It was 2.5 hours every day with an older group of kids (17 and above) or those from the younger groups who are proficient in the basic tenets and thoughts and that are serious to learn more. In addition to the standard lessons that I had prepared before hand, we had free flowing discussions. I was quite amazed at the kinds of topics that were on the kids minds. In retrospect, there is no need to be amazed. I was a teenager once and it really depends on the environment and experience that one is being brought up in. The topics were: dating, inter-religious marriage, homosexuality and Sikhi thoughts on the subject, Death, inequality of women in our culture - is it Sikhī or is it Panjabī culture, etc. Since there was an ammrit sancār at camp we obviously discussed some aspects of ammrit as well.
So just to be complete here is the syllabus for the Advanced Gurmat Class that I facilitated at Camp Chardi Kala this year was:
1. Sikh Sovereignty (2 sessions)
- Sikh Sovereign Identity through the lens of bānī, tvārikh and rahat. This is my standard presentation/quiz/workshop in which we go through the development of Sikh Identity and show that it was inherently distinct, unique and sovereign.
- Creation and Purpose of the Khalsa (reading/discussion). This is a reading and discussion oreiented workshop and the reading is by Prof. Puran Singh. Excerpts are from the book Walt Whitman and the Sikh Inspiration. It is available online. http://www.sikhcoalition.org/Sikhism9.asp
2. Sākhī Bābā Gurbakhsh Singh Nihang
- Will review the secondary text at high level of Rattan Singh Bhangu - Panth Parkash
- Will have them read and react to actual sakhis written up in the original language from this book
- They will learn some aspects of the language and the imagery of "marriage of death" and also be mesmorized by intriguing history of the Khalsa
3. Ardas - mandatory reading prior to class
- Reading - The Sikh Prayer - Principal Teja Singh
- Full review of all sections of Ardas
- Hands on session of learning to recite their own free flowing ardas (birth, death, bought house, thanks, prayer for success etc.)
4. Rāmkalī Sadu - Death in Sikhī
- Gurbānī review of Rāmkali Sadu by Bābā Sundar jī from Gurū Granth Sāhib
- What is death in Sikhi? When someone dies how are we to react? What does the Guru say?