Teaching Indian Psychology
This page is meant for people who want to teach or study Indian Psychology in an academic setting.
It was created in 2011, on the occasion of an IPI workshop on Teaching Indian Psychology. There have been many new developments since, but I’m afraid we have not been able to keep this page up to date. We have kept the page nevertheless, since it contains information that many people may still find useful.
If you are aware of any new developments, books, courses, please let us know!
- Recommended Resources
- How to do research in Indian Psychology
- How to teach Indian Psychology
- Existing courses on Indian Psychology
1. Recommended Reading
During the last ten years, several books have come out containing collections of essays on Indian Psychology.
Each one of these books has at least some chapters that could be considered essential reading for anyone with a serious interest in the subject.
- Cornelissen, R. M. M., Misra, G., Varma, S. (2014). Foundations and Applications of Indian Psychology. New Delhi: Pearson.
This is the second edition. The first edition was in two volumes: Vol. 1, Concepts and Theories and Vol. 2, Practical applications. Some old chapters have been omitted; two new ones were added. Every chapter in this book has something important to contribute. The new chapter by Anand Paranjpe, "Healing and counselling in a traditional spiritual setting", is especially recommended.
- Rao, K. R., Paranjpe, A. C., Dalal, A. K. (2008). Handbook of Indian Psychology. New Delhi: Foundation Books.
- Rao, K. R. & Marwaha, S. B. (2005). Towards a spiritual psychology: Essays in Indian Psychology. New Delhi: Samvad India Foundation.
- Joshi, K. & Cornelissen, M. (2004). Consciousness, Indian Psychology and Yoga. New Delhi: Centre for Studies in Civilizations.
- Cornelissen, M. (2001). Consciousness and its Transformation. Pondicherry: Sri Aurobindo International Centre for Education.
- Misra, G. & Mohanty, A. K. (2001). Perspectives on Indigenous Psychology. New Delhi: Concept Publishing Co.
This book is out of print, but the entire text is available on the IPI website. Pl. click on the title.
B. Monographs and other books for reference
The following list has been compiled from suggestions made by participants to the Collaborative Workshop Teaching Indian Psychology, organised by IPI in March 2011. Suggestions for improvement are welcome.
- Salagame, K. K. K. (2011). 'Indian Indigenous Concepts and Perspectives: Developments and Future Possibilities'. In G. Misra (Ed.) Psychology in India, Vol. 4. : Theoretical and Methodological Developments (ICSSR Survey of Advances in Resear ch) (p. 93-172). New Delhi: Pearson.
- Dalal, A. S. (2007). Sri Aurobindo and the Future Psychology (Supplement to A Greater Psychology). Pondicherry: Sri Aurobindo Ashram.
- Salmon, D & Maslow, J. (2007). Yoga Psychology and the Transformation of Consciousness: Seeing through the eyes of infinity. St. Paul, MN., USA: Paragon House.
- Kiran Kumar, S. K. (2002). Psychology of Meditation: A contextual approach. New Delhi: Concept Publishing Co.
- Mehta, M. L. (2002). Jaina Psychology: Introduction. Varanasi: Parshvanath Vidyapeeth.
- Veereshwar, P. (2002). Indian Systems of Psychotherapy. Delhi: Kalpaz Publications.
- Dalal, A. S. (2001). A Greater Psychology: An introduction to the psychological thought of Sri Aurobindo. Pondicherry: Sri Aurobindo Ashram Publication Dept.
- Srivastava, S. P. (2001). Systematic Survey of Indian Psychology. Bahadurgarah: Adhyatma Vijanana Prakashan.
- Grof, S. (2000). Psychology of the Future. New York: SUNY Press.
- Coster, G. (1998). Yoga and Western Psychology. Delhi: Motilal Banarsi Dass Publishers Pvt. Ltd.
- Paranjape, A. C (1998). Self and Identity in Modern Psychology and Indian thought. New York: Plenum Press.
- Sen, I. (1998). Integral Psychology: The Psychological System of Sri Aurobindo. Pondicherry: Sri Aurobindo International Centre for Education.
- Vrinte, J. (1996). The Quest for the Inner Man: Transpersonal Psychotherapy and Integral Sadhana. Pondicherry, India: Sri Mira Trust.
- Kalupahana, D. J. (1992). The Principles of Buddhist Psychology. Delhi: Sri Satguru Publications.
- Paranjape, A. C (1984). Theoretical Psychology. New York: Plenum Press.
- Swami Ram, Swami Ajaya, & Ballentine, R. (1976). Yoga and Psychotherapy: The Evolution of Consciousness. Pennsylvania: The Himalayan Institute Press.
- Safaya, R. (1975). Indian Psychology: A critical and historical analysis of the psychological speculations in Indian philosophical literature. New Delhi: Munshiram Manoharlal Publishers Pvt. Ltd.
- Taimni, I. K. (1973). Glimpses into the Psychology of Yoga. Adyar, Madras: The Theosophical Publishing House.
- Rao, S. K. R. (1962). Development of Psychological Thought in India. Mysore: Kavyalaya Publishers.
- Kalghatgi, T. G. (1961). Some Problems in Jaina Psychology. Dharwad: Karnatak University.
- Seal, B. (1958). The Positive Sciences of the Ancient Hindus. Delhi: Motilal Banarsi Dass.
- Rhys Davids, C. A. F (1914). Buddhist Psychology. London: G. Bell and Sons Ltd.
