Thursday, July 6, 2006

Khalsa Youth Camp 2006, Espanola NM

Well, just got back from attending the Khalsa Youth Camp in beautiful Espanola. I Had to fly back to get back to work but rest of the family is still on the road sightseeing and taking their time. It was great to meet new and old Khalsa campers and their families, some fellow bloggers (The one and only Sardar Prabhu Singh! who was even more pleasant in person than his beautiful blog. His brother Hari Singh is just as nice and pleasant. They sure brought a lot of positive energy around them during my brief visit with them. Both Hari Singh and Prabhu Singh opened up their big hearts like Punjabis and invited me and ManKanwal Singh (another gursikh from New York I met in Espanola) to join them for a great south-western style mexican food restaurant and then into home of Hari Singh for evening chat. Camp itself was a great experience for the whole family and there are opportunities for families to take part in work-exchange program. As far as weather, it rained almost every night along with thunder and lightening, unlike last year when it didn't rain for even one day. At times it felt like monsoon season in Punjab with the exception of mangoes and peacocks (Hari Singh does have six ber (jujubee) trees though and interesting stories to go along with their growth and upbringing). I encourage every Indian/Punjabi Sikh and non-Sikh family to attend at least once if not more with their kids because it is a fun filled, positive, learning experince. This is especially true for older kids ages 7 thru 12 who would learn Khalsa values, yoga, songs and kirtan sung beautifully in English and Gurmukhi . Then there is Bhangra, Gutka-Jitsu, Seva, Rock climbing, basketball, cold showers etc. And, then there was delicious vegetarian food cooked by a fellow Californian, Atma Kaur and her international team of helpers from New York, Calgary, Chile, Columbia, California, Massachussette, Trinidad and Tobago and other places I may forget. Even though, my youngest one was kind of anxious to leave and that could be just a personal thing, or some negative experience with another camper, but the older ones seemed to have had a lot of fun. In one of my previous posts I mentioned how my sons stayed vegetarians after last camp, but a few days after my post I learned that they did not want to be vegetarians any more. I am still proud of the fact that they both tried it for 11 months and who knows they may come back to vegetarianism one day again. I owe it to the camp for encouraging these values. I will try to post some pictures soon.

Below is a Song of the Khalsa which is sung every morning during the Gurdwara. It is a beautifully written song and always brings tears in my eyes listening to the powerful words in it.


Song of The Khalsa
Many speak of courage.
Speaking cannot give it.
It's in the face of death that we must live it.

When things are down and darkest
that's when we stand tallest.
Until the last star falls, we won't give an inch at all!

Stand as the Khalsa,
strong as steel, steady as stone.
Give our lives to God and Guru
mind and soul, breath and bone.

Guru Arjan gave His Life
to stand for what was right.
He was burned and tortured
five long days and nights.

He could have stopped it any time
just by giving in.
His Strength a solid wall, He never gave an inch at all!

Sons of the Khalsa
remember those who died.
Stood their ground until their last breath
so we who live now, might live free lives.

A princess is not royal, by her birth or blood inside.
But if her family's home is Anandpur Sahib
She'll walk with such a grace and strength
the world will bow in awe.
Until the mountains fall, she'll never give an inch at all!

Daughters of the Khalsa, in your strength our future lies.
Give our children fearless minds, to see the world through the Guru's Eyes.

Baisakhi we were thousands, but only five had the courage for dying.
Then one brave man, one flashing sword, turned us all to lions.
And now we live His Legacy, to die before we fall.
And like the five who answered the call, we can't turn back at all.

Stand as the Khalsa, strong as steel, steady as stone.
Give our lives to God and Guru, mind and soul, breath and bone.

The Tenth Guru gave even His Sons, to give the Khalsa life.
His Words stand like mountains, against the winds of time
That Khalsa will rule the world, all will be safe in its fold.
But if the Khalsa falls, there won't be a world at all!

Stand as the Khalsa, strong as steel, steady as stone.
Give our lives to God and Guru, mind and soul, breath and bone.

Many speak of courage. Speaking cannot give it.
It's in the face of death that we must live it.
When things are down and darkest, that's when we stand tallest.
Until the last star falls, we won't give an inch at all!

Stand as the Khalsa, strong as steel, steady as stone.
Gives our lives to God and Guru, mind and soul, breath and bone.
Sons of the Khalsa, remember those who died.
Stood their ground until their last breath, so we who live now, might live free lives.
Daughters of the Khalsa, in your strength our future lies.
Give our children fearless minds, to see the world through the Guru's Eyes.
Stand as the Khalsa, strong as steel, steady as stone.
Give our lives to God and Guru, mind and soul, breath and bone.
Mind and soul are His alone.

10 Comments:

Anonymous Hari Singh Khalsa said...

Wahe Guru Ji Ka Khalsa,
Wahe Guru Ji Ki Fateh,

Manjit,
It was truly my pleasure to meet you. You and your family are always welcome in my home. In fact you can come stay with us any time you like. I wish we had a lot more time to spend together and I wish I could have met the rest of your family and that Sita (my wife) could have met you. We met the rest of Mankanwal's family when they accompanied us on our July fourth outing.
I actually have 10 jujube trees, I planted 4 more this year, I just showed you the six in front. It is so funny that my love affair with jujubes is finally documented on the web, and in an unexpected place. I love jujubes so much and talk about them so much that people are really starting to associate them with me, which is another reason I desire to start a jujube farm someday.
I have to say that it was so unexpected to meet you and that I hadn't had much time to contemplate what you might be like. What little I did suspect of you I got entirely wrong. I was expecting someone with a very serious demeanor following some stereotypes I derived in my mind. What I found was a very jovial person, actively pursuing their spiritual path (the way the Gurus intended it), with an unending will to highlight the positives in life (cherdi kalaa).
I am so happy that we met and I am so happy that you do the seva of maintaining this blog.

