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Study Circle Guidelines

Detailed guidelines on how to conduct study circles

"STUDY" - concerned, concentrated one pointed focus on an object or a subject.

"CIRCLE" - no beginning and no end - on going.

Study Circle must be directed to realizing the ATHMA, which has no beginning and no end - eternal.

In Sri Sathya Sai Organization, every study circle must be directed towards the knowledge of the ATMA and through it the realization of the ONENESS of all recreation. "Be alike to everyone, love all serve all, speak the truth and practice righteousness".

In study circle, we must emphasize on the experience of oneness of the entire group. Study means for being steady so that we may become unwavering pure and determined. We must carefully select the subjects and field of their application. In a study circle, every word has to be understood in a divine manner and not in a worldly / literal way. Worldly words have several meanings including some undesirable ones. People tend to accept the unwanted meanings, forgetting the true meaning. Study circle should provide the right meaning and dispel confusion.

Beings are many but the breath is one. They must see the omnipresence of the Divinity with the same breath. While studying the scriptures in a study circle, different people may understand differently. Even so, it is important to see the commonality of all the interpretations just like a variety of sugarcanes produce the same kind of sweet juices.

Study circles should not be used for expressions of rhetoric and intellectual knowledge, platforms for ego and venting of passion.

The wonder of the Study circle is that it can provide an opportunity to experience ourselves as part of a team with a common shared purpose, with each individual an instrument and expression of the Divine. Listening with LOVE, with no hidden agenda or consideration of the limited self we can grow through this shared experience.

During a study meeting we may experience discomfort. We can use this as an opportunity to see which of our ego buttons are being pressed when we perhaps do not understand or agree with anothers point of view. The study circle gives us an opportunity to examine where we are coming from and then to change ourselves accordingly. By learning not to be reactive, by responding from a place of conditioning and habit we learn to let go of egocentric behaviour.

Study circle should proceed in five steps. Why? Where? How? When? And to Whom? Why and How are the most important because the answers for these will clarify the rest. Sun light has seven colors, which can be combined to give seven thousand, colors. The English language contains only 26 alphabets, which has been used to produce volumes of literature! Violin has only four strings but can produce hundreds of tunes. Likewise if you understand How and Why everything will become clear. Study circle will then be complete with a unified thought. Otherwise arguments and differences will arise and lead to confusion and hatred.
The goals of a study circle

The basic goal of a study circle is, of course, to help us understand how better to lead a spiritual life, to come closer to God.

Some of the benefits are:
  1. Learn how Swami's teachings have affected others. This can inspire us, help remove doubts we may have, give us a firmer belief.
  2. Clarify what we "think" we know --clear up misconceptions.
  3. Support each other in spiritual endeavors.
  4. Discover practical applications of Swami's teachings.
  5. Share experiences.
  6. Get deeper inside Baba”≥ teachings.
  7. Learn how to put Sai's teachings into practice.
  8. Install good values in ourselves.
  9. Find answers to problems (through discussion).
  10. Learn how to handle situations where we disagree with others.
  11. Learn to express oneself, overcome shyness.

One important action point arising from a study circle is to find something from the study to put into practice during the coming week. The study circle should not be simply a transfer of knowledge but should result in a transformation of the participants.

For detailed guidelines of how to conduct study-circles, please click here 

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