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The term Indian Psychology refers to the Psychologically

relevant materials in ancient Indian thought. Usually this
term does not cover modern developments in Psychology in
Modern Psychology at the beginning of the century
emphasized sensation, perception and psychologists in India
took out Indian theories of sensation and perception from
the classics and created an Indian Psychology. For example
Indian theories emphasise the notion that in perception the
mind goes out through the senses and assumes the shape of
the objects. In 1934, Jadunath Sinha wrote a book on Indian
theories of perception. As soon as Western Psychologists
started studying cognition, Indian Psychologists started
looking for Indian theories of cognition. In 1958, Jadunath
Sinha wrote a book on Cognition. Later on modern
Psychology started emphasising emotions, and in 1981,
Jadunath Sinha wrote a book on Emotions and the Will.
The major part of ancient Indian scriptures (Hindu, Buddhist
and Jain) emphasise self-realization, samadhi or nirvana.
After 1960 Humanistic Psychology emerged and
Psychologists became interested in paranormal dimensions
of growth. Maslow's theory of self-actualization and
transcendental self-actualization established the link to the
major part of ancient Indian theories and methods and
almost the whole of ancient Indian writings became
psychologically relevant. Psychology of Consciousness,
Parapsychology, Psychology of Mysticism, Psychology of
Religion and Transpersonal Psychology borrow extensively
from Indian writings. The terms Oriental Psychology,
Buddhist Psychology, Yoga Psychology , Jain Psychology, etc.
are frequently found in modern psychological literature now.
Many book lists in Psychology now include books on Yoga,
Buddhism and Zen. There seems to be a paradigm shift in
Western Psychology, a shift from the notion of mental
disease and healing to personal growth, the reference point
shifting from the statistical average or "normal" to the ideal
or upper limits of man's potentiality.
The rudiments of the theory of consciousness can be traced
back to the Indus valley civilization (6000 to 1500 B.C.).
Artifacts of a man sitting in Padmasana have been obtained
in excavations. The Swasthika symbol was used in Indus
valley script. Buddhist thought and methods (6th century
B.C.) are in line with the objective spirit of modern science
and the law of parsimony of science and Buddhism can be
easily incorporated into a scientific framework. The
Psychological relevance of the four noble truths and eight-
fold path and Sunya vada of Buddhism and Buddhist
techniques of meditation are of considerable relevance in
modern Psychology. Similarly Jain scriptures also are found
to be relevant to Psychology in more than one way. The
Vedas date from about 1500 B.C. However, Upanishads
(appendices to the Vedas, which date from 600 B.C.) which
describe the Vedanta philosophy and provide the theoretical
foundation of Jnana Yoga are of more direct relevance to
Psychology. The Bhagavat Gita gives a quintessence of
Indian way of life and philosophy and it describes the four
yogas, Karma, Bhakthi, Raja and Jnana. Several books have
come on the psychological relevance of Gita. Maslow's
theory of Meta-motivation is very similar to the concept of
Nishkama karma outlined in the Gita.
Patanjali's Ashtanga Yoga is a very systematic presentation
of Raja yoga. Both Bhagavat Gita and Ashtanga Yoga are
supposed to have been written around the turn of B.C. to
A.D. Sankara's writings (8th century A.D.) on the different
yogas as well as his Advaita philosophy are considered as
classics in the area and are of great value to the Psychology
of consciousness as well as personal growth. Modern
interest in relaxation can be traced to studies on Savasana.
Rising popularity of meditation practice links Psychology to
Oriental religious practices and philosophy.
Indian literature on aspects of consciousness is vast,
considering the classics and their commentaries. Mental
states have been analyzed, classified and differentiated in
detail. Similarly paranormal powers (siddhis) have been
classified in detail. The process of personal growth and
obstacles to growth have been examined thoroughly. There
is a great deal of maturity resulting from long experience in
these areas reflected in the writings. Indian theories of
linguistics, social behavior, crime, etc. are all based on the
holistic approach and the broad-based intuitive
understanding of behavior in contradistinction to Western
theories which are piece-meal, analytic and situation
specific. The increasing importance given to the holistic
approach and need for synthesis makes it possible to
integrate modern Western Psychology with ancient Indian
thoughts as well as methods.

