It was another joyous day for the devotees to have their beloved Lord amidst them, though the pangs of impending separations had already started burning in the hearts of students and faculty members from other campuses who would have to leave Swami’s immediate presence, as the Annual Sports and Cultural Meet approached its culmination. Yet, there was no plunge in the fervor and joy of the young angels who were ready to offer their everything at their Divine Mother’s Lotus Feet.
Swami was escorted in the stadium by the marching groups of Sai Angels, the Brass Band, Nandi Pole Dance group, Bhangra Dance group, Vedam Boys and beautiful horse-mounted Ashwa Kumaras.
The very first event of the morning was the Bhoomi Puja of Sri Sathya Sai Loka Seva Multi-sports Stadium Complex, which will be a part of the Games Village and will have both outdoor and indoor sports facilities. The stadium will include grounds for sports including Cricket, Football, Basketball, Volleyball, Running Tracks, Badminton, Table Tennis, and Swimming Pool. Swami declared that the complex will be ready by the 95th Birthday celebrations of Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba.
The Chief Guest of the morning program was Sri T B Jayachandra, Member of the Karnataka Legislative Assembly, and Minister for Law, Parliamentary Affairs, Animal Husbandry and Muzrai, Government of Karnataka. Also present were Sri Venkatesh Prasad, former Indian Cricket Team member, and Sri Sai Kumar, a popular South Indian Actor.
It was a wonderful confluence of the yearning hearts to satiate their thirst for their Lord, as one looked around at the sprawling stadium that seated more than 5,000 students from 16 campuses of 27 institutes from 9 districts of the state of Karnataka, and of course thousands of devotees and the faculty members.
Swami had blessed 3 speakers to talk that morning. The first one was a Grade 9 student, Pallavi V N, from Sri Sathya Sai Prashanti Balamandir, Chikkaballapur Campus. She is an all-rounder in studies and sports and wishes to become a doctor to serve in Swami’s hospitals. She spoke in Kannada about how she felt while participating in various events of the Sports Meet and how Swami is everything for the students. She literally moved everybody to tears with her heartfelt speech.
Next speaker was a little Sai Angel, Sai Harikesh Saiguru, a student of Grade 7, who is a part of the Brass Band and plays the flute. He spoke in English about his father’s wish being fulfilled by him getting a chance to study in Swami’s school and how it was his biggest blessing too. He, with his obvious childlike soft words filled with wisdom and profound subtlety, exhorted everybody to reflect Swami’s love and be ready to serve in Swami’s mission.
The last speaker of the day of Brother Snehil Naidu, an alumnus of Centre for Human Excellence and now working as a faculty member at the Jayapura Campus. He spoke in Hindi about how every student feels excited about the Sports Meet and their only wish is to see a smile on Swami’s face. He also went on to explain how Swami has blessed all the devotees and students by being with them in the subtle form.
Next was a video message by Sri Rajyawardhan Rathore, Member of Parliament, Jaipur Rural Constituency, and Minister for Youth Affairs and Sports and also Information & Broadcasting. He is an Olympian and has won a Silver Medal for the Double-trap shooting event. He spoke about the importance of sports in one’s life and congratulated the students who got such a unique opportunity of participating in the event. He also talked about the possibility of government’s collaboration with the Sri Sathya Sai Loka Seva Trust for ‘Khelo India’ campaign which will have U-17 National Games held from January 31 to February 8. He expressed his happiness over the possibility that some champions of these games could be among the students of Swami’s institutes.
This was followed by the prize distribution ceremony for winning and participating in the sports as well as the cultural events, the march past and the brass band groups.
Sri T B Jayachandra presented the prizes for sports events to the boys and Smt. Jayachandra presented the prizes to the girls.
Sri Venkatesh Prasad presented the trophies to boys for the overall winners of sports events and Smt Prema Krishna distributed the prizes to the girls.
Sri Sai Kumar presented the trophies to the boys for the cultural events while Smt. Usha Shetty distributed the cultural trophies to the girls.
Maj Gen V P S Bakuni and Maj Gen Raj Purohit presented the trophies to the winners of the march past event. Two special prizes were given by Sri Shashidhar Prasad to the Boys Bijapur Campus and the Alumni Squad who participated in the march past.
Sri Venkatesh Prasad was the next one to speak about his experience—he talked in both Kannada and English and said that he felt very happy coming here and was surprised to see the level of facilities and also the performance of the students.
Sri B N Narasimha Murthy spoke next in Kannada about how sports were an integral part of any student’s life and also thanking Swami for His grace and love.
Thus, the morning Valedictory Function came to an end and the Mangala Arati was offered to Swami as He left the stadium blessing everybody.