“Mere listening will not add to your beauty. These ideas are to be reflected upon deeply and digested slowly. This process is hastened only when you discuss what you have studied with others. Study Groups constitute the heart of our Mission. The ideas, when discussed with others, not only become deeply rooted in you, but as they become clearer in your own understanding, they also inspire those who listen to you. Thus, each student, while trying to strengthen his own understanding, can become an instrument for the spread of this knowledge. This process is the dynamic study scheme followed in the Vedantic tradition. This is not a Chinmaya methodology; it is the most ancient Vedantic tradition of study.”
– Swami Chinmayananda
The Chinmaya Movement emerged, grew, and expanded into a worldwide spiritual organization of Vedantic teachings based on the strength of its Study Groups. Study Groups began through the enthusiasm of the thousands who attended Swami Chinmayananda’s talks and yajnas, and felt the need to continue regular scriptural studies.
To sustain the inspiration of these sincere seekers, Swami Chinmayananda formulated and began Chinmaya Study Groups with a systematic syllabus that took into careful consideration the spare time of the average householder, a student’s typical attention span, and the appropriate level and order of texts to be studied. The course of study was designed so that even a beginner in scriptural studies could follow the curriculum without feeling overwhelmed.
The study group method is a process of collective discussion on a specific topic read by all. The goals of Chinmaya Study Groups are :
1. to practise mananam, or “reflection”, and gain clear insight and understanding of scriptural fundamentals, and
2. to cultivate the art of communicating this scriptural knowledge to others.
Study Groups have a lead moderator or guide. In class, vaada (logical arguments based on healthy reasoning) is allowed in order to share different views and clear any doubts or confusions. However, jalpa (arrogant rejoinders) and vidanda (destructive or idle criticisms) are not permitted. In the study of each verse of each text, these basic steps are followed:
1.Understanding the context and background of the verse
2.Connecting the thought flow with the previous verse
3.Appreciating the deeper import of specific words and expressions used
4.Relating the various ideas in the verse
5.Reflecting and contemplating on the verse
6.Applying the teachings in daily life.
The benefits of regular attendance and participation in Chinmaya Study Groups are manifold:
• Knowledge of Hindu scriptures and culture
• Art of listening
• Clarity in thinking
• Inner strength to face challenges
• Personality transformation.
In an atmosphere of satsanga, Chinmaya Study Groups foster and develop love and understanding among members, strengthening the Chinmaya Pledge concept of “We stand as one family…” Members’ families also greatly benefit through the aspiring member’s value-based living and spiritual practices. By living an integrated life, members better society; in turn, healthy societies build wholesome nations and a peaceful world.
Study group sessions are free and open to all.
If you are interested, please email email@example.com.