The psychosomatic relationship was well known and salient

in ancient times. The very first invocatory stanza of
Ashtangahridaya (the main text in Ayurveda, written in 4th
century A.D.) describes how emotions like desires lead to
both physical and mental diseases.

Many attempts are being made to integrate ancient Indian

Psychology with modern Western Psychology. More than 40
books have appeared in the field of Indian Psychology. There
is a journal of Indian Psychology published from Andhra
University which has an Institute of Yoga and Consciousness.
At least five persons have developed personality inventories
based on the Triguna theory (Satwa, Rajas and Tamas) of
Kapila (Sankhya philosophy, 6th century B.C.)

A Short History of Western Psychology

Ajan Raghunathan

The roots of western psychology can be traced to Greek

philosophy. The word psychology itself is derived from the
Greek words ‘psyche’ which means soul and ‘logos’ which
means study. Psychology thus started as a part of
philosophy and became an independent discipline much
Plato and Aristotle where among the first philosophers who
thought about the mind. Plato believed that body and mind
are two separate entities and mind could exist even after
death. But he was positive in that education can bring
change to the basic nature of the mind. Aristotle, who was
the disciple of Plato, followed the feet of his teacher and
believed in the body-mind duality. But he thought that of
each of these is the manifestation of the other. He, but, was
pessimistic about the role of education in changing the
fundamental nature of humans.
Rene Descartes, the French philosopher and mathematician,
who originated the Cartesian system of coordinates or the
coordinate geometry, also believed in the body-mind duality.
But he was open enough to consider that there is an
uninterrupted transaction between the body and the mind.
In the eighteenth century AD, John Locke, a British national,
proposed that knowledge depends upon the experience
based on the sense organ and that thinking is not innate. He
also considered that the mind of a newly-born child is like a
clean-slate on which anything can be written. Locke believed
that knowledge occurs only when the sense organs interact
with the outer world.
These two ideas – the body-mind duality and the ‘clean-
slate’ mind - have been the strong roots of the western
psychology for many decades. Only in the twentieth century
western psychologists, especially Jung, Maslow and others,
were able to break free from this limiting concepts.
In the twentieth century AD, German scientist E.H.Weber
attempted a scientific approach in the study of the mind by
his finding of the quantitative relation between stimulus
intensity and the resultant sensory experience. This was
later known as the Weber’s law.
Almost in the same period, G.T.Fechner, who is called the
father of quantitative psychology, coined psycho-physics
which is the quantitative study of external structures and
sensory experience.
Then came Darwin with his revolutionary ‘origin of species’
which influenced psychology and human thought.
In 1879, Wilhelm Wundt, a German scientist, established the
world’s first psychological lab at Leipzig, Germany. His aim
was to prove that there is a physical activity for every
mental activity. He opined that psychologists should study
sensation, perception, and emotions.
In the first decade of the 20th Century AD, the Russian
psychologist Ivan P. Pavlov made a path breaking finding
when he was studying the digestion process in dogs. Before
the experimental dog was given food, a bell was sounded.
When this was repeated several times, the dog started
salivating the very moment it heard the bell sound. Pavlov
called this the conditioned reflex. This was one of the
greatest findings that made radical changes in the field of

