The Yatra Camp
Saturday, April 10th We have as our Yatra Base Camp an entire elementary school campus. Our beautiful little elementary school is named The Bhai Nand Lal School and it is only a 5-minute walk from the main road that runs through Anandpur Sahib. It is also only a 20-minute walk from the Takhat Keshgarh Sahib.
When our buses pulled in last night, many of us were
exhausted and disoriented from our many hours of traveling. Our physical camp leader,
Gurudhan Singh, climbed aboard each bus and welcomed us. He told us of the showers,
toilets, and water tanks that have been specially installed just for us. He gave us
directions to the classrooms we would be living in, instructed us to drop our bags off,
and then he pointed us towards the back of the school where a huge cloth tent stood
complete with an artificial grass flooring. "Welcome to Anandpur Sahib. Youve
made it. Come, sit down, have some tea and eat some langar. We are ready for you."
Some Yatra Camp Interviews
By the time the Miri Piri students and other staff members joined us, our numbers at the camp had swelled to about 400 souls. Many people like Gurudhan Singh arrived to Anandpur Sahib early. Some people, like Soorya Kaur, Mehtab Singh, and Sarab Dev Kaur arrived months in advance so that we could enjoy such a gracious camp. In case you havent met Gurudhan Singh, I might describe him as a humble, no-nonsense, businessman from Brooklyn, New York. For the past thirty years hes organized the physical set-up of the rugged Summer Solstice Retreat Camps in the mountains of New Mexico. Anyone who knows him, realizes that his motto is, "Actions speak louder than words." Which means, if his Yatra Camp set-up team has to haul the desks, benches, and chairs out of each and every classroom themselves they would. I believe in fact, they did. I have also heard they drove 10 hours each direction by truck to personally purchase cots and mattresses for all of us. Having cots Ive quickly realized is the greatest luxury here, especially in comparison to the accommodations many others travelers have.
Army style field tents had been erected to house the overflow of people here as well. The mens and women's toilets have been constructed of corrugated steel. The shower houses are simple, long brick walls, with spigots, and firmed pressed clay floors. Outside each shower house is a convenient canvas tent for dressing within.
The huge cloth "Big Top" tent at the back of the school, is very multi-functional. Its serving as a central camp meeting area for sadhana, Gurdwara, evening programs and most importantly langar. An all-camp Akhand Path began in the attached Gurudwara tent today.
The morning tea is feisty hot. I think it is the spiciest, best tasting Yogi tea that Ive ever tasted! It hasnt taken much time for all of us to fall in love with our camp langar. Sardar Raja Singh from Miri Piri Academy commandeers the langar kitchen. He and his more than able staff of cooks and sevadars produce meal after delicious meal for our little army of yatra travelers. There is nothing more healthy and delicious than "Made-In-The-Punjab" subji, daal, yogurt and roti.
This morning, as a group we did our sadhana. We read Japji Sahib, then stretched our tired bodies with yoga and breath. We then enjoyed chanting our group Nam Simran, all on the land where Guru Gobind Singh walked. Everyone is so happy to be here, we are feeling quite blissful in "The City of Bliss." Singing the Song of the Khalsa while being in Anandpur Sahib, caused many eyes to flow with tears this morning. This morning we could hear beyond our own sadhana, the soothing cacophony of sound being produced by all the other sangats here. I heard in the Gurdwaras next door and in the tents of other groups the chanting of Sukhmani Sahib, Jaap Sahib, Asa Di Var, and Gurbani kirtan. Its nearly impossible to describe the awe and amazing reality of this experience.
During langar, Guru Ganesha Singh, Guru Das Singh, and Guru Singh, sang all sorts of fun and funny 3HO songs to entertain and inspire us.
Peanut Butter & Others
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Copyright © 1999Gurumustuk Singh Khalsa
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