Adult Classes & Study Groups

We have classes and study groups for adults at Chinmaya Avantika and other locations that may be closer to you. Check out our Calendar to see what is available.

 

About Chinmaya Study Groups

 

  

"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.

With a clear-cut Study Group syllabus, it later became easy to develop curriculums for the Bala Vihar (BV) and Chinmaya Yuva Kendra (CHYK) classes, for children and young adults, respectively, to be formulated along the same lines of devotional, philosophical, and ethical teachings. Dedicated and enthusiastic Study Group members readily came forward to lead the BV and CHYK classes, thus playing a vital role in the overall growth of the global Chinmaya Movement.

 

 

Study Group Format

Chinmaya Study Groups are for those members of society who long to benefit from the perennial wisdom of India's rishis through the scriptural study of Advaita Vedanta. Because most individuals often find it difficult to maintain daily discipline and motivation in spiritual pursuits and studies, and since healthy reflection and contemplation processes should follow reading or hearing scriptural teachings, Study Groups were formed. Chinmaya Study Groups allow like-minded seekers to come together every week to read, and discuss spiritual texts and topics-based on the set curriculum-thereby providing each other with in-depth study, clear and logical thinking, and inspiration for personal practice.

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, who is an experienced sevak, 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 many:

  • Knowledge of Hindu scriptures and culture
  • Art of listening
  • Self-discipline
  • Clarity in thinking
  • Perseverance
  • Inner strength to face challenges
  • Self-development
  • 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.

To learn how to organize and conduct a Chinmaya Study Group in your area, contact your nearest Chinmaya Mission centre.

 

 

 

About Chinmaya Devi Groups

The first Devi Group, or Chinmaya Study Group exclusively for women, was inaugurated in November 1958, in Chennai, India, with Swami Chinmayananda's blessings: "Salutations to Mothers! I need not mention how happy I am that a Devi section of Chinmaya Mission is being inaugurated on this sacred day. Indeed, women have been, and even today are, the real custodians of our country's spiritual culture. The fall of our cultural standard is a true measure of the growing ignorance in the mothers of our society."

These encouraging words lay the foundation of Chinmaya Mission's Devi Group culture, and these Devi Groups are today an integral feature of almost every Mission centre across the world. Following the same curriculum as Chinmaya Study Groups, Chinmaya Devi Groups have grown over the years as powerful learning forums, open discussion arenas, and healthy support systems for women of all ages.  Here, women are taught a variety of shlokams and bhajans.