Major Schools of Psychology

Titchner and his followers said that conciseness can be
analyzed into three—sensation, perception and feeling.
Titchner and his followers are called structuralists and their
main method for study of mind was introspection.
William James, the father of American Psychology, J.R.Angels
and John Dewey argued that psychologists should study the
function of the mind and not its structure. These group of
psychologists are called functionalists.
Freud and Psycho Analysis
Sigmund Freud of Vienna, who is considered as the father of
modern psychology, originated a new method called the Free
Association Technique. Freud considered that mind has three
parts – the conscious, the pre-conscious and the
unconscious. He considered that 90% of the mind is the
unconscious mind. He argued that Id (unconscious mind) is
the seat of repression, and instincts. Freud further
considered that behind any behavior is the libido energy.
He divided the personality into three – id, ego, superego. Of
these, Id goes after pleasure and thus is said to be governed
by the pleasure principle. Ego which is the organized part of
Id is driven by the Reality Principle. Superego connects the
id to the external world and is considered the conscience.
Later, Erich Frome, Karan Horney, Erik Erikson, Harry
Sullivan and Otto Rank improved upon the ideas of Frued
and so they are called Neo Fruedians.
Alfred Adler and Individual Psychology
Alfred Adler gave the focus to society because he thought
that since we are social animals we should give emphasis on
social factors. He argued that, the will to power and
superiority are thus more important than sex or will to
pleasure. So, the individual will try to overcome the deficits
he has or he thinks he has. He will try to show superiority or
ambition. Inferiority complex is the most important concept
Adler added to psychology. His psychology is called
Individual Psychology.
Jung and Analytical Psychology
Carl Gustav Jung, like Adler, was in the psychoanalytical
camp in the beginning, but later parted with Freud to create
his own (school of) psychology called the Analytical
Psychology. He dismissed the Freudian theory that the only
motive that drive the unconscious is sex. Jung extended the
concept of the unconscious beyond the individual. Thus he
said that there is a collective unconscious besides the
individual unconscious. He postulated that the racial
memory of centuries is precipitated in the unconscious of
each individual. According to him, the main ingredient of the
collective unconscious is the archetype.
John B. Watson, also of America, proposed that
psychologists as scientists should study observable human
nature and not the concepts like mind, consciousness etc.
He and his followers tried to explain behavior based on
stimulus and response. They are called behaviorists and
their school of psychology is called behaviorism. Tolman,
Hull and B.F.Skinner are the later behaviorists. Skinner
originated operant conditioning which is one of the most
used techniques for psychological therapy today.
Gestalt Psychology
Gestalt Psychology was a reaction to the over emphasis of
reductionistic methods in psychology. The gestalt
psychologists were against this blind reliance on analysis
and reductionism. They believed that behavior should be
understood in a holistic way. Max Wertheimer, Wolfgang
Kohler, Kurt Kafka were the first proponents of this school
Humanistic Psychology
Some psychologists believed that neither Frued et al nor the
behaviorists could include the complexity and uniqueness of
man their studies of psychology. So a group of psychologists
gave human experience more importance and they are
called humanists. They argued that man is a subjective
animal. The humanists counted that the motives for
development and to become perfect are more important
than sex, power etc. They brought back the dignity of man
that Frued and others undignified.
They denied Freudian unconscious or behaviorstic
environment as the ultimate basis of behavior and said that
man is not a slave of either the unconscious or the situation.
Gestalt psychology, Indian Psychology, Psychology of
Consciousness, Environmental Psychology, Para Psychology
are the schools of psychology that are included in
Humanistic psychology. Gordon W Allport, Carl Rogers, and
Abraham Maslow are some of the early proponents of
humanistic psychology.
The Three Major Forces in Modern Psychology
There are three major forces in psychology. Freudian
Psychoanalysis and the offshoots from it are considered the
First Force in Psychology. This has been very dominant in
the earlier part of the 20th century but has given way to the
second force in psychology called behaviorism. Currently,
behaviorism is also slowly reaching its end. Slowly, holistic
and more natural ways are coming to the main stream. This
is the third force in psychology – the Humanistic Psychology.
Many experts foresee that by the first or second decade of
the 21st century, humanistic psychology will become the
dominant major force. This is because that man will slowly
come to realize that the origin of bliss is in himself and so
man will turn to himself for truth, beauty, happiness,
success, and achievement. Neither Freudian psychology nor
Behaviorism can be of definite help in this stage.


