Preface – Foundations of Indian Psychology, Volume 1


Karan Singh

Apart from its other achievements, the ancient Indian civilization undertook the most profound examination of the human mind that has ever been attempted anywhere. The entire process of yoga, particularly the system based on Patanjali's Yogasutras, developed a methodology for ‘stilling the modifications of the mind’. The Bhagavad Gita also contains specific instructions for stilling the mind, and thereby accessing the deeper reaches of our psyche. Indian psychology therefore has a firm base and a profound underlying philosophy.

Due largely to centuries of Western domination, we have tended to be unduly influenced by the West, even in the area of psychology. This is not in any way to denigrate the great breakthroughs of Western psychology, particularly those of Sigmund Freud and C. G. Jung. Indeed, post-Jungian psychology, especially Transpersonal Psychology, which has developed in recent years in California and around the world, are welcome efforts to delve deeper into the mysteries of the mind. What is really needed is a creative fusion between the Indian psychological traditions and the newer Western methodologies.

As they do in so many other areas, Sri Aurobindo's writings throw a flood of light upon various elements connected with the quest for the inner light. He has used Vedic symbolism to postulate a highly original interpretation, which places Indian psychology at the heart of the entire study. It is important that Indian insights become part of mainstream psychology around the world, and not be treated merely as an esoteric phenomenon.

The editors of Foundations of Indian psychology deserve warm commendations for having brought together a broad and rich spectrum of articles dealing with various aspects of psychology, including social, psychological, educational, health and emotional dimensions. This book represents a valuable contribution to world psychological studies and will be of great value to students of psychology around the world. Recent research on the brain and the mind-brain relationship has thrown fascinating light upon how the human mind functions. Indian psychology, of course, goes beyond the mind into what we would call the spiritual centre of our being. The co-relation of these various elements and dimensions represent a fascinating field for study.

Living as we are in an age of great stress and tension, the psychological aspects of human welfare and individual happiness can no longer be neglected. I take great pleasure in recommending this book not only to professional psychologists, but also to the general reader interested in delving deeper into the marvels and mysteries of the human mind.