The Annual Sports and Cultural Meet is one of the major events in every calendar year of Bhagawan’s educational institutions. This year it has added importance since it is the 85th year of the advent of Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba. Out of all the major festivals and events that dot the academic year of the students, this event gains utmost significance because the students showcase their daredevilry, acumen, prowess and strain their sinews to the optimum to exhibit rare feats as an expression of their love for Bhagawan. They learn to perform these feats within a short period of time.
On the morning of 11th January 2010, devotees had assembled at the Vidyagiri stadium right from the early hours. The stadium as such has a vibrant setting with beautiful statues of Lord Krishna, Shirdi Sai Baba, Lord Siva, Zoroaster, Buddha, Jesus, a towering statue of Hanuman and the famous Chaitanya Jyoti museum. Added to them this year was two huge LED display screens put up at vantage points in the stadium for devotees to have a clear view of the proceedings. “We Perform At Thy Lotus Feet” designed on a floral background highlighting the theme and purpose of the event was placed alongside the Chaitanya Jyoti museum.
Bhagawan arrived at the stadium at 9.30 a.m. preceded by an array of escort bikes and brass band of the Anantapur Campus, the University brass band, flag-bearing squad and a group of boys seated on horses regally. After Bhagawan came to the dais, He lighted the lamp to signal the commencement of the proceedings. After the tiny tots of primary school offered their obeisance to Bhagawan, the various contingents of Bhagawan’s educational institutions marched sprightly to the tune of the University brass band. Then the University flag was hoisted and the University captain administered the oath of fair participation in games and sports events to all the students solemnly. The torch lighting ceremony began with athletes of the University carrying the torch in turns. The mascot for this year’s sports meet was swan which lighted the sports meet urn atop the Hanuman hill.
The presentation for the morning session began with display of items by the students of Brindavan Campus entitled “Celebration of the Advent”. A dance celebrating the advent of Bhagawan heralded their performance. The dance portraying the ten Avatars (Dasavataram) culminated in Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba. What followed was Bhangra dance with full of verve and energy. Kavadi dance rich with the flavour of Tamil Nadu was the next item. A pageant of grace and beauty by elegant stallions displayed equestrian events crossing obstacles and hurdles with consummate ease. Then a group performed a fusion of western dance and aerobic exercises to pulsating music with precision. Daredevilry stunts on 25 motorbikes was the next item. Yes, life is not a bed of roses, it needs a lot of effort in its journey. Criss-crossing of motorbikes at blinding speed was a treat to watch. Students playing guitar and reading newspaper while riding bikes was equally delectable to watch. 7-8 students perched on bikes was another feat performed with precision. What followed was riding on ramps and the elevation it achieved was a treat to watch, riding through a ring of fire, jumping across students lying on the ground and clearing them with ease and the last item, scrambling of bikes needs special mention. The elevation they achieved while crossing obstacles was tremendous. Even the wheeling of bikes was done professionally. Their wonderful performance ended with pyramid formation on bikes and with that ended the performance of Brindavan Campus students too. All the students converged with the final song played in the background for Bhagawan’s blessings.
The last performance for the morning session was by the students of Prasanthi Nilayam Campus. Their performance mainly revolved around the balancing acts they did with precision. A huge statue of Lord Subramanya, yes it was truly looking like a monolith carved beautifully from a single block of stone was wheeled into Bhagawan’s presence. Their performance started with a synchronised dance, the wave formation stood out among them. The basketball show which followed was a treat to watch, oh what dunking after getting the elevation from a ramp and from a trampoline! There was also a joker who tried his hand at dunking but with little success. Students on skates jumped across a Maruti van with such precision and swiftness that only a discerning eye could catch the moment. Finesse in gymnastics was the next item. Students jumped through rings after getting the elevation from a ramp. The roman rings, a difficult item even in the international arena of sports was performed with finesse. Balancing act on cubes was the next item. Climbing the slippery cubes with ease and performing gymnastic feats was delectable.
An innovative item named ‘Chairobatics’ – feats performed on chairs climbing one on another and performing balancing acts was interesting to watch. The next item was aerial acrobats on large rings suspended on ropes. It was a magnificent display of balancing acts like hanging upside down on the huge structure, climbing on ropes with ease as if climbing a step and feigning as if lost on a deep thought was marvellous. It was an adept display of balance, rhythm and control. Balancing of huge flags on the palm of the hand and on the forehead was the next item. A dance performed with rhythmic beats followed and then was the playing of Chinese drums in cohesion and unison as kites zoomed in the sky in the background. After a display of aerobic exercises and balancing act on ropes, a student spun on a rope at blinding speed. This was really an astounding feat. The last item of the Prasanthi Nilayam Campus was stunts performed on jeeps. Students made beautiful formations atop a jeep, bending their bodies showing enormous flexibility, smashed an obstacle and to top it all drove the jeep through a ring of fire. At the end, all the students converged for the final formation with the beautiful Subramanya statue in the background. Arati was offered to Bhagawan at 12.05 after which Bhagawan retired for the morning session.
Bhagawan arrived for the evening programme at 4.35 p.m. preceded by an escort of bikes from the men’s and women’s campuses. As Bhagawan approached the dais, the primary school boys made a unique welcome to Him by somersaulting on the pathway. Two programmes were slated for the evening session; the first was by the students of Sri Sathya Sai Primary School and the second by the girl students of Anantapur Campus of Sri Sathya Sai University. At the outset, tiny tots from the primary school offered their obeisance to Bhagawan. The first performance was a dance by girl students which conveyed that Bhagawan out of His infinite love for humanity has incarnated to transform man into divine. Their programme was virtually a riot of colours, the tiny tots dressed vibrantly, both boys and girls created a beautiful spectacle. Whatever they did was a treat to the eye. Literally the tiny tots danced, hopped and sang their way to glory. A dance by girl students with designs of different colour petals strapped to their back is worth mentioning, tiny tots rolling through the holes of tyres and students camouflaged like a worm crawling on the ground too needs special mention. What more, the students performed gymnastic feats on a semi-circular structure. Just like the senior students they too performed balancing acts and made various formations on the structure. The last item of the primary school students was girls dancing with rainbow-coloured umbrellas. Their performance ended with the final formation amidst release of balloons.
The students of Anantapur Campus began their performance by offering their obeisance to Bhagawan on the dais. The first item was flag march by a group of girls which was followed by students swaying large flags in unison and making different formations and patterns. The next item on unicycles was unique too, as riding a unicycle needs a lot of skill and balance, and since a group of 9-10 girls had to coordinate for attaining cohesion. The performance which followed in the foreground was balancing dumbbell with legs and hands and rotating it with dexterity. If stunts could be performed with bikes and jeeps, why not with bicycles! Girls perched on bicycles performed various feats to the delight of all. Rotating hoops of various sizes and passing them with precision was the next item. Their penultimate performance was again stunts on bicycles which was followed by formations with rolls like structure in their hands. The proceedings for the evening session concluded with the students of Anantapur Campus making the final formation with colourful lights in their hands. The song Sai Maa Praanama… (Sai is our life-breath) reverberated in the background. Bhagawan profusely blessed the students for expressing their love for Him through their performance. Arati was offered to Bhagawan at 6.15 p.m. after which Bhagawan retired for the day.
Thus, concluded the grand and glorious Annual Sports and Cultural Meet 2010.