Oriental Psychology consists of the psychologically relevant materials taken from
ancient writings in the orient. During the early part of the present century, modern
psychology emphasized sensation and perception and Indian Psychology consisted of
largely Indian theories of perception. Later on when modern psychology started
studying cognition, materials relevant to that also were taken from ancient scriptures
and other documents. Still later theories of emotion also were included.
Climate perhaps has an influence on the goals and values of people. In the West people
have an external orientation, their temperament being characterized by practical
aggressive traits. In the East people are philosophically inclined. There is an internal
orientation and the main concern of life is with the ultimates. Consequently ancient
oriental writings are largely concerning religious and philosophical issues. Self-enquiry
using holistic intuitive methods did not fall within the traditional framework of empirical
psychology and so most of oriental material was supposed to be irrelevant for
Psychology. But with the development of humanistic approach and the psychology of
consciousness, almost the whole of oriental writings has become very relevant.
In Western psychology, the reference point was the average person. The normal was
the average. But in the orient the normal was the ideal, the perfect. Cultivation of the
quality of subjective experience was the main concern. The aim of life was considered
to be self-realization.
The four asramas are Brahmacharya, Garhasthya, Vanaprastha and Sanyasa, the last
one aiming at self-realization. The four motives are Kama, Artha, Dharma and Moksha,
showing a rough correspondence to Maslow's hierarchy of needs. The concept of
Nishkama Karma (action with detachment) shows a similarity to Maslow's concept of

The three components of temperament are Thamasik (characterised by lethargy),
Rajasik (characterised by high drive) and Sathwik characterized by balance and
stability. There is also a transcendental qualityless (gunatheetha) state conducive to
Six personality types are recognised in Buddhism: Ragacharith (attached),
Doshacharith (envy, aggression), Mohacharith (dull, idle), Buddhicharith (rational),
Vithakkacharith (imaginative), and Sadvacharith (disciplined).
Jain typology called Laisya or colour type theory grades people according to the
colouration of soul by karmic passions: Black, Blue, Grey, Pink, Red and White. All
these theories recognise a gradation with respect to the state of self-realisation.

Personality development consists of growth toward unity. The Indian view is similar to
the views of Rogers and Maslow which hypothesise spontaneous growth given right
conditions. Guru occupies a very important place and parallels have been drawn
between the guru-sishya relationship and counsellor- counsellee relationship. The main
difference is that the Guru is a person with a high degree of self-awareness instead of
any factual knowledge or skill of a counsellor and in the Indian system total personality
change is emphasized more than specific behaviour change. The guru is a person with
steady awareness. Many modern therapies like the Gestalt therapy emphasise
Nowness, Actuality, Awareness and Wholeness and emphasise the personality of the
counsellor and these therapies come close to the Indian model.

Yoga means union. It is customarily used to denote methods used to attain
superconsciousness. Several qualities like ability to discriminate the real from the unreal
(viveka), disinterest and desire to know the truth (mumukshathava) are required in order
to become a sadhaka (practitioner). The methods have been grouped into four.
1. Karma yoga
Every action has a reaction on the doer and the effect of actions remain in the person
as his samskara. Good karma purifies the mind. Adler's method of developing social
interest as a technique for personality development and personality development
through improving social interactions (including counselling) can be related to karma

Actions can be classified into Nitya (daily routines), Kamya (desire-driven), Nishidha
(sinful), Naimithika (occasional duties) and prayaschitha (compensatory). Another
classification is into Sakama karma (desire driven) and Nishkama karma (action
motivated only by a sense of duty, without any concern for the results. The concept of
Nishkama Karma is close to Maslow's notion of Meta motivation (action stemming from
fullness) as against deficiency motivation.

