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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A probe on Indian psycho-philosophy as an alternative paradigm in understanding human nature, behaviour and applied fields.

Susmita Mukhopadhyay — Indian Statistical Institute, Kolkata.

The Western tradition based on the principle of individual differences and development of self as a process of differentiation has drawn individuals in a vicious circle of craving for more and more material satisfaction, even at the cost of others and society. The ultimate result is a persistent dissatisfaction in the individual; constant pressure of conflict and competition leading to stress; disharmony in society and ecological imbalances. This utter disruption in the individual and societal life has lead to a growing concern for a search of an alternative paradigm in understanding human nature and behaviour. The present essay focuses on this area. It discusses the basic concepts in Indian psycho-philosophy - the intrinsic relationship of psychology and philosophy, i.e., Darsana as the spiritual perception of reality, the principle of connectivity of the individual soul with the Ultimate Reality and the essence of Indian psycho-philosophy of discovering self and interpreting the world based on this knowledge of self-revelation. It highlights on the immense contribution of Indian psycho-philosophy in understanding human nature as a spiritual being besides being an intellectual being, with special emphasis on Sri Aurobindo’s conceptualization of the scale of consciousness. The essay also explores the contribution of Indian psycho-philosophy in understanding human psychological processes (e.g., cognition, emotion motivation, etc.), as well as the application of these insights in certain sub-fields of psychology (e.g., organizational behaviour, psychotherapy, etc.).

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