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The term Indian Psychology refers to the Psychologically relevant materials in

ancient Indian thought. Usually this term does not cover modern developments in
Psychology in India.

Modern Psychology at the beginning of the century emphasized sensation,

perception and psychologists in India took out Indian theories of sensation and
perception from the classics and created an Indian Psychology. For example Indian
theories emphasise the notion that in perception the mind goes out through the
senses and assumes the shape of the objects. In 1934, Jadunath Sinha wrote a book
on Indian theories of perception. As soon as Western Psychologists started
studying cognition, Indian Psychologists started looking for Indian theories of
cognition. In 1958, Jadunath Sinha wrote a book on Cognition. Later on modern
Psychology started emphasising emotions, and in 1981, Jadunath Sinha wrote a
book on Emotions and the Will.

The major part of ancient Indian scriptures (Hindu, Buddhist and Jain) emphasise
self-realization, samadhi or nirvana. After 1960 Humanistic Psychology emerged and
Psychologists became interested in paranormal dimensions of growth. Maslow's
theory of self-actualization and transcendental self-actualization established the link
to the major part of ancient Indian theories and methods and almost the whole of
ancient Indian writings became psychologically relevant. Psychology of
Consciousness, Parapsychology, Psychology of Mysticism, Psychology of Religion
and Transpersonal Psychology borrow extensively from Indian writings. The
terms Oriental Psychology, Buddhist Psychology, Yoga Psychology , Jain
Psychology, etc. are frequently found in modern psychological literature now. Many
book lists in Psychology now include books on Yoga, Buddhism and Zen. There
seems to be a paradigm shift in Western Psychology, a shift from the notion of
mental disease and healing to personal growth, the reference point shifting from the
statistical average or "normal" to the ideal or upper limits of man's potentiality.

The rudiments of the theory of consciousness can be traced back to the Indus valley
civilization (6000 to 1500 B.C.). Artifacts of a man sitting in Padmasana have been
obtained in excavations. The Swasthika symbol was used in Indus valley script.
Buddhist thought and methods (6th century B.C.) are in line with the objective spirit
of modern science and the law of parsimony of science and Buddhism can be easily
incorporated into a scientific framework. The Psychological relevance of the four
noble truths and eight-fold path and Sunya vada of
Buddhism and Buddhist techniques of meditation are of considerable relevance in
modern Psychology. Similarly Jain scriptures also are found to be relevant to
Psychology in more than one way. The Vedas date from about 1500 B.C.
However, Upanishads (appendices to the Vedas, which date from 600 B.C.) which
describe the Vedanta philosophy and provide the theoretical foundation of Jnana
Yoga are of more direct relevance to Psychology. The Bhagavat Gita gives a
quintessence of Indian way of life and philosophy and it describes the
four yogas, Karma, Bhakthi, Raja and Jnana. Several books have come on the
psychological relevance of Gita. Maslow's theory of Meta-motivation is very similar to
the concept of Nishkama karma outlined in the Gita.

Patanjali's Ashtanga Yoga is a very systematic presentation of Raja yoga.

Both Bhagavat Gita and Ashtanga Yoga are supposed to have been written around
the turn of B.C. to A.D. Sankara's writings (8th century A.D.) on the different yogas as
well as his Advaita philosophy are considered as classics in the area and are of great
value to the Psychology of consciousness as well as personal growth. Modern
interest in relaxation can be traced to studies on Savasana. Rising popularity of
meditation practice links Psychology to Oriental religious practices and philosophy.

Indian literature on aspects of consciousness is vast, considering the classics and

their commentaries. Mental states have been analyzed, classified and differentiated in
detail. Similarly paranormal powers (siddhis) have been classified in detail. The
process of personal growth and obstacles to growth have been examined thoroughly.
There is a great deal of maturity resulting from long experience in these areas
reflected in the writings. Indian theories of linguistics, social behavior, crime, etc. are
all based on the holistic approach and the broad-based intuitive understanding of
behavior in contradistinction to Western theories which are piece-meal, analytic and
situation specific. The increasing importance given to the holistic approach and need
for synthesis makes it possible to integrate modern Western Psychology with ancient
Indian thoughts as well as methods.

The psychosomatic relationship was well known and salient in ancient times. The
very first invocatory stanza of Ashtangahridaya (the main text in Ayurveda, written in
4th century A.D.) describes how emotions like desires lead to both physical and
mental diseases.

Many attempts are being made to integrate ancient Indian Psychology with modern
Western Psychology. More than 40 books have appeared in the field of Indian
Psychology. There is a journal of Indian Psychology published from Andhra
University which has an Institute of Yoga and Consciousness. At least five persons
have developed personality inventories based on the Triguna theory (Satwa, Rajas
and Tamas) of Kapila (Sankhya philosophy, 6th century B.C.)
A Short History of Western Psychology
Ajan Raghunathan

The roots of western psychology can be traced to Greek philosophy. The word
psychology itself is derived from the Greek words ‘psyche’ which means soul and
‘logos’ which means study. Psychology thus started as a part of philosophy and
became an independent discipline much later.

Plato and Aristotle where among the first philosophers who thought about the
mind. Plato believed that body and mind are two separate entities and mind could
exist even after death. But he was positive in that education can bring change to the
basic nature of the mind. Aristotle, who was the disciple of Plato, followed the feet of
his teacher and believed in the body-mind duality. But he thought that of each of
these is the manifestation of the other. He, but, was pessimistic about the role of
education in changing the fundamental nature of humans.

Rene Descartes, the French philosopher and mathematician, who originated the
Cartesian system of coordinates or the coordinate geometry, also believed in
the body-mind duality. But he was open enough to consider that there is an
uninterrupted transaction between the body and the mind.

In the eighteenth century AD, John Locke, a British national, proposed that
knowledge depends upon the experience based on the sense organ and that thinking
is not innate. He also considered that the mind of a newly-born child is like a clean-
slate on which anything can be written. Locke believed that knowledge occurs only
when the sense organs interact with the outer world.

These two ideas – the body-mind duality and the ‘clean-slate’ mind - have been the
strong roots of the western psychology for many decades. Only in the twentieth
century western psychologists, especially Jung, Maslow and others, were able to
break free from this limiting concepts.

In the twentieth century AD, German scientist E.H.Weber attempted a scientific

approach in the study of the mind by his finding of the quantitative relation between
stimulus intensity and the resultant sensory experience. This was later known as
the Weber’s law.

Almost in the same period, G.T.Fechner, who is called the father of quantitative
psychology, coined psycho-physics which is the quantitative study of external
structures and sensory experience.

Then came Darwin with his revolutionary ‘origin of species’ which influenced
psychology and human thought.
In 1879, Wilhelm Wundt, a German scientist, established the world’s first
psychological lab at Leipzig, Germany. His aim was to prove that there is a physical
activity for every mental activity. He opined that psychologists should study
sensation, perception, and emotions.

In the first decade of the 20th Century AD, the Russian psychologist Ivan P.
Pavlov made a path breaking finding when he was studying the digestion process in
dogs. Before the experimental dog was given food, a bell was sounded. When this
was repeated several times, the dog started salivating the very moment it heard the
bell sound. Pavlov called this the conditioned reflex. This was one of the greatest
findings that made radical changes in the field of psychology.

Major Schools of Psychology


Titchner and his followers said that conciseness can be analyzed into three—
sensation, perception and feeling. Titchner and his followers are called structuralists
and their main method for study of mind was introspection.


William James, the father of American Psychology, J.R.Angels and John

Dewey argued that psychologists should study the function of the mind and not its
structure. These group of psychologists are called functionalists.

Freud and Psycho Analysis

Sigmund Freud of Vienna, who is considered as the father of modern psychology,

originated a new method called the Free Association Technique. Freud considered
that mind has three parts – the conscious, the pre-conscious and the unconscious.
He considered that 90% of the mind is the unconscious mind. He argued that Id
(unconscious mind) is the seat of repression, and instincts. Freud further considered
that behind any behavior is the libido energy.

He divided the personality into three – id, ego, superego. Of these, Id goes after
pleasure and thus is said to be governed by the pleasure principle. Ego which is the
organized part of Id is driven by the Reality Principle. Superego connects the id to the
external world and is considered the conscience.

Later, Erich Frome, Karan Horney, Erik Erikson, Harry Sullivan and Otto
Rank improved upon the ideas of Frued and so they are called Neo Fruedians.

Alfred Adler and Individual Psychology

Alfred Adler gave the focus to society because he thought that since we are social
animals we should give emphasis on social factors. He argued that, the will to power
and superiority are thus more important than sex or will to pleasure. So, the
individual will try to overcome the deficits he has or he thinks he has. He will try to
show superiority or ambition. Inferiority complex is the most important concept Adler
added to psychology. His psychology is called Individual Psychology.

Jung and Analytical Psychology

Carl Gustav Jung, like Adler, was in the psychoanalytical camp in the beginning, but
later parted with Freud to create his own (school of) psychology called the Analytical
Psychology. He dismissed the Freudian theory that the only motive that drive the
unconscious is sex. Jung extended the concept of the unconscious beyond the
individual. Thus he said that there is a collective unconscious besides the individual
unconscious. He postulated that the racial memory of centuries is precipitated in the
unconscious of each individual. According to him, the main ingredient of the
collective unconscious is the archetype.


John B. Watson, also of America, proposed that psychologists as scientists should

study observable human nature and not the concepts like mind, consciousness etc.

He and his followers tried to explain behavior based on stimulus and response. They
are called behaviorists and their school of psychology is called behaviorism.
Tolman, Hull and B.F.Skinner are the later behaviorists. Skinner originated operant
conditioning which is one of the most used techniques for psychological therapy

Gestalt Psychology

Gestalt Psychology was a reaction to the over emphasis of reductionistic methods in

psychology. The gestalt psychologists were against this blind reliance on analysis
and reductionism. They believed that behavior should be understood in a holistic
way. Max Wertheimer, Wolfgang Kohler, Kurt Kafka were the first proponents of this
school psychology.

Humanistic Psychology

Some psychologists believed that neither Frued et al nor the behaviorists could
include the complexity and uniqueness of man their studies of psychology. So a
group of psychologists gave human experience more importance and they are called
humanists. They argued that man is a subjective animal. The humanists counted that
the motives for development and to become perfect are more important than sex,
power etc. They brought back the dignity of man that Frued and others undignified.
They denied Freudian unconscious or behaviorstic environment as the ultimate basis
of behavior and said that man is not a slave of either the unconscious or the
situation. Gestalt psychology, Indian Psychology, Psychology of
Consciousness, Environmental Psychology, Para Psychology are the schools of
psychology that are included in Humanistic psychology. Gordon W Allport, Carl
Rogers, and Abraham Maslow are some of the early proponents of humanistic

The Three Major Forces in Modern Psychology

There are three major forces in psychology. Freudian Psychoanalysis and the
offshoots from it are considered the First Force in Psychology. This has been very
dominant in the earlier part of the 20th century but has given way to the second force
in psychology called behaviorism. Currently, behaviorism is also slowly reaching its
end. Slowly, holistic and more natural ways are coming to the main stream. This is
the third force in psychology – the Humanistic Psychology. Many experts foresee
that by the first or second decade of the 21st century, humanistic psychology will
become the dominant major force. This is because that man will slowly come to
realize that the origin of bliss is in himself and so man will turn to himself for truth,
beauty, happiness, success, and achievement. Neither Freudian
psychology nor Behaviorism can be of definite help in this stage.
V. George Mathew, Ph.D


Indian Psychology



Yoga Psychology

Karma Yoga

Bhakthi Yoga

Raja Yoga

Kundalini Yoga

Mantra Yoga

Tanthra Yoga


Jnana Yoga

Buddhist Psychology

The Psychology Of Zen






Oriental Psychology consists of the psychologically relevant materials

taken from ancient writings in the orient. During the early part of the present
century, modern psychology emphasized sensation and perception and
Indian Psychology consisted of largely Indian theories of perception. Later
on when modern psychology started studying cognition, materials relevant
to that also were taken from ancient scriptures and other documents. Still
later theories of emotion also were included.

