|When They Played At The Lord's
the Dias, Swami was ceremonially received by the Prime Minister
and other dignitaries. The Vice-Chancellor, then requested
the Prime Minister, to hoist the unity flag, an impressive
mosaic of the flags of all nations. The Unity flag was hoisted,
to the tune of specially composed music played by the brass
band of the Institute. The flag bearers, then ran towards
the hill, and planted the flags in an impressive row, all
along the road leading up to the Hanuman statue. As the flags
fluttered in the morning breeze, it really was a sight to
and the Prime Minister then went down to the ground for the
formal introduction to the players of the two teams and for
photographs. As Swami, the Prime Minister, and the players
took their seats, the camera men had a field day, clicking
away. Yes, the media people were there in full strength, too.
Doordarshan (the National Channel) was telecasting this match,
not only all over India, but also to several countries overseas!
Incidentally, this was one of the subtle aspects of the divine
drama. Thanks to the match, there was a telecast. And thanks
to the telecast, millions of devotees all over the country
and even abroad, were able to get Bhagavan's darshan. Swami
satisfies the aspirations of one and all, in numerous ways.
However, very few take note of it.
was time for the game to start. The rival captains, Sachin
Tendulkar of India and Arjuna Ranatunga of world XI went out
into the middle for the toss. India won the toss and elected
to bat. Runs came briskly for India, and the score board,
operated by the institute boys, incidentally, was moving at
a good rate. And when Sachin enters, there were electrifying
fireworks. The crowd was simply delirious with delight. The
TV camera repeatedly swung from the ground to the dais, giving
viewers a heady mix of sport and the Lord who willed it. It
was just unbelievable! Swami was surrounded by Sunil Gavaskar
of India, Clive Lloyd of West Indies, Hanif Mohamed and Zaheer
Abbas of Pakistan; and all were absorbed, watching cricket!
Meanwhile, in the commentary box, Syed Kirmani of India was
going gaga, waxing eloquent on Baba's love rather than the
game in progress!
India piled up an impressive score of 289 runs, in the allotted
overs, bolstered by a blitzkrieg by Sachin. It was then time
children of the primary school came on to the field and presented
a most colourful as well as impressive half-time show. For
the institute students, it was their finest hour. They were
on hospitality duty everywhere. In fact, everyone had been
working throughout, and very have few have had the opportunity
to see the match, though they all would have loved to. But,
as Swami says, duty first! On the dais, Zaheer Abbas, a scintillating
Pakistani cricketer of yester years, was amazed by the service
rendered by the institute boys. Seized with curiosity, he
wanted to know all about how Swami trains his students!
lunch, it was the turn of World XI to bat. But, they were
no match for India, and were scuttled out for 161.To the delight
of the crowd, India won the Sri Sathya Sai Unity Cup!
Under Bhagavan's supervision, a simple but impressive ceremony
had been arranged. The visiting dignitaries made speeches;
among them was Clive Lloyd, former Captain of the West Indies.
He said the he was thrilled to witness this great spectacle
and to see the wonderful stadium come to fruition. He reminded
the players that their talent was a gift from God; and what
they did with their talent was their offering to God and gift
to humanity. Words right out of the Bhagavad Gita. Yes, if
one's heart is in the right place, as they say, then even
without reading the scriptures, wisdom pours forth. It comes
gushing straight from the source!
the speech making was over, Swami gave a signal, and the Unity
Cup was wheeled in from the Shanti Vedica. It was huge! And
made of gold too! It could not be carried, and had to be brought
in a cart!
Half a dozen people lifted the cup and held it up to Bhagavan,
and He blessed it by touching it! Sachin Tendulkar, the Indian
captain, was then asked to come forward and receive the cup.Sachin
did. As Sunil Gavaskar said, Sachin's batting performance
in the field earlier in the day was overshadowed by his weight-lifting
performance when he received the cup all by himself!
It was all over. The unity cup match had not only become
history but a part of His Story!
But why did Swami want to have a Unity Cup? What is the connection,
between cricket and spirituality?
is not only cricket, but in fact everything in this universe
has a connection with spirituality. Five thousand years ago
Krishna declared: "Any good act if lovingly offered to
Me becomes sacred. This is the way to transform even ordinary
work into Worship." Baba was reminding man of this timeless
message by hinting that even a one-day international becomes
spiritual, if it is played entirely for the pleasure of the
Lord and offered to Him with Love.