National Conference on
Yoga and Indian Approaches to Psychology

Pondicherry, India
September 29 - October 1, 2002

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The National Conference on Yoga and Indian Psychology was attended by approximately 175 participants, most of them faculty members at psychology departments and research institutes in India. There were also a number of students and PhD scholars, some independent professionals, and a few psychologists from outside India.

A total of 84 papers were presented (see: Yaiap-papers ).

At the end of the conference a Declaration was passed on the position of Indian approaches to psychology (see: IP-Manifesto).


Below follows the text of the Conference Announcement:



Academic Psychology in India is based almost exclusively on the European tradition. The reductionist and physicalist foundation of modern, as yet largely Western science, is, however, not adequate to deal with the complexity and multidimensional nature of the human psyche. It stresses the most outward and mechanical parts of human nature and neglects our higher faculties, our more subtle and intimate experiences, the meaning and in a way the very essence of human existence. There are post-modern approaches to psychology that are more open in this respect, but they don't offer as yet a comprehensive framework for the whole of psychology.

The Indian tradition, on the other hand, with its emphasis on integrality and on consciousness as the primary reality, can provide a coherent and appropriate foundation for a truly integral psychology. Its wealth of inner disciplines offers, moreover, not only invaluable tools for psychotherapy, education, management and social work, but also opens the possibility of developing rigorous methods to arrive at valid, detailed and reliable knowledge of subjective reality.

We hope that this conference will become a turning point in the development of a new approach to psychology, which will carry in itself the very best of what modern psychology and the Indian tradition have to offer. It seems the right time for a breakthrough, for the world is in desperate need of a more integral, more spiritually focussed psychology and it is India that can provide the lead in its development.

Objectives of the conference

  • Exposition of existing approaches to Indian psychology
  • Exploring important areas and issues that can make Indian psychology a living force for the future
  • Development of practical applications of Yoga and Indian approaches to psychology
  • Developing research methodologies for Yoga and Indian approaches to Psychology
  • Identifying support structures that will enable a successful introduction of Indian approaches to psychology at Indian universities and colleges

The structure of the conference

To achieve the objectives described above, there will be plenary, concurrent and, in case of sufficient interest, poster sessions. Each of these sessions will be devoted to one of the main objectives. The plenary sessions will have invited speakers only. The concurrent and poster sessions will work out the different issues in further detail. The highlights of the concurrent and poster sessions will be reported to all the participants during the last plenary session, after which there will be occasion to discuss concrete plans and projects for the follow-up of the conference.

Topics of the concurrent sessions

  • Schools of Indian psychology that are relevant today
  • Present applications and practice of Indian psychology
  • Indian concepts of personality and higher levels of mind
  • Yoga and Indian approaches to psychology as a means to effect change and transformation
  • Research in Indian psychology, development of new methodologies
  • The syllabus of Indian psychology, not as a relic of the past but as a force for the future
  • Appropriate methods for teaching Indian psychology

Submitted papers

The deadline for submission of papers was August 15th.

For an overview of submitted papers please see Yaiap-papers.php


Pondicherry is the place where for forty years Sri Aurobindo did his tapasya. In one of his own observations about this period he says, "I am concerned with the earth, not with worlds beyond for their own sake; it is a terrestrial realisation that I seek and not a flight to distant summits."

The ashram where Sri Aurobindo and his spiritual companion, the Mother, lived and worked for the transformation of our collective consciousness, still carry a strong spiritual atmosphere. Sri Aurobindo called Yoga, "nothing but practical psychology" and it cannot be by chance that Pondicherry was chosen as the place for this conference. May we all draw inspiration from the special surrounding in which the National Conference on Yoga and Indian Approaches to Psychology is held.

Organisational support

This conference is organised by the Indian Council of Philosophical Research in association with

  • Infinity Foundation
  • Pondicherry Psychology Association
  • Indian Academy of Applied Psychology
  • National Academy of Psychology
  • Consciousness Research Group, Sri Aurobindo Ashram

Advisory Committee

  • Prof. K. Ramakrishna Rao
  • Prof. Anand Paranjpe
  • Prof. R.C. Tripathi
  • Prof. K.V. Kaliappan
  • Prof. G.P. Thakur
  • Prof. George V. Mathew
  • Prof. Janak Pandey
  • Prof. Girishwar Misra
  • Prof. P. V. Krishna Rao
  • Dr. Aster Patel

Organising Committee

  • Dr. Matthijs Cornelissen (Chairman)
  • Prof. B. Mukhopadhyay (Vice-Chairman)
  • Dr. Panch. Ramalingam (Organising Secretary)
  • V. Kishore Kumar (Joint Secretary)
  • Dr. S. Ganapathy (Treasurer)

Address for correspondence

Dr. Panch. Ramalingam
17, 14th Street, Krishna Nagar
Pondicherry 605008
Phone 0413 252476 (R)