Chapter 2.0 from "Study Circles for Divinity"
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2.0  STUDY CIRCLE INTRODUCTION

"What is real Study Circle? 'Study' is for steady. 'Circle' is for purity and peace. Study Circle participants should experience oneness and constant steadiness ..... In a Study Circle, a book is selected, discussed and the meaning taken. A violin has four strings, and music is produced by playing on this. Each person takes a different meaning, but the ultimate meaning is one. Sugarcane has different names and forms but juice is one, and it is sweet." (140595)

Many Chairpersons of Sai Centres lament aloud that "lots of devotees come to Devotional Singing, but not so many attend the Study Circle". If this is the case, we need to ask ourselves why it is that earnest seekers after Truth are reluctant to gather together to focus on the teachings of Lord Sathya Sai Baba and other Great Masters. Each person who regularly attends a Sai Centre has sufficient discrimination to recognise that the words of Lord Sai are indeed Truth.

So what is it that keeps Centre members away from the Study Circle meetings? The answer can be found in the quotations from Lord Sai's discourses presented in this first topic dealing with the Study Circle itself. We can recognise that people seem to want several things from a Study Circle. These are:

- a feeling of involvement; of being recognised by others as having a point of view worth considering, even though they might choose not to speak.

- a sense of joint exploration, a seeking of consensus as to what a particular phrase or paragraph means.

- the need to study topics which are relevant and practical.

- the opportunity to stay focussed on the chosen theme or topic, with the facilitator gently but firmly leading the group back to its message.

- a group feeling of inner peace, with argumentation and egoistic monologues being quickly diffused or pre-empted by the Study Circle leader or other members of the group.

- occasional presentations by someone regarded as 'knowledgeable' in a particular aspect of Lord Sai's teachings, although we are advised that this form of meeting is not really a 'Study Circle'.

This first chapter brings together some of the published advice given by Lord Sai on how to conduct Study Circles.

If we follow His guidance in this respect, the end result will be Study Circles which are well attended because they satisfy each one of the aforementioned preferences and also perhaps because they are in harmony with divine guidance.

Study this chapter from time to time with the whole group, for a circle is only complete when each part of its circumference contributes to its wholeness.

 
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