Wahe Guru Ji Ka Khalsa,
Wahe Guru Ji Ki Fateh,
Hari Singh Khalsa

1:38 PM, July 06, 2006  
Anonymous Mankanwal said...

Manjit bhaaji,
Waheguruji ka khalsa, waheguruji ki fateh.

It was a pleasure meeting you, Vicki and the kids. Simran and I constantly talk about the camp and all the wonderful people we met. Hartaig and Sahiba send their 'hi!'s to Avtar and Simran.
On July 4th the Paindu brothers (Prabhu and Hari) showed us a great time in Los Alamos. We first went picnicing and then jumping off the cliffs (actually everybody jumped of the cliffs besides Simran and I).
I had hoped to send you video clips of the camp unfortunately we lost the camera at the Albuquerque airport. Fortunately, Simran had the foresight to download some still pictures to her laptop during the camp. However we lost all the video and the last 3 days of still pictures. I guess God wanted the people I had planned to show the video, to experience Ramdaspuri, Espanola for themselves.

Mankanwal

8:51 PM, July 06, 2006  
Blogger SikhsRus said...

Hari Singh,

Waheguru Ji Ka Khalsa
Waheguru Ji Ki Fateh!

thank you! I am really touched. You guys have to make some time to come to San Francisco Bay Area. I may not offer exciting things like jumping off the cliffs, but a trip to beach, camping, San Francisco, Gurdwara etc. is always a possibility and comfortable bed to sleep. I love your enthusiasm about jujubees. You would have to exchange some jujubee fruit samples with me for something from California one day when there are extra to spare.

Mankanwal,

Waheguru Ji Ka Khalsa
Waheguru Ji Ki Fateh Bhai Sahib!

It was really nice to meet you, Simran, Sahiba and Hartaig. You really have a wonderful family. Same goes to you guys as well about visiting us. Whenever you guys visit California, you are welcome to stay with us. I will have to find a cliff to make you and Simran jump though. Ha Ha! And, sorry to hear about the camera loss. I will see if I can email some pictures to you when family gets home. I don't know what I have but we will see.

When are you starting a blog? I am sure there are plenty of things you can post and share.

Take Care!

9:57 PM, July 06, 2006  
Blogger Gurumustuk Singh said...

Manjit.... I was hoping to meet you...but we never crossed paths. (Could be because I was with Arjan who just had our baby). Next time?

Ps. It's still raining here and more rain forcast for today! Yipeee. This is so unlike NM.

9:24 AM, July 07, 2006  
Blogger Sikhi Seeker said...

Maybe Manjit Singh ji brought rain with him and of course left it there for the NM folks :P

I'm so glad to hear that you had such a good time at the camp! And the things you say about Prabhu and Hari must be true, i have no doubts! I can feel the delight in your voice about how your family has enjoyed the trip and this opportunity :)

Stay in Chardi Kala and I hope you have taken some great pictures to share them with us :D

10:31 AM, July 07, 2006  
Blogger Prabhu Singh said...

I'm like the last one to pipe in!
I also thought that you would be pretty serious, Hari said it right Jovial, Chardi Kala, etc.
Manjit is one cool guy. I have pictures for everybody as well. They'll probably make it to the blog soon enough.
We do have a monsoon season in New Mexico. We have had drought conditions in past years where we don't get a lot of rain even in our monsoon. Also we often get rains in the night time and people forget about the rains. I feel bad because I'm always getting on Gurumustuk's case about New Mexico facts, but we do have a monsoon season, it just seemed to have started early this year. In this high desert we get around 10 inches of rainfall a year. The mountains of course get a lot more and that is why they are so green. 10 inches is enough for jujubes to grow and bear fruit, they would survive (without fruit) on less rain in a year.
Mankanwal that's too bad about the camera. The airport needs to do something about their grevious mistake. Thanks for saying nice things about me. I try to be a nice guy so when I leave that impression I know I'm doing well :-)
WaheGuru Ji Ka Khalsa, WaheGuru Ji Ki Fateh!

11:41 AM, July 07, 2006  
Blogger SikhsRus said...

Gurumustuk Singh,

Congratulations to you and Arjan on the new arrival. She is cute! I also love the name. I saw Narayan at the camp since he is a day camper. My daughter just adores him. He is a good swimmer as well. I think it was more me than you being busy with baby. I was supposed to visit the Espanola Gurdwara but wife and I got into an argument (yes! we do argue and fight), sometimes more than we should, and plans got changed. I wish shed off that stupid temper. Anyways, sorry could not visit you this time around.

Seeker - I think it was the birth of Charanjit Kaur (Gurumustuk/Arjan's daughter) that this rain happened. God must have planned a long rainy celebration. Yes, the trip was worth it for all of us.


Prabhu - Thanks! I am flattered. Actually, I do consider myslef boring and serious a lot of times.

Again, any or all of you guys are welcome to come and stay with us if you ever make it to the Bay Area.

4:04 PM, July 07, 2006  
Blogger Lex said...

Sikhrus Ji
You are a cool guy with cool blog.
Glad to know that you had woderful time in NM with Espanola Sangat.

5:01 PM, July 07, 2006  
Blogger Lex said...

oh! I always wanted to post comments on your blog. However, I can never remember display name or password. This is my 5th attempt to post a comment.
We will see how long it will last.
Please post pictures of the camp.

5:03 PM, July 07, 2006  
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