Friday, September 23, 2016

Khalsa Camp UK 2016...

Khalsa Camp UK 2016 took place from 26th to 31st August in Wales. The camp was attended by over 200 campers with Sangat attending from USA, Canada, Europe, and India. Special guests from abroad that shared their knowledge and inspiration with campers at the camp included Bhai Surjit Singh Ji (India), Bhai Suneet Singh Ji (Toronto), Bhai Harpreet Singh Ji (Toronto), and Bhai Vikram Singh Ji (USA).
The theme of this year's Khalsa Camp UK was 'Gursikhi Jeevan'. The lectures and workshops explored questions of life such as "Who am I?" "Why am I here?" "How can I get through problems and challenges?" and "How can I be happy?".

The first lecture, presented by Bhai Vikram Singh Ji (USA) covered “Why am I here...”, reflecting on the purpose of human life and how we got this amazing opportunity to meet and experience VaheGuru. It set set the tone of why Gursikhi Jeevan is important. The second lecture, by Bibi Mandeep Kaur Ji, was about understanding the obstacles on the path of Gursikhi Jeevan and where to get strength from, with examples from Bhenji's personal experiences, Gurbani and Sikh history. The third lecture, by Bhai Suneet Singh Ji (Toronto), was a reflection on the past and thinking about if we had another shot at life then what would we do differently. The fourth lecture, Bhai Harpreet Singh Ji (Toronto), was about the two most important ceremonies in one’s Gursikhi Jeevan – Amrit Sanskaar and Anand Sanskaar. These two rites of passage are the most intimate ceremonies of one's life which inspires, encourages and supports us in our Gursikhi Jeevan. Finally, the fifth lecture was about the preparation for the final destination – death. Accepting death and merging with Naam are the ultimate aims of Gursikhi Jeevan.

Every day of the camp, the whole camp were given two lines of Gurbani from a Shabad that was collectively sung and repeated throughout the day. The aim was that by lovingly singing, reflecting, and repeating these lines, campers would be able to enshrine these lines of Gurbani in their hearts and give everyone motivation and inspiration for the camp and beyond.

Some photos of the camp:

Group ice-breakers

Introduction talk from Bhai Surjit Singh Ji

Amrit-Vela Diwaan

Morning Simran

Giani Kulwinder Singh Ji (Canada)

 Coastal view from camp site

Lecture Bhai Suneet Singh (Toronto)

Lecture Bibi Mandeep Kaur (Army Chaplain)

I wonder why they are playing thumb-wars?


Bhai Jarnail Singh Ji (Leamington) workshop

Group photo during coastal walk

Sangat enjoying the beach

Bhai Vikram Singh (USA) entertaining the Sangat with some magic

Sangat watching magic-show

 Evening Diwaan

Bhai Harpreet Singh Ji (Toronto) doing Kirtan

Bhenji from Toronto doing Kirtan

Bhai Surjit Singh Ji (India) doing Kirtan

Guru Ji's Seva
Bonfire and Saakhi evening

Camp fire night
 With Bhai Jarnail Singh Ji, Bhai Surjit Singh and Bhaji Jagjit Singh
 Satguru Ji leaving camp site at the end of the camp

Video of Kirtan from Khalsa Camp UK 2016:

Monday, September 19, 2016

Anmol Bachan: Points regarding Keertan and coming to the Gurdwara...

Master Niranjan Singh Ji speaking at Khalsa Camp BC in 2010
Master Niranjan Singh Ji (Gurdaspur) was one of Shaheed Bhai Fauja Singh Ji's favourite Keertanis. Master Ji told us some important points about Keertan and entering Guru Ji's Darbaar at Khalsa Camp BC some year ago:
  1. If Sangat is present, never jump on to a Vaja to do Keertan unless requested as otherwise it can boost one's ego, which brings one down. Keertan done in Ego will not be considered Bhagti nor pleasing to the Guru (or Sangat). Keertan in Ego has no Rass.
  2. If Sangat asks you to do Keertan never decline, otherwise you are making the Sangat ask you again which is like pleading that will boost your ego as well.
  3. Listen to the next Kirtani. Do not get up and leave straight after you have done Kirtan. Appreciate Gurbani and other Gursikhs.
  4. When coming to Guru Ji's Darbaar Ji it was important to dress fit to visit the King of kings. A Gursikh should wear Bana (Khalsa attire) and be presentable. Master Ji mentioned the worrying trend of Amritdharis wearing t-shirts, shorts (pants) and jeans to Gurdwara. Wearing Bana can inspire another member of the Sangat.
  5. A Gursikh should be always tyaar-bar-tyaar (ready to go) to do any seva, and therefore ensure they have had Keshi ishnaan (full bath including hair) if they have been for toilet, and wearing clean clothes.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Nashe - Official music video released...

