Following the successful completion of the 4th Sikh Youth Seminar in Los Angeles from June 23 to June 30, 1985. A 5th Seminar/Gurmat Retreat is being planned in New York City area from Dec. 27 to Jan. 2, 1986.

The last seminar had dealt with: Who is a Sikh? How does a Sikh live? What is the role of religion in his life? These fundamental questions were addressed to by Manmohan Singh, Dr. Hakam Singh, Dr. Gurnam Singh Pannu, Dr. Amrit Singh. Ms. Mita Dhariwal, Yogi Bhajan Singh and others from the LA area. Many questions were raised by the responses of the speakers that can be addressed to in New York at the next seminar.

An important question that was raised was the control of the 5 powers Ego, Greed Lust, Attachment and Anger by a Sikh through his way of life. Rising early in the morning to pray, serving humanity, and living simply with uncut hair were principles of Sikh life from Guru Nanak’s to Guru Gobind Singh’s time at which this form and behavior became the Rehat Maryada for a Khalsa or baptized Sikh. There are certain differences in this code of conduct that need to be researched and presented at the New York seminar to be held this winter.

The point that religion is meant to bring physical, mental, and spiritual bliss was made and a discussion of God’s Grace, Heaven and Hell followed that involved the life and death cycle, freewill and predestiny, and how the Sikh way of life is a way out of this confusion. Taking amrit was recognized as a commitment, or contract, between a Sikh and God. Many questions about this relationship can be discussed among serious Sikh youth, learned Sikh adults, and the scripture analysis including study of the Rehat Maryada.

Most of the Sikh youth have limited ability with regard to reading the Guru Granth Sahib, understanding it and writing in Gurmukhi. In earlier seminars a correspondence course to learn Punjabi and Gurmukhi was proposed and the New York Seminar will have some intensive preparation that can continue when the participants return to school or home. Since most of us hope to be active in our Gurdwaras in the U.S. and Canada, we need to learn the scriptures, the history, and the traditions of our people.

Since the LA seminar, I have travelled to Yuba City, Fremont, Palo Alto, and Stockton to see the Sikh communities on the West Coast. Having contacted many Sikh and Sikh scholars and Sikh organizations, the Seminar Organizing committee for the New York Seminar from December 27, 1985 to January 2, 1986 hopes to bring the two coasts together in a Gurmat Retreat that should prove educational for the youth as well as for the adults. Please send suggestions and your name and address if you would like to participate as a student or a speaker to: Seminar Organizing Committee, 5016 97th Street, Corona, N. Y. 11368. Phone 7185923687.

Article extracted from this publication >>  August 9, 1985