Climate perhaps has an influence on the goals and values of people. In the
West people have an external orientation, their temperament being
characterized by practical aggressive traits. In the East people are
philosophically inclined. There is an internal orientation and the main
concern of life is with the ultimates. Consequently ancient oriental writings
are largely concerning religious and philosophical issues. Self-enquiry
using holistic intuitive methods did not fall within the traditional framework
of empirical psychology and so most of oriental material was supposed to
be irrelevant for Psychology. But with the development of humanistic
approach and the psychology of consciousness, almost the whole of
oriental writings has become very relevant.

In Western psychology, the reference point was the average person. The
normal was the average. But in the orient the normal was the ideal, the
perfect. Cultivation of the quality of subjective experience was the main
concern. The aim of life was considered to be self-realization.



four asramas are Brahmacharya, Garhasthya, Vanaprastha and Sanyasa,
the last one aiming at self-realization. The four motives
are Kama, Artha, Dharma and Moksha, showing a rough correspondence
to Maslow's hierarchy of needs. The concept of Nishkama Karma (action
with detachment) shows a similarity to Maslow's concept of metamotivation.


The three components of temperament are Thamasik (characterised by

lethargy), Rajasik (characterised by high drive) and Sathwik characterized
by balance and stability. There is also a transcendental qualityless
(gunatheetha) state conducive to self-realisation.

Six personality types are recognised

in Buddhism: Ragacharith (attached), Doshacharith (envy,
aggression), Mohacharith (dull,
idle), Buddhicharith (rational), Vithakkacharith (imaginative),
and Sadvacharith (disciplined).

Jain typology called Laisya or colour type theory grades people according
to the colouration of soul by karmic passions: Black, Blue, Grey, Pink, Red
and White. All these theories recognise a gradation with respect to the
state of self-realisation.

Personality development consists of growth toward unity. The Indian view

is similar to the views of Rogers and Maslow which hypothesise
spontaneous growth given right conditions. Guru occupies a very important
place and parallels have been drawn between the guru-sishya relationship
and counsellor- counsellee relationship. The main difference is that the
Guru is a person with a high degree of self-awareness instead of any
factual knowledge or skill of a counsellor and in the Indian system total
personality change is emphasized more than specific behaviour change.
The guru is a person with steady awareness. Many modern therapies like
the Gestalt therapy emphasise Nowness, Actuality, Awareness and
Wholeness and emphasise the personality of the counsellor and these
therapies come close to the Indian model.


Yoga means union. It is customarily used to denote methods used to

attain superconsciousness. Several qualities like ability to discriminate the
real from the unreal (viveka), disinterest and desire to know the truth
(mumukshathava) are required in order to become a sadhaka (practitioner).
The methods have been grouped into four.

1. Karma yoga

Every action has a reaction on the doer and the effect of actions remain in
the person as his samskara. Good karma purifies the mind. Adler's method
of developing social interest as a technique for personality development
and personality development through improving social interactions
(including counselling) can be related to karma yoga.

Actions can be classified into Nitya (daily routines), Kamya (desire-driven),

Nishidha (sinful), Naimithika (occasional duties) and prayaschitha
(compensatory). Another classification is into Sakama karma (desire
driven) and Nishkama karma (action motivated only by a sense of duty,
without any concern for the results. The concept of Nishkama Karma is
close to Maslow's notion of Meta motivation (action stemming from fullness)
as against deficiency motivation.

2. Bhakthi yoga

Bhakthi yoga is the yoga of emotions. It is controlled cultivation of higher

emotions. It involves the awakening, actualising and controlling of libidinal
forces. It draws out latent emotional potentiality, arouses experiencial
capacities and merges suppressions, repressions and inhibitions.

Gods represent psychic forces. God is the symbol of one's own evolved
self. It is Brahman (the absolute) relfected in Maya (the percieved reality).
Through Bhakthi yoga you seek your own true identity. Each person is
advised to select or conceive of a God suited to his personality

Bhakthas are of different types: The Artha prays to escape from suffering.
The Jignasu does so out of curiosity. The Artharthi seeks material gain.
The Jnani seeks deliverance. This classification is based on the aim of
the Bhaktha.

Bhakthi or devotion has been broadly classified into Saguna Bhakthi (God
with name & form) and Nirguna Bhakthi (God as the absolute
consciousness). There is some agreement that Nirguna Bhakthi represents
a higher type of Bhakthi than Saguna Bhakthi. In Dasya Bakthi,
the bhaktha considers himself to be the servant of God.
In Sakhya Bhakthi God is approached in a friendly manner. This has been
further subdivided into relationships in which God is considered as a friend,
a child or lover. In bridal mysticism, the sadhaka (regardless of whether he
is male or female) considers himself a female and God as his lover. Love
and hate are two sides of the same coin and there is Vaira Bhakthi in which
God is contemplated as an enemy. Some sadhakas have mixed emotions;
they shower praise as well as abuse on the chosen god.
The instruments of worship are the body (for puja, archana, vandana), word
(for parayana, sravana, keerthana and japa) and mind (smarana). To a
sadhaka following Bhakthi yoga, Bhakthi is a pleasurable experience and
an end in itself. To him God is not just a device, but more real than any
object of the senses.

The goal of Bhakthi is to replace fear by love.

3.Raja Yoga

This is the yoga of exercises and mind control. The term yoga is most often
used to refer to Raja Yoga. This is also the type of yoga where a formal
guru is considered essential. Usually there are initiation ceremonies to
initiate a person into Raja yoga. Pathanjali's Yogasutra (1st century A.D.) is
considered to be the best known treatise on yoga. It is also known
as Astanga yoga or yoga with eight limbs as follows:

1. Yama (ethical condcut) - Ahimsa, Sathya, Astheya (non-

stealing), brahmacharya and aparigraha (non-acceptance of gifts)

2. Niyama (practices and observances) - Soucha (cleanliness), Santhosha,

Thapa (austerity), Swadhyaya (study) and Iswara Pranidhana (surrender to

3. Asana - yogic postures. Asanas, kriyas (stomach wash, etc.) and

pranayama together are called Hata yoga.

4. Pranayama - breath control. This is supposed to purify the mind. This

involves paying attention to breathing and regulating the duration of
inhalation (Puraka), holding breath (Kumbhaka) and exhalation (Rechaka).

5. Prathyahara - Withdrawal of the mind from the objects of the senses.

6. Dharana - Concentration. Achieving one pointedness.

7. Dhyanam - meditation - achieving stillness of mind.

8. Samadhi - superconscious state. The person enjoysbliss, peace and

freedom. There is lack of body consciousness and concern.
The different states of mind are Kshiptha (scattered), Moodha (slovenly and
sleepy), Vikshiptha (oscillating), Ekagra (one pointed) and Nirudha
(controlled). The different states of consciousness are Jagrath (waking),
Swapna (dream), Sushupthi (deep sleep), Thuriam (superconscious) and
Thuriatheetham (absolute). Samadhi itself is of three grades - Savikalpa
samadhi involves retention of personal identity while in Nirvikalpa samadhi,
there is the experience of pure consciousness, beyond time and space.

Sahaja samadhi is experience of samadhi within, all the time, even when
the person interacts and behaves like an ordinary person. Ishta samadhi is
samadhi at will. Bhavasamadhi is experienced by artists. Karma samadhi is
experienced by karmayogis. Jada samadhi is not real samadhi; it is a state
of numbness experienced by pranayama or meditation and often mistaken
for real samadhi.

Kundalini Yoga:

It is supposed that consciousness has three sheaths - Physical body, astral

body and causal body. There are seven psychic centres in the astral body
along the spine. They are Muladhara (root of spine), Swadhistana
(corresponding to sex organs, in spine), Manipuraka (corresponding to
navel), Anahatha (corresponding to heart), Visudhi (corresponding to
throat), Ajna (corresponding to pineal gland, at the base of the brain) and
Sahasrara (slightly above the head). It is supposed that in ordinary
persons, pschic energy lies dormant in the form of a coiled serpent in
Muladhara chakra. By intense visualisation, the yogi attempts to arouse the
kundalini sakthi and make it move along the spine upwards passing
through the other chakras. Various siddhis are obtained when the kundalini
reaches the different centres. The major siddhis are eight in number.
Samadhi is experienced when the energy reaches sahasrara chakra. Many
techniques of kundalini yoga involve pranayama. Kundalini is often
visualised as moving up along with inhalation and it is visualised as coming
down (in two different paths crossing each other at the chakras during

Mantra Yoga:

In Mantra yoga, the yogi repeatedly utters a word or a few words

constituting the mantra. The word may or may not have a meaning. It is
supposed that thoughts have power and that the principle of
autosuggestion makes for changes in the person who repeatedly utters a
mantra with meaning. The mantra is a means to bring back the wandering
mind and make it one-pointed. In yoga, the mantra is used to evoke higher
states of consciousness by association, while in black magic the mantra is
used to evoke psychic power. The commonly used mantras include Om,
yogic aphorisms like Aham Brahamasmi and names of gods and
goddesses. It is believed that silent utterance in the mind has more effect
than loud utterance.

Tanthra Yoga:

This type of yoga flourished in north eastern India. Elements of manthra

yoga and Kundalini yoga are included in Tanthra yoga. Some tanthric sects
think that controlled indulgence of sense pleasures is a means to arouse
Kundalini and that indulgence with awareness and with the aim of self-
realisation enables the yogi to gradually transecend desires. Partial
indulgence without full satisfaction is seen as a method of arousing and
sublimating libidinal forces.


Meditation is the most important technique of Raja yoga. It is functioning in

the passive, receptive mode, as against the active mode. It increases
awareness and control and has some similarities with bio-feed back. It
gradually reduces restlessness and reduces instinctual disturbances.
Instincts cause mechanical, uncontrolled behaviour and meditating makes
for more conscious behaviour.

A lot of modern scientific research has gone into the effects of meditation.
Japanese scientists found that monks in meditation show alpha brain wave
by reduction in heart rate, BP, respiratory rate, rate of oxygen consumption,
muscular tension, electrical skin conductivity of the skin, lactate content in
blood, etc. Meditators show increased perceptual ability, higher gains in IQ,
creativity, academic achievement, adjustment, stress tolerance, work
output and athletic performance. Meditating prisoners show better
rehabilitation. A significant reduction in crime rate was observed in cities
where a significant percentage of the people were meditating (Maharishi
effect). Meditating drug addicts showed more improvement than control
groups. Meditation techniques have been incorporated into many modern
psychotherapeutic systems (like Autogenic Training of Schultz, Morita
Therapy of Japan, and Zen Integration therapy).
4.Jnana Yoga

This is the yoga of the intellect. Some people think that each type of yoga is
meant for people with a certain type of temperament while some others
like Aurobindo speak of an integral yoga which combines all the four yogas
as best. Still others think that there is a gradation. Initial preparation and
readiness are required for the practice of any yoga, without which
imbalances may develop. Karma yoga is for beginners and after achieving
a degree of purity one becomes ripe for Bhakthi yoga when devotion
spontanesously appears in the heart. Bhakthi yoga prepares one for
practice of Raja yoga and mind control. Finally the person reaches the
stage where the existential questions arise with force in his mind and he
becomes a Jnana yogi. All intellectual effort, in a broad sense is Jnana
yoga. Broadly conceived, all scientists and philosophers are Jnana yogis.
Low living and high thinking go together and an austere life is part of Jnana
yoga. It is said that if a person is genuinely curious about anything, that will
in due course lead him to the same ultimate questions of existence the final
answer to which lies in a transformation of personality leading to an
alteration in consciousness. You can't know reality without becoming part
of it.

The four stages of acquiring knowledge are sensory perception, testimony

by somebody, reasoning and the last is insight. Sensory and intellectual
knowledge is supposed to be indirect (Paroksha Jnana) while direct
knowledge (Aparaoksha Jnana) is intuitive. Apara Vidya is wordly
knowledge while truth is apprehended through Para vidya.

