The Prize Distribution Ceremony of the Annual Sports and Cultural Meet 2018 for the Sri Sathya Sai educational institutions was held on the auspicious day of Makarasankranti, 15 January 2018, at Sai Kulwant Hall, Prasanthi Nilayam, Andhra Pradesh.
The ceremony celebrated the excellent performances in sports and cultural events during the Annual Sports and Cultural Meet and during the academic year 2017/18 by students of each Sai educational institution.
The programme commenced at 8:30 a.m. with a grand procession comprising the university brass band, Veda chanting group of students and a flag-bearing squad. Following a short introduction by the Master of Ceremonies, Sri Sai Shyam,Asst. Professor, Dept. of Mathematics & Computer Science, Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning (SSSIHL). The first talk of the event was delivered by Sri B Sai Surendranath, Postgraduate Teacher, Dept. of Commerce, Sri Sathya Sai Higher Secondary School (SSSHSS) and a long-time devotee of Bhagawan Baba. His talk was aptly titled, the Three ‘S’s – Sai, Students and Sports. Following a short genesis on the history of the Sports Meet, he narrated how this event was a perfect example of Bhagawan Baba’s unique and divine way of seamlessly integrating values-based education with secular education. He narrated his personal experiences during the Sports Meet over the years how Baba would teach students the art of balancing the heart with the mind through the event. He especially reminded students of the gratitude we all owe towards Baba, the Trust, the various offices, supports staff and the endless number of people who make the Sports Meet a grand and successful event. He concluded with Baba’s famous saying, Life is a Game, play it!
Next, a series of brief talks by students of all four campuses of SSSIHL and the Sri Sathya Sai Higher Secondary School brought home the message of Swami for His students. They narrated how the Annual Sports & Cultural Meet has shaped their thinking, perceptions and growth. Some of these included: Sport Meet is not just January 11 but the journey to January 11; the importance of the power of love, and how small things make all the difference; Perfection as a habit and attribute of a lifetime; Sports Meet as an opportunity to make Sai the only priority, and how to transform a programme (Sports Meet) into an offering (to the Lord).
Their talks resonated the importance and uniqueness of this wonderful event and the powerful inner transformation it brings about in all students and the leap of faith they take, knowing that their Divine Master is with them all the time.
Following the talks, the Founder Chancellor’s Cups—symbolizing the grand efforts put in by each institution—were awarded bymembers of the Sri Sathya Sai Central Trust. The respective captains and vice-captains of each Sai institution and campus received them.
After the Physical Directors of each Sai educational institution took namaskar of Bhagawan Baba and submitted the prize lists to Him, members of the Sri Sathya Sai Central Trust and the Vice-Chancellor, SSSIHL then awarded the trophies to the individual champions of SSSHSS and each SSSIHL campus under various categories.
This was followed by the Divine benediction of Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba. He stressed how the main purpose of sports and games is unity, but that, in the current state of play, it has become more business-like. Teachers are instrumental in keeping the sanctity of not just sports but a lot of other activities outside the classroom, He said. He encouraged teachers to be more participative. He reminded us the responsibilities that teachers carry to train hundreds of children and how, with proper encouragement and material support, students can excel. Amongst all the professions, teaching is the noblest. If a student is spoilt, he alone is affected. But if a teacher is spoilt, hundreds of students will be spoilt, He said. The teacher’s duty, therefore, is to see the welfare of students so that they develop sacred thoughts and sacred relationships. Hence, teachers must make every effort to encourage students and make them ideal.
Following bhajans and Prasadam distribution, the event came to an end at 10:45 a.m.