A new music video has been released today by Sikh Youth UK which addresses the drug problem in Punjab and UK affecting Punjabis. The message of the video is that Sikhi saves lives, and Sikhi is solution to saving our youth from drugs. The song was sung by Nirmal Sidhu, and the lyrics was by Sekhon Jandwala. Hopefully such videos will raise awareness in society.

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Eaten Out Vs. Eating Home...

ਬਾਬਾ ਹੋਰੁ ਖਾਣਾ ਖੁਸੀ ਖੁਆਰੁ ॥
ਜਿਤੁ ਖਾਧੈ ਤਨੁ ਪੀੜੀਐ ਮਨ ਮਹਿ ਚਲਹਿ ਵਿਕਾਰ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥
“O Baba! The pleasures of other foods are false, by eating which, the body is ruined, and wickedness and corruption enters into the mind. ||1||Pause||”
(Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji - Ang 16)

As Gursikhs how blessed are we that Guru Sahib has blessed us with with dietary code of conduct which helps one to remain spiritually, physically and mentally healthy. I am sure most people would agree that Sri Guru Gobind Singh Ji would not eat fries at McDonalds, a vege burger at Burger King, or cheese and tomato pizza at Pizza Hut (or any non-Gurmat based Punjabi equivalent).
ਨਾਨਕ ਜਿ ਨਾਮੁ ਨ ਚੇਤਨੀ ਤਿਨ ਧਿਗੁ ਪੈਨਣੁ ਧਿਗੁ ਖਾਣੁ ॥੧॥
“O Nanak! Those who do not contemplate the Naam, the Name of the Lord – cursed are their clothes, and cursed is their food. ||1||”
(Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji - Ang 646)

The Guru made his Khalsa niaaraa (unique) - their dress, their character, their eating, their speech, and their thinking. Guru Ji elevated the consciousness of the Khalsa above the world, to join Infinity. The photo above just shows you the junk in food from the outside, but what about the people cooking such food if they smoke, take drugs, indulge in Kurehats (prohibitions), and void of Naam Simran?

 ਸੋ ਜਨੁ ਰਲਾਇਆ ਨਾ ਰਲੈ ਜਿਸੁ ਅੰਤਰਿ ਬਿਬੇਕ ਬੀਚਾਰੁ ॥੨॥
"Those humble beings who are filled with 'Bibek-Beechaar' (divine wisdom and contemplation to analyse) - even though they intermingle with others (that are false or unrighteous), they remain distinct and do not conform. ||2||" (Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji - Ang 28)
Some things we can undoubtedly not avoid and have no control over, but I wonder how Guru Ji feels when his son or daughter chooses to eat at a restaurant or takeaway knowing the food is cooked by smokers and kurehiti's? Guru Gobind Singh Ji's own Neelaa horse did not step foot in a field because it had tobacco, but today, forget stepping into the area, we "choose" to eat food where we could easily avoid, in order to please our tongues at the price of turning our back on the Rehat that Gursikhs gave Shaheedi (martyrdom) for but never compromised.
ਜਾਕੀ ਰਹਿਤ ਨ ਜਾਣੀਐ ਗੁਰਮੰਤ੍ਰ ਨਹੀ ਚੀਤ ||
ਉਨਕਾ ਭੋਜਨ ਖਾਇਕੈ ਬਿਸਰਹਿ ਹਰਿ ਸਿਉ ਪ੍ਰੀਤ ||

“One who has no Rehit (discipline) and does not meditate on the Gurmantar (given by the Panj Pyaare when one receives khande-di-pahul); If you eat their food, you will loose the love for God.”
(Rehitnama Bhai Chaupa Singh)
For many years I sadly ate out after taking Amrit (McDonalds, Burger King, Subway, wedding parties... you name it☹). Knowing it is wrong for the Khalsa- the mind justifies "but so and so person eats out and has this..." I will be honest that I found fast food and food from restaurants, takeaways and parties tasty at the time, and sadly addictive. However, since Guru Ji blessed the understanding to eat home, eat spiritual, and eat healthy- I personally found that it helps to make you feel much more stronger in your conviction, more contented, more connected with the Khalsa, and also much more healthier (beats diet plans for slimming etc!).
For those who have ever eaten food prepared and served by Beloved Gursikhs who vibrate Simran, Gurbani and love for the Guru and His given Rehat... that food's enjoyment cannot be matched or beaten.
ਸੰਤਨ ਕਾ ਦਾਨਾ ਰੂਖਾ ਸੋ ਸਰਬ ਨਿਧਾਨ ||
ਗ੍ਰਿਹਿ ਸਾਕਤ ਛਤੀਹ ਪ੍ਰਕਾਰ ਤੇ ਬਿਖੂ ਸਮਾਨ ||੨||

“The dry bread of the Gurmukh-Saints is equal to all treasures. The thirty-six tasty dishes of the faithless cynic are just like poison.”
(Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji - Ang 811)

Saturday, September 03, 2016

Eggless Cake Recipe...