The first step in Jana yoga is developing a real urge to ralise the truth, or
asking the one ultimate question: what is reality ? One has to discard
wrong answers by reasoning - Neti, Neti (not this, not this). Intellectual
blocks have to be surmounted. In the language of Advaitha, one has to
experience Paramarthika reality, discarding Vyavaharika (empirical)
and Prathibhasika (illusory). Dwaitha is unreal and the result of Maya. Truth
is unitary; it is the Advaithic experience. The method
is Sravana, Manana and Nididhyasa i.e., hearing, thinking and fitting what
one has understood to one's actual experience. Finally one realises one's
indentity with pure consciousness and the perceiver, perception and object
of perception merge into one supreme experience.

Buddhism is said to be the most 'scientific' religion. It does not speak of a

God. There is no soul, but only the continuation of experiences or karma or
personality through different incarnations. The ultimate reality is described
as vacuum or 'Sunyata'. The four noble truths are

1. Pain,
2. Cause of pain (passion and lust),
3. Annihilation of Pain (i.e., the possibility of ending pain or suffering),
4. The eight fold path leading to cessation of pain.

The eight fold path consists of right views, right intention, right speech, right
conduct, right livelihood, right effort (mental exercises), right mindfulness
(of body, mind and actions) and right meditation. The capacity for moral
sense is inherited but it has to be developed by pracitce.

Desirelessness is the key to nirvana and the path is moderation, not total
indulgence or complete self-denial. One has to become indifferent to pain
and pleasure.

Buddhism does not emphasise the guru-sishya system. It encourages free

enquiry. Buddha told his disciples not to accept anything because he said
it, but only if it appeared rational. His last words were, "Do not seek refuge
in anything external, be a refuge unto yourself". One should not have any
belief or preconception. But one should pierce all preconceptions like a
diamond needle (Vajracheda) to experience truth.

Theravada (thera=elders) follows the orignal teachings of Buddha,

while Mahayana sects admit innovations.

The Psychology of Zen

Zen is a variety of Buddhism which evolved in Japan from 6 th century A.D.

The word Zen is derived from Dhyan meaning meditation. A novice has to
take a vow to save all beings which induces the right motivation to realise
truth. Zen practice involves different elements.

1. Zazen:

This is sitting zen. One has to sit in the cross-legged posture and take a
few deep breaths. One may sway from side to side two or three times to
become flexible and not rigid. Then there are several options. Just sitting
(which is a very difficult, but highly valued practice), observing the body
(cultivation body awareness by observing the sensations from different
parts of the body), Watching the mind (feelings and thoughts which arise),
watching the breath, counting the breath, etc.

2. Mobile Zen:

This is cultivating mindfulness. Learn to enter fully into every action, with
maximum awareness, and presence.

3. Koan Zen:

A koan is a riddle with no clear answer. No answer is expected. The

attempt is to break the tyranny of the intellect and the ego. Absorption and
penetration into the koan leads to a change in consciousness. Most koans
are in the form of a question, some are in action form. Some koans were
asked by a Zen master at a certain point during a conversation which
helped the disciple who was ready for enlightenment, but was having some
block to get over the block and experience sudden enlightenment. Many
koans clear the egoistic feeling resulting from bookish erudition. When a
certain disciple was asking hair-splitting questions endlessly, a Zen master
said, "Have you taken your breakfast? ... Then wash you bowl." In a similar
context another Zen master went on pouring tea into a cup even after tea
was overflowing. Some other well-known koans are, "Use the spade in your
empty hand", "Talk without using your tongue", "What is the sound of one
hand clapping?"

Every block is considered to be an opportunity for learning (gateless gate).

Other Zen practices include Concentration or contemplation (on various

shapes, qualities, chakras in the body,mandalas symmetric geometric
forms), manthras, etc. For tension release and getting rid of inhibitions,
disciples are made to utter a calm cry followed by vigorous shouting.

The results of Zen are flexibility, clarity, serenity, peace of mind, work-
efficiency, personality integration, self-control and self-realisation. Kensho
is experiencing self-transparency and the final enlightenment (satori) may
come all on a sudden on gradually. In the final stage the realised person
sees perfection and significance in every thing (suchness) and everything
is seen as beautiful. He is self-sufficient and the only thing which motivates
him to act is compassion.


Jain philosophy also differentiates cognitive knowledge and intuitive

understanding. The path to realisation of the Jain system has three main
steps: right faith, right knowledge and right conduct (consisting
of satya, astheya, ahimsa, aparigraha and brahmacharya. While Buddhism
emphasises moderation, Jainism emphasises meditation. Buddhism
advocates partial non-violence in the sense that even eating meat is
permitted under special circumstances.


Taoism is a religion which flourished in China. Tao means "Way" or" How".
Tao cannot be defined, because there is nothing to compare it with. It can
be known by becoming aware of what is happening through meditation.
Tao does not behave, does nothing at all, yet everything gets done. Tao
applies to everything. All things and events are vibratory, but Tao is not a
vibratory event. Tao can be realised by becoming aware of what is
happening with an open mind. Tao has no opposites and polarities, Tao is
One. Tao is unity. Nothing comes before Tao, Nothing made Tao. Tao is
the law of all things, the common ground of all creation. Knowing Tao is not
a learning process, but a process of subtraction. The yin-yang figure
illustrates the principle of oneness which contains apparent dichotomies
(ex. like & dislike, gain & loss).

Taoism is considered as one of the oldest religions of the world. Lao Tsu
who lived in 6th century B.C. codified Taoism. The main guideline for living
is to actualise the principle of Wei Wu-Wei (Action Non-action) which
means cultivating an attitude of deterministic acceptance, detachment and

Taoism considers intellect as a block and the path to enlightenment is a

process of subtraction and not learning. The Taoist way of life involves
living in harmony with nature.

Sufism is the mystic sect of Islam. It origninated in Persia and spread to all
countries having Muslims, including India. Mysticism in all religions share
the same basic features and Sufism is no exception. At the philosophical
level, the dictum "Anal Haq" (meaning the same as Aham
Brahmasmi) expresses identification with pure consciousness. At the
emotional level Sufi mystics symbolise themselves as the bride and God as
the lover and dance and sing in ecstasy. In India some Sufis even wear
female costumes on ceremonial occasions. Sufi contribution to devotional
poetry and music has been considerable. Many Hindustani ragas and
the Quawali type of singing originated in Sufism. A large collection of Sufi
teaching stories are available. The Sufi dance involves very fast whirling
movements. Like in many other religions, Sufi mystics were considered
heretics and subjected to persecution by orthodox Muslims. Many Sufi
mystics are credited with paranormal powers. One power sometimes
supposedly demonstrated is making wounds on one's own body which
spontaneously heal quickly
The Evolution of Psychology:
History, Approaches, and
Learning Objectives
1. Explain how psychology changed from a philosophical to a scientific discipline.
2. List some of the most important questions that concern psychologists.
3. Outline the basic schools of psychology and how each school has contributed to psychology.

In this section we will review the history of psychology with a focus on the important questions that psychologists ask
and the major approaches (or schools) of psychological inquiry. The schools of psychology that we will review are
summarized in Table 1.3, “The Most Important Approaches (Schools) of Psychology,” while Table 1.4, “History of
Psychology,” presents a timeline of some of the most important psychologists, beginning with the early Greek
philosophers and extending to the present day. Table 1.3 and Table 1.4 both represent a selection of the most
important schools and people; to mention all the approaches and all the psychologists who have contributed to the
field is not possible in one chapter. The approaches that psychologists have used to assess the issues that interest them
have changed dramatically over the history of psychology. Perhaps most importantly, the field has moved steadily
from speculation about behaviour toward a more objective and scientific approach as the technology available to study
human behaviour has improved (Benjamin & Baker, 2004). There has also been an influx of women into the field.
Although most early psychologists were men, now most psychologists, including the presidents of the most important
psychological organizations, are women.
Table 1.3 The Most Important Approaches (Schools) of Psychology.

[Skip Table]

School of Important
Psychology Contributors

Uses the method of introspection to identify the basic Wilhelm Wundt, Edward
elements or “structures” of psychological experience B. Titchener

Attempts to understand why animals and humans have

Functionalism developed the particular psychological aspects that William James
they currently possess

Focuses on the role of our unconscious thoughts, Sigmund Freud, Carl

Psychodynamic feelings, and memories and our early childhood Jung, Alfred Adler, Erik
experiences in determining behaviour Erickson

Based on the premise that it is not possible to

objectively study the mind, and therefore that John B. Watson, B. F.
psychologists should limit their attention to the study Skinner
of behaviour itself

Hermann Ebbinghaus,
The study of mental processes, including perception,
Cognitive Sir Frederic Bartlett,
thinking, memory, and judgments
Jean Piaget

The study of how the social situations and the cultures Fritz Heider, Leon
Social-cultural in which people find themselves influence thinking Festinger, Stanley
and behaviour Schachter

Although most of the earliest psychologists were men, women are increasingly contributing to psychology. Here
are some examples:
 1968: Mary Jean Wright became the first woman president of the Canadian Psychological Association.
 1970: Virginia Douglas became the second woman president of the Canadian Psychological Association.
 1972: The Underground Symposium was held at the Canadian Psychological Association Convention. After having
their individual papers and then a symposium rejected by the Program Committee, a group of six graduate students
and non-tenured faculty, including Sandra Pyke and Esther Greenglass, held an independent research symposium
that showcased work being done in the field of the psychology of women.
 1976: The Canadian Research Institute for the Advancement of Women was founded.
 1987: Janet Stoppard led the Women and Mental Health Committee of the Canadian Mental Health Association.

Although it cannot capture every important psychologist, the following timeline shows some of the most important
contributors to the history of psychology. (Adapted by J. Walinga.)
Table 1.4 History of Psychology.

[Skip Table]

Date Psychologist(s) Description

428 to 347 Greek philosopher who argued for the role of nature in
BCE psychological development.

384 to 432 Greek philosopher who argued for the role of nurture in
BCE psychological development.

1588 to
Thomas Hobbes English philosopher.
1679 CE

1596 to
René Descartes French philosopher.

1632 to
John Locke English philosopher.

1712 to
Jean-Jacques Rousseau French philosopher.

German experimental psychologist who developed the idea

1801 to of the “just noticeable difference” (JND), which is
Gustav Fechner
1887 considered to be the first empirical psychological

Charles Darwin British naturalist whose theory of natural selection

1809 to
influenced the functionalist school and the field of
Table 1.4 History of Psychology.

[Skip Table]

Date Psychologist(s) Description

1882 evolutionary psychology.

German psychologist who opened one of the first

1832 to
Wilhelm Wundt psychology laboratories and helped develop the field of

American psychologist who opened one of the first

1842 to
William James psychology laboratories and helped develop the field of

1849 to Russian psychologist whose experiments on learning led to

Ivan Pavlov
1936 the principles of classical conditioning.

German psychologist who studied the ability of people to

1850 to
Hermann Ebbinghaus remember lists of nonsense syllables under different

1856 to Austrian psychologist who founded the field of

Sigmund Freud
1939 psychodynamic psychology.

1867 to Edward Bradford American psychologist who contributed to the field of

1927 Titchener structuralism.

1878 to American psychologist who contributed to the field of

John B. Watson
1958 behavioralism.
Table 1.4 History of Psychology.

[Skip Table]

Date Psychologist(s) Description

1886 to British psychologist who studied the cognitive and social

Sir Frederic Bartlett
1969 processes of remembering.

1896 to Swiss psychologist who developed an important theory of

Jean Piaget
1980 cognitive development in children.

1904 to American psychologist who contributed to the school of

B. F. Skinner
1990 behaviourism.

1926 to British cognitive psychologist who was pioneer in the study

Donald Broadbent
1993 of attention.

American psychologists who contributed to the cognitive

school of psychology by studying learning, memory, and
20th and Linda Bartoshuk; Daniel
judgment. An important contribution is the advancement of
21st Kahneman; Elizabeth
the field of neuroscience. Daniel Kahneman won the Nobel
centuries Loftus; Geroge Miller.
Prize in Economics for his work on psychological decision

Canadian psychologist known for her contributions to

1850 Dorothea Dix mental health and opened one of the first mental hospitals in
Halifax, New Brunswick.

Canadian psychologists who wrote early psychology texts

William Lyall; James
1880 and created first Canadian psychology lab at the University
of Toronto.
Table 1.4 History of Psychology.

