Indian Philosophy and Psychology · Uncategorized

Adi Shankacharya.


Adi shankaracharya was one of the most influential philosophers of India. He founded the Advaita Vedanta, one of the sub schools of Vedanta. He believed in the concept of the Vedas completely however also supported being against the rituals and religious practices. He thought that it was over exaggerated. He also started monastic order which is called as Dashanami and the Shanmata way of worship.

Adi shankaracharaya was born in a simple Brahmin family in the early 8th century A.D in Kaladi, Kerela. It is said that Shankaracharya’s mother Arambya had a vision where Lord Shiva told her that he would be reincarnated into the world as her first born. Early in his childhood, he showed a proclivity toward spiritual knowledge. During his schooling, he memorized the Puranas and Epics and gained mastery over the Vedas.

It is said that one day while having a bath, he was attacked by a crocodile. Though his mother saw the crocodile and wished to rescue him, she couldn’t. Seeing this, Shankaracharaya asker his mother’s permission to renounce the world and she agreed. However as soon as he recited the mantra, the crocodile left him alone. From that day onward, he began his life as an ascetic. Soon he met a man named Govinda Bhagvatpada, an accomplished spiritual man himself. Due to Shankaracharya’s strong knowledge of spirituality, Govinda agreed to be his spiritual teacher. Under his guidance, Shankaracharaya became an expert in different types of Yoga including Hatha,Raja and Jhana Yoga.

Adi Shankaracharya belaived in the philosophy of “non-dualism”. He stated that every individual has a divine existence and identity, which can be connacted to the absolute cosmic power. So, even if the bodies are numerous and diverse, the soul is one. When someone believes that the concept of life is finite, they are abandoning an entirely greater power and complex dimension of life and understanding. Thus, self-realization is the way to attain Moksha and be one with this absolute power.

Though he died young, he left an invaluable treasure of spiritual knowledge for future generations.


Indian Philosophy and Psychology · Uncategorized

Adavaita: The Indian Approach to mind-body Dualism.

Advaita Vedanta is a school of Hindu theory and religious practice, and one of the exemplary Indian ways to profound realization. The term Advaita alludes to its thought that the spirit (genuine Self, Atman) is the same as the supernatural Reality (Brahman). As indicated by the conviction, the devotees look for otherworldly freedom through obtaining vidyā (knowledge) of one’s actual way of life as Atman, and the identity of Atman and Brahman.

Advaita Vedanta is the oldest surviving sub-school of Vedanta,which is one of the six Hindu philosophy of insight. Despite the fact that its underlying foundations follow back to the first thousand years BCE, the most noticeable type of the Advaita Vedanta is considered to be eighth century researcher Adi Shankara.

Advaita Vedanta gives importance to Jivanmukti, the possibility that moksha (flexibility, freedom) is achievable in this life as opposed to Indian philosophies that underline Videhamukti, or moksha after death.The school utilizes terms, for example, Brahman, Atman, Maya, Avidya, contemplation and others that are found in real Indian religious traditions, yet translates them in its own specific manner for its hypotheses of moksha. Advaita Vedanta is one of the most studied classical Indian thoughts.

Consciousness in Advaita Vedanta.

According to this theory, the different categories of consciousness are classified as:

  • absolute consciousness (brahmacaitanya)
  • cosmic consciousness (īśvara-caitanya)
  • individual consciousness (jīva-caitanya)
  • indwelling consciousness (sāksi-caitanya).

However,the true nature of consciousness is by singular and non-dual. Advaita Vedanta says that other than than energy (prāna), there is another stratum of the universe called brahma-caitanya, which is even finer than energy. The strtum is further composed of satcitānanda:

  • absolute existence (sat)
  • pure consciousness (cit)
  • bliss (ānanda).

The question that arises in our mind is that just how did absolute consciousness (unchanging and stationary) become this world of multiplicity and change?

Shankaracharya introduced an answer for this mystery with his hypothesis of superimposition. From the definitive point of view, absolute consciousness did not turn into this world; it just seems to have done as such. Shankara gave the great case of the snake and the rope:

We see a snake on the road at night, but as we approach the snake and flash a torch on it, we realize that it is actually a rope.


In the previously mentioned illustration, the snake is our universe and it is a superimposition on the rope which is Brahmin(absolute consciousness).

There is no more causal relationship between this world-appearance and Brahman than there is between the snake and the rope. However, the universe has no existence apart from Brahman, just as the snake has no existence apart from the rope. Since it is possible for a rope to be mistaken for a snake, it is also possible for something to apparently exist without being real.

Advaita Vedanta states that the world both exists and does not exist. By the ‘does not exist’, it is not supposed that the world is an illusion without a basis or a shadow without substance.It means that the world as it appears to us is unreal because this world-appearance has no absolute existence. This superimposition is due to Maya. Maya is often compared to a veil, a cloud, or a screen.

Comparison between Mind and Consciousness in Western Psychology and Advaita Vedanta.

The most significant difference between western and eastern psychology is that the eastern psychology differentiates the mind from consciousness and western psychology does not.

