January 11 and 12, 2011 – Sports and Cultural Meet of Sri Sathya Sai University

The Annual Sports and Cultural festival of the Sri Sathya Sai educational institutions has been growing with every passing year. In 2011 the Smt. Easwaramma English Medium High School and the students of the Nursing College, SSSIHMS, WF were the new entrant participants. With an ever growing number of students participating in the meet, this year a new format had been devised. The Meet would be held over a period of two days and both the days would host only the evening sessions. This is what Swami had told a student a few days before. The first day of the Meet was January 11.

January 11, 2011 – Performance by Students of Brindavan and Anantapur Campus

Everyone had assembled in the Sri Sathya Sai Vidyagiri Stadium by 3:15 p.m. The Raahukalam (considered as an inauspicious time) was from 3:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. that day. Swami observes it and does not usually start anything in the Raahukalam. But many are the instances where He has begun things right at the heart of Raahukaalam. Either way, it only goes to show that it is not the practices that define the Lord but the Lord who defines the practices!

It was 5 p.m. when the announcement that Swami had arrived at the stadium filled the air with sound and hearts with joy. The joy was doubled as one saw that Swami had arrived in white robe. The motorcycles escorts, the impressive array of flag bearers and the brass bands from the Anantapur and Prashanti Nilayam campuses formed the procession to welcome Swami who was in the Porte car. A squad of slow march students led Him till the stage. At the Shanti Vedika, Bhagawan was received by the Vice Chancellor and representatives from all the three campuses and other educational institutions. Upon ascending the dais, Swami lit the lamp officially inaugurating the meet. Even as He assumed His seat on the dais flanked by a host of dignitaries, student representatives from various campuses along with other institutions made a beeline unto Bhagawan greeting Him on the occasion.

It was then that the opening ceremony began with the march past. The Institute brass band provided the march beat and melody as the students from the three campuses of the Institute - Prashanti Nilayam, Brindavan and Anantapur -, the Primary School, the Higher Secondary School, the College of Nursing and Allied Health Sciences, SSSIHMS, Whitefield and Smt. Easwaramma English Medium School marched past the dais, saluting their beloved Lord.

Once the students were all arranged in the ground, they were administered the oath. Then the flag hoisting ceremony took place after which balloons and white doves were released. The torch was lit by Swami and carried by athletes of the Institute to the torch vehicle - the brightly coloured parrot, selected by Swami. Flames burst on top of the Vidyagiri Hill and the Sports Festival was on with Swami watching with keen interest.

After the opening ceremony, the Anantapur campus of the Institute began its presentation. Entitled, “Aim high soar high” the presentation began with dare devilry on bikes. This event was highly appreciated by the audience and it was stunning to see things that college girls did on bikes - from formations to ramp jumps, playing with the floor and with the fire with equal ease. Then arrived two trucks with erect 20 feet poles on which teams of girls performed yoga feats. Another performance of formations on the ground with kites that are a feature of the Sankranthi festival followed. Their final formation and song completed their presentation.

The next presentation was a short one from the students of Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Medical Sciences (College of Nursing and Allied Health Sciences). Dressed as nurses, they brought out the nobility of the nursing profession through various formations and dances, the highlight of which was the throbbing heart.

The Brindavan campus was heralded in by its newly formed brass band, as they made a lively march across the stage. The campus then began its presentation with the physically challenging Gotipua dance, set to a beautiful peacock backdrop.

The fiery Chinese dragons set the field ablaze as flame blowing students added thrill to the majesty and grace of the dragon dance. There were three dragons with the central one being the longest ever to parade itself in Swami’s presence. A presentation of martial arts followed and the final item was called celestial rhythms, formations on a grid that was suspended 40 feet in the air.

Swami received aarthi at 6:45 p.m. He moved down the stage and was escorted back to the Residence.

January 12, 2011 – Presentation by Students of the Prasanthi Nilayam Campus, Higher Secondary School and Primary School

The students from the Primary School, Higher Secondary School and the Prashanti Nilayam campus of the Institute were scheduled to perform on Jan 12 evening. Just like the previous day, Swami was escorted into the stadium by students on motorbikes at 5:15 p.m. The procession also had the pageantry of lion dance from the Institute, dragon dance from the Primary School and the brass band of Brindavan students.

“Universe is a Divine Play in His Safe Hands” was the backdrop for the Primary School programme. As in the previous years, there was a riot of colours in their performance with a mix of gymnastics. There was a dance by the girl students to a song which celebrated the birth as a human in presence of the Divine. Floor exercises were then performed by gymnasts and it consisted of somersaults over human hurdles. Gymnastic feats on a 40 feet structure, as they are pulled up by ropes was the next performance by the primary boys. The balancing acts and yogasanas were next.  A dance by gopikas, the Kavadi dance, the kite dance were some of the mass items in which hundreds of tiny tots participated. There was also a display of the dragon dance and lion dance - only that, after the previous day’s performance, these were like dragonlets and lion cubs!

Smt. Easwaramma English Medium School, the new entrant to this Sports and Cultural Festival, gave a good account of themselves with a short performance of dances and floor exercises. It was the vegetable and fruit dance and the item was so cute and sweet. There seemed to be giggles and laughter all around. They ended with a formation that proclaimed the truth that Swami was their everything.

The last performance for the evening session was the students from Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning, Sri Sathya Sai Higher Secondary School and Sri Sathya Sai Mirpuri College of Music. At the outset, a few students wheeled in a huge monolith idol of Lord Krishna playing the flute towards the dais for their Lord to see and behold the efforts they had put in over a number of days to create this masterpiece. The gymnastics on the vault horse, pommel horse and the parallel bars showed months of painstaking effort and the result was grace and beauty. The roller blades demonstrated some top quality ramp jumping with skillful maneuvering around plastic glasses.

The Sri Sathya Sai Unity Cup was the next item which depicted the spirit of the game of cricket in a concise manner. This was followed by the Synchronomics which was a mass item constituted by slowly twirling and turning stars. The star wars item was done by students holding “light” swords. Fireworks filled the air as the final formation came together. The students chorused, “We love you Swami” and Swami smiled as He said, “I love you all!” It was such a poignant finish for a perfect day and a wonderful meet. Swami received aarthi and it was 7:10 p.m. when He was escorted back to Yajur Mandiram.

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