[Skip Table]

Date Psychologist(s) Description

James Olds; Brenda

Milner; Wilder Penfield; Canadian psychologists who contributed to neurological
Donald Hebb; Endel psychology and opened the Montreal Neurological Institute.

Canadian psychologist who developed ‘social learning

1960 Albert Bandura theory’ with his Bobo doll studies illustrating the impact that
observation and interaction has on learning.

Canadian psychologist who contributed significantly in the

1970 Hans Selye
area of psychology of stress.

Although psychology has changed dramatically over its history, the most important questions that psychologists
address have remained constant. Some of these questions follow, and we will discuss them both in this chapter and in
the chapters to come:

 Nature versus nurture. Are genes or environment most influential in determining the behaviour of individuals and in
accounting for differences among people? Most scientists now agree that both genes and environment play crucial
roles in most human behaviours, and yet we still have much to learn about how nature (our biological makeup) and
nurture (the experiences that we have during our lives) work together (Harris, 1998; Pinker, 2002). The proportion of
the observed differences of characteristics among people (e.g., in terms of their height, intelligence, or optimism) that
is due to genetics is known as the heritability of the characteristic, and we will make much use of this term in the
chapters to come. We will see, for example, that the heritability of intelligence is very high (about .85 out of 1.0) and
that the heritability of extraversion is about .50. But we will also see that nature and nurture interact in complex ways,
making the question “Is it nature or is it nurture?” very difficult to answer.
 Free will versus determinism. This question concerns the extent to which people have control over their own actions.
Are we the products of our environment, guided by forces out of our control, or are we able to choose the behaviours
we engage in? Most of us like to believe in free will, that we are able to do what we want—for instance, that we could
get up right now and go fishing. And our legal system is premised on the concept of free will; we punish criminals
because we believe that they have choice over their behaviours and freely choose to disobey the law. But as we will
discuss later in the research focus in this section, recent research has suggested that we may have less control over our
own behaviour than we think we do (Wegner, 2002).
 Accuracy versus inaccuracy. To what extent are humans good information processors? Although it appears that
people are good enough to make sense of the world around them and to make decent decisions (Fiske, 2003), they are
far from perfect. Human judgment is sometimes compromised by inaccuracies in our thinking styles and by our
motivations and emotions. For instance, our judgment may be affected by our desires to gain material wealth and to
see ourselves positively and by emotional responses to the events that happen to us. Many studies have explored
decision making in crisis situations such as natural disasters, or human error or criminal action, such as in the cases of
the Tylenol poisoning, the Maple Leaf meats listeriosis outbreak, the SARS epidemic or the Lac-Mégantic train

 Conscious versus unconscious processing. To what extent are we conscious of our own actions and the causes of
them, and to what extent are our behaviours caused by influences that we are not aware of? Many of the major
theories of psychology, ranging from the Freudian psychodynamic theories to contemporary work in cognitive
psychology, argue that much of our behaviour is determined by variables that we are not aware of.
 Differences versus similarities. To what extent are we all similar, and to what extent are we different? For instance,
are there basic psychological and personality differences between men and women, or are men and women by and
large similar? And what about people from different ethnicities and cultures? Are people around the world generally
the same, or are they influenced by their backgrounds and environments in different ways? Personality, social, and
cross-cultural psychologists attempt to answer these classic questions.

Early Psychologists
The earliest psychologists that we know about are the Greek philosophers Plato (428-347 BC) and Aristotle (384-322
BC). These philosophers (see Figure 1.3) asked many of the same questions that today’s psychologists ask; for
instance, they questioned the distinction between nature and nurture and the existence of free will. In terms of the
former, Plato argued on the nature side, believing that certain kinds of knowledge are innate or inborn, whereas
Aristotle was more on the nurture side, believing that each child is born as an “empty slate” (in Latin, a tabula rasa)
and that knowledge is primarily acquired through learning and experience.

Figure 1.3 Early Psychologists.

The earliest psychologists were the Greek Philosophers Plato (left) and Aristotle (right). Plato
believed that much knowledge was innate, whereas Aristotle thought that each child was born as an
“empty slate” and that knowledge was primarily acquired through learning and experience.

European philosophers continued to ask these fundamental questions during the Renaissance. For instance, the French
philosopher René Descartes (1596-1650) also considered the issue of free will, arguing in its favour and believing that
the mind controls the body through the pineal gland in the brain (an idea that made some sense at the time but was
later proved incorrect). Descartes also believed in the existence of innate natural abilities. A scientist as well as a
philosopher, Descartes dissected animals and was among the first to understand that the nerves controlled the muscles.
He also addressed the relationship between mind (the mental aspects of life) and body (the physical aspects of life).
Descartes believed in the principle of dualism: that the mind is fundamentally different from the mechanical body.
Other European philosophers, including Thomas Hobbes (1588-1679), John Locke (1632-1704), and Jean-Jacques
Rousseau (1712-1778), also weighed in on these issues. The fundamental problem that these philosophers faced was
that they had few methods for settling their claims. Most philosophers didn’t conduct any research on these questions,
in part because they didn’t yet know how to do it, and in part because they weren’t sure it was even possible to
objectively study human experience. But dramatic changes came during the 1800s with the help of the first two
research psychologists: the German psychologist Wilhelm Wundt (1832-1920), who developed a psychology
laboratory in Leipzig, Germany, and the American psychologist William James (1842-1910), who founded a
psychology laboratory at Harvard University.
Structuralism: Introspection and the Awareness of
Subjective Experience
Wundt’s research in his laboratory in Leipzig focused on the nature of consciousness itself. Wundt and his students
believed that it was possible to analyze the basic elements of the mind and to classify our conscious experiences
scientifically. Wundt began the field known as structuralism, a school of psychology whose goal was to identify the
basic elements or structures of psychological experience. Its goal was to create a periodic table of the elements of
sensations, similar to the periodic table of elements that had recently been created in chemistry. Structuralists used the
method of introspection to attempt to create a map of the elements of consciousness. Introspection involves asking
research participants to describe exactly what they experience as they work on mental tasks, such as viewing colours,
reading a page in a book, or performing a math problem. A participant who is reading a book might report, for
instance, that he saw some black and coloured straight and curved marks on a white background. In other studies the
structuralists used newly invented reaction time instruments to systematically assess not only what the participants
were thinking but how long it took them to do so. Wundt discovered that it took people longer to report what sound
they had just heard than to simply respond that they had heard the sound. These studies marked the first time
researchers realized that there is a difference between the sensation of a stimulus and the perception of that stimulus,
and the idea of using reaction times to study mental events has now become a mainstay of cognitive psychology.

Figure 1.4 Wundt and Titchener.

Wilhelm Wundt (seated at left) and Edward Titchener (right) helped create the structuralist school of
psychology. Their goal was to classify the elements of sensation through introspection.

Perhaps the best known of the structuralists was Edward Bradford Titchener (1867-1927). Titchener was a student of
Wundt’s who came to the United States in the late 1800s and founded a laboratory at Cornell University (Figure 1.4).
(Titchener was later rejected by McGill University (1903). Perhaps he was ahead of his time; Brenda Milner did not
open the Montreal Neurological Institute until 1950.) In his research using introspection, Titchener and his students
claimed to have identified more than 40,000 sensations, including those relating to vision, hearing, and taste. An
important aspect of the structuralist approach was that it was rigorous and scientific. The research marked the
beginning of psychology as a science, because it demonstrated that mental events could be quantified. But the
structuralists also discovered the limitations of introspection. Even highly trained research participants were often
unable to report on their subjective experiences. When the participants were asked to do simple math problems, they
could easily do them, but they could not easily answer how they did them. Thus the structuralists were the first to
realize the importance of unconscious processes—that many important aspects of human psychology occur outside
our conscious awareness, and that psychologists cannot expect research participants to be able to accurately report on
all of their experiences.

Functionalism and Evolutionary Psychology

In contrast to Wundt, who attempted to understand the nature of consciousness, William James and the other members
of the school of functionalism aimed to understand why animals and humans have developed the particular
psychological aspects that they currently possess (Hunt, 1993). For James, one’s thinking was relevant only to one’s
behaviour. As he put it in his psychology textbook, “My thinking is first and last and always for the sake of my doing”
(James, 1890). James and the other members of the functionalist school (Figure 1.5) were influenced by Charles
Darwin’s (1809-1882) theory of natural selection, which proposed that the physical characteristics of animals and
humans evolved because they were useful, or functional. The functionalists believed that Darwin’s theory applied to
psychological characteristics too. Just as some animals have developed strong muscles to allow them to run fast, the
human brain, so functionalists thought, must have adapted to serve a particular function in human experience.

Functionalist School. The functionalist school of psychology, founded by the American psychologist
William James (left), was influenced by the work of Charles Darwin (right).

Although functionalism no longer exists as a school of psychology, its basic principles have been absorbed into
psychology and continue to influence it in many ways. The work of the functionalists has developed into the field
of evolutionary psychology, a branch of psychology that applies the Darwinian theory of natural selection to human
and animal behaviour (Dennett, 1995; Tooby & Cosmides, 1992). Evolutionary psychology accepts the functionalists’
basic assumption, namely that many human psychological systems, including memory, emotion, and personality,
serve key adaptive functions. As we will see in the chapters to come, evolutionary psychologists use evolutionary
theory to understand many different behaviours, including romantic attraction, stereotypes and prejudice, and even the
causes of many psychological disorders. A key component of the ideas of evolutionary psychology
is fitness. Fitness refers to the extent to which having a given characteristic helps the individual organism survive and
reproduce at a higher rate than do other members of the species who do not have the characteristic. Fitter organisms
pass on their genes more successfully to later generations, making the characteristics that produce fitness more likely
to become part of the organism’s nature than characteristics that do not produce fitness. For example, it has been
argued that the emotion of jealousy has survived over time in men because men who experience jealousy are more fit
than men who do not. According to this idea, the experience of jealousy leads men to be more likely to protect their
mates and guard against rivals, which increases their reproductive success (Buss, 2000). Despite its importance in
psychological theorizing, evolutionary psychology also has some limitations. One problem is that many of its
predictions are extremely difficult to test. Unlike the fossils that are used to learn about the physical evolution of
species, we cannot know which psychological characteristics our ancestors possessed or did not possess; we can only
make guesses about this. Because it is difficult to directly test evolutionary theories, it is always possible that the
explanations we apply are made up after the fact to account for observed data (Gould & Lewontin, 1979).
Nevertheless, the evolutionary approach is important to psychology because it provides logical explanations for why
we have many psychological characteristics.

Psychodynamic Psychology
Perhaps the school of psychology that is most familiar to the general public is the psychodynamic approach to
understanding behaviour, which was championed by Sigmund Freud (1856-1939) and his followers. Psychodynamic
psychology is an approach to understanding human behaviour that focuses on the role of unconscious thoughts,
feelings, and memories. Freud developed his theories about behaviour through extensive analysis of the patients that
he treated in his private clinical practice. Freud believed that many of the problems that his patients experienced,
including anxiety, depression, and sexual dysfunction, were the result of the effects of painful childhood experiences
that they could no longer remember.

Sigmund Freud and the other psychodynamic psychologists believed that many of our thoughts and
emotions are unconscious. Psychotherapy was designed to help patients recover and confront their
“lost” memories.

Freud’s ideas were extended by other psychologists whom he influenced, including Carl Jung (1875-1961), Alfred
Adler (1870-1937), Karen Horney (1855-1952), and Erik Erikson (1902-1994). These and others who follow the
psychodynamic approach believe that it is possible to help the patient if the unconscious drives can be remembered,
particularly through a deep and thorough exploration of the person’s early sexual experiences and current sexual
desires. These explorations are revealed through talk therapy and dream analysis in a process called psychoanalysis.
The founders of the school of psychodynamics were primarily practitioners who worked with individuals to help them
understand and confront their psychological symptoms. Although they did not conduct much research on their ideas,
and although later, more sophisticated tests of their theories have not always supported their proposals,
psychodynamics has nevertheless had substantial impact on the field of psychology, and indeed on thinking about
human behaviour more generally (Moore & Fine, 1995). The importance of the unconscious in human behaviour, the
idea that early childhood experiences are critical, and the concept of therapy as a way of improving human lives are
all ideas that are derived from the psychodynamic approach and that remain central to psychology.

