Tiny Tots from Sri Sathya Sai Primary School received special words of acclaim from Bhagawan for their spectacular and colourful pageantry on the evening of 11 Jan, the day of the Annual Sports and Cultural Meet of Sri Sathya Sai Institutions.
On the auspicious day of Makara Sankranthi, which is by practice is the day on which the Valedictory function of the Annual Sports and Cultural Meet is held over the years, (this year the function was held in the evening) Bhagawan asked the Vice Chancellor to announce His special words of appreciation for the spectacular performance of the primary school students.
Earlier on this festive evening (14th January 2010) Bhagawan arrived in the Hall at 4:30 escorted by the University Brass Band and the Flag March by the sporting fraternity from the University. The stage was set for the occasion, decorated beautifully bedecked with trophies and shields heralding the significance of the occasion.
Commencing the session, Mr. Sanjay Sahni, Principal, Brindavan Campus made a mention about the hectic preparations that goes on for more than a month in the run up to the Meet. Quoting from Bhagawan’s discourse on this auspicious occasion, Sri Sahni said, “Sankranthi signifies a change for the better. It is a call to turn the mind inward, said Mr. Sahni adding that the focus of the students was to please Bhagawan, offering their labour of love.
Vice Chancellor, Prof. Vishwanath Pandit, who spoke next highlighted on the united spirited participation of the students and teachers that made the event a grand success. Physical prowess tuned to aesthetic and artistic sense makes the presentation more unique, one that cannot be seen anywhere else, said the Vice Chancellor crediting the entire success to the Divine Grace of Bhagawan.
At the end of his speech he was asked to announce special words of praise for the primary school children. Then the Principal and senior teachers were called on stage to receive a special memento from Bhagawan.
This was followed by the Price distribution ceremony. Bhagawan Himself gave away the trophies to the respective institutions/campuses, namely, Sri Sathya Sai Higher Secondary School, Sri Sathya Sai University, Prasanthi Nilayam Campus, Sathya Sai Mirpuri College of Music, Sri Sathya Sai University, Brindavan and Anantapur Campuses.
Special gifts were distributed to each and every student from all campuses as a token of love. Primary school children got the coveted opportunity of receiving these special gifts from the hands of Bhagawan.
A total of 88 gold medals, 64 silver medals and certificates numbering in hundreds were blessed by Bhagawan which was later distributed in respective campuses.
This was followed by short speeches by three of the faculty members from the University. Dr. Pallav Kumar Baruah from the Deptartment of Mathematics and Computer Science of Prasanthi Nilayam Campus expressed his heartfelt gratitude to Bhagawan for His physical presence that according to the speaker was the highest boon a student could ask for during the festive occasion of Sports and Cultural Meet. True sense of sportsmanship is to aim better, learn better, all through co-ordination and co-operation said the speaker giving special thrust to the united dedicated efforts of the students to excel, bringing the best out of them.
Dr. Shiv Shankar Sai, Warden of the Hostel, Sri Sathya Sai Senior Boys for Men and Head of Department of Physics spoke about Bhagawan’s maxim “Bend the Body, Mend the Mind and End the Senses” which is the Divine Formula to excel in human life reaching the ultimate goal. The Warden highlighted on the special emphasis laid by the Sri Sathya Sai Educational system for the physical fitness, mental faculties and thrust on the spiritual evolvement of students.
Dr. Ravi Kumar, Reader in Chemistry, Brindavan Campus who spoke last highlighted on the true meaning of Sports Meet as perceived by him. We learn to rely on Bhagawan in every aspect of our lives, said the speaker narrating two interesting incidents happened on the Sports Meet day, emphasizing his point.
Sports and Cultural Meet does not end with the performances on 11 January in the Vidyagiri Sports and Cultural Meet scheduled on the 11 Jan does not end with the day’s grand events at the Vidyagiri Stadium. Cultural spectacle continues in the following days with the campuses coming up with drama presentations competing themselves to excel with their best in bringing another smile on Beloved Bhagawan’s face.
Mrithyunjaya, the tale of immortality was the theme chosen by the senior students of Prasanthi Nilayam campus. The presentation was a depiction of true devotion and surrender of two of the greatest devotees of Lord Shiva - Ravana and Markandeya bringing alive anecdotes from the lives of these illustrious devotees. While Ravana, the epitome of ego and arrogance at one end and unflinching devotion to Lord Shiva at the other end sought perpetuality of his ego, Markandeya with his unsullied devotion attained immortality with his pure love for the Lord.
The Atmalinga episode wherein Ravana, upon winning Lord Shiva’s grace was bestowed the invaluable Atmalinga on the condition that he should not put down the Linga at any point of time, was the highlight of the Ravana episode of the drama. If he were to put the Lingam down, the Lingam would remain firmly entrenched at that spot.
The Devas were worried that the Atmalinga would add to the might of Ravana and that he could never be vanquished if he succeeded in taking the Atmalinga to Lanka. They prayed to Lord Ganesha for help. Lord Ganesha caused Ravana's stomach to be filled with water. Ravana grew desperate to answer nature's call. Ganesha appeared before Ravana as a small boy. Ravana handed over the Atmalinga to the boy. But Ganesha declared that he would not wait for long and when he grew tired, he would call out Ravana's name thrice and if he did not come and receive the Linga, he would place it on the ground and go his way. Ravana agreed to this condition.
Soon Ganesha called out Ravana's name thrice, and since Ravana could not receive the Linga in time, he placed it on the ground. The enraged Ravana tried to remove the Lingam from the ground.
He cried out to Lord Shiva questioning the Lord as to why such a fate befell on him despite him being unflinching in love and devotion to Him. The Lord declared, “Ravana, you sought perpetuality of your ego and not for immortality of your Atma.” Atmalinga bestows immortality of one’s soul and not to ego sense.
Markandeya story was an apt illustration of his sincere devotion to Lord Shiva. Markandeya whose life was to end at sixteen could win the grace of the Lord with his faith, devotion and complete surrender that dispelled the challenge of the Lord of death, Yama.
At the end of their presentation Bhagawan went down the stairs to bless the cast with a coveted photo session.
Earlier on the 13 January evening, boys from the Brindavan Campus presented a drama entitled “Bhakta Tukaram”.
The drama attempted to depict the life of Sant Tukaram as visualised by innovative thinkers. Tukaram’s unflinching devotion, trials and tribulations meted out to him by many and the Divine Guidance he received from His chosen deity Vittala, all were depicted with elan with lots of devotional fervour.
Various incidents from his life like the one wherein critics grew jealous of Tukkaram and put him to ordeals but was eventually saved by the Lord were depicted. At the end of the drama, Bhagawan blessed the entire group with clothes and photograph sessions.
An announcement was made after the performance that Bhagawan was immensely pleased with their presentation.
Earlier, when Bhagwan was ushered into the Sai Kulwant Hall for round of darshan, the ‘fledging’ Brass Band from Brindavan Campus had their maiden opportunity to escort the Divine from Yajur Mandiram to Sai Kulwant Hall.