|Sathya Sai Speaks|
The True Essence of Sports
This month witnessed the Annual Sports Meet of our students. I don’t like to comment about students elsewhere, but I do wish to say something about the accomplishments of our students. Indeed, the students participated in the sports and games with great enthusiasm. Sports form an integral part of the scheme of studies in our institutions, along with various academic subjects like Physics and Chemistry. That being the case, why does not everyone take part in them? Not only should there be participation, but there should also be an awareness of the philosophy and principles governing the sports and games. The aim in sports should not be victory by any means, fair or foul. Whoever may win, others should greet it with fraternal feelings. The rules of the game should be strictly observed. Prizes do not matter. What is important is the sense of self-satisfaction derived from playing the game well.
The Sports and Cultural Meet in the Sri Sathya Sai Educational Institutions
|Students of the men's campuses perform at the Annual Sports Meet of the Sri Sathya Sai Educational Institutions|
Looking forward to the Sports Meet, the students have been enthusiastically practising for nearly a month. In other universities, sports activities are supported by grants from the University Grants Commission or other agencies. In the Sathya Sai Institute, no request is made to any outside agency for funds to pay the teachers’ salaries or to meet medical or other expenses. Education is provided free of fees, from kindergarten to Post Graduate studies. No fees are collected for sports, library, or other amenities. Nor did the Central Trust or the College offer any funds for the sports programme. We do not desire to proclaim to the world the spirit of sacrifice and dedication of our students. We only express our own satisfaction with the performance of our students. In the preparations for the Sports and Cultural Meet, all the expenses have been met by teachers out of their voluntary contributions. No one knows, not even the Registrar or the Vice Chancellor, how this is done. It is rare to find students of such an exemplary nature, who cooperate with each other in a spirit of brotherhood. In all the three campuses – Brindavan, Anantapur and Prashanti Nilayam, the dresses and other materials required for their programmes were got from their own resources.
Special mention should be made about what the Primary School did. If we make an earnest and truthful enquiry into what is happening all over the world, we will find that where women are in charge of schools, everything is done well. The children are well taught. The teachers concentrate on their duties, without diversions of any kind. Consequently, whatever they do is pleasing to the eyes, the ears and the heart. Look at the way the teachers look after little children in the Primary School (Sri Sathya Sai Primary School at Prashanti Nilayam). You all know what trouble it is to look after a single child in the home. You can well imagine what an ordeal it is to look after 1,100 young children! There are a large number of children between the ages of 4 and 5. What discipline they displayed in their performances in sports! Their eating, dressing and other activities are regulated from a tender age. The world outside does not know what is being done here. Even many in Prashanti Nilayam do not know the facts. The teachers, the Warden and the Principal are engaged in teaching work all during the day. They work all through the night, preparing the dresses for the sports events. All the dresses worn by the children were stitched at night by the teachers. My heart melts when I look at these teachers. Their eyes are swollen owing to sleepless work. When you see the children perform in their multi-coloured dresses, the scene looks like a glorious garden blooming with flowers of all kinds. When the children come out in the formation for their mass drill, you cannot see who is directing them. Every movement of theirs is regulated by themselves in perfect co-ordination and harmony. Imagine what it costs to make these dresses! They are made from expensive material and each dress differs from another. All these are made by the teachers themselves. The children feel that Swami has given them free education and they must show their gratitude to Swami at least once a year by such activities, whatever sacrifice they may call for.
Importance of Discipline at the University level
This disciplined training which the children receive in the Primary School sustains them till they go to the Higher Secondary School. There, the temperature (the degree of enthusiasm among them) goes down a little. What is the reason? The encouragement and inspiration they receive get reduced. But, even in the Secondary School the teachers work day and night. Thereby, they maintain the standards built up in the Primary School. But by the time the students reach the Institute (University) level, the ‘temperature falls below normal’! The discipline deteriorates. The reason is the failure of the Institute authorities to take sustained interest in the students. The teachers are mainly concerned with carrying out their teaching duties. It is the duty of every Institute teacher to see that the discipline inculcated in the Primary School is maintained in the Institute. Look at the manner in which pay-scales are being laid down by the University Grants Commission and the manner in which dearness allowance is being fixed. This is contributing to the rise in prices. Employees in general should consider whether they are doing work commensurate with the emoluments they are receiving. There is more emphasis on rights than on responsibilities. If people in general discharge their duties properly, the country would make remarkable progress.
From this New Year people should develop a broad outlook and consider the interests of others as much as of their own. In our Institute the situation is very good. Our teachers and students mingle with each other in friendly spirit and the teachers coach the lagging students outside their class hours. Whether you believe it or not, there is no University in India which maintains such discipline and educational standards as our Institute. We do not publicise our performance. For instance, in the last All-India 10th standard examinations, our students got high ranks at the national level. The student who came first in the country received an award from the Central Government. Swami asked him to go to Delhi to receive the award from the President. But the boy said, “I did not study for getting the President’s or the Prime Minister’s Award. I studied to earn the approbation of Swami. Swami’s satisfaction is enough for me. That is the biggest award.” Such is the high-minded attitude of our students.
The children’s hearts are pure, unsullied and sacred. If these qualities are praised, it is not for proclaiming them to the public, but to infuse enthusiasm in the students and encourage them to do better. When some students came to Swami and exclaimed, “I have secured ‘O’ grade”, Swami told them, “The ‘O’ grade has been given for your studies, not to you. It is only when you put into practice what you have studied that the ‘O’ grade or degree will belong to you.” Many persons attach the degrees to their names. The degree will be really theirs, and not to the studies they made, when they act up to that knowledge represented by the degrees. One is a hero in learning and a zero in practice. What is required is the application of the knowledge acquired in daily life. Only then the degrees really become yours.
What service are you able to render to the rural population by your knowledge? You are concerned more about your careers and the earnings which may be got from your degrees. This should not be the main concern of students today. You must consider how far your knowledge is of benefit to society. You must ensure the peace and security of society. That should be the principal aim of the students.
Students! You have done well in your studies as well as in sports. What Swami wants from you is that you should conduct yourselves when you go out into the outside world in the same spirit of discipline and devotion, which you display here. You must realise that it is only in our Institute that the students have the opportunity to have continuous contact with the Chancellor Himself from day to day. You must make good use of it and hold yourselves forth as models for the world.
Students should realise that spiritual practice is as important as secular education. You should realise how much you owe to God for all the benefits you enjoy in life which are really gifts from God, including the air you breathe and the water you drink. Should you not be grateful to God for all this? Without gratitude, life is meaningless. Be loving even towards those who hate you. Control your anger and other evil tendencies.
Source: The True Glory of Sports, Discource 13, My Dear Students Volume 5, Divine Discourse delivered on January 14, 1994