In fact western psychology understands mind in terms of consciousness, i.e. the consciousness is a component of the mind. In this case, consciousness and mind are equal in our ordinary experience but not in the absolute consciousness. When we talk about ‘mind’ in Vedanta, we refer to what is later explained as the ‘inner instrument’ (Antahkarana) as different from the ‘outer instruments’ (Bahyakarana).

The term Mind bears a narrower as well as a wider meaning in the sāstras. Thus in the saying ‘from where speech together with mind (Manas) withdraws failing to reach’ (referring to Brahman) the word Manas (mind) is evidently used for the whole ‘Inner Instrument’. In strictly philosophical literature however, the term Manas is almost always used in a defined sense so that it cannot be translated into ‘Mind’ as understood by Western psychologists. It is only then one function of the inner instrument. Indian ‘Mind’ is distinguished from Western Mind in this that the former as such is not Consciousness but a material force enveloping Consciousness, the two in association producing the Consciousness-unconsciousness of Western Mind. Pure Consciousness (Cit) is not an attribute of Mind. It is beyond Mind being independent of it. It is immanent in Mind and is the source of its illumination and apparent Consciousness.

According to the Vedanta … Cit is pure consciousness Itself. Mind is a real or apparent negation or limitation or determination of that. Mind in fact, in itself, that is considered as apart from Cit (from which in fact it is never separate) is an unconscious force which in varying degree obscures and limits consciousness, such limitation being the condition of all finite experience. Cit is thus Consciousness.


The History And Development Of Clinical Psychology · Uncategorized

Clinical Psychology and Functionalism

The Functionalist school of thought, based in the USA, was practically the opposite of Structuralism. Its aims were never clearly defined, it did not have one specific leader or founder and had an eclectic methodology. However, all functionalists believed that an understanding of the functions of the mind was more important than a description of its components. The functionalist school was heavily influenced by Darwinism and can be said to to founded on the theories of William James (1842-1910).

While James’ theories and philosophies laid the foundation for Functionalism and influenced all succeeding functionalists, he never promoted himself as the founder of the school. However, it was his philosophy of Pragmatism according to which, any thought, belief or behaviour must be judged by its consequences, that encouraged the study of animals, children and individuals with mental illnesses as well as the use of any method that would further it. The functionalists believed that psychology was a practical science rather than a pure science as that was where its utility lay. The functionalist school encouraged the study of applied psychology which was what led to the development of psychology as the multifaceted discipline that it is today.

According to Functionalism, psychology was the study of how consciousness helps an organism adapt to its environment. It is this view that forms the basis of Clinical Psychology today, where abnormality is seen as primarily what prevents an individual from functioning normally, that is, adapting efficiently to their environment.

However, to study abnormality from a solely functionalist perspective would be very conservative and not inclusive of alternative, non-traditional behaviour. The functionalist school with its wide scope ranging beyond the individual mind or consciousness to behaviour which is what gave Functionalism a societal focus. This led to definitions of normative behaviour based on the societal norms of the time, which had a huge influence on the diagnosis and classification of mental disorders.


Hergenhahn, BR & Henley,TB (2009), An introduction to the history of psychology

Wenzel, A (2017), The SAGE encyclopedia of abnormal and clinical psychology

Major Psychological Schools of Thought. Retrieved from

The History And Development Of Clinical Psychology · Uncategorized

Clinical Psychology and Voluntarism

Voluntarism was a school of psychological thought founded by the German psychologist Wilhem Wundt (1832-1920) who is also credited with establishing the first laboratory for psychological experimentation and founding psychology as an independent discipline. Wundt is often included in Structuralist school of thought in which the most prominent figure was his student Edward B Titchener. However, Wundt’s theories and idea of psychology as a discipline were actually quite different from Titchener’s interpretation of them which makes this system of classification rather problematic/faulty.

According to Wundt, the goal of psychology was to understand simple and complex conscious phenomena. He aimed to do this by discovering the basic elements of thought through his method of experimental introspection and the laws by which mental elements combine to form complex mental experiences. His emphasis on volition in the thought processes of human beings, apparent in his concept of apperception according to which individuals have the ability to focus their attention wherever they wish, is why this school of thought is known as Voluntarism.

Wundt is widely believed to be as rigid as Titchener in his beliefs about what psychology is and that he also viewed the mind as static entity, but Wundt actually saw the mind as active, creative, dynamic and volitional which is how he came up with the concept of apperception.  Wundt believed that the apperceptive process was vital for normal mental functioning, that skewed perception resulting from faulty apperception was related to mental illnesses. He speculated that if an individual lost their ability to apperceive normally their thoughts would be disorganized and scattered and would appear meaningless as in the case of schizophrenia.

Wundt’s student Emil Kraepelin, known as the founder of modern scientific psychiatry, expanded the theory that schizophrenia was a breakdown of attentional processes. He theorized that a defect in the “central control process” caused a reduced ability to pay attention or extremes in focusing one’s attention, either of which would result in a severe mental illness. Kraepelin saw attention as skewed in the mind of a person with schizophrenia and theorized that schizophrenia was a result of disintegration of attention. Both Kraepelin and Wundt, as trained physicians, recognized that schizophrenia and many other mental illnesses had a biological basis.

