The Book/Conference on Indic Contributions to
Psychology, Spirituality and the Emerging Worldview
Proposed Book / Conference
Indic Influences on Consciousness and the Emerging Worldview
The plan is to first have invitees/contributors send us their writings. Then they will attend a world conference after attendees have a chance to read each other’s writings. A book will then be published. The names of potential speakers/writers are tentative at this stage, as only some of them have been approached. Where multiple names are listed, one or more will represent that topic or a similar one. An e-group discussion is under way among those interested in any of these topics, to help fine tune this plan; this list of topics / authors will change in some cases.
Preface: The Coming Second Renaissance.
Editor’s Introduction: Consciousness and the Post-post Modern Era: Five Waves of Indic Thought Enter the West
A: Indic Influence in Modern Intellectual Development
Overview of Part A
- The Transcendentalists and American Literature: Whitman, Emerson, Thoreau, Eliot, Isherwood, Huxley, Yeats, Kerouac, diPrima, Ginsburg, etc.
- India and the Existentialists: Feuerbach, Schopenhauer, Nietzsche, Heidegger.
- Whitehead and Buddhism.
- Meaning in Indic and Western Philosophy: Wittgenstein, Quine, etc.
- Schrodinger, Bohm and Vedanta.
B: The First Wave: Early Western Psychological Theorists
Overview of Part B
- Jung and Indic Traditions.
- Indic Influences in William James, Josiah Royce, Charles Peirce.
- Understandings and Misunderstandings of Indic Thought in Psychoanalysis: Freud and His Legacy: Horney, Kohut, Lacan, Kernberg, Erich Fromm, and Others.
- Patanjali and Parapsychology.
- Tagore’s influence on Western thought
C: The Second Wave: Transpersonal Psychology
Overview of Part C
- Indic Sources for Humanistic/Transpersonal Psychology.
- Patanjali & Psychosynthesis.
- Bohm’s Dialog Method, Organizational Psychology & Krishnamurti.
- Existentialism, Buddhism and Transpersonal Psychotherapy.
- Ken Wilber, Sri Aurobindo, and Integralism.
- Cognitive, Buddhist, and Vedanta Psychologies.
D: The Third Wave: Yogic Science in Contemporary Healing.
Overview of Part D
- Further Appreciation of Meditation.
a. Applied Meditation: Indic Origins of “Relaxation Response”,
‘Emotional Intelligence’ & TM .
b. From Vipassana to “Mindfulness Meditation”.
c. Theravadin & Yogacara Consciousness Theories and Psychotherapy.
d. Dream Yoga: Lucid Dreams and Biofeedback.
- Further Appreciation of Yoga, the Spiritual Body, and Healing.
a. Yoga in the West and its influence on psychology.
b. Ayurveda and energy medicine.
c. Kundalini, Prana, Kashmir Shaivism as the roots of ‘energy medicine’.
d. Muktananda and Stan Grof’s holotropic breathwork / Reichian context.
e. Yoga, Tantra & the modern theories of biology of Sheldrake, Dawkins.
f. Vedanta and yoga-psychology.
E: The Fourth Wave: Spiritualizing the Post-Postmodern World
Overview of Part E
- Indic Influence on the Goddess and Divine Feminine in the West.
- Impact of Samkhya, Tantra, Jaina ontologies on environmental deep ecology & eco-feminism.
- Morality of Yogic Prison Reform.
- Indic influences on Teilhard de Chardin.
- Father Bede Griffith’s as Vedantin, Brother Keating and Christian Centering Prayer.
- Theosophy and its reactive offshoots of Rudolph Steiner, Christian Science, …
F: Future Assimilation of the “Fifth Wave” of Indic Inner Science.
Overview of Part F
- Re-assessing India’s Position in World Civilization.
- Sri Aurobindo’s futurist vision.
- Treatment of Emotions in Yoga.
- Bhartrhari’s Epistemology and Consciousness.
- Devas/devis and cognitive psychology of the vedas.
- Indic ideas as futurist “Positive Psychology”.
- Indic Mind — Western Mind in the Post-postmodern World.
Comments and Approach:
Apart from the writings of a few modern Indians such as Sri Aurobindo and Ramana Maharishi, most Indic material is quite inaccessible to the overwhelming majority of Western consciousness scientists, psychologists, and spiritualists, since they are not familiar with Sanskrit and must rely upon second to fourth hand information that has passed through numerous interpretations and distortions. How many of them have studied, for instance, Udyana’s Atmatattvaviveka, Parthasarathi Misra’s Sastradipika, Gangesa’s Tattvacintamani, Citsukha’s Tattvapradipika? And yet these are a few of the great texts of the Indic tradition on the nature of self and consciousness.
Also, thinking of Indic material as merely psychology narrows its application to a wider range of subjects. Yoga is inseparable from Indian epistemology, and yet most Indian philosophers today are mainly theoreticians, while the practitioners of yoga have often adopted the anti-intellectual posture. On the other hand, religious studies scholars, while knowledgeable in Sanskrit, are ill equipped in psychology and philosophy, and have focused mainly on social, anthropological and ritualistic analyses.
Even the psychologists challenging the Western misappropriations are themselves seldom studying the texts properly. (Compare this situation with a hypothetical one where Bob Thurman attempts to draw out the incorrect or unacknowledged use of Tibetan meditation in Western material. He would write with direct knowledge of technical textual material – of course others may challenge him, but that is merely academic inevitability.) What many Westerners thought they harvested from Indic sources was much confused to them; and much more remains in those sources yet to be discovered.
Unfortunately, the Western psychologists in their ‘scientific’ study of yoga/meditation, both experimentally and in model building, have often (mis)appropriated by using new jargon that confuses and pretends originality. The ‘world negating’ portrayal of India’s civilization is used to justify this plagiarism, under the excuse that the ‘positive’ and ‘scientifically rational’ approach of the West would make Indian ‘wisdom’ more valid.
Many proposed authors for this work have expressed interest to analyze Indic influences in one or a combination of the following approaches:
- Present the acknowledged Indic aspects of the Western scholars’ ideas. This is worthwhile as a historiographic task, presenting the material to a wider audience.
- Identify unacknowledged Indic elements in Western writing. Explain how certain writers actually made use of Indic ideas, but they or their followers covered this up.
- Show where the ideas of Westerners have been derived from Indic sources. This derivation / extension claim as in the case of Wilber could be acknowledged by the author, or positioned as accidental and even the result of ‘synchronicity’.
- Show how Indic thought directly addresses questions that have arisen independently in the Western discipline of psychology. Since the Indic texts yield clear ideas and prescriptions, their very age establishes their originality. A major achievement would be to bring Indic riches to contemporary global discourse, and undercut hegemonic claims.
- Do a collaborative venture between those who understand the psychology and cross-cultural dynamics, and those who can actually retrieve the Indic sources because of their classical training. Spot where Indic material appears to have been used, and get scholars within the Indic traditions to work with psychologists so as to demonstrate their originality and worth.