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When They Played At The Lord's…..

THE UNITY SQUAD MARCHESAt 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 behold!

They all Pose with HimSwami 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.

India on a RollIt 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 for lunch.

Watching the MatchThe 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!

Restricting the World XIAfter 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!

Clive Speaks at the PresentationWhen 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?




With SachinIt 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.




Volume 01: PDS / 04 Date : OCT 15 2003