2. Bhakthi yoga
Bhakthi yoga is the yoga of emotions. It is controlled cultivation of higher emotions. It
involves the awakening, actualising and controlling of libidinal forces. It draws out latent
emotional potentiality, arouses experiencial capacities and merges suppressions,
repressions and inhibitions.

Gods represent psychic forces. God is the symbol of one's own evolved self. It is
Brahman (the absolute) relfected in Maya (the percieved reality). Through Bhakthi yoga
you seek your own true identity. Each person is advised to select or conceive of a God
suited to his personality requirements.

Bhakthas are of different types: The Artha prays to escape from suffering. The Jignasu
does so out of curiosity. The Artharthi seeks material gain. The Jnani seeks deliverance.
This classification is based on the aim of the Bhaktha.
Bhakthi or devotion has been broadly classified into Saguna Bhakthi (God with name &
form) and Nirguna Bhakthi (God as the absolute consciousness). There is some
agreement that Nirguna Bhakthi represents a higher type of Bhakthi than Saguna
Bhakthi. In Dasya Bakthi, the bhaktha considers himself to be the servant of God. In
Sakhya Bhakthi God is approached in a friendly manner. This has been further
subdivided into relationships in which God is considered as a friend, a child or lover. In
bridal mysticism, the sadhaka (regardless of whether he is male or female) considers
himself a female and God as his lover. Love and hate are two sides of the same coin
and there is Vaira Bhakthi in which God is contemplated as an enemy. Some sadhakas
have mixed emotions; they shower praise as well as abuse on the chosen god.
The instruments of worship are the body (for puja, archana, vandana), word (for
parayana, sravana, keerthana and japa) and mind (smarana). To a sadhaka following
Bhakthi yoga, Bhakthi is a pleasurable experience and an end in itself. To him God is
not just a device, but more real than any object of the senses.
The goal of Bhakthi is to replace fear by love.

3.Raja Yoga
This is the yoga of exercises and mind control. The term yoga is most often used to
refer to Raja Yoga. This is also the type of yoga where a formal guru is considered
essential. Usually there are initiation ceremonies to initiate a person into Raja yoga.
Pathanjali's Yogasutra (1st century A.D.) is considered to be the best known treatise on
yoga. It is also known as Astanga yoga or yoga with eight limbs as follows:
1. Yama (ethical condcut) - Ahimsa, Sathya, Astheya (non-stealing), brahmacharya and
aparigraha (non-acceptance of gifts)
2. Niyama (practices and observances) - Soucha (cleanliness), Santhosha, Thapa
(austerity), Swadhyaya (study) and Iswara Pranidhana (surrender to God)
3. Asana - yogic postures. Asanas, kriyas (stomach wash, etc.) and pranayama
together are called Hata yoga.
4. Pranayama - breath control. This is supposed to purify the mind. This involves paying
attention to breathing and regulating the duration of inhalation (Puraka), holding breath
(Kumbhaka) and exhalation (Rechaka).
5. Prathyahara - Withdrawal of the mind from the objects of the senses.

6. Dharana - Concentration. Achieving one pointedness.

7. Dhyanam - meditation - achieving stillness of mind.

8. Samadhi - superconscious state. The person enjoysbliss, peace and freedom. There
is lack of body consciousness and concern.
The different states of mind are Kshiptha (scattered), Moodha (slovenly and sleepy),
Vikshiptha (oscillating), Ekagra (one pointed) and Nirudha (controlled). The different
states of consciousness are Jagrath (waking), Swapna (dream), Sushupthi (deep
sleep), Thuriam (superconscious) and Thuriatheetham (absolute). Samadhi itself is of
three grades - Savikalpa samadhi involves retention of personal identity while in
Nirvikalpa samadhi, there is the experience of pure consciousness, beyond time and

Sahaja samadhi is experience of samadhi within, all the time, even when the person
interacts and behaves like an ordinary person. Ishta samadhi is samadhi at will.
Bhavasamadhi is experienced by artists. Karma samadhi is experienced by karmayogis.
Jada samadhi is not real samadhi; it is a state of numbness experienced by pranayama
or meditation and often mistaken for real samadhi.

