Indigenous Indian psychology: Whether modulative or generative orientation

P.N. Chaudhary, N.P. Singh & U.D. Pandey
Defence Institute of Psychological Research

Psychology in India has mainly tended to its mainstream version which is modulative in orientation, in that it reacts to societal change but does not instigate it. There is a need for Indian psychologists to show interest in generative psychology in order to achieve fundamental change and modernization because generative psychology attempts to initiate and influence macro level change. The term Indigenous Indian psychology refers to psychology that addresses the needs of Indian societies, whether these needs are purely intellectual, applied, or any other kind. We may move toward a generative psychology in order to rectify what is perceived as a lack of change by helping speed up economic and technological large-scale changes. Indigenous Indian psychologists attempting to develop a generative psychology may face opposition from the powerful elites, as well as from external forces that support such elites. In ancient Indian literature, behaviour modification techniques can be found in Aprikshit Karakam chapter of Panchtantram. Yoga and Karma have been preached by Lord Krishna for stress management. Lord Ganesha also teaches us stress management. To maintain stability under pressure is being preached by Them, which is the essence of stress-management. Ved Vyas asked Lord Ganesha "How could you remain unperturbed throughout your writing of the entire slokas of Mahabharata?" The God replied, "I am like that thread in the deepam. Whatever the level of oil in the deepam, the thread burns steadily." Lord Krishna preached in Bhagavad Gita--Sithithapragnya--the person being unaffected under pressure. For that person, the pursuit of the soul is more gratifying than the goal itself. For him success is not a destination but a journey. The aims of this paper are threefold: (i) to introduce the concepts of modulative psychology and generative psychology, (ii) to examine the potential of indigenous Indian psychology for becoming generative and (iii) to discuss the important implications of a generative orientation in psychology.

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

Pondicherry, India, September 29 - October 1, 2002