Temples of Learning
Print this Page


The 11th of January every year witnesses a unique event at the Vidyagiri stadium, Prasanthi Nilayam. Hundreds of Swami's students, both boys and girls, from kindergarten to post graduation come together to present to the world and more importantly to Swami, a dazzling and amazing display of sports and cultural events. This is one event, the memories of which , every student cherishes for a lifetime. In the January 2004 issue, Heart to Heart shall bring an exclusive feature on the sports meet. For now, here is an appetizer....in the form of the reminiscences of a student who participated in this great show....

ConvocationAnother sports meet has come and gone; another display of colour, skill, confidence and courage. But this is just from the onlooker's point of view. Actually, it goes much deeper than that - beyond what the eye sees and deep down to what the heart feels. The annual sports & cultural meet is more than just a visual display but it is an expression of love - the students' love for Bhagavan.

This student-God relationship of love is only one facet, a mere drop in the vast deluge of love that flows from Bhagavan and it is only because we, as students, have experienced this aspect of His love that we can speak of it with conviction.

Bhagavan is the only source of inspiration as well as the zenith of all our aspirations. All our endeavours are towards making Him happy. We are indeed fortunate to be at His Lotus Feet. And, especially today, on this auspicious occasion of Sankaranti - today is the harvest festival, a day of life, energy, joy and colour - the day when the farmers offer their gratitude to the Lord for the crops harvested. The valedictory function of our annual sports and cultural meet coincides with the celebration of Sankaranti. On this day we also reap the fruits of our labours, but of a different kind for us - it is the harvest of love for Bhagavan and a day when we express our most profound sense of gratitude to Him.

InaugurationSwami has gifted us with a unique educational system -one which aims, primarily, at the blossoming of the human personality. The integrated education gives equal importance to scholastic as well as to non-scholastic
aspects for the all-round development of the character, on the physical, emotional, intellectual and moral levels. This, still, is a formal definition. Words really cannot contain the beauty of this learning experience - heart to heart, one-to-one relationship - which holds the key to transformation.


As we participate in the sports and cultural activities we can perceive all these three stages as we undergo them. The values that we learn, on and off the field, cannot be learned in any classroom.

Let's take the first stage - BEND THE BODY.

Sports MeetSwami says that body is the temple of God. But a temple is not merely a room with four walls and a roof- it gains importance and sanctity from the fact that God resides therein. Similarly, the body without God is nothing. The movements of the body, the synchrony of steps in a mass item, the beauty comes only because of the presence of the Lord. The focusing of all energies in learning physical skills is actually a celebration of this fact, that the body is a temple - so we bend the body with a smile. If we take this literally, every action, every effort is sacred and so, no task is considered low or high. Whether it is the background work behind the scenes or performing in the forefront, all the students and the teachers put in their best and wholeheartedly work with a single goal in mind - to please Bhagavan.

Apart from taking care of our physical well-being, many other values are learned on the ground - unity, coopertion, team-spirit, discipline and perseverance. These help towards the second step of 'mending the senses'.Despite all the physical discomforts - like practising in the scorching heat- even the smallest children disregard them and are happy to practice throughout the day.

In the words of Tagore - 'Tireless striving stretches it's arms towards perfection' - each individual is important in the group. If one student is out of line or falls, the mass effect is spoilt, and, so each bears a tremendous responsibility - one that can only be fulfilled through concentration, constant practice and devotion. This is true about life too. Each individual has a role to play in society and hence experiences a joy of belongingness.

The last stage is 'End the mind'. This is, in a sense, achieved by the single-mindedness - the dedication of heart and soul to one purpose - to please the Lord.

There is an incident that happened during one sports meet a few years ago, when the structure on which a small girl was dancing caught fire. Despite all the commotion and panic that broke out around her, the girl kept on dancing, focusing her attention only on the Lord. There is this assurance in the heart of every student that the Lord is there to save them and hence, fear, which is one of the most primitive instincts of man, is conquered. It is this same assurance with which the students can climb 40 feet, 60 feet high and still not hesitate or look down in terror because they believe and they know that the Lord's ever-loving, ever-protective Hand is always there beneath them.

In our sports meet, sport is not an exhibition of personal achievement of glory - there is no cut-throat competition seen elsewhere. And all the students consider, whatever they do - whether a daring feat, a dance or a drill - as an offering of love to Bhagavan.

Sports MeetThe sports meet can be seen as a miniature picture of what happens in real life. There are two gifts that we discover in the course of our sports events - one is 'possibility' and the other is 'capability'. First, we see what is possible and then in the process of trying to achieve it, the impossible is made possible. Many of us would never imagine that we could break a brick or a tile, ride a unicycle or attempt stunts on a roaringbike; they just aren't a reality to us but things we would see only on the screen. But the possibility is there and our capability is harnessed to achieve the reality. As I said, sports is only a miniature picture of life. In life too, Bhagavan gives us 2 gifts -possibility and capability. Possibility is that broadest definition of self-man is what he dreams of, what he aspires for. Through discourses, dreams, and other means of contact, Bhagavan restores our belief that values do exist and they are real; they constantly remind us that we are all divine. And through this, the process of transformation is set in motion. This process is slow and steady, painful yet pleasing - like the metamorphosis of the caterpillar into the butter-fly. This process, sustained by love, leads to the cultivation of courage and confidence.

Today is our prize-distribution ceremony. Bhagavan may give us many prizes but he has already given us the greatest prize - this prize He has given to each one of us, His students, and that is the prize of being called 'His own', 'His property'. It is this feeling of belonging to Him - of being 'His' - that gives us the conviction to believe in the highest, when we are going through our lowest moments.

(Based on the speech given by Sonia Aggarwal,Student, Anantapur Campus,
in the Divine Presence on 14 January 2003)


Volume 01: PDS / 05 Date : NOV 01 2003