Kundalini Yoga:
It is supposed that consciousness has three sheaths - Physical body, astral body and
causal body. There are seven psychic centres in the astral body along the spine. They
are Muladhara (root of spine), Swadhistana (corresponding to sex organs, in spine),
Manipuraka (corresponding to navel), Anahatha (corresponding to heart), Visudhi
(corresponding to throat), Ajna (corresponding to pineal gland, at the base of the brain)
and Sahasrara (slightly above the head). It is supposed that in ordinary persons, pschic
energy lies dormant in the form of a coiled serpent in Muladhara chakra. By intense
visualisation, the yogi attempts to arouse the kundalini sakthi and make it move along
the spine upwards passing through the other chakras. Various siddhis are obtained
when the kundalini reaches the different centres. The major siddhis are eight in number.
Samadhi is experienced when the energy reaches sahasrara chakra. Many techniques
of kundalini yoga involve pranayama. Kundalini is often visualised as moving up along
with inhalation and it is visualised as coming down (in two different paths crossing each
other at the chakras during exhalation.
Mantra Yoga:

In Mantra yoga, the yogi repeatedly utters a word or a few words constituting the
mantra. The word may or may not have a meaning. It is supposed that thoughts have
power and that the principle of autosuggestion makes for changes in the person who
repeatedly utters a mantra with meaning. The mantra is a means to bring back the
wandering mind and make it one-pointed. In yoga, the mantra is used to evoke higher
states of consciousness by association, while in black magic the mantra is used to
evoke psychic power. The commonly used mantras include Om, yogic aphorisms like
Aham Brahamasmi and names of gods and goddesses. It is believed that silent
utterance in the mind has more effect than loud utterance.
Tanthra Yoga:
This type of yoga flourished in north eastern India. Elements of manthra yoga and
Kundalini yoga are included in Tanthra yoga. Some tanthric sects think that controlled
indulgence of sense pleasures is a means to arouse Kundalini and that indulgence with
awareness and with the aim of self-realisation enables the yogi to gradually transecend
desires. Partial indulgence without full satisfaction is seen as a method of arousing and
sublimating libidinal forces.

Meditation is the most important technique of Raja yoga. It is functioning in the passive,
receptive mode, as against the active mode. It increases awareness and control and
has some similarities with bio-feed back. It gradually reduces restlessness and reduces
instinctual disturbances. Instincts cause mechanical, uncontrolled behaviour and
meditating makes for more conscious behaviour.

A lot of modern scientific research has gone into the effects of meditation. Japanese
scientists found that monks in meditation show alpha brain wave by reduction in heart
rate, BP, respiratory rate, rate of oxygen consumption, muscular tension, electrical skin
conductivity of the skin, lactate content in blood, etc. Meditators show increased
perceptual ability, higher gains in IQ, creativity, academic achievement, adjustment,
stress tolerance, work output and athletic performance. Meditating prisoners show
better rehabilitation. A significant reduction in crime rate was observed in cities where a
significant percentage of the people were meditating (Maharishi effect). Meditating drug
addicts showed more improvement than control groups. Meditation techniques have
been incorporated into many modern psychotherapeutic systems (like Autogenic
Training of Schultz, Morita Therapy of Japan, and Zen Integration therapy).

