Makara Sankranthi: Valedictory Function of Sports & Cultural Festival 2011

15th Jan 2010: After two days of Annual Sporting and Cultural extravaganza, Prasanthi witnessed the valedictory function honouring the heroics of students, on the 15th January evening in the immediate Divine presence of Bhagawan.

In the evening, Sai Kulwant Hall, the venue, had colour and glitter around, reflecting the celebrating mood of the twin occasion, the valedictory function and the auspicious Makara Sankranthi. Weekend ensured a capacity audience and additional venue, Poornachandra Auditorium, had its shutters up for the devotees.In the evening, emerging at the stroke of 1800 hrs., Bhagawan went straight into the Poornachandra Auditorium to bless the convergence before coming into the Sai Kulwant Hall. Entering into the Sai Kulwant Hall at 1820 hrs., Bhagawan’s caravan had the Institute Band and Flag Bearing Squad, preceding Him, marching gracefully escorting The Chancellor.

The dais in the Sai Kulwant wore a special decorative costume, adorned with trophies and shields on both sides, meant for distribution. As Bhagawan arrived on the dais, He blessed the trophies and shields before lighting the lamp on the stage sanctifying the occasion.

Proceedings began with Sri Sanjay Sahni, Principal, Brindavan Campus of SSSIHL addressing the gathering , introducing the occasion to the audience. Sun’s northward journey is an occasion to remind man of His Godward journey, said the speaker greeting one and all on the auspicious occasion. Referring to the symbolic incident in Shankaracharya’s life, wherein little shankara was caught by a crocodile compelling his mother to allow him to pursue the line of a renunciate, the speaker said man should disentangle himself from worldly entanglements by turning his vision inward and the easiest way to achieve this is to dedicate each and every action unto God, and thus the significance of Sports and Cultural Festival.

In Prasanthi, education ensures a balanced, integrated personality. Referring to a question by the NAAC team of the UGC that visited the Institute sometime last year, as to why can’t we develop national sports champions, he said, the thrust is not to produce sporting heroes, but is to bring out personalities with developed body, mind and spirit. More than anything else what takes precedence is the feeling with which every student is performing his or her task, offering everything unto Him to make Him happy. Sri Sahni concluded his speech offering gratitude to Bhagawan reiterating that Bhagawan alone has been our inspiration.

The second speaker for the occasion was Ms. Suma Rao, a former student with double post graduation, erstwhile all-rounder gold medallist, currently a faculty in the Dept. of Commerce at Anantapur Campus, pursuing Doctoral Research in “Women Executives in Corporate India”.

Highlighting the speciality of Sathya Sai Educational System, that according to the speaker brings out the ‘soul quality’, Ms. Suma narrated some interesting instances, giving a micro view with her observations on the entire exercise called Sports Festival.

Basic tenet of Sathya Sai Education is that Education is for life and not for a living. Education with Bhagawan often helps to bring the spiritual quality of the soul to surface. Life on the other hand finds its true meaning with sacrifice and self-giving. With spiritual qualities surface, Godly or Spiritual life is no more a choice, but an inevitable happening, said the speaker stressing that sporting preparations and presentations help us to bring the ‘soul-quality’ out.

Sports is all about physical courage; courage in Sai students’ parlance is neither absence of fear nor a complete ‘self-belief’, but something special and that is the belief that GOD IS THERE FOR ME, which adds a new dimension. Children when get hurt during their preparations are eager and concerned to get fit soon to participate in the events and this indicates the positive trend of shifting focus unto God. The speaker, a veteran of over twenty-sports festivals reasserted her own experience over the years, she claims to have learnt and re-learnt after every sporting festival, that ‘God alone is the doer and we are mere instruments’. God’s Grace acts as a catalyst.

The Sports Festival is fully saturated with God’s Love where it gets value, worth and meaning, said the speaker. Concluding her insightful speech Ms. Suma chose to offer a prayer against thanking Him, as the speaker was taught by Bhagawan Himself not to thank God who is our own.

…You are The One Love that lasts through life and transforms living! …You are The Essence of everything the substance of being, Can there be anything worth without you? So, how does one deserve You? When You come, virtues come with You! So, Lord! Storm into our hearts, storm into our homes to be the essence of our lives…come Please Lord, please come”, concluded the speaker.

Prize distribution for the participating institutions followed next. As the names were announced, representatives from various institutions, namely, Sri Sathya Sai Primary School, SSSIHL – Brindavan Campus, Mirpuri College of Music, SSSIHL – Anantapur Campus, SSSIHL – Prasanthi Nilayam Campus, Sri Sathya Sai Higher Secondary School – Prasanthi Nilayam, all came in the order to receive trophies from the Divine hands. Subsequently Bhagawan blessed certificates and medals to be distributed among the winners from all the institutions.

Conveying His immense blessings, Bhagawan asked Sri Sanjay Sahni to announce that He felt immense joy at the performance of the students during the festival. Special mention was made on the drama presentation held on 13th Jan evening.

Special benedictions were sent to the Muddenahalli Campus and Smt. Easwaramma English Medium School along with College of Nursing and Allied Health Sciences, SSSIHMS, Whitefield, Bangalore and Sri Sathya Sai Junior College, Anantapur. As Bhagawan sat on the stage, there was a flurry of greetings from students related to the Sports theme. Bhagawan blessed all of them.

Blessed Prasadam was distributed to the entire assemblage. As the distribution went on Institute Band played some soulful tunes that included bhajans.

Bhagawan accepted Mangala Arathi at 1950 hrs. and retired to Yajur Mandiram at 2000 hrs. As His car slowly moved past, Institute Band and Flag Bearing Squad joined Him forming the caravan.