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

SVYASA, Bangalore,
December 26 - 28, 2007


Psychology of spirituality and yoga

V. George Mathew — Holigrative Psychology Institute, Thiruvananthapuram


According to Holigrative Psychology (Mathew, 2001), the single holistic level general factor of personality is Stability (awareness, freedom and flexibility or Sattwa) the two type level instabilities being Activation (compulsive extraversion or Rajas) and Inertia (compulsive introversion or Tamas). Stability is also spirituality.

Human beings influence each other at conscious and unconscious levels. In fact at subconscious levels there is a kind of mind sharing; we share a part of our mind with friends and relatives - people having a mind like ours. Therefore it is easy to have high Stability if we live in a community and society of people having a high degree of Stability. If we live in a competitive society, we imbibe the competitive spirit and if we are born and brought up in a lethargic society, we harmonise with that kind of mentality.

Spirituality is independent of religion. Religions are born when spirituality is mixed with Inertia or Activation. The Indus Valley civilization is a possible example of a Stable society. Spirituality is easy and natural for individuals in such a society. In societies where people are aggressive, effortful sadhana or practice is required for individuals to overcome the aggressive tendencies and get Stabilised. Intellect is also a defence against insecurity and in intellectual societies also the basic insecurity has to be overcome before Stability can be reached. Yoga (two initially separate things uniting) involving several different techniques, is a very useful and convenient concept which became popular later on as a result of the analytical and intellectual approach to spirituality.

Personality is influenced by a whole set of factors which can be classified as physical, social and psychological. In fact all that we experience and all that we do has a reaction and cumulative effect on our personality. Therefore it is not easy to change our personality as a whole by a single isolated practice or a sudden rearrangement of ideas. Enlightenment is sudden only for those who already have a high degree of Stability.

Email the author, Prof. V.G. Mathew, at