Revitalizing developmental psychology:
exploring Sri Aurobindo's discourse on human development

Monica Gupta
Gargi College, New Delhi

This paper explores the psychological discourse pertaining to human development contained within the philosophical contributions of the leading spiritual master and philosopher of the twentieth century-Sri Aurobindo. His potential contributions to the discipline of Psychology have largely been ignored by Indian Psychologists who have traditionally looked to the West for inspiration. An increasing number of Indian Psychologists today question the over-dominance of the Western perspectives within academic Psychology in India and attempt to create a new Psychology, which is culturally relevant to its ethos. Sri Aurobindo's vision of Psychology has the potential to contribute significantly towards this endeavor as it is based on a theory that synthesizes insights from the older Indian philosophical traditions with contemporary concerns, and brings together the best in Indian and Western philosophies. His works are marked by intellectual rigour and provide a theoretical framework suited to study the Indian Mind and temperament. At the same time, his philosophical views also transcend the boundaries of cultural relativities and provide a framework that can synthesize the relative and the universal in a harmonious manner. This paper attempts to specifically explore the potential of Sri Aurobindo's perspectives on human development to revitalize the field of Developmental Psychology which remains largely guided by the scientific paradigm as based on the logical positivism as a philosophy. This is done after first examining the dominant metanarratives or metaphors that guide developmental research within academic psychology and the delineation of major assumptions on which they are based.

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

Pondicherry, India, September 29 - October 1, 2002