The True Glory of Sports

Sri Sathya Sai with the tiny tots from the Primary School
on the Prize Distribution Day

Although there may be differences among nations in their food and recreational habits, the spirit of harmony and unity displayed in sports is a gratifying example to all. It is a distinctive quality of sports that differences are forgotten and people engage themselves in games in a Divine spirit of friendliness and camaraderie. Sports help the players not only to improve their health but also to experience joy. Students, however, should not be content with realising these benefits. Man has another body besides the physical. It is the subtle body, otherwise known as the mind. It is equally essential to promote purity of the mind and develop large heartedness. True humanness blossoms only when the body, the mind and the spirit are developed harmoniously. The enthusiasm and effort which you display in sports should also be manifested in the spheres of morality and spirituality. You must endeavour to experience the Divinity that permeates Bharat’s sacred culture. Bharatiya culture is not a product of narrow-minded ideas and ideals. It is filled with profound, sublime and ennobling ideas. ‘Loka Samastha Sukhino Bhavanthu!’ (May all the people be happy) is the benedictory motto of Bharat. There is a prayer in the Purusha Suktam which students recite regularly, but they do not understand its full meaning. ‘Sahana Vavatu; Sahanau Bhunaktu; Sahaveeryam Karavavahai’. What is the inner meaning of this Mantra? ‘Let us grow together in harmony; let us move about in friendliness; let us spread together the light that we have gained from our studies. Let us live in harmony without discord. Let us promote in harmony the use of our talents and skills.’ This is the profound inner meaning of this Vedic hymn. No other language can stand comparison with Sanskrit in its sweetness or range of expression. The sages prayed for the happiness and well-being of every one on earth. ‘Sarve Bhadrani Pashyantu’ (May all see only what is auspicious). Such were the benedictions pronounced in the Sanskrit language.

Today the spirit of cooperation and camaraderie prevails in the sphere of sport, although occasionally there are deviations from it. In the beginning, sports and athletics were intended mainly to promote health and experience joy. Today these objectives are being forgotten. Everything is being commercialised. Self-interest is getting predominant. Consequently, peace and happiness are being lost. If a person is invited to sing, he asks, “How much will you give me?” In cricket and tennis matches today lakhs of rupees are involved. When sports become a kind of business, there is no room for human values and peace becomes a casualty. It is essential, therefore, that the sense of spiritual oneness should prevail, transcending differences of nationality, language and religion. Only thus can real bliss be experienced.


Students of the Women's Campus of Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning performing acrobatic feats on the Sports Meet Day

During the past 5 days, our boys and girls have been engaged in games and athletics with enthusiasm and vigour. In the Anantapur Campus, the teachers have given great encouragement to the students in their sports and games programmes. In the Brindavan Campus also the teachers have actively promoted the students’ preparations. 


Students of the Men's Campus of Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning performing two-wheeler stunts on the Sports Meet Day

Above all, in the Primary School at Prashanti Nilayam, the teachers have worked hard to train the children in various games so that they could present a delightful programme at the Sports Festival. The teachers laboured all night to stitch the dresses and other materials for the programme. It was because of their efforts that 700 small children could put up such an impressive show. All credit goes to the 45 teachers who are rendering dedicated service without any salaries. 


Students of the Primary School performing a dance on the Sports Meet Day

In the years ahead, it is the responsibility of teachers to train the students to become ideal citizens of Bharat. The teachers have a great responsibility not only to encourage the students’ participation in sports but also to promote in them the qualities of good citizenship. Students by themselves are very good. They have plenty of energy and enthusiasm. The students should be given proper guidance and encouragement. If these are provided, our students can develop into exemplary models for the whole world. There is no doubt about this. Even in their classes many students achieve ‘O’ grade (between 75% - 100%) in their subjects. That students getting ‘O’ grade have taken part in the sports events testifies to their all round abilities. These talents are not given to them by their professors. They have been developed by the students’ own intense efforts. The basic reason for all this is their devotion and love for Swami. All of them have come here for the sake of Swami and not for the sake of any specific learning. If students and teachers continue to work thus, great things can be accomplished! 

There is any number of colleges in the world. But in our colleges, we have to impart the sacred precepts of our culture to the students. Along with this, academic subjects have to be taught. Education is for developing right understanding. Work is for earning a living. Today education is sought for getting a job. This is not proper. Students should imbibe the culture along with academic knowledge. If a student goes astray, he alone is affected. But if a teacher is bad, hundreds of students will be spoiled. Of all the professions in the world, that of the teacher is most estimable. The teacher has to teach the students what is good and ennobling for them. This is the true relationship between teachers and students. This is what should be developed in our educational institutions.


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