Behaviourism and the Question of Free Will

Although they differed in approach, both structuralism and functionalism were essentially studies of the mind. The
psychologists associated with the school of behaviourism, on the other hand, were reacting in part to the difficulties
psychologists encountered when they tried to use introspection to understand behaviour. Behaviourism is a school of
psychology that is based on the premise that it is not possible to objectively study the mind, and therefore that
psychologists should limit their attention to the study of behaviour itself. Behaviourists believe that the human mind is
a black box into which stimuli are sent and from which responses are received. They argue that there is no point in
trying to determine what happens in the box because we can successfully predict behaviour without knowing what
happens inside the mind. Furthermore, behaviourists believe that it is possible to develop laws of learning that can
explain all behaviours. The first behaviourist was the American psychologist John B. Watson (1878-1958). Watson
was influenced in large part by the work of the Russian physiologist Ivan Pavlov (1849-1936), who had discovered
that dogs would salivate at the sound of a tone that had previously been associated with the presentation of food.
Watson and the other behaviourists began to use these ideas to explain how events that people and other organisms
experienced in their environment (stimuli) could produce specific behaviours (responses). For instance, in Pavlov’s
research the stimulus (either the food or, after learning, the tone) would produce the response of salivation in the dogs.
In his research Watson found that systematically exposing a child to fearful stimuli in the presence of objects that did
not themselves elicit fear could lead the child to respond with a fearful behaviour to the presence of the objects
(Watson & Rayner, 1920; Beck, Levinson, & Irons, 2009). In the best known of his studies, an eight-month-old boy
named Little Albert was used as the subject. Here is a summary of the findings: The boy was placed in the middle of a
room; a white laboratory rat was placed near him and he was allowed to play with it. The child showed no fear of the
rat. In later trials, the researchers made a loud sound behind Albert’s back by striking a steel bar with a hammer
whenever the baby touched the rat. The child cried when he heard the noise. After several such pairings of the two
stimuli, the child was again shown the rat. Now, however, he cried and tried to move away from the rat. In line with
the behaviourist approach, the boy had learned to associate the white rat with the loud noise, resulting in crying.

Skinner. B. F. Skinner was a member of the behaviourist school of psychology. He argued that free
will is an illusion and that all behaviour is determined by environmental factors.

The most famous behaviourist was Burrhus Frederick (B. F.) Skinner (1904 to 1990), who expanded the principles of
behaviourism and also brought them to the attention of the public at large. Skinner used the ideas of stimulus and
response, along with the application of rewards or reinforcements, to train pigeons and other animals. And he used the
general principles of behaviourism to develop theories about how best to teach children and how to create societies
that were peaceful and productive. Skinner even developed a method for studying thoughts and feelings using the
behaviourist approach (Skinner, 1957, 1972).
Research Focus: Do We Have Free Will?
The behaviourist research program had important implications for the fundamental questions about nature and
nurture and about free will. In terms of the nature-nurture debate, the behaviourists agreed with the nurture approach,
believing that we are shaped exclusively by our environments. They also argued that there is no free will, but rather
that our behaviours are determined by the events that we have experienced in our past. In short, this approach argues
that organisms, including humans, are a lot like puppets in a show who don’t realize that other people are controlling
them. Furthermore, although we do not cause our own actions, we nevertheless believe that we do because we don’t
realize all the influences acting on our behaviour.
Recent research in psychology has suggested that Skinner and the behaviourists might well have been right, at least
in the sense that we overestimate our own free will in responding to the events around us (Libet, 1985; Matsuhashi &
Hallett, 2008; Wegner, 2002). In one demonstration of the misperception of our own free will, neuroscientists Soon,
Brass, Heinze, and Haynes (2008) placed their research participants in a functional magnetic resonance imaging
(fMRI) brain scanner while they presented them with a series of letters on a computer screen. The letter on the screen
changed every half second. The participants were asked, whenever they decided to, to press either of two buttons.
Then they were asked to indicate which letter was showing on the screen when they decided to press the button. The
researchers analyzed the brain images to see if they could predict which of the two buttons the participant was going
to press, even before the letter at which he or she had indicated the decision to press a button. Suggesting that the
intention to act occurred in the brain before the research participants became aware of it, the researchers found that the
prefrontal cortex region of the brain showed activation that could be used to predict the button pressed as long as 10
seconds before the participants said that they had decided which button to press.
Research has found that we are more likely to think that we control our behaviour when the desire to act occurs
immediately prior to the outcome, when the thought is consistent with the outcome, and when there are no other
apparent causes for the behaviour. Aarts, Custers, and Wegner (2005) asked their research participants to control a
rapidly moving square along with a computer that was also controlling the square independently. The participants
pressed a button to stop the movement. When participants were exposed to words related to the location of the square
just before they stopped its movement, they became more likely to think that they controlled the motion, even when it
was actually the computer that stopped it. And Dijksterhuis, Preston, Wegner, and Aarts (2008) found that participants
who had just been exposed to first-person singular pronouns, such as “I” and “me,” were more likely to believe that
they controlled their actions than were people who had seen the words “computer” or “God.” The idea that we are
more likely to take ownership for our actions in some cases than in others is also seen in our attributions for success
and failure. Because we normally expect that our behaviours will be met with success, when we are successful we
easily believe that the success is the result of our own free will. When an action is met with failure, on the other hand,
we are less likely to perceive this outcome as the result of our free will, and we are more likely to blame the outcome
on luck or our teacher (Wegner, 2003).

The behaviourists made substantial contributions to psychology by identifying the principles of learning. Although the
behaviourists were incorrect in their beliefs that it was not possible to measure thoughts and feelings, their ideas
provided new ideas that helped further our understanding regarding the nature-nurture debate and the question of free
will. The ideas of behaviourism are fundamental to psychology and have been developed to help us better understand
the role of prior experiences in a variety of areas of psychology.

The Cognitive Approach and Cognitive Neuroscience

Science is always influenced by the technology that surrounds it, and psychology is no exception. Thus it is no
surprise that beginning in the 1960s, growing numbers of psychologists began to think about the brain and about
human behaviour in terms of the computer, which was being developed and becoming publicly available at that time.
The analogy between the brain and the computer, although by no means perfect, provided part of the impetus for a
new school of psychology called cognitive psychology. Cognitive psychology is a field of psychology that studies
mental processes, including perception, thinking, memory, and judgment. These actions correspond well to the
processes that computers perform. Although cognitive psychology began in earnest in the 1960s, earlier psychologists
had also taken a cognitive orientation. Some of the important contributors to cognitive psychology include the
German psychologist Hermann Ebbinghaus (1850-1909), who studied the ability of people to remember lists of words
under different conditions, and the English psychologist Sir Frederic Bartlett (1886-1969), who studied the cognitive
and social processes of remembering. Bartlett created short stories that were in some ways logical but also contained
some very unusual and unexpected events. Bartlett discovered that people found it very difficult to recall the stories
exactly, even after being allowed to study them repeatedly, and he hypothesized that the stories were difficult to
remember because they did not fit the participants’ expectations about how stories should go. The idea that our
memory is influenced by what we already know was also a major idea behind the cognitive-developmental stage
model of Swiss psychologist Jean Piaget (1896-1980). Other important cognitive psychologists include Donald E.
Broadbent (1926-1993), Daniel Kahneman (1934-), George Miller (1920-2012), Eleanor Rosch (1938-), and Amos
Tversky (1937-1996).
The War of the Ghosts
The War of the Ghosts is a story that was used by Sir Frederic Bartlett to test the influence of prior expectations on
memory. Bartlett found that even when his British research participants were allowed to read the story many times,
they still could not remember it well, and he believed this was because it did not fit with their prior knowledge. One
night two young men from Egulac went down to the river to hunt seals, and while they were there it became foggy
and calm. Then they heard war-cries, and they thought: “Maybe this is a war-party.” They escaped to the shore, and
hid behind a log. Now canoes came up, and they heard the noise of paddles and saw one canoe coming up to them.
There were five men in the canoe, and they said: “What do you think? We wish to take you along. We are going up
the river to make war on the people.” One of the young men said, “I have no arrows.” “Arrows are in the canoe,” they
said. “I will not go along. I might be killed. My relatives do not know where I have gone. But you,” he said, turning to
the other, “may go with them.” So one of the young men went, but the other returned home. And the warriors went on
up the river to a town on the other side of Kalama. The people came down to the water and they began to fight, and
many were killed. But presently the young man heard one of the warriors say, “Quick, let us go home: that Indian has
been hit.” Now he thought: “Oh, they are ghosts.” He did not feel sick, but they said he had been shot. So the canoes
went back to Egulac and the young man went ashore to his house and made a fire. And he told everybody and said:
“Behold I accompanied the ghosts, and we went to fight. Many of our fellows were killed, and many of those who
attacked us were killed. They said I was hit, and I did not feel sick.” He told it all, and then he became quiet. When the
sun rose he fell down. Something black came out of his mouth. His face became contorted. The people jumped up and
cried. He was dead. (Bartlett, 1932)

In its argument that our thinking has a powerful influence on behaviour, the cognitive approach provided a distinct
alternative to behaviourism. According to cognitive psychologists, ignoring the mind itself will never be sufficient
because people interpret the stimuli that they experience. For instance, when a boy turns to a girl on a date and says,
“You are so beautiful,” a behaviourist would probably see that as a reinforcing (positive) stimulus. And yet the girl
might not be so easily fooled. She might try to understand why the boy is making this particular statement at this
particular time and wonder if he might be attempting to influence her through the comment. Cognitive psychologists
maintain that when we take into consideration how stimuli are evaluated and interpreted, we understand behaviour
more deeply. Cognitive psychology remains enormously influential today, and it has guided research in such varied
fields as language, problem solving, memory, intelligence, education, human development, social psychology, and
psychotherapy. The cognitive revolution has been given even more life over the past decade as the result of recent
advances in our ability to see the brain in action using neuroimaging techniques. Neuroimaging is the use of various
techniques to provide pictures of the structure and function of the living brain (Ilardi & Feldman, 2001). These images
are used to diagnose brain disease and injury, but they also allow researchers to view information processing as it
occurs in the brain, because the processing causes the involved area of the brain to increase metabolism and show up
on the scan. We have already discussed the use of one neuroimaging technique, functional magnetic resonance
imaging (fMRI), in the research focus earlier in this section, and we will discuss the use of neuroimaging techniques
in many areas of psychology in the chapters to follow.