While most of Wundt’s and Voluntarism’s approaches and concepts are studied today only for their historical importance, some things still remain relevant. In clinical psychology, personality tests such as Rorschach’s Inkblot test and the Thematic Apperception Test are based on the concept of apperception.


Hergenhahn, BR & Henley,TB (2009), An introduction to the history of psychology

Ebert,A & Bar,K (2010), Emil Kraepelin: A pioneer of scientific understanding of psychiatry and psychopharmacology

Wundt’s Psychological Model. Retrieved from

Wundt, Wilhem Max. Retrieved from

A-Freud World · Uncategorized



Psychodynamics is an approach to psychology where the emphasis lays on the systematic study of the psychological forces that underlie human behaviour, emotions and feelings and how they might relate to early experience. This approach includes all the theories that see human functioning based upon the interaction of drives and forces within the individual, particularly unconscious, and between the different structures of personality.  Freud’s idea of psychodynamics classifies the personality into three parts:

  1. ID- The pleasure principle
  2. EGO- The reality principle
  3. SUPEREGO- The morality principle

He discusses how the interaction between these parts causes conflicts and affects the human behaviour. His concept of the conscious, sub-conscious and unconscious defines the structure of the mind. According to him, id is a part of your unconscious and ego and superego belong to the conscious.

However, other than Freudian theories there are other theorists who have contributed to psychodynamics as a framework of knowledge. Since a lot of us already have a slight idea about Freud’s contributions, let’s take a look at Carl Jung. Carl Jung was a Swiss psychiatrist and psychoanalyst who founded analytical psychology. He was an early supporter of Freud because of their common interest in the unconscious.

His contributions have varied from Archetypes to Shadow to Collective Unconscious. His ideas have, more often than not, clashed with those of Freud himself. By far the most important difference between Jung and Freud is Jung’s idea of the collective unconscious. This is his most original and controversial contribution to personality theory. This is a level of unconscious shared with other members of the human species comprising latent memories from our ancestral and evolutionary past. ‘The form of the world into which [a person] is born is already inborn in him, as a virtual image’ (Jung, 1953, p. 188).

The concept of Archetypes arose from this one was his most major contributions. It refers to unclear underlying forms or the archetypes-as-such from which emerge images and motifs such as the mother, the child, the trickster, and the flood among others. History, culture and personal context shape these manifest representations thereby giving them their specific content. Carl’s thoughts on the theory of libido also clashed with that of Freud’s. While Freud explained libido as the sexual energy, Carl said that it wasn’t just sexual energy but rather generalised it as psychic energy. This energy motivated the individual in a number of ways like creatively, spiritually and intellectually.

The principles of psychodynamics capture a lot more other theories that conflict each other but discuss the personality theories and structure of the mind. Despite this, psychodynamic theory has been criticised to be unscientific in its analysis of human behaviour. Many of the concepts central to Freud’s theories are subjective, and as such, difficult to test scientifically.


~ Kshitija Amar Yerolkar (1733250) & Ritika Agarwal (1733271)

Indian Philosophy and Psychology · Uncategorized

Perception and Indian Psychology

There is an old saying which manages the diverse recognition that emerge from certifiable and freethinker ways to deal with reality. It says—and one can quickly perceive how close some old Indian scholars came to postmodern constructivism—that is not just the name we provide for an affair, however even the experience itself is dictated by our ‘set’.The Taittirīya Upaniṣad (2.6.1), for instance, says, asann eva sa bhavati, asad brahmeti veda cet, asti brahmeti ced veda, santam enaṁ tato viduḥ, meaning, ‘whoever envisages it as existence becomes (or realizes) it as existence, and whoever envisages it as non-being becomes (or realizes) that non-existence’. It might be noticed that in the Indian convention such contrasts are not ascribed just to the diverse social preparing; they are credited principally to the distinctive sort, level and nature of the interior condition of the eyewitness. The social structures and mental states of mind supporting profound interests in India are substantially nearer to those of European science than to those of European religion. Indeed, even Śaṅkara—who apparently comes nearest to what in the Christian convention would have been known as a congregation father, given his part in establishing focuses of religious specialist and power—at last puts individual experience (anubhava) above custom. In his Bhagavad Gītā Bhāṣya he says, (18, 66), ‘Even a hundred scriptural sections won’t wind up plainly legitimate when they, for example, report that fire is cool or dim’ (Rao, 1979, p. 65). The techniques for yoga and meditation are these days fundamentally took a gander at soteriologically, that is, as methods for salvation, as ways to touch base at samādhi or nirvāṇa—in any event on the off chance that they are not seen as a way to land at physical well being and the survival of a corporate way of life. In the way of life of birthplace, be that as it may, they are a piece of a lucid information framework and they are obviously taken a gander at as an approach to touch base at solid learning.This is most certain on account of jñānayoga (the yoga of information); however one can without much of a stretch perceive components of the quest for truth even in karma-and bhaktiyoga (the ways of works and dedication), which additionally, in their own particular manner, have strategies to diminish the twists of discernment and influence that are a piece of the normal human awareness.