THE SPORTS MEET
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....
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
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.
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.
Bhagavan often says: BEND THE BODY, MEND
THE SENSES, END THE MIND.
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
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
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
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 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
(Based on the speech given by Sonia Aggarwal,Student, Anantapur
in the Divine Presence on 14 January 2003)