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Study Circle Guidelines

"Study circle means taking a point and each person discussing what is the meaning of the point to them, like a round-table conference. Each person gives their point of view, and finally values are derived from this. If there is just reading, there is doubt. But if each one gives his view, doubts will be answered. The topic is viewed; the study circle looks at different facets. It is like a diamond with its different facets, but there is one facet that is flat, the top facet, and from this all can be viewed. To discover the top facet is the task of the study circle."

- Sri Sathya Sai Baba

The purpose of Study Circle is to help members deepen their understanding of Sri Sathya Sai Baba's teachings and to strengthen their personal practice. Study Circles should have a one-pointed orientation.

Study circles provide the opportunity for Satsang (the company of like minded spiritual seekers), to listen to other points of view, have reflection, obtain wisdom and integrate insights gained into daily life. 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.

The following four principles may be considered the most important guiding principles to ensure that study circle deliberations meet the highest standards set by Swami for an exchange of views by spiritual seekers.

  1. The principle of compassionate leadership on the part of the facilitator.
  2. The principle of equal opportunity for participants to express themselves.
  3. The principle of non-argumentative exchange of views.
  4. The principle of opportunity for everyone to be a presenter.

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 insight into Baba’s teachings.
7.  Learn how to put Sai's teachings into practice.
8.  Install good values in ourselves.

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 refer to the resource material available here