The much awaited Valedictory Function of the Sri Sathya Sai Annual Sports and Cultural Meet was conducted with much gusto, zeal and adoration for Bhagawan, on the morning of January 30 in the Sri Sathya Sai Premamrutham auditorium.
Bhagawan arrived at the venue by 10.30am and was welcomed with the traditional Poorna Khumbam and was led in by the Sai’s Angels, the brass band of the Muddenahalli campus.
After Swami ascended the dais along with the other dignitaries, He immediately inspected all the numerous gleaming trophies and shields that were to be distributed to the winners in the different categories of the sports, and cultural events.
The Sathya Sai Integral System of Education
The session began with the screening of a short introductory video on the Sathya Sai Integral system of Education, which focusses on character building and holistic development of its students. The primary objective of education in the Sai institutions reflects the essence of Swami’s vision of education producing young boys and girls that are valuable assets not only to the society they are part of and live in, but to the nation and humanity at large. The Sathya Sai system of integral education is based on Bhagawan’s 3H formula – Hands (Ability and Perfection), Head (Intelligence and Discrimination) and Heart (Love and Compassion).
The video showcased how the students in Sathya Sai educational institutions were inculcated with the five universal and secular human values of truth, righteousness, peace, love and nonviolence in every aspect of their school culture. Learning isn’t just limited to pedantic classroom knowledge. Life in the hostel – sharing time and space with fellow students, as well as teachers in a cooperative and symbiotic manner, moulding students into caring, responsible and disciplined individuals in a practical manner – was brought out beautifully in the video.
Children for Sathya Sai
The programme commenced with invocation by students of the Sri Sathya Sai Loka Seva Institutions, Muddenahalli campus.Two current students then took stage to share their experiences and learnings from the Annual Sports and Cultural Meet 2016. The first speaker was Master Shivaprasad Bhat, from the Sri Sathya Sai Loka Seva PU College, Alike campus. He was followed by Kumari Akhila from the Prashanthi Niketanam PU College for girls, Chikkaballapur campus.
Both the student speakers, in their own way, expressed their gratitude to Swami for giving all the students a wonderful opportunity of participating in the sports meet.
Dr Satish Babu, a leading consultant in endocrinology at Bangalore, and an alumnus of both Alike as well as the Muddenahalli campus, was the next speaker. On behalf of all the alumni of Bhagawan’s institutions, he welcomed the batch of outgoing students into the ‘Children for Sathya Sai’ alumni organisation. He reminded all the students of the mammoth responsibility of upholding Bhagawan’s values and principles, once they left the portals of the institutions.
Sri Ramana Raju, who was responsible for coaching and training all the students for the march past, was thereafter felicitated by Bhagawan, in recognition of his hard work and sincere efforts.
January 30 is observed across the nation as Martyrs Day (Death Anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, the Father of Nation). A collective homage was paid to all those who sacrificed their lives during the struggle for India’s independence, by observing a two–minute silence at 11am.
Sri B N Narasimha Murthy, Chief Mentor, Sri Sathya Sai Loka Seva Trust addressed the gathering thereafter. He began by quoting Mahatma Gandhi, who attributed the source of his strength to the love of his mother and motherland, and above all to the power of the Lord’s name.
Sri Narasimha Murthy then shared with the audience that Bhagawan was extremely happy and pleased with all the efforts put in the students, staff and teachers. Reminding the students and devotees that our only limitation was our own self, he spoke about how shortcoming in our discipline or efforts can be bridged just by chanting the Lord’s name. “Once we empty ourselves of ego and attachment, allowing the will of the Lord to flow through us, we will ourselves be surprised at what we can achieve”.
He congratulated the prize winners and the teams that impressed Bhagawan with their efforts and hard work. “Just as before, Bhagawan continues to receive so many letters from all the students and just like before, He reads every single one of them”, he shared.
At Bhagawan’s behest, one such letter from a High School student was read out. In his letter, the young student selflessly prayed to Swami to grant him equanimity in pain and gain; to learn to feel Swami’s presence every moment and to conduct himself to please Swami! The simple, yet lofty prayer of the young student inspired everyone present.
The much – awaited prize distribution ceremony took place next. Beginning first with the distribution of the campus participation prizes, two representatives from each of the ten campuses, came onto the dais one after the other, to receive Swami’s blessings and collect their campus trophies. Thereafter, all winners of various group and individual events in both the sports and cultural event categories, received Bhagawan’s blessings and collected their trophies.
“Pyaare Bachon” or ‘Loving Children’ a short video with Swami’s message to all His children was played next. The song, written and composed by Bhagawan Himself, is the Lord’s reassurance to His children that He is always with them! The song spoke of that eternal, everlasting personal bond of love Prema Bandham, between Bhagawan and every Sai student. His children are, and will remain His property forever and ever! It moved every heart in the audience, leaving not a single eye dry!
Bhagawan then delivered His Divine discourse showering love and grace on all the students and devotees.
The five day long Annual Sports and Cultural Meet 2016 was the brought to a close with Mangala Arathi to Swami.