India World Re-discovering Indian psychology - Hindustan Times Maria Wirth, Lifepositive, Press Trust Of India First Published: 3/1/2007
Indian psychology has been invisible as a subject in Indian academia. But exist it does, preserved in ancient texts and scriptures. At a recent conference, professors and students of psychology dwelt on this 'sophisticated, rich and practical' body of India's wisdom that concerns the human being and the enormous potential he carries.
When two German magazines, Yoga Aktuell and Advaita Journal, expressed interest in a report on a conference on Indian psychology, I was convinced of the demand for the subject in the West. Off I went to Pondicherry, a state in southern India, to attend the conference on 'Yoga and Indian Approaches to Psychology' a month ago.
Pondicherry was home to Sri Aurobindo and the Mother who left behind a huge body of work on yoga and psychology. He had stated: "Yoga is nothing but practical psychology." Sri Aurobindo's vision of an impending change in the consciousness of humankind prompted the Indian Academy of Applied Psychology to ask Dr Matthijs Cornelissen from the Netherlands to organise this conference.
He has lived in the ashram for almost 30 years and values the Indian tradition. During his lectures on Sri Aurobindo's vision of psychology in America and Europe, he noticed that there is a big demand for teachers of Indian psychology in the West. The many conference sponsors included the Indian Council of Philosophical Research and the Infinity Foundation of USA.
It drew 160 delegates from different universities and institutes from India and abroad, and over 80 papers were presented. In his keynote address, Prof Ramakrishna Rao, president of the Institute of Human Science in Vishakapatnam (India) and former vice-chancellor of Andhra University, said: "Isn't it ironical that there is no Indian psychology in any of our great universities?"