Imagine if you will that it is 6 am. You are in a hall in a Sydney bush locale and you are surrounded by about 200 children of varying ages, from 4 to 16. In their midst is a young man in his 30s. He has his eyes closed and he is leading these children in a meditative chant that has them spellbound.
On the fringes of the group are several parents as well. They too are spell-bound.
Then move your eyes to a full-length glass window which is at the end of the room and which opens out to a paved area and bush. And lo behold, what do you see. A curious rooster and several birds all drawn to the children’s voices which are sending out such strong spiritual vibes that it is amazing. Not just amazing – awesome. Enough to make your hairs stand on end.
Something out of this writer’s imagination? No. This really happened and it happened in January 2009 at the Sydney Sports Academy at Narrabeen. The occasion was the 11th annual summer camp for young Sikhs organised by the Sikh Youth of Australia. The meditative chanting was the start to the day’s activities. A prelude if you will have it to starting the day off on a good note.
It so impressed those at the camp that already more than 200 children have already signed for this year’s event being held at the Sydney Sports Academy from Jan 12-17.
One of those returning is Mrs Sona Bimwal, a school teacher and mother of two boys who lives in Glenwood.
Last year was her first camp. “I was very apprehensive to start with,’’ she said. “I was told about the camp by a friend and she was insistent I should send my two boys, (3 and 11). I wanted them to go but I did not know what to expect so I decided I would go along and keep an eye on them and the organisers and if things were not what I expected, I would pull them out and bring them home.’’
“You won’t believe this, but after 48 hours, I had to call home and urge my husband to come and bring the boys’ grandparents along to share in the experience at the camp as it was so wonderful. I did not want them to miss out. I’m really looking forward to the camp this year. Not because of what I hope the children will get out of it, but for what I got out of it and hope to again. It was a real spiritual and emotional battery-charger and I want more of it.’’
“What is even more amazing is that my younger boy, (name here), has taken so much to one of the chants he learnt at the camp that he only wants to hear that morning, day and night. The chant is his wake-up call and his lullaby as well,’’
Her son, Gurmeher, 12, is no exception.
Find the above hard to believe? Well all you have to do is roll up at the summer camp this year at Narrabeen and see for yourself. Organisers say day visitors are welcome and the camp is open to all, irrespective of race colour or creed. For more information on the camp call Ajmer Singh Gill on 0419-409-608 or Gurpreet Singh on 0416-045-309 or visit the SYA website at www.sikhyouthaustralia.com