Social-Cultural Psychology
A final school, which takes a higher level of analysis and which has had substantial impact on psychology, can be
broadly referred to as the social-cultural approach. The field of social-cultural psychology is the study of how the
social situations and the cultures in which people find themselves influence thinking and behaviour. Social-cultural
psychologists are particularly concerned with how people perceive themselves and others, and how people influence
each other’s behaviour. For instance, social psychologists have found that we are attracted to others who are similar to
us in terms of attitudes and interests (Byrne, 1969), that we develop our own beliefs and attitudes by comparing our
opinions to those of others (Festinger, 1954), and that we frequently change our beliefs and behaviours to be similar
to those of the people we care about—a process known as conformity. An important aspect of social-cultural
psychology are social norms—the ways of thinking, feeling, or behaving that are shared by group members and
perceived by them as appropriate (Asch, 1952; Cialdini, 1993). Norms include customs, traditions, standards, and
rules, as well as the general values of the group. Many of the most important social norms are determined by
the culture in which we live, and these cultures are studied by cross-cultural psychologists. A culture represents the
common set of social norms, including religious and family values and other moral beliefs, shared by the people who
live in a geographical region (Fiske, Kitayama, Markus, & Nisbett, 1998; Markus, Kitayama, & Heiman, 1996;
Matsumoto, 2001). Cultures influence every aspect of our lives, and it is not inappropriate to say that our culture
defines our lives just as much as does our evolutionary experience (Mesoudi, 2009). Psychologists have found that
there is a fundamental difference in social norms between Western cultures (including those in Canada, the United
States, Western Europe, Australia, and New Zealand) and East Asian cultures (including those in China, Japan,
Taiwan, Korea, India, and Southeast Asia). Norms in Western cultures are primarily oriented toward individualism,
which is about valuing the self and one’s independence from others. Children in Western cultures are taught to
develop and to value a sense of their personal self, and to see themselves in large part as separate from the other
people around them. Children in Western cultures feel special about themselves; they enjoy getting gold stars on their
projects and the best grade in the class. Adults in Western cultures are oriented toward promoting their own individual
success, frequently in comparison to (or even at the expense of) others. Norms in the East Asian culture, on the other
hand, are oriented toward interdependence or collectivism. In these cultures children are taught to focus on developing
harmonious social relationships with others. The predominant norms relate to group togetherness and connectedness,
and duty and responsibility to one’s family and other groups. When asked to describe themselves, the members of
East Asian cultures are more likely than those from Western cultures to indicate that they are particularly concerned
about the interests of others, including their close friends and their colleagues.
East vs West. In Western cultures social norms promote a focus on the self (individualism), whereas
in Eastern cultures the focus is more on families and social groups (collectivism).
Another important cultural difference is the extent to which people in different cultures are bound by social norms and
customs, rather than being free to express their own individuality without considering social norms (Chan, Gelfand,
Triandis, & Tzeng, 1996). Cultures also differ in terms of personal space, such as how closely individuals stand to
each other when talking, as well as the communication styles they employ. It is important to be aware of cultures and
cultural differences because people with different cultural backgrounds increasingly come into contact with each other
as a result of increased travel and immigration and the development of the Internet and other forms of communication.
In Canada, for instance, there are many different ethnic groups, and the proportion of the population that comes from
minority (non-White) groups is increasing from year to year. The social-cultural approach to understanding behaviour
reminds us again of the difficulty of making broad generalizations about human nature. Different people experience
things differently, and they experience them differently in different cultures.

The Many Disciplines of Psychology

Psychology is not one discipline but rather a collection of many subdisciplines that all share at least some common
approaches and that work together and exchange knowledge to form a coherent discipline (Yang & Chiu,
2009). Because the field of psychology is so broad, students may wonder which areas are most suitable for their
interests and which types of careers might be available to them. Table 1.5, “Some Career Paths in Psychology,” will
help you consider the answers to these questions. You can learn more about these different fields of psychology and
the careers associated with them at

Table 1.5 Some Career Paths in Psychology.

[Skip Table]

Psychology field Description Career opportunities

This field examines the

physiological bases of behaviour
Most biopsychologists work in research
in animals and humans by
Biopsychology settings—for instance, at universities, for the
studying the functioning of
and neuroscience federal government, and in private research
different brain areas and the
effects of hormones and
neurotransmitters on behaviour.

Clinical and counseling psychologists

These are the largest fields of provide therapy to patients with the goal of
Clinical and psychology. The focus is on the improving their life experiences. They work
counselling assessment, diagnosis, causes, in hospitals, schools, social agencies, and
psychology and treatment of mental private practice. Because the demand for this
disorders. career is high, entry to academic programs is
highly competitive.
Table 1.5 Some Career Paths in Psychology.

[Skip Table]

Psychology field Description Career opportunities

This field uses sophisticated

Cognitive psychologists work primarily in
research methods, including
Cognitive research settings, although some (such as
reaction time and brain imaging,
psychology those who specialize in human-computer
to study memory, language, and
interactions) consult for businesses.
thinking of humans.

Many work in research settings, although

These psychologists conduct
others work in schools and community
Developmental research on the cognitive,
agencies to help improve and evaluate the
psychology emotional, and social changes
effectiveness of intervention programs such
that occur across the lifespan.
as Head Start.

Forensic psychologists apply

psychological principles to Forensic psychologists work in the criminal
Forensic understand the behaviour of justice system. They may testify in court and
psychology judges, lawyers, courtroom may provide information about the reliability
juries, and others in the criminal of eyewitness testimony and jury selection.
justice system.

Health psychologists are

Health psychologists work with medical
concerned with understanding
Health professionals in clinical settings to promote
how biology, behaviour, and the
psychology better health, conduct research, and teach at
social situation influence health
and illness.

Industrial-organizational There are a wide variety of career

Industrial- opportunities in these fields, generally
psychology applies psychology
organizational and working in businesses. These psychologists
to the workplace with the goal of
environmental help select employees, evaluate employee
improving the performance and
psychology performance, and examine the effects of
well-being of employees.
different working conditions on behaviour.
Table 1.5 Some Career Paths in Psychology.

[Skip Table]

Psychology field Description Career opportunities

They may also work to design equipment

and environments that improve employee
performance and reduce accidents.

These psychologists study

Most work in academic settings, but the
people and the differences
skills of personality psychologists are also in
among them. The goal is to
Personality demand in business—for instance, in
develop theories that explain the
psychology advertising and marketing. PhD programs in
psychological processes of
personality psychology are often connected
individuals, and to focus on
with programs in social psychology.
individual differences.

School psychologists work in elementary and

secondary schools or school district offices
This field studies how people
School and with students, teachers, parents, and
learn in school, the effectiveness
educational administrators. They may assess children’s
of school programs, and the
psychology psychological and learning problems and
psychology of teaching.
develop programs to minimize the impact of
these problems.

This field examines people’s

interactions with other people. Many social psychologists work in
Social and cross-
Topics of study include marketing, advertising, organizational,
conformity, group behaviour, systems design, and other applied
leadership, attitudes, and psychology fields.
personal perception.

This field studies the

psychological aspects of sports Sports psychologists work in gyms, schools,
Sports psychology behaviour. The goal is to professional sports teams, and other areas
understand the psychological where sports are practiced.
factors that influence
Table 1.5 Some Career Paths in Psychology.

[Skip Table]

Psychology field Description Career opportunities

performance in sports, including

the role of exercise and team

Psychology in Everyday Life: How to Effectively Learn

and Remember
One way that the findings of psychological research may be particularly helpful to you is in terms of improving your
learning and study skills. Psychological research has provided a substantial amount of knowledge about the principles
of learning and memory. This information can help you do better in this and other courses, and can also help you
better learn new concepts and techniques in other areas of your life. The most important thing you can learn in college
is how to better study, learn, and remember. These skills will help you throughout your life, as you learn new jobs and
take on other responsibilities. There are substantial individual differences in learning and memory, such that some
people learn faster than others. But even if it takes you longer to learn than you think it should, the extra time you put
into studying is well worth the effort. And you can learn to learn—learning to study effectively and to remember
information is just like learning any other skill, such as playing a sport or a video game.
To learn well, you need to be ready to learn. You cannot learn well when you are tired, when you are under stress,
or if you are abusing alcohol or drugs. Try to keep a consistent routine of sleeping and eating. Eat moderately and
nutritiously, and avoid drugs that can impair memory, particularly alcohol. There is no evidence that stimulants such
as caffeine, amphetamines, or any of the many “memory-enhancing drugs” on the market will help you learn (Gold,
Cahill, & Wenk, 2002; McDaniel, Maier, & Einstein, 2002). Memory supplements are usually no more effective than
drinking a can of sugared soda, which releases glucose and thus improves memory slightly.
Psychologists have studied the ways that best allow people to acquire new information, to retain it over time, and
to retrieve information that has been stored in our memories. One important finding is that learning is an active
process. To acquire information most effectively, we must actively manipulate it. One active approach is rehearsal—
repeating the information that is to be learned over and over again. Although simple repetition does help us learn,
psychological research has found that we acquire information most effectively when we actively think about or
elaborate on its meaning and relate the material to something else. When you study, try to elaborate by connecting the
information to other things that you already know. If you want to remember the different schools of psychology, for
instance, try to think about how each of the approaches is different from the others. As you compare the approaches,
determine what is most important about each one and then relate it to the features of the other approaches.
In an important study showing the effectiveness of elaborative encoding, Rogers, Kuiper, and Kirker (1977) found
that students learned information best when they related it to aspects of themselves (a phenomenon known as the self-
reference effect). This research suggests that imagining how the material relates to your own interests and goals will
help you learn it. An approach known as the method of loci involves linking each of the pieces of information that you
need to remember to places that you are familiar with. You might think about the house that you grew up in and the
rooms in it. You could put the behaviourists in the bedroom, the structuralists in the living room, and the functionalists
in the kitchen. Then when you need to remember the information, you retrieve the mental image of your house and
should be able to “see” each of the people in each of the areas.
One of the most fundamental principles of learning is known as the spacing effect. Both humans and animals more
easily remember or learn material when they study the material in several shorter study periods over a longer period of
time, rather than studying it just once for a long period of time. Cramming for an exam is a particularly ineffective
way to learn. Psychologists have also found that performance is improved when people set difficult yet realistic goals
for themselves (Locke & Latham, 2006). You can use this knowledge to help you learn. Set realistic goals for the time
you are going to spend studying and what you are going to learn, and try to stick to those goals. Do a small amount
every day, and by the end of the week you will have accomplished a lot.
Our ability to adequately assess our own knowledge is known as metacognition. Research suggests that our
metacognition may make us overconfident, leading us to believe that we have learned material even when we have
not. To counteract this problem, don’t just go over your notes again and again. Instead, make a list of questions and
then see if you can answer them. Study the information again and then test yourself again after a few minutes. If you
made any mistakes, study again. Then wait for a half hour and test yourself again. Then test again after one day and
after two days. Testing yourself by attempting to retrieve information in an active manner is better than simply
studying the material because it will help you determine if you really know it. In summary, everyone can learn to learn
better. Learning is an important skill, and following the previously mentioned guidelines will likely help you learn
Key Takeaways
 The first psychologists were philosophers, but the field became more empirical and objective as more sophisticated
scientific approaches were developed and employed.
 Some basic questions asked by psychologists include those about nature versus nurture, free will versus
determinism, accuracy versus inaccuracy, and conscious versus unconscious processing.
 The structuralists attempted to analyze the nature of consciousness using introspection.
 The functionalists based their ideas on the work of Darwin, and their approaches led to the field of evolutionary
 The behaviourists explained behaviour in terms of stimulus, response, and reinforcement, while denying the
presence of free will.
 Cognitive psychologists study how people perceive, process, and remember information.
 Psychodynamic psychology focuses on unconscious drives and the potential to improve lives through
psychoanalysis and psychotherapy.
 The social-cultural approach focuses on the social situation, including how cultures and social norms influence our

Exercises and Critical Thinking

1. What type of questions can psychologists answer that philosophers might not be able to answer as completely or as
accurately? Explain why you think psychologists can answer these questions better than philosophers can.
2. Choose one of the major questions of psychology and provide some evidence from your own experience that
supports one side or the other.
3. Choose two of the fields of psychology discussed in this section and explain how they differ in their approaches to
understanding behaviour and the level of explanation at which they are focused.

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Bartlett, F. C. (1932). Remembering. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
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Benjamin, L. T., Jr., & Baker, D. B. (2004). From seance to science: A history of the profession of psychology in
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Harris, J. (1998). The nurture assumption: Why children turn out the way they do. New York, NY: Touchstone
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Locke, E. A., & Latham, G. P. (2006). New directions in goal-setting theory. Current Directions in Psychological
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Indian Psychology
Indian Psychology is an integrative method that combines spirituality and science. This psychological school developed out of the
traditions of mainstream, Western psychology mixed with the teachings of ancient Indian traditions. These ancient traditions address
consciousness, matter, reality, and knowledge-the typical human questions. These ancient traditions also maintain loose boundaries on
its theories; religion, philosophy, and psychology all combined into one. This interdisciplinary method is the main appeal of the school
today. Indian Psychologists use the knowledge of consciousness as the bridge between the mind and the environment, drawing on the
teachings of Buddhism, Hinduism, and Veda.

