Sai Higher Secondary School literally played with fire in the next item. It was fire… fire everywhere. Cautioning the audience there was an announcement, not to emulate the stunts as they were performed with practice. Rotating and swinging balls of blazing fire wildly turned out to be mind-blowing.

Even as the performance for the evening concluded, remote-controlled lit planes soared in the sky giving a magnificent colourful flying exhibition. A fine display of fireworks lighted the sky as the students assembled for the final formation paying their obeisance to Bhagawan. Mangala Arathi at 1915 marked the end of the special day’s offering.

II Samastha Lokah Sukhino Bhavantu II