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Sports and Cultural Meet – 2005

It was that time of the year again, when the Sri Sathya Sai Hill View stadium comes alive with a grand display of grit and gumption blended with harmony and elegance. The Annual Sports and Cultural Meet of Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning and Sri Sathya Sai Higher Secondary School was inaugurated on January 11th with a spectacular ceremony presided over by the Divine Chancellor, Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba.

Bhagawan entered the stadium at 7.30 a.m. escorted by a team of students on motorbikes and led by a cavalry of students on horseback. After ascending Students of all campuses marching past the Divine Chancellor, Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Babathe Shanti Vedika dais, Bhagawan lit the ceremonial lamp and thus inaugurated the proceedings of the day, which commenced with a march past by students of all the campuses to the accompaniment of the university brass band. A special marching squad then presented the official flag to Bhagawan. After the flag hoisting ceremony, the students were administered the oath by the Institute captain, where they undertook to participate in the events in the “proper spirit of sportsmanship for the greater glory of sport, and for the honour of the country and our beloved Mother Sai”.

The ceremonial torch that was lit by Bhagawan this year had a special significance, as it was the same torch as was used to light the ceremonial flame at the inaugural ceremony of the Athens Olympics last year. The torch was offered to Bhagawan by Greek gymnast, Dimitri Tambakos, the gold medallist in the Roman Rings event at the Athens Olympics. Two runners carried the torch around the stadium and then to the torch vehicle of this year’s meet, theStudents of the Anantapur Campus forming a human pyramid on motorbikes Garuda. The torch was taken by Garuda to the ceremonial altar, and the altar was lit, inaugurating the Sports and Cultural Meet - 2005.

The students of the Anantapur campus of the Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning began the presentation with a demonstration of various forms of combat such as Kalari Payattu (the traditional martial arts form of Kerala), sword fighting and fencing. The students then thrilled the audience with such daring feats on motorbikes as scissor cross, a ramp jump through a ring of fire, and a breathtaking jump
Brindavan campus students presenting Celestial Rhythmsover 16 students lying side-by-side on the ground.

The presentation by the Anantapur campus was followed by a programme by the children of the “Deena Janoddharana Pathakamu”, the scheme set up by Bhagawan for destitute children belonging to the weaker sections of society. Performing magic tricks on a float in front of the Shanti Vedika dais they sought to demonstrate how the Lord’s name can save man from even the most calamitous misfortunes. On the sides of the float were frescoes depicting the various projects that Bhagawan has undertaken for the benefit of humanity.

Then it was the turn of the students of the Brindavan campus of the Institute to present their offering to Bhagawan. The highlight of their presentation was
Brindavan campus students celebrating 80 years of Love in Action the programme entitled “Celestial Rhythms”, in which students performed acrobatic manoeuvres on a grid that hung 80 feet above the ground. Their beautiful formations laid against the background of a clear blue sky made for a grand visual treat. Their next item illustrated the power of simplicity. Assembling a pyramid from cubes made of steel rods, they displayed various yogasana postures such as Chakrasana and Sarvangasana using only the thin rods as supports. At the conclusion of the programme, all the participating students assembled in front of the dais and expressed their feelings of happiness and gratitude to Bhagawan in the form of a song, thus bringing the morning session to a close.

The afternoon session that began at 3.00 p.m., saw the students of the Sri Sathya Sai Primary School take to the ground in their colourful costumes and present various dance drills that were well appreciated for the precise coordination of the movements and the aesthetically pleasing formations. This was followed by the programme presented by the students of the Prasanthi Nilayam campus of the Institute and Sri Sathya Sai Higher Secondary School that was entitled “The Cosmic Dance”.

The programme commenced with the traditional Shiva Tandavam dance performed on a grand stage that was erected in the center of the stadium, with a 20 feet high figure of Nataraja serving as a backdrop. The gymnasts with their trampouline ramps then took over and thrilled the gathering with some truly spectacular stunts, one featuring two gymnasts leaping in tandem through hoops held 6 feet above the ground. They then turned their attention to a
Prasanthi Nilayam Campus students performing ramp jumps on roller skatesbasketball board in front of the dais and presented novel ways of plunging the basketball through the hoop. Some somersaulted and cartwheeled and then put the ball in, while others performed a sideways somersault and bounced the ball off the frame for their partner to complete the formalities. The roller skates team, calling themselves “Roller Jam”, performed on a U-Ramp, not only on roller skates but also on skateboards. Then, taking a cue from the gymnasts, the roller-skaters too performed ramp jumps. A high somersault with a picture perfect landing, and a jump over a Maruti Omni, took the audience’s breath away. As the roller skaters bowed to Bhagawan, and raced away in formation, they waved to Bhagawan, who was so pleased with their performance that He too waved back, His face radiant with a beaming smile.Prasanthi Nilayam Campus students putting on a daring display of carabining

The scene then shifted to the face of the hill just above the statue of Lord Mahavira. From that giddy height of about 90 feet, a team of students performed the daredevil feat of carabining down to the ground on special guide ropes relying purely on the strength of their arms. Not content with the unalloyed thrill of sailing through the air in this manner, they even carabined while sitting in the Padmasana (The Lotus Posture) and then picked tent hooks off the ground. Even as the audience recovered from the mind-boggling display they had just seen, the students of the Brindavan campus were preparing to catapult a student into the air in what is called a “reverse bungee”. While bungee jumping involves plunging down from a great height while being strapped to a flexible rope, in the reverse bungee, the rope is stretched and then released, yanking
Brindavan campus students exhibiting the Reverse Bungee jumpthe performer several feet into the air. What crowned the performance, was the sight of the students saluting their beloved Bhagawan while being airborne high up in the sky. At the end of the event, when the students were asked to describe those exhilarating moments, they said that they did not feel any fear at all because they felt safe in the knowledge that Bhagawan was always with them, protecting them from all dangers.

The students of the Prasanthi Nilayam campus then assembled in front of the dais and Bhagawan blessed all the participants. Arati was offered to Bhagawan and thus a memorable day full of excitement and adventure came to a conclusion.

Coming as the event did, in the 80th year of the advent of the Avatar, it was perhaps a fitting tribute to the Divine Chancellor, Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba, who has nurtured and nourished these educational institutions to where they stand today as paragons for others to emulate. Rarely do we find university students who endeavour to excel not only in the academic field, but also in the cultural and sports arenas. The dedication and the devotion of the students and the teachers was very much in evidence on this day, as was the toil and the hours of practice that went into making the event a grand success. We can only express our gratitude to Bhagawan for this chance of being His contemporaries and being able to witness the grandeur and glory of His majestic sojourn on earth.

Jai Sai Ram!



Online source:http://www.srisathyasai.org.in/pages/sportsmeet_05_Report.htm