After months of practice, dedication and hard work with the aim of putting a smile on the face of their beloved Lord, all the students and staff of the Sri Sathya Sai Loka Seva Institutions gathered at the Sri Sathya Sai Samagamam stadium in the early hours of 15th January. The morning began at 9 a.m., as Sadguru Sri Madhusudan Sai was escorted into the stadium by a grand procession of: Ashwakumaris (girls riding horses), girl students chanting Vedam, Sai Symphony girls’ brass band, Sai’s Angels boys’ brass band, boy students chanting Vedam, Ashwakumaras (boys riding horses) and a majestic ceremonial slow-marching squad.
As Sadguru Sri Madhusudan Sai was welcomed onto the dais, He was flanked by the various dignitaries who had come to grace the occasion. Sadguru Sri Madhusudan Sai was accompanied by: Sri Suresh Kumar, Hon. Minister of Primary and Secondary Education, Government of Karnataka; Sri Madan Kaushik, Hon. Minister for Housing and Development, Government of Uttarakhand; Sri Atul Kothari, Head of the Shiksha Sanskriti Utthan Nyas; Swami Vinayanand Saraswatiji, Chairperson of Ramakrishna Vivekananda Ashram, Shivamogga; Ms Donna Goodman, Founder of the Earth Child Institute, USA; Sri Ashish Goutam, Member of Parliament from Haridwar; Sri Rajegowda, Member of Parliament from Sringeri, and Sri Pradeep Batra, Member of Parliament from Roorkee.
Thereafter, the ceremonial lamp was lit and institution flag was hoisted by Sadguru Sri Madhusudan Sai and the dignitaries, marking the commencement of the Sri Sathya Sai Annual Sports and Cultural Meet, 2020. A hearty welcome was then extended to all the guests and dignitaries seated on the dais, after which a magnificent morning began with students of the Gulbarga campus descending from a flying hot air balloon by dangling ropes, whilst being upside down, performing various acrobatics. As they slid down the ropes while performing these amazing feats, the young students displayed a great deal of courage and faith and were met with a great shower of love and blessings as they ran to the feet of their Master for a trophy and group photograph.
This was followed by a grand March Past by sixty-two contingents of students, as the stadium resounded with striking tunes played by the ‘Sai Symphony’ and ‘Sai’s Angels’ brass bands. After all the contingents had marched past their beloved Lord with great discipline and devotion, all the students recited the ‘Oath of Sports Meet’ led by Vinayak Desai, a final year undergraduate of the Sri Sathya Sai University for Human Excellence. Thereafter, the torch lit by Sadguru Sri Madhusudan Sai was taken to this year’s chosen carrier, Nandi, the celestial vehicle of Lord Shiva, by a relay of chosen athletes. Symbolising unity and co-operation, the torch was then carried by Nandi to the centre of the hill to burn as a huge flame, even, as white doves and balloons were simultaneously released.
The final part of the March Past was then conducted as the Sai Symphony and Sai’s Angels brass bands marched for their Master. For the first time, the Muddenahalli and Nallakadirenahalli brass bands were joined by the Sai’s Angels boys’ brass band of Gulbarga, which had been formed just a few months earlier. As the bands rumbled with their regal sounds, the first of the two students of the Muddenahalli campus, landed his paramotor safely in the stadium grounds to the great joy of all. A few minutes later, the second Akashaveera also came to a splendid landing and together they ran for the blessings of the Lord, who expressed His unbounded joy at their feats, showering them with much love.
Following these spectacular shows of valour and fearlessness, the students of the Bijapur and Gulbarga campus then put on a divine display of dexterity and devotion with a synchronised performance of Yogasanas.
The young girls of the Gadag campus then continuing on the theme of Yogasanas, daringly performed various Yogic postures on ropes dangling 24 feet from the ground. Their confident and courageous performance was then followed by gymnastic feats by the boys of the Jayapura campus, exhibiting their flexibility and flair for perfection.
The young students of the Tumkur campus then took to centre stage, as they put on a show of great determination and discipline while performing numerous stunts on roller-skates and skateboards. The sky then lit up once again as the students of the Loka Seva High School, Muddenahalli campus, performed elegant Yogasanas on hoops suspended in the air. Their unity and synchronicity captured the hearts of everyone and as they majestically descended to the ground, the students of the Hassan campus filled the ground with an action-packed sequence of Kalarippayattu, an ancient form of the martial arts, from Kerala. Their performance of great precision and power was indeed a sight to behold.
Thereafter, the students of the Sri Sathya Sai Loka Seva High School, Muddenahalli, put on a stunning display of cricket manoeuvres and strokes with a colourful representation of various international cricket teams. The students of the Karwar campus then took centre stage with fantastic formations of human pyramids, super stunts on hoverboards and a determined display of archery skills. Next, the students of the Mandya campus presented a visual treat with numerous formations displaying an abundance of unity and harmony. The wonderful visual aesthetics were continued by the students of the Sri Sathya Sai Vidya Kendra, Muddenahall,i who pushed their limits with formations on a grid suspended mid-air. The boys showed great fearlessness and daring as they displayed immense talent and technique.