History of East-West Psychology:

An Indo-centric Approach to the Early Development of Psychology in the West

Many people believe that East-West philosophy and East-West psychology are new or modern subjects. This misconception arises, largely, due to a European
historiography that recognizes colonial thinkers, and overlooks the historical interaction between the philosophies of the East and West and its impact.
Eastern philosophy began entering and influencing Europe through Jesuit priests in the sixteenth century. Philosophers sought to understand Eastern
thought, whose influence is evinced both by clear cultural exchanges as well as by conceptual echoes, particularly in the field of psychology. Despite the
interaction and influence evinced by the extensive history of intellectual exchange, its history has been obscured by the colonial narrative in order to establish
hegemony. Wilhelm Halbfass asks if “the encounter between India and Europe, and the comparison of Indian and European philosophies, opened new
prospects for philosophy itself?[i] This article reviews the historical timeline of cross-cultural interaction of Sanskrit literature, key intellectuals influenced,
and looks at the impact this interaction had on the philosophy of mind and the creation of the science of psychology.
Psychological material plays an important role in Sanskrit literature and culture. Even the texts on drama (the earliest being the fourth century BCE), for
example, contain theories about core affects and emotions and the mental perceptions which modulate them. These texts are not religious and have a
separation between art, science and religion, something that has been a definition of modernity in the West.[ii] The nature of Sanskrit literature and the it’s
philosophical traditions of mind have influenced almost all major streams of modern psychology, and while given little credit, they have done this for the last
few centuries.[iii]
A review of the European interaction with Sanskrit literature and its various philosophies of mind reveal an overwhelming influence that speaks for itself. The
first modern interaction with India began with the Portuguese who took control of Goa in order to control spice trading in 1510.[iv] Jesuit priests worked to
understand the Indian languages and religions, similar to work being done on Buddhism in Japan.[v] Reports on Buddhism from China and Thailand, and
Hinduism from India written by these Jesuit priests and traders[vi] filled European minds with wonder and philosophical debate. The first known full
Sanskrit translation in Europe, since exchanges during the Hellenistic time period,[vii] was Bhartṛhari’s poems translated in 1651 into Portuguese,[viii] and
eventually German and French.[ix] The first work on Sanskrit grammar appeared in 1660 by the German Jesuit Heinrich Roth. The Upaniṣads then appeared
in France from a Persian translation in 1671,[x] and mathematic and astronomical rules were published in 1691.[xi]
Pierre Bayle published his Dictionnaire Historique et Critque in 1697. His work summarized the known literature from contemporary Jesuits and other
explorers of the East.[xii] It discusses Buddhism, Brahmanism, concepts of consciousness, mind and nirvana.[xiii] His exposition challenged the European
Christian concept that everyone agreed (consensus gentium) on one god, and demonstrated that people without the ‘revelation of the Church’ had ethical
principles, evolved and just societies, and brought into Europe the concept of religious tolerance. These Eastern concepts inspired discussion and created the
space for scholars to question outside of church doctrine,[xiv] which inspired the Age of Enlightenment.[xv] Bayle’s dictionary was also a primary
inspiration for David Hume’s A Treatise of Human Nature (1738),[xvi] which is considered one of the most important works in the history of Western
philosophy.[xvii] Hume studied at the Jesuit Royal College in La Flèche which had teachers and alumni from Jesuit missions all over the world including
scholars of India and China.
The Jesuit Royal College in La Flèche was visited by Jesuits such as Ippolito Desideri who had spent 1716 to 1727 in Tibetan Buddhist monasteries and
learned Tibetan fluently. Besides a manuscript on the philosophical foundations of Tibetan Buddhism, Desideri translated the work of the Buddhist
philosopher Tsongkhapa into Italian explaining the concept of emptiness, karma, reincarnation, and meditation, and he talks about the Buddhist denial of
the self.