Healthy homemade cakes recipe, which is made without using butter, magerine, ghee or oil. The recipe was provided by Bhenji Surjit Kaur Ji (Leamington).
  • 1 cup milk powder
  • 1cup sugar
  • 2 cups self raising flour
  • 1.5 cup milk

Mix the milk power, sugar and self-raising flour. Then add milk and mix. When pouring the cake mixture into a dish, make sure it is not too deep, as it will struggle to rise. If cooking in Sarbloh thaalee (tray), fill the thaalee till half the height. The cakes should be made in the oven in about 10-15 minutes. For decoration you can use badaam (almonds), raisons, walnuts and or omega seeds.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Nitnem: Be thankful...

Someone with no hands, who is living happily accepting Vaheguru Ji's Hukam, makes sure he does not miss his Nitnem (daily prayers). Something definitely to motivate us all to ensure we do Nitnem and thank Vaheguru Ji for the hands, feet, and this blessed body we have been gifted to experience, connect and enjoy Vaheguru Ji's presence.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Camp Jeevan 2016 (Fresno, California)

From Monday 25th July to Saturday 29th July, Camp Jeevan was held at Gurdwara Guru Nanak Prakaash in Fresno, California. Camp Jeevan is an annual camp aimed for age 12+ to adults. It was attended by around 150 campers. The Gurdwara Sahib had camps for younger children throughout the whole summer vacation. I must say that I was very impressed with the camp organisation, campers, and the camp itself. Having been to many Gurdwara camps, it was one of the best Gurdwara based camps I have attended. Bhai Harpeet Singh, Bhai Baljeet Singh, Raj Bhaji and all the other sevadaars part of their team, are doing a great job in motivating, inspiring and guiding the youth with Sikhi. You could feel the positivity and love of the sevadaars in the camp and it had rubbed off on the the whole Sangat and camp.
This year's theme for the camp was 'Gursikhi Jeevan'. The theme shabad was:
ਜਿਸ ਕਾ ਦੀਆ ਪੈਨੈ ਖਾਇ || ਤਿਸੁ ਸਿਉ ਆਲਸੁ ਕਿਉ ਬਨੈ ਮਾਇ ||੧||
"They wear and eat the gifts from the Lord;
however (in serving the same Lord) why does one become lazy, O mother? ||1||"

(Gauree M:5, 195)
The topics covered in the camp were the benefits of following the Sikh code- Rehat and the importance of Nitnem, Panj Kakkaar, and refraining from the 4 Kurehats (prohibitions). It was blessing to have Sangat of Bapu Sadhu Singh Ji, whom I was staying with during the camp and shared Gurmat vichaar with the Sangat at the camp.
The camp would begin at 1pm with an interactive talk based on the theme to the whole Sangat, with a break in between. After lunch it was activites time, which included a Gurbani vichaar session based on theme Shabad. It was a great idea that not only campers sing the Shabad daily, but they had opportunity to reflect and contemplate on the Shabad in a session. After another short break, evening diwaan began with Simran then Rehraas collectively recited with the Granthi Singh leading and campers following. After evening langar, there was a questions and answers session, in which Bapu Sadhu Singh Ji joined in to help answer the question, with a short inspirational story time to end the day.
Some photos of the camp:

Hukamnama to the begin the day

Morning Diwaan

Campers doing Keertan

Self-defence class

Archery lesson

Archery lesson

Workshop group activity

Workshop group activity
 Workshop group activity
 Bapu Sadhu Singh Ji sharing Gurmat Vichaar with Sangat
Nishaan Sahib salaamee

 National park trip after the camp had finished
Group photo on the way up the mountains

 Some decided to risk nearly falling off the rocks to do ishnaan (I would stick to having ishnaan at home).

At the top

 Group photo with Pyaare Bhai Harpeet Singh, Veer Gurbir Singh and Bhai Sahib.
After the camp I was blessed with the company of Bhai Manvinder Singh Ji and Bhenji Manpreet Kaur Ji. In the evening there was a house keertan.
 At the camp I met this blessed family. Mata Ji was so inspirational. She has two twin sons, who she raised to memorise Gurbani. The twin brothers have numerous trophies in memorising different Banis. Their Mata Ji said she taught them by making them repeat one line over and again until they had learnt it, and then move to the next. Starting with Japji Sahib, then full morning Nitnem, then evening Nitnem, followed by other Banis. May Satguru Ji continue to keep the family in Chardikala.
During the trip I had opportunity to do Sangat with Bapu Ji.
 Mata Santokh Kaur Ji doing Seva of the Sangat at their home.

Dhan Hai Guru! Dhan Hai Teree Sikhee!