The next event was a valorous display of grit and grandeur as the students of the Pre-University College, Muddenahalli, presented a steadfast exhibition of show-jumping on magnificent horses. This was then followed by an elegant dance by the girl students of the Hyderabad campus. Through their co-ordinated and charismatic movements, the girls beautifully depicted the glory of the Lord. Thereafter, the students of the Gulbarga campus performed a regal lion dance and conducted numerous stunts while dancing on poles of varying heights. This display of unwavering balance and poise was then followed by a series of feats with fire by the intrepid students of the Jayapura campus. They showed perfect form and fitness with their performance of martial arts and gymnastics.
The students of the Pre-University College, Muddenahalli, then put on a bold performance while riding motorcycles. As their engines roared and spirits soared, the students accomplished many stunts such as juggling, making formations on moving motorcycles, riding through rings of fire, and playing the violin while riding motorcycles. The stunts which were of a military level, stood testimony to the faith, dedication and determination of these young students. This spectacular series of presentations and stunts by the students was then followed by the grand finale as all the participants gathered together with much love, devotion and discipline to offer themselves at the lotus feet of their Lord. As they sang and danced in unison, Sadguru Sri Madhusudan Sai descended amidst all the students and interacted with them as He took a group photograph. Thereafter, Sadguru Sri Madhusudan Sai was escorted back to His residence by a majestic parade of students on motorcycles, thus concluding a stupendous presentation and fantastic morning at the Sri Sathya Sai Samagamam stadium.
The evening session of the Annual Sports and Cultural Meet began at 4 p.m., as Sadguru Sri Madhusudan Sai entered the Sri Sathya Sai Samagamam stadium. He was welcomed by a grand procession of: ‘Sai Symphony’ girls’ brass band, girl students chanting Vedam, young girl students performing dances and the Ashwakumaris (girls riding horses).
As Sadguru Sri Madhusudan Sai alighted from the car, He was welcomed by the elders and officials of the Sri Sathya Sai Loka Seva Group of Institutions. He then ascended the stage and as He was seated on the throne, the session began with a mesmerising dance recital by the girls of the Jayapura campus. Entitled, ‘Vasudaiva Kutumbhakam’, the dance recounted the story of Mahatma Gandhi and portrayed the rich culture and heritage of the sacred land of Bharat. This was followed by a high energy presentation of skills with skipping ropes by the girl students of the Gadag campus. Students of classes six, seven and eight from Gadag then also offered a colourful folk dance while also performing feats on ladders.
The next event was a display of unicycle feats by the young students of the Hampi campus. These young boys demonstrated a tremendous amount of determination and focus whilst riding the unicycles effortlessly. Thereafter, the boys of the Koppal campus showed their dexterity and strength with gymnastic stunts. These tiny tots exhibited a great deal of endurance and balance as they undertook increasingly challenging acts of daring.
This was then followed by stunning feats on a wheel that spun along its axis, by the students of the Mandya campus. The boys performed numerous stunts as the wheel spun, showcasing their fearlessness and strength. Next, the girl students and staff of the Sri Sathya Sai Vidya Mandir and Sri Sathya Sai Prashanti Niketanam Pre-University College, Hyderabad, presented ‘The Rhythm Divine’. With great energy and vigour, they performed dances, showcased their talents on various instruments and displayed their gymnastic talents using Laziums. The girls of the Chikkaballapur campus then presented a stunning Yakshagana performance as they dazzled in wonderful costumes and danced with grandeur.
Next was a unique and witty display of talent by the boys of Mandya campus who put on a puppet show and performed energetic routines as puppet masters. This was followed by an exquisite dance by the girls of the Sri Sathya Sai University for Human Excellence. They presented an elegant and graceful dance from Kerala, with much poise and charm. Thereafter, all the participants of the evening session came together in the middle of the grounds for the grand finale. Singing and dancing in unison, all the students expressed their heartfelt love and gratitude to their Master.
Sri Madan Kaushik, Hon. Minister for Housing and Development, Government of Uttarakhand, then addressed everyone in Hindi and expressed his wonder and amazement at the talents of these young students. He spoke about the uniqueness of these institutions which are able to impart such an education to children,that no other institution is able to impart. Moved by his visit to Muddenahalli and upon seeing the children, the Hon. Minister submitted his prayer for more such institutions which will pave the way for a better India.
Sadguru Sri Madhusudan Sai then addressed the gathering and conveyed His gratitude and love to the Honourable Minister. He expressed His immense joy at the hard work of all the students and staff and showered abundant blessings on all of them.
Thereafter, Sadguru Sri Madhusudan Sai descended from the dais to interact with His beloved children. After taking a group photograph with all of them, Mangala Arati was offered and Sadguru Sri Madhusudan Sai returned to His residence escorted by a convoy of girl students on motorcycles.