4.Jnana Yoga
This is the yoga of the intellect. Some people think that each type of yoga is meant for
people with a certain type of temperament while some others like Aurobindo speak of
an integral yoga which combines all the four yogas as best. Still others think that there
is a gradation. Initial preparation and readiness are required for the practice of any
yoga, without which imbalances may develop. Karma yoga is for beginners and after
achieving a degree of purity one becomes ripe for Bhakthi yoga when devotion
spontanesously appears in the heart. Bhakthi yoga prepares one for practice of Raja
yoga and mind control. Finally the person reaches the stage where the existential
questions arise with force in his mind and he becomes a Jnana yogi. All intellectual
effort, in a broad sense is Jnana yoga. Broadly conceived, all scientists and
philosophers are Jnana yogis. Low living and high thinking go together and an austere
life is part of Jnana yoga. It is said that if a person is genuinely curious about anything,
that will in due course lead him to the same ultimate questions of existence the final
answer to which lies in a transformation of personality leading to an alteration in
consciousness. You can't know reality without becoming part of it.

The four stages of acquiring knowledge are sensory perception, testimony by

somebody, reasoning and the last is insight. Sensory and intellectual knowledge is
supposed to be indirect (Paroksha Jnana) while direct knowledge (Aparaoksha Jnana)
is intuitive. Apara Vidya is wordly knowledge while truth is apprehended through Para

The first step in Jana yoga is developing a real urge to ralise the truth, or asking the one
ultimate question: what is reality ? One has to discard wrong answers by reasoning -
Neti, Neti (not this, not this). Intellectual blocks have to be surmounted. In the language
of Advaitha, one has to experience Paramarthika reality, discarding Vyavaharika
(empirical) and Prathibhasika (illusory). Dwaitha is unreal and the result of Maya. Truth
is unitary; it is the Advaithic experience. The method is Sravana, Manana and
Nididhyasa i.e., hearing, thinking and fitting what one has understood to one's actual
experience. Finally one realises one's indentity with pure consciousness and the
perceiver, perception and object of perception merge into one supreme experience.

Buddhism is said to be the most 'scientific' religion. It does not speak of a God. There is
no soul, but only the continuation of experiences or karma or personality through
different incarnations. The ultimate reality is described as vacuum or 'Sunyata'. The four
noble truths are
1. Pain,
2. Cause of pain (passion and lust),
3. Annihilation of Pain (i.e., the possibility of ending pain or suffering),
4. The eight fold path leading to cessation of pain.
The eight fold path consists of right views, right intention, right speech, right conduct,
right livelihood, right effort (mental exercises), right mindfulness (of body, mind and
actions) and right meditation. The capacity for moral sense is inherited but it has to be
developed by pracitce.
Desirelessness is the key to nirvana and the path is moderation, not total indulgence or
complete self-denial. One has to become indifferent to pain and pleasure.
Buddhism does not emphasise the guru-sishya system. It encourages free enquiry.
Buddha told his disciples not to accept anything because he said it, but only if it
appeared rational. His last words were, "Do not seek refuge in anything external, be a
refuge unto yourself". One should not have any belief or preconception. But one should
pierce all preconceptions like a diamond needle (Vajracheda) to experience truth.
Theravada (thera=elders) follows the orignal teachings of Buddha, while Mahayana
sects admit innovations.
The Psychology of Zen
Zen is a variety of Buddhism which evolved in Japan from 6 th century A.D. The word
Zen is derived from Dhyan meaning meditation. A novice has to take a vow to save all
beings which induces the right motivation to realise truth. Zen practice involves different

1. Zazen:
This is sitting zen. One has to sit in the cross-legged posture and take a few deep
breaths. One may sway from side to side two or three times to become flexible and not
rigid. Then there are several options. Just sitting (which is a very difficult, but highly
valued practice), observing the body (cultivation body awareness by observing the
sensations from different parts of the body), Watching the mind (feelings and thoughts
which arise), watching the breath, counting the breath, etc.
2. Mobile Zen:

This is cultivating mindfulness. Learn to enter fully into every action, with maximum
awareness, and presence.

