Over the past few weeks I have been reading different things on the internet and hearing how some people have been criticizing the efforts of the organizers of the Sikh Student Camp which happens every year in England at the end of August. I went to this camp last year (2005) and was very inspired by the heart centered and open approach of the camp. It felt very welcoming to anyone no matter what, and strayed from being overly intellectual/dogmatic/guilt/judgmental. By the end of the camp I could see the joy and light that most of the participants had experienced. I felt like people had changed quite a bit in the course of the few days I was there. I know first hand that there is something to be valued in the efforts of those that organize this camp.
Why am I writing this? I have always felt that as humans, people, sikhs, that we have to support each other no matter what; Even if your fellow human is making errors or "doing something wrong". It is easy to get caught up in some type of thought of how you think someone is doing something wrong and what they need to change. It then can become a mission for you to "save them" and ensure that the correct thing is done. I think it is great to assist in helping others correct errors, but you have to also realize that what one may consider an "error" or wrong can be a matter or perspective. What you consider the "truth" may not be "THE" truth to someone else. So, just because someone has a difference perspective or approach doesn’t make it wrong or bad. We are all learning at different stages in our lives and there are many ways to learn. This is one of the reasons we have so many different religious paths and approaches in life.
I feel that one has serve others from the heart and not the head. So, if you feel someone is doing something wrong, let it not be a judgment or righteous battle to show the world the wrongs you think the person/group is doing. See if you can give them a friendly helping hand. You have to do this with love and an open heart. Ultimately everything is Guru’s will and is not up to anyone to judge or make right/wrong. All one can do is serve, and if you are meant to help some situation then great, otherwise it is up to the Guru to resolve.
I’m writing this because I am saddened to hear how some people seem to be determined to prevent the Sikh Student Camp from happening this year unless they do "XYZ" according to what they think is right or wrong. I was even asked to take down one of the Jaap Sahib videos that I had posted with Sukha Singh telling various stories, because apparently people were pressuring the management of the Sikh school where the camp is held. I’m not sure of all the details but apparently people felt that Sukha Singh was being disrespectful in his story about Bhai Bachittar Singh. Everyone I heard who watched the video learnt quite a bit and were inspired by the stories (myself included). I did not feel any disrespect.
My prayer is that we can all put aside our differences and try to see the things we have in common. We as humans are imperfect and make mistakes. Making mistakes is the a great way to learn. I don’t know any camp that does things perfectly. What is perfect anyways…and by whose definition of right and wrong? Guru Nanak was all about openness and understanding, tolerance and acceptance. He was about breaking down barriers and mindless rituals. I admit that I don’t know the details of all the issues people might be talking about relating to the camp, but the few things I did hear seemed absurd and incorrect. I was there last year and saw the many sevadhars who worked really hard to create a positive experience for those people that participated in the camp. This is something to be supported not attacked. I know from personal experience when people try to judge or criticize your personal efforts to serve in various ways that it can be draining and discouraging and sometimes make you want to stop doing those things because you feel that your efforts are unappreciated. So, please be supportive, or at least use your energy elsewhere to serve in a positive way.
I hope I have not offended anyone. It is my sincere wish to help. It just hurts to see fighting and debating about who is right and what someone is doing wrong. Our life energy on this earth is very precious and shouldn’t be wasted. It can be used to uplift humanity and serve, or spread negativity and destroy. So I hope that those reading this will meditate on things before reacting to situations. Tune into your inner truth to do the right thing and be a Gurmukh…..rather than Manmukh.
Ps. The organizers of the camp do not know that I am writing this. No one has asked me to write this and am merely doing so to show my support to the camp, which I had the privilege of being a part of last year. Keep up the good work!