Yoga and Indian approaches to psychology as a means to effect change and transformation

Deepti Sachdeva


Change and transformation - in what? to what?

- Exploring the relevance of Indian approaches to the youth of today - placed in a constant flux of reality; chaotic relativism , protean commitments.

- Fragmentation at the individual level as well as that of socio-politico-cultural institutions. Thus, historical preparedness for alternatives to mainstream conceptualizations as well as to our experiential predicaments.

- Youth faced with a growing sense of unrest, uprootedness, disquietude. Gergen's analysis of the cultural conditions that have led to an erosion of the sense of self. The crisis of values for the confused youth placed in the midst of competing truths.Indian psychology carries intuitive appeal as it is closer to our cultural heritage - the mythos - providing a distinctive sense of identity.

- Locating stability within one's self as an anchor for branching off into the staggering multiplicity of the post modernist consciousness. The notion of an unchanging brahman, the monist emphasis of the advaita school, the concept of Jiva as a multilayered entity, instances of the breadth of our tradition and its advanced understanding of multiplicity and stability.

- Upsurge of technological innovations, advent of science and medicine, yet the ineradicability of human suffering. exploring the Buddhist approach to suffering, and locating the source of bliss within, not without.

- Locating the experiences of a young adult within notions of spirituality, mysticism, renunciation, which may ordinarily seem remote from our immediate sensibilities. Looking at the 4 major goals of life as: dharma, artha, kama, moksa.

- Some questions: how to move from personal growth to social upliftment. Relevance to a community plagued by poverty, illiteracy, prejudice, discrimination. If according to yoga, the end of suffering is the ideal state of kaivalya, how does one incorporate social responsibility. The relevance of sravana, manana, nididhyasana to an individual who struggles incessantly to make ends meet. How does the Indian tradition make space for the basal and the banal in our lives. How does it encompass pathology and human frailty.

- Excerpts from Zen and the art of motorcycle maintenance by Robert Pirsig and elucidating some of the author's innovative insights in this direction.

This paper was presented at the
National Conference on
Yoga and Indian Approaches to Psychology

Pondicherry, India, September 29 - October 1, 2002