3. Koan Zen:

A koan is a riddle with no clear answer. No answer is expected. The attempt is to break
the tyranny of the intellect and the ego. Absorption and penetration into the koan leads
to a change in consciousness. Most koans are in the form of a question, some are in
action form. Some koans were asked by a Zen master at a certain point during a
conversation which helped the disciple who was ready for enlightenment, but was
having some block to get over the block and experience sudden enlightenment. Many
koans clear the egoistic feeling resulting from bookish erudition. When a certain disciple
was asking hair-splitting questions endlessly, a Zen master said, "Have you taken your
breakfast? ... Then wash you bowl." In a similar context another Zen master went on
pouring tea into a cup even after tea was overflowing. Some other well-known koans
are, "Use the spade in your empty hand", "Talk without using your tongue", "What is the
sound of one hand clapping?"

Every block is considered to be an opportunity for learning (gateless gate).

Other Zen practices include Concentration or contemplation (on various shapes,
qualities, chakras in the body,mandalas symmetric geometric forms), manthras, etc. For
tension release and getting rid of inhibitions, disciples are made to utter a calm cry
followed by vigorous shouting.
The results of Zen are flexibility, clarity, serenity, peace of mind, work-efficiency,
personality integration, self-control and self-realisation. Kensho is experiencing self-
transparency and the final enlightenment (satori) may come all on a sudden on
gradually. In the final stage the realised person sees perfection and significance in every
thing (suchness) and everything is seen as beautiful. He is self-sufficient and the only
thing which motivates him to act is compassion.
Jain philosophy also differentiates cognitive knowledge and intuitive understanding. The
path to realisation of the Jain system has three main steps: right faith, right knowledge
and right conduct (consisting of satya, astheya, ahimsa, aparigraha and brahmacharya.
While Buddhism emphasises moderation, Jainism emphasises meditation. Buddhism
advocates partial non-violence in the sense that even eating meat is permitted under
special circumstances.

Taoism is a religion which flourished in China. Tao means "Way" or" How". Tao cannot
be defined, because there is nothing to compare it with. It can be known by becoming
aware of what is happening through meditation. Tao does not behave, does nothing at
all, yet everything gets done. Tao applies to everything. All things and events are
vibratory, but Tao is not a vibratory event. Tao can be realised by becoming aware of
what is happening with an open mind. Tao has no opposites and polarities, Tao is One.
Tao is unity. Nothing comes before Tao, Nothing made Tao. Tao is the law of all things,
the common ground of all creation. Knowing Tao is not a learning process, but a
process of subtraction. The yin-yang figure illustrates the principle of oneness which
contains apparent dichotomies (ex. like & dislike, gain & loss).
Taoism is considered as one of the oldest religions of the world. Lao Tsu who lived in
6th century B.C. codified Taoism. The main guideline for living is to actualise the
principle of Wei Wu-Wei (Action Non-action) which means cultivating an attitude of
deterministic acceptance, detachment and transcendence.
Taoism considers intellect as a block and the path to enlightenment is a process of
subtraction and not learning. The Taoist way of life involves living in harmony with

Sufism is the mystic sect of Islam. It origninated in Persia and spread to all countries
having Muslims, including India. Mysticism in all religions share the same basic features
and Sufism is no exception. At the philosophical level, the dictum "Anal Haq" (meaning
the same as Aham Brahmasmi) expresses identification with pure consciousness. At the
emotional level Sufi mystics symbolise themselves as the bride and God as the lover
and dance and sing in ecstasy. In India some Sufis even wear female costumes on
ceremonial occasions. Sufi contribution to devotional poetry and music has been
considerable. Many Hindustani ragas and the Quawali type of singing originated in
Sufism. A large collection of Sufi teaching stories are available. The Sufi dance involves
very fast whirling movements. Like in many other religions, Sufi mystics were
considered heretics and subjected to persecution by orthodox Muslims. Many Sufi
mystics are credited with paranormal powers. One power sometimes supposedly
demonstrated is making wounds on one's own body which spontaneously heal quickly.