Interactive Session on Integral Psychology

Start Date: 07-Feb-2024
Location: Society House
End Date: 07-Feb-2024
Institute: AuroBharati

“It is true that the subliminal in man is the largest part of his nature and has in it the secret of the unseeen dynamisms which explain his surface activities. But the lower vital subconscious which is all that this psycho-analysis of Freud seems to know, – and of that it knows only a few ill-lit corners, – is no more than a restricted and very inferior portion of the subliminal whole… to begin by opening up the lower subconscious, risking to raise up all that is foul or obscure in it, is to go out of one’s way to invite trouble.”

― Sri Aurobindo, Integral Yoga: Teaching and Method of Practice

As part of the International Cultural Relations project, Aurobharati, Sri Aurobindo Society, organized an interactive session titled ‘Integral Psychology: An introduction’ in collaboration with Pondicherry University under their Study in India Exposure program organized by PDEU on 07/02/2024. The session was attended by graduate students from Edith Cowan University (Australia) majoring in psychology, and also doctorate students from Pondicherry University and was focused on building an understanding and knowledge of what Indian/Integral psychology is; though originating in India, how it has a universal application and how it goes beyond the limited understanding of the word ‘yoga’ for the students from Australia.

The programme began with introductory remarks by Dr. Kishor Kumar Tripathy, Member Secretary, Aurobharati, Sri Aurobindo Society. He briefed about the ‘International Cultural Relations’ project, which was started to explore the cultural relations between India and other countries based on research, publication, interaction, collaboration and cultural exchange programs. He said that Sri Aurobindo has also given special emphasis on international understanding including ‘international spirit and outlook,’ ‘international forms and institutions,’ ‘willed interchange or voluntary fusion of cultures’ and ‘development of world Unity.’ Speaking on the occasion, Dr. Tripathy said that the study of psychology has been a fascinating subject in Indian perspectives through the ages. He emphasized on the significant aspects of Integral Psychology with the message of Sri Aurobindo “Psychology leads from the study of mind and the soul in living beings to the perception of the one soul and one mind in all things and beings.”

The introduction and welcome were followed by the session by Ms. Divya Bablani, consultant (Research & Academics), Aurobharati, Sri Aurobindo Society, Puducherry. The session began with a brief overview of the history of psychology and how the definition of psychology has shifted from the ‘study of the soul’ to relatively narrower conceptions owing to a lack of appropriate methodology to study rigorously the deeper inner parts of the being and a wish to make psychology ‘scientific’. Sri Aurobindo’s definition of psychology as the science of Consciousness was discussed. A comparison was drawn between the Western and Eastern approaches to the understanding of self and reality. The focus of Western psychology on behavior and subjective experience and eventually a building of healthy ego was discussed. The longstanding focus of traditional Indian approaches on ‘Self’ and the soul to the exclusion of material, phenomenal existence was also brought to light, and finally the ‘greater psychology’ of Sri Aurobindo with its rich and comprehensive synthesis of East and West culminating in his famous quote ‘Ego was the helper; ego is the bar’ was taken up. The need to go within and find one’s true self, and to infuse its light into all the works of life while living one’s life in the world was highlighted.

The session was concluded with a sharing and question/answer session which added richness and depth to the session. Mrs. Charu Tripathy, Associate Director, AuroBharati, Sri Aurobindo Society offered a vote of thanks on the occasion and emphasized on Research, Publication, Institutional networking, and outreach programs on Psychology.

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