This paper was presented at
Psychology: The Indian Contribution
National Conference on
Indian Psychology, Yoga and Consciousness
organised by the Indian Council of Philosophical Research
at the Sri Aurobindo International Centre of Education
Pondicherry, India, 10-13 December 2004

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Indian Psychology: Implications and applications

K. Ramakrishna Rao — Institute for Human Science & Service, Vishakapatnam.

If the effects of science and spirituality on humans are genuine as believed, a dialogue between the two is not merely warranted, but necessary. This calls for a meta-theory aimed at the unification of science and spirituality. The basic postulates of such a meta-theory include the following. First, science and spirituality are two knowledge streams that spring from the human mind. Second, emancipation of human condition from the limiting constraints of ignorance and suffering to a state of happiness and well-being are the goals of both science and spirituality. Rather science is applicable to some areas of human concern and spirituality appears to matter in some others. Third, there is no intrinsic opposition between science and spirituality. In the Indian tradition both science and spirituality have the same goal, which is liberation (moksha). We are developing a large scale project in spiritual psychology which intends to explore (i) whether more spiritually inclined people with greater religious involvement and beliefs tend to experience greater happiness and wellness and better adjustment than less spiritually disposed persons; (ii) whether meditation and spiritual counseling, which are presumed to render people more spiritually involved, help persons to cope with stress and make better adjustment to difficult environmental conditions; and (iii) whether the results of western studies connecting religious beliefs and practices to better health outcomes are replicable in non-western contexts of significantly different cultures and religions. It is hoped that the results of these studies throw light on some ground conditions necessary for science-religion dialogue.

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