The website of the Indian Psychology Institute contains numerous Indian Psychology related articles:
The website of the Sri Aurobindo Centre of Consciousness Studies contains texts by Sri Aurobindo and the Mother that are directly related to Indian Psychology:
- It has two "student friendly" compilations of texts by Sri Aurobindo and the Mother.
- It also has a detailed, thematic index to over a thousand psychology related passages by the Mother.
There is as yet no simple, comprehensive guideline on how to do research in Indian Psychology. There are, however a number of articles that deal with the basic principles, and that can help to find one's way.
- For a clear exposition of how the existing and well-established methods of mainstream psychology can be applied to Indian Psychology one may consult: Sedlmeier, Peter (2007), 'Indian Psychology and the Scientific Method'.
- For an excellent survey of the methods used in Transpersonal Psychology, one may consult:
Braud, William (2007), 'Integrating yoga epistemology and ontology into an expanded integral approach to research'.
- For an introduction to first-person, yoga-based research in Indian psychology, one could have a look at the following four articles:
- Cornelissen, R. M. Matthijs (2011). Types of knowledge and what they allow us to see: How our research methods affect the quality of our psychological understanding.
- Cornelissen, R. M. Matthijs (2006), 'What is knowledge? A reflection based on the work of Sri Aurobindo'.
- Cornelissen, R. M. Matthijs (2007), 'In Defence of Rigorous Subjectivity', in Transpersonal Psychology Review (BPS), Vol. 14 (1), 2007.
- Cornelissen, R. M . Matthijs (2011), Research about yoga and research in yoga.
- This article looks from an experiential angle at the different types of knowledge that are involved in yoga-based research.
- A slightly shorter version has been included in Matthijs Cornelissen, Girishwar Misra and Suneet Varma (eds.). (2014), Foundations and Applications of of Indian Psychology, New-Delhi: Pearson.
This gives the basic argument why rigorous, yoga-based, research of first person experience is necessary to take Psychology further.
This article tries to explain how first-person, yoga-based research can be made rigorous and reliable.
This article has been included with only a few minor changes in Matthijs Cornelissen, Girishwar Misra and Suneet Varma (eds.). (2014), Foundations and Applications of of Indian Psychology, New-Delhi: Pearson.
A slightly revised version of this article has been included in Matthijs Cornelissen, Girishwar Misra and Suneet Varma (eds.). (2014), Foundations and Applications of of Indian Psychology, New-Delhi: Pearson.
If you have time for only one article, read the second one, by William Braud.
If you have even less time, have a look at a blog by Matthijs Cornelissen on the same subject.
The main thing to remember is that in IP, everybody — and this includes both students and teachers — is their own textbook and their own psychology lab. So, the most important part of learning Indian Psychology is to get to know yourself.
- Maintaining a structured diary
- Doing a small individual yoga-based research project
- In March 2011, IPI organised a workshop on Teaching Indian Psychology.
- Huppes, Neeltje (2011), Teaching Indian Psychology — Challenges and Prospects.
- Blogs on how to teach Indian Psychology
- Huppes, Neeltje (2004) -- Psychic Education: A workbook based on the writings of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother**
- This page shows how IPI has been teaching IP.
A practical, experience-oriented paper, presented on the occasion of the opening of the Indian Psychology Centre at Jain University, Bangaluru.
This book was initially meant as a practical guide for teachers and trainees at Mirambika, the Free Progress unit of the Sri Aurobindo Education Society at New Delhi. Though not directly concerned with teaching Indian Psychology, it contains many practical exercises that those who teach Indian Psychology can use in their classes. Over time it has proven invaluable for many who are serious about the spiritual growth of their students and themselves.
The PDF file of the book can be downloaded free from the IPI website. The printed edition is available from the SABDA website for Rs.100 plus shipping.
4. Some existing courses on Indian Psychology
(This list was created in March 2011; if you are aware of any changes since then, please let us know)
- The Psychology Department of Delhi University offers three courses with an extensive Indian Psychology component at MA level.
- The Psychology Department of Mysore University offers at MA level a "hard core" Indian Psychology paper in the third semester.
- Mysore University also offers an elective Indian Psychology paper for students in other disciplines.
- The Psychology Department of Allahabad University offers an Indian Psychology course at MA level.
- The Bharathiar University at Coimbatore offers as part of the MSc. Applied Psychology an elective in Integral Psychology.
- The M.S University of Baroda offers a short course on "Indian Psychology" as part of a core paper in the 3rd year Graduate level.
- The Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences, Kochi, offers a core paper "Indian Psychology" for 2nd year MSc Clinical Psychology.
- Bangalore University offers in the 4th semester of the MSc Psychology course a core paper "Indian and Transpersonal Psychology".
- The Psychology Dept of Christ University at Bangalore offers at MSc level a semester course "Asian Healing Practises and Psychotherapy".
- The Sri Aurobindo International Centre of Education offers an undergraduate course on "Integral Psychology" since 2001.
- IPI has offered introductory courses in Indian Psychology for academics and professionals working in the field of Psychology since 2007.
- From 2007 to 2014, IPI offered short Indian Psychology courses which generally consisted of an 8 day intensive in Puducherry (in May and/or June), followed by 2 to 6 weekends spread out over the following academic year. The weekends could be taken in Delhi, Pondicherry or Pune.
- In 2012 a six week long Summer School Indian Psychology was held in Puducherry from May 28 to July 7.
- A full-time, Two-Semester Course Indian Psychology was held from September 1, 2015 to April 29, 2016.
- For more information on IPI's courses please see here.