This paper was presented at the
National Seminar on
Indian Psychology: Theories and Models

SVYASA, Bangalore,
December 26 - 28, 2007


Foundation of Indian psychology

Manashi Roy — IPCR


There is an assumption that the Ātmā known through a psychical organ. The classical Yoga –system presupposes only one psychical organ (the thinking organ). Thus in the Moksadharma texts it is apprehended that the Ātmā is known through the thinking organ (manah) — “it is the torch of thinking with which he is viewed as the world creator as he stands there beyond the great darkness himself not caught by that darkness.”

Samkhya philosophers say that all psychical occurrences are carried out in the psychical organism — finally in the highest psychical organ,  the knowledge (buddhih) which stands nearest to the soul — as the highest phenomenal manifestation of matter.

But the opponent argued that thinking (manah), ‘I’ consciousness (ahamkarah) and knowledge (buddhi) are knowledge –processes, but they are not organs. According to Vindhyavasi, the ‘I’ consciousness is the principle of individuation. It will not be considered in the Psychical Organism. The organ of thinking (manah) is the only Psychical Organ.

Vyāsa reckoned one psychical organ, the thinking organ – the mind (cittam). He distinguished between things and their qualities and accepted all psychical states as qualities (dharmāh) and the psychical organ as the bearer (dharmī).

The notion of psychical evil has been introduced by both Vyāsa and Buddha Philosophy. It is said that ignorance and passion together form a uniform group of psychical evil. But when the Yogi directs the clear insight, on the psychical impressions (samskārāh) he can know his former birth.

We must mention the Atomic Doctrine in Vaisésika philosophy: “When a man divides something, the division goes on until it reaches the atom. It is spoken of as an atom (para-manuh i.e. extremely small), because the succession of continually  smaller and smaller things during the division has an end, as, at last, there is nothing smaller….”

According to Vaisésika the whole world occurrences is a play of the imperishable atoms.