Temple of Learning|
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 for Bhagavan.
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.
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 BODY.
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 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 Campus, in the Divine
Presence on 14 January 2003)
Source: Radio Sai
E-Magazine, 1st November 2003