Throughout the eighteenth century, Western intellectuals compiled resources on Eastern history and thought and created tools for their interpretation. In
the 1720s, Johann Ernst Hanxleden, a Jesuit who learned Sanskrit from two Nambudiri Brahmans, composed a Sanskrit-Portuguese dictionary. James
Fraser (1713-1754) lived in Gujarat for 16 years while working for the East India Company and brought over 200 Sanskrit and Avestan manuscripts to
Oxford’s Bodleian Library. Voltaire, who was inspired by Eastern tolerance, received the Yajur Veda in 1760. Abraham Hyacinthe Anquetil collected over 180
manuscripts in various Indian languages and almost all known Avestan language texts, which he gave to the Royal Library in Paris in 1762. Stories about the
Empire of India (Hindustan) were published in 1764, and a Persian history of India (Hindostan) was translated in 1768. In 1776, a Sanskrit legal text
compilation was translated with intent to understand India’s legal system better, particularly property rights.[xviii]
Intellectuals of this time period read these translations and universities hired professors of Orientalism. Wilhelm Halbfass questions the “repercussions
which the study of India and the synoptic view of culture could have [had] upon the thinking European present.”[xix] The topics of European thought
underwent a transformation as seen in Immanuel Kant’s 1781 Critique of Pure Reason which has themes similar to Yogacāra Buddhism.[xx] The open-
mindedness of Hinduism was a revelation for Kant (and Europe).[xxi] We cannot ignore the influence of reading Buddhist literature and Upaniṣads on the
thought of 18th century philosophers.[xxii] During Kant’s time period, there were discussions and articles about Indological topics published in intellectual
journals,[xxiii] which in 1784, led to the founding of the Asiatic Society. In 1785, Charles Wilkins, who spent sixteen years learning Sanskrit in Varanasi,
India, made the first full translation of the Bhagavad Gītā into English.[xxiv]
The popularity of these efforts to know and understand Eastern thought and culture were not limited to the contemplative works of academics, but
influenced, also, popular culture. The works of Sir William Jones, in particular, evinces this popularity.[xxv] Jones, a hyper-polyglot who knew twenty-eight
languages, helped to identify the Indo-European langue connection.[xxvi] He became the Supreme Court Judge in Bengal, studied Sanskrit philosophy in
depth, and had many Sanskrit translation publications between the 1770s and the 1790s.[xxvii] Sir William Jones was a friend of Ben Franklin,[xxviii] and
also impacted Joseph Priestley who lectured to John Adams and Thomas Jefferson.[xxix] Jones’ 1789 translation of Kalidasa’s The recognition of
Sakuntala (fifth century) inspired the “Vorspiel auf dem Theater” in Goethe’s Faust (1829),[xxx]and, in 1835, Edgar Allen Poe quoted from Sir William
Jones.[xxxi] Such examples illustrate the popularity and extent to which Jones’ Sanskrit translations were read.
In 1802, Anquetil published a Latin translation of the Persian translation of fifty Upaniṣads (Oupnek’hat or Upanischada). A. Rixner presented a sample
from the Chāndogya Upaniṣad in German 1808.[xxxii] Henry Thomas Colebrooke worked for the East Indian Company, and learned Sanskrit and translated
the Amar kosha (a synonym dictionary) in 1805, and Brahmagupta and Bhāsakārācārya’s works on Indian mathematics and astronomy in
1817.[xxxiii] Colebrooke translated works on Indian logic (Sāṁkhya and Nyāya-Vaiśeṣika) in 1824.[xxxiv] His works were very influential and quoted by
many writers and philosophers. H.H. Wilson, among many other Sanskrit works, prepared the first Sanskrit-English dictionary in 1819. This sample of
publications show the large availability of classical Indian literature to Western philosophers.
Hegel (1770-1831) discussed both Indian and Chinese philosophy in his Lectures on the History of Philosophy (given between 1819 and 1831).[xxxv] A
dominating Christian hegemony can be seen in Hegel and other philosophers of his time, as they taught these lectures within the belief that the world was
only a few thousand years old and that all people descended from Noah’s Ark.[xxxvi] Arthur Schopenhauer (1788-1860) was a German philosopher openly
influenced by Vedānta, Buddhism and other Eastern philosophy. Schopenhauer was an admirer of the famous Indologist Sir William Jones and quotes
him.[xxxvii] In 1814, Arthur Schopenhauer read Anquetil’s Latin translation of the Fifty Upaniṣads and called it the worthiest literature in the world to
read.[xxxviii] Hegel, Schelling, Schopenhauer laid the foundation for western psychology to evolve and these ‘philosophers of mind’ were reading the latest
Sanskrit translations and corresponding with the translators.[xxxix]
Translation of Sanskrit texts and their discussions in Germany during the 1800s and early 1900s was immense and English, French and Latin translations
were quickly translated into German.[xl] Peter van Bohlen was a professor of oriental literature who published his translation/research on the
psycholinguistics of Bhartṛhari in 1833 and the poetry of Kalidasa’s Ritusanhara in 1840. Christian Lassen, of the University of Bonn, was a prolific
translator who was the first to publish Īśvarakṛṣṇa’s Sāṁkhyakārikā in 1832 under the name Gymnosphista. His later Anthologia Sanscritica did much
to stimulate Sanskrit studies in the German Universities. Otto von Böhtlingk, who published his first Vedic grammar text in 1847, translated and expanded
H.H. Wilson’s dictionary into the Sanskrit-German Petersburg Dictionary. Sir Monier Williams published many Sanskrit works between 1846 and 1897, and
created his famous English-Sanskrit dictionary in 1870. Georg Bühler also translated numerous works between the 1870s and 1890s. There were circles
where scholars and indologists regularly met.[xli] Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900) was influenced by Buddhism,[xlii] which he held in high
regard.[xliii] Paul Jakob Deussen, a friend of Friedrich Nietzsche, was an orientalist who was influenced by Arthur Schopenhauer, published Sanskrit
literature on logic, inquiry, and Vedanta between 1877 and 1922. These examples comprise only a few of the many Sanskritists of the 1700 and 1800s.[xliv]
The history above is an example of the huge amount of British, French and German orientalists and Indologists in the 1700s and 1800s. People such as
Voltaire praised Indian intellectual history during this time period[xlv] and utilized it to support the philosophy of the Enlightenment.[xlvi] The Asiatic and
Oriental research journals enjoyed an unprecedented popularity.[xlvii] Yet, another current in Europe did not appreciate the expansion and popularity of
Sanskrit culture. In 1825, Goodrich’s Religious Ceremonies and Customs gave a derogatory comparison between Tibetan Buddhism and Roman
Catholicism.[xlviii] British Indomania of the 18th and 19th centuries was systematically attacked by Evangelicals such as Charles Grant and James Mill, who
saw the pagan culture as a danger to Christianity.[xlix] Beginning in 1757, the East India Company and its private armies ruled India,[l] and the evangelical
view supported the British as political stakes in India began to demand more antagonistic views of ‘indianess’.[li] British colonialism utilized white
supremacy to maintain power over their non-white colonies. In order to maintain this view, scholars patronized by the British denigrated local culture and
promoted the myth that all philosophy originated in Greece and Rome and that Mesopotamia[lii] (the birth place of their religious founder) was the cradle of
civilization. To avoid Christian criticism, publications such as the 1776 Sanskrit legal text compilation, facetiously stated that the author guarded against
religious absolutism so that the Indians might not mistakenly get the idea that they have the truth.[liii] This same dynamic is present in modern psychology
circles where techniques from Yoga are given other names to hide their origin in order to make them acceptable to the scientific community and the Christian
laymen. This lack of acknowledgement leads to a loss of depth and understanding that happens when the origins of these various concepts and techniques,
which have multiple interpretations, becomes hidden.
Interaction with Hinduism and Buddhism “initiated a cultural engagement that influenced Western theories of its own history, aesthetics, theology, science,
linguistics, anthropology, comparative history, literature, philology and religion.”[liv] While the Church focused dialogue on morality, salvation, faith and
views of the soul, the Hindu-Buddhist fascination with an empirical analysis of mind and its function impacted the philosophers of mind both in topic and
thought process:[lv] Sanskrit concepts such as the self (ātman) and no-self,[lvi] self-reflective thought (vicāra) that identifies our mind as creating our
reality,[lvii] models of reasoning and philosophical analysis,[lviii] phenomenology,[lix] differentiating the conscious perceiver from the senses, affects,
emotions and thoughts that arise in the mind in order to study them (viveka), as well as awareness of the shadow self (pāpa puruṣa). Many have failed to
distinguish and acknowledge the transition of European thought as it integrated Sanskrit ideas.[lx]
Not everyone appreciated the new ideas and Indomania slowly became Indophobia. After an Indian rebellion in 1857, the British Crown took control of India,
and began increasing Babington Macaulay’s 1833 program to instil European superiority by discrediting Indian intellectual history and only teaching
European philosophy in schools, only in English. Narratives that emphasized Indian’s ancient history, wealthy kingdoms, superior grammar system, algebra,
or psychological concepts fell into disfavour, as they did not support the British governments program of oppression of “an inferior race.”[lxi] Within this
context, Max Müller is one of the most famous German Indologists who published from 1844 to 1902 in English, and created the colonialist construct of
Indian philosophy taught in academic institutions to the present.[lxii] The philosophical view of Müller and Monier-Williams was to translate Indian texts
that were considered less evolved than Christianity with the intention of conversion.[lxiii]
British praise for Sanskrit subjects lessened, yet Sanskrit concepts were often appropriated without acknowledgement.[lxiv] Indology still flourished in
Germany. Hermann Oldenberg was a German Indologist whose 1881 study of Buddhism remained continuously in print. He also translated Theravada
Vinaya texts, Vedic Grhyastutras, and Vedic Hymns. New translations were regularly available in Germany through several Buddhist Journals (Der
Buddhist, Buddhistischer Weltspiegel, Buddhistische Welt, Der Pfad, Zeitschrift für Buddhismus).[lxv] The most popular French translations were
Burnouf’s Introduction à l’histoire du bouddhisme (1844), translations of the Ṛg Veda (1849), Saint-Hilaire’s Le Bouddha et sa religion (1850), and the
Bhagavad Gita (1861).[lxvi] More Sanskrit works were translated in the 1800’s up until World War II than in the subsequent period to the present, and many
of these remain the standard translations used by scholars of the field.[lxvii]
In the America, there was constant interaction with Indian products and ideas from the earliest time of the colonies.[lxviii] The first recorded Sanskrit
teaching in the US was in City University of New York as early as 1836.[lxix] In the 1840’s began a big oriental period when Edward Salisbury started
teaching Sanskrit at Yale University, and the Transcendentalist periodical, The Dial, began publishing Asian translations which made discussions of
Buddhism more common.[lxx] In the late 1800’s, anti-dogmatism was promoted in magazines discussing Indian philosophy and religion, like The Path,
Theosophical Magazine, Theosophical Forum, The Pacific Theosophist and The New Californian.[lxxi] William Dwight Whitney was one of the most
influential Sanskrit translators and Vedic philologists who lived in Massachusetts and published a large amount of Sanskrit literature between 1856 and 1894.
These writings were read by and inspired Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882),[lxxii] Henry David Thoreau (1843-1916), Walt Whitman[lxxiii] (1819-1892),
William Butler Yeats (1865-1939) and T.S. Elliot[lxxiv] (1888-1965) all whom acknowledged inspiration from Sanskrit literature.[lxxv]
All the references above show the impact Sanskrit literature had on the great western thinkers, but there is another influence on Western thought from
Indian grammar that cannot be under estimated.[lxxvi] Modern linguistics began in the late 1700’s centered around Indo-European studies.[lxxvii] Grammar
is often thought of as a grade school subject in the West, but in Sanskrit it is an advanced philosophy about consciousness, thought and speech as important
as religion.[lxxviii] The Sanskrit grammarian Bhartṛhari, was more of a psycholinguist than grammarian, with psychological discussions on language,
perception and consciousness that have been appropriated without reference.[lxxix] William Dwight Whitney, similar to Bhartrhari and Sanskrit grammar,
discusses the arbitrary nature of language signs and the social construction of language. This concept was expanded by the Sanskrit lecturer, Ferdinand de
Saussure (1857-1913),[lxxx] who taught Sanskrit and Indo-European languages at university of Geneva starting in 1892, and founded the school of
structuralism.[lxxxi] Saussure’s ideas are said to have laid the foundation for modern linguistics and semiology,[lxxxii] and have been absorbed into how
language is approached at such a fundamental level that it is not even noticed.[lxxxiii] The ideas of Whitney and Saussure exemplify the linguistic turn of the
early twentieth century,[lxxxiv] which reconceived of language as constructing – rather than representing – the world we perceive.
The linguistic turn influenced Gottlob Frege (1848- 1925), one of the founders of analytic philosophy, and Ludwig Wittgenstein (1889-1951), who influenced
many analytic thinkers, logicians, and philosophers of mind.[lxxxv] These thinkers and others are indebted to the concepts within Sanskrit, which are
fundamental to their frame of thought.[lxxxvi] Ken Wilber calls this linguistic turn “just another name for the great transition from modernity to
postmodernity. Where both premodern and modern cultures simply and naively used their language to approach the world, the postmodern mind spun on its
heels and began to look at language itself.” Wilber states that, “in the entire history of human beings, this, more or less, had never happened
before.”[lxxxvii] Wilber’s ideas, like the ideas of so many others, fall prey to a Western-centric narrative that overlooks the influences of cross-cultural
exchange on linguistic concepts. The majority of ideas contained within the linguistic turn are traditional Sanskrit concepts generally
unacknowledged.[lxxxviii] Heidegger[lxxxix] and Postmodernism[xc] are heavily influenced by these specific type of Sanskrit ideas.[xci] Buddhist, Vedāntin,
and other schools of Sanskrit thought focused on logic, reasoning, perception and the nature of mind. As Western culture could be said to have a more
historical approach, Sanskrit culture could be said to have a more psychological approach. In this way, the focus of Sanskrit literature heavily influenced the
thought processes of philosophers of mind, language and other sciences (which at that time were less diversified).[xcii]
There was no discipline of psychology in Europe or America before the late 1800s. Early psychological writings were called metaphysics[xciii] During the
early 1800s there was debate in the writings of Kant and Reid about whether ‘psychology’ was something to study scientifically or whether it was meant to be
philosophized about. Then Wilhelm Wundt, a German scientist and philosopher of physiology, social anthropology, cosmology, language, neurophysiology,
sensory perception and cultural psychology, became the first scientist to experiment with self-consciousness in 1879.[xciv] His psychological laboratory was
at the University of Leipzig, one of the centers of research in linguistics and grammar inspired by Sanskrit. His peers and the topics of his time period were
directly influenced by Sanskrit literature, and his process theory, in particular, shows an influence of Saṁkhya philosophy (popular at that time), which
focuses on mental causality, efficient cause, sensory stimuli, mental structure, self-inquiry and observation.[xcv] Wundt is considered the first “psychologist”
and defined the new science of psychology as the study of the general principles of the inner experience in its immediately subjective reality.[xcvi] Wundt
made the distinctions between philosophy, the metaphysis of the soul, physiology and the newly established science of psychology. While not to lessen the
work of any early philosopher of mind (now psychologist), it is important to acknowledge the thought that inspired them. Swami Vivekananda commented
how European culture has been greater explorers of the external physical world, while Indian culture has been greater and equally scientific experts exploring
the inner mental sphere of consciousness.[xcvii]
While Wundt focused on the empirical science of mind, others focused on a more spiritual approach to the topics in the Sanskrit literature. In 1879, the same
year Wundt set up his laboratory, Helena Blavatsky moved to India and with her Theosophical Society, began developing the “New Age” approach to Indian
philosophy.[xcviii] Many of the Sanskrit-English translations utilized today are based on research by the Theosophical Society. Smaller movements of Indian
philosophy in the early 20th century also influenced the West through Indian teachers such as Swami Vivekanada (1863-1902), Sri Aurobindu (1872-1950),
Swami Sivananda (1887-1963), Paramhamsa Yogananda (1893-1952), Jiddu Krishnamurti (1895-1986), and others.
William James is considered the father of American Psychology. He was a Harvard professor and philosopher who helped establish the field of psychology as
a logical and empirical discipline, and was the first American professor to teach a psychology class.[xcix] William James was openly interested in Buddhist
philosophy and its views on consciousness,[c] and had friends who were scholars of Sanskrit literature.[ci] His interest in Indian philosophy and
parapsychology led him, in 1882, to become a member of the Theosophical Society which was translating and discussing Sanskrit literature with Indian
scholars.[cii] The Principles of Psychology, published by James in 1890, was the most popular psychology text book in America and set the guiding
questions American psychologists focused on for the next few decades.[ciii] His continuing interest in the Buddhist science of mind can be seen by his
invitation to the Sri Lankan Buddhist, Anagarika Dharmapala, to lecture in his Psychology class in 1903 and his following comment that implied the West
still had a lot to learn from Buddhism.[civ]
Sir John George Woodroffe (1865–1936) started as a Judge in the Calcutta High Court and rose to become the Chief Justice of India. He translated and
commented on over twenty Sanskrit Tāntric texts from 1913 to 1922 under the pseudonym Arthur Avalon. He was a specialist in the realm of Yoga and
Tantra, and brought into popularity concepts such as non-dualism, śakti, chakras and the transformative power of kuṇḍalini, which inspired many early
scholars like Heinrich Zimmer[cv] and psychologists like Carl Jung who eventually wrote his own thoughts on kuṇḍalini.[cvi]
In a clinical setting, Freud began changing the discussion of psychology in 1895,[cvii] and Carl Jung in the early 1900’s. Jung was introduced as a teenager to
Indian and Chinese philosophy through the works of Schopenhauer[cviii] and his theory of the collective unconscious was inspired by his cross cultural study
of Eastern mythology and symbolism.[cix] Jung states that it was his professional practice as a doctor interested in the treatment of psychic suffering that
drew him to Buddhist thought.[cx] He had a familiarity with Indologists such as Max Müeller, Oldenburg and Duessen, as well as discussions with his friend
Herman Keyserling.[cxi] Jung spent a lot of time contemplating Eastern concepts and appropriating aspects he appreciated.[cxii] He practiced
Yoga[cxiii] and wrote that the “Buddhist psychological criticism” of The Tibetan Book of the Dead had been his constant companion which stimulated
many ideas, discoveries and insights.[cxiv] In Germany, Indologists regularly lectured to psychotherapists, not just on philosophy but topics such as Yogic
autogenic training.[cxv] Books on Psychoanalysis and Yoga were not uncommon.[cxvi]
Olga Fröbe, who had studied Theosophy, Vedānta and other Indian spiritual paths, founded the gatherings of Eranos (a banquet of ideas) in 1933
Switzerland, to bring together various multi-disciplinary scholars.[cxvii] The Eranos conferences had a goal of bridging the East and West.[cxviii] The theme
of the first conference was “Yoga and Meditation in East and West” (1933), and the second conference was “East-west Symbolism and Spiritual Direction”
(1934). At these gatherings, people like Carl Jung and the art and myth Indologist Heinrich Zimmer (1890-1943) became friends and shared
ideas.[cxix] Zimmer’s methods of research and Jung’s depth psychology had an interactive impact on each other.[cxx] If we compare the literature on myth
previous to Zimmer and Jung, we see anthropologist-psychologists like Wundt discussing Myth in the context of religious (adhidaivika) and nature
explanations (adhibautika).[cxxi] Zimmer and Jung promoted the Sanskrit psychological (ādhyatmika) aspect of myth which is used in depth psychology.
Followers of Jung have sought to obscure his Taoist, Tibetan Buddhist and Indian yoga influences because they see these as antagonistic to scientific
objectivity.[cxxii] Many early famous psychologists had Eastern practices, like the feminist Freudian psychologist Karen Horney who spent time in a Zen
monastery or the Jungian psychologist Hans Jacobs who wrote Western Psychotherapy and Hindu Sadhana.[cxxiii] These Eastern associations often
remain less known or are ignored because there is either a belief that the association makes one less scientific or there is fear that these associations have
non-Christian religious content that common people reject. The biggest loss from this is that it has created a lack of education about Eastern philosophies in
the psychological field, and people therefore rely and tertiary sources and understanding, and still see Eastern concepts as foreign.[cxxiv] There are even
recent scholars who believe that Indian Yoga teachers have taken techniques from modern psychology as many practices from the last two centuries give no
reference to their earlier inspiration.
The Eastern paths of Buddhism, Taoism, Vedāṇta, Yoga and other Sanskrit views do not fit the Western concept of religion and actually more resemble
philosophies and psychotherapies.[cxxv] This lack of difference between Eastern spirituality and psychology