Seminars/Symposia/Debates Seminars, Symposia and Debates, being intellectual in nature give us an opportunity to study Sai literatures & similar spiritual literature in depth. Both the gurus and the students get the opportunity to study during preparation. These could be organised in the Balvikas centre-level or at the Samithi-level or even at District or State-level.
To start with, for seminars & symposia, we need to choose topics that are within the syllabus. Although the topic is chosen from within the syllabus, for all these three types of activities the children must be encouraged to prepare from beyond what is inside the syllabus and their study-material. This would kindle interest in them to read books. Based on the topics chosen, the gurus must provide them a list of suggested books from ”Sathya Sai Speaks”, “Vahini Series” & other Sai literature. Suggested episodes of various programmes from Radio Sai could also be suggested to them. However, these should be moderated even during preparation.
Once the children get comfortable with Balvikas topics, the gurus can choose a topic that has been discussed on some programme of Radio Sai and ask the children to listen to the audio and subsequently speak/discuss about the same.
One of the problems that could arise in such programmes is that the children might end up having misunderstandings among themselves due to competitiveness. So, both during the course of the event and when concluding, care must be taken such that they are neither feeling dejected nor feeling too puffed up with ego. At the end of the exercise, the guru should summarise the discussion and the children should also be encouraged to read Sai Literature regularly and attend Study Circles in the Samithi.
Especially when choosing the topics for debates, care should be taken that both the sides have a positive aspect to debate about. It should be moderated by the guru to ensure that it doesn’t become an argument hurting someone. Also, whoever is the judge should highlight the importance of all the aspects that are debated for. The conclusion should also never be one-sided. The gurus should communicate that although it was a debate and one team has performed better than the other, all the aspects that have been debate for are equally important. The guru also has to be well-prepared for the topics so that even if the children are not able to communicate the points effectively, the guru is able to do the same.
Some topics for Seminars and Symposia are:
- Srimad Bhagawatham
- Service to mankind is Service to God
- Daiva Preethi – Paapa Bheethi – Sanga Neethi
- Prayer and its significance
- Life and Teachings of Saints
- Unity of Religions
- Pancha Mahayagnas
- Dharmo Rakshathi Rakshithah
- 5 Mothers
- 9 types of devotion
For debates the following topics could be used:
- Jnana Yoga vs Karma Yoga vs Bhakti Yoga
- Sugreeva vs Vibheeshana
- Hanuman vs Vibheeshana
- Gopikas vs Pandavas
The topics suggested above are just indicative only. The gurus can choose similar topics. However, care should be taken that it is possible for the children to prepare for the same.