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Yoga Psychology by Haridas Chaudhuri

In the book Transpersonal Psychologies, edited by Charles T. Tart, Haridas Chaudhury has written one of the parts, "Yoga Psychology", where he draws on old yoga-linked teachings from Hindu philosophy systems, the Yoga Sutras, and in part Aurobindo.

"Who comments, invents (Quien comenta, inventa)", the Spanish say. You may see that even though Chaudhury calls his comments and uses of sources psychology, it is a blend of tenets that otherwise may go for faith-lore, parts of religion, where solid evidence that confirms the teachings, is very often missing. For all that, tenets may still be used as working hypotheses.

1. A mature spiritual guide is not just the guru who adheres to specific social customs, reveals great wisdom and and abundance of joy

A mature spiritual guide: His main job is to help the disciple to discover the divine guru within . . . (Cf. Chaudhuri 254).

In early childhood, a process of sociocultural conditioning is necessary to produce some healthy habits . . . proper social customs. (Chaudhuri 253).

Psychology, mind and body are not heterogeneous but homogeneous . . . But on closer scrutiny it should be evident that this analogy is misleading. (Chaudhuri 256).

When the light of true Self-realization shines in the soul . . . many culturally conditioned motivations may be reduced. (With 251).

Inauthentic mystic experiences: Regression to the oceanic feeling of the infant; (2) Regresson to the primitive's "participation mystique"; (3) The false feeling of omnipotence . . . and ego inflation . . . [and partially due to] triggered . . . kundalini-awakening. (Chaudhuri 261n).

2. A guru that is empty of pleasure (or no fun to be with) can still be OK within

Man is [a modified] embodiment of the time-spirit. (Chaudhuri 247). ;

The need for individuation asserts itself (Chaudhuri 260).

3. Maya does not mean illusion to the free self, and besides, what can be taught is of maya, and can be graded

There is a huge amount of misunderstanding in this country about the doctrine of maya. It does not mean illusion . . . maya means the world of impermanence and relativity. It has pragmatic validity (Chaudhuri 249n).

[T]here is a controversy among different schools of yoga psychology regarding the precise nature of the ultimate self. (Chaudhuri 244).

Coextensive with human reality, consciousness also is the central unifying principle of all healthy human life (Chaudhuri 250).

The power drive . . . might be called self-assertive (rajasic). (Chaudhuri 250). ✪ 

A fully liberated person may also be motivated by what has been called the lila motivation of divine play . . . , onto aesthetic motivation. (Chaudhuri 252).


Maturity can be graded, and progress of disciples is also graded.


It is hard to progress beyond one's shadow.

In Jungian psychology, the "shadow", "id", or "shadow aspect/archetype" may refer to everything in one's unconscious gamut, including feelings one is not clearly aware of. So one's shadow is the unknown side.

The Jungian shadow can include everything outside the light of consciousness and may be positive or negative. It may include primitive instincts that usually are superseded during early childhood by the conscious mind.

From one perspective, "the shadow . . . is roughly equivalent to the whole of the Freudian unconscious".

Carolyn Kaufman considers that "in spite of its function as a reservoir for human darkness - or perhaps because of this - the shadow is the seat of creativity". Hence, to some the shadow "represents the true spirit of life as against the arid scholar".

(WP, "Shadow [psychology])

Psychedelic drugs are not recommended.

Many yogic teachers - especially those who serve society in responsible leadership positions, have warned against the use of psychedelic drugs . . . Maharishi - desist[ed] from recommending drugs - Shankara - never recommended drugs. (Chaudhuri 270; cf. 269).

No drug . . . can produce the highest form of transempirical Being-cognition experience - nirvana. (Chaudhuri 266-67; 265; 271).

There is ample room for gradual self-unfoldment too in the search for self-realization. (Cf. Chaudhuri 272).

Patanjali's Raja Yoga emphasises pratyáhara [inward-turning of the awareness], dhárana [focus], dhyána [sustained focus of deep meditation], samádhi ["prolonged meditation, steaded meditation, deepening meditation"]. (cf. Chaudhuri 275).

TIPS. How to pronounce yoga words and other Sanskrit words? One approximation: "Emphasise the third to last syllable of a word." It may mean: Try and put the stress on the third last syllable (and possible last syllable too) if there are three or more syllables in the word; on the second last syllable if there are two syllables in the word. Thus: Dhárana, Sádhana, Ramáyana, Árjuna.

Some words have the stress on the second last syllable. Hence: Dhyána, Samádhi. Further, words ending with -anda have the stress on the second last syllable, since the Sanskrit nd-sound is handled as a syllable. Thus: - ánda. [More]

Yoga psychology, Haridas Chaudhury, Literature  

Chaudhury, Haridas, "Yoga and Psychology", in Charles Tart, ed. Transpersonal Psychologies. New York: Harper Colophon, 1977.

Chidananda, Swami. The Philosophy, Psychology and Practice of Yoga. WWW ed- Shivanandanagar: The Divine Life Society, 1999.

Cortright, Brant. Integral Psychology: Yoga, Growth, and Opening the Heart. Albany, NY: State University of New York Press, 2007. ⍽▢⍽ Professor Cortright's book is based on Sri Aurobindo's complex Integral understanding of yoga and much else. He explains how Aurobindo's thinking can be related to psychotherapeutic theory and practice, and in so doing connects Eastern and Western approaches to psychology, and discusses how jnana, karma, and bhakti yoga can be applied in Western psychotherapies. A larger perspective may result from digesting the book.

Coward, Harold. Yoga and Psychology: Language, Memory, and Mysticism. Albany, NY: State University of New York Press, 2002. ⍽▢⍽ According to large parts of Western thought, human nature is psychologically, philosophically, and spiritually limited - even flawed, while Patanjali's Yoga and Eastern thought generally maintains the opposite. Professor Coward offers a studied analysis of how two main forms of psychology reflect "the psychology" of yoga.

McDermott, Robert A., ed. The Essential Aurobindo: Writings of Sri Aurobindo. Great Barrington, MA: Lindisfarne Books, 2001. ⍽▢⍽ According to Aurobindo, there must be a further, conscious evolution.

Symbols, brackets, signs and text icons explained: (1) Text markers(2) Digesting.

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