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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The relevance of rituals

P. Nachimuthu, B.Bhuvaneswari, & P Mahendran — PSG College of Arts and Science, Coimbatore.

Vedic rituals have a long tradition in India. They have their origin in the Vedas dating back to more than five millennia. To date, this institution is vibrant in India. There is a profound symbolism attached to the varieties of rituals performed. The meaning and significance of Vedic samskaras or sacraments in the life of an individual are most revealing. Spiritual ceremonies and rituals play a central role in all traditions and cultures. The very act of expression via dance, music, drumming, chanting, singing and other ceremonies bounds a community and also serves the purpose of connecting to the higher spiritual forces. The present world is now moving back to following various alternative methods of curing physiological and psychological problems. Many institutions now aid these services and these alternative means of healing are said to involve ritualistic, spiritualistic, and yogic practices. The present study attempts to unravel the psychological aspects involved in the ritualistic and spiritualistic practices in healing. A temple which has been following the ritualistic methods for hundreds of years was chosen for this investigation. Information was collected through observation of rituals and through interviews of the patients and other relevant sources. The information obtained clearly indicated that ritualistic and spiritualistic practices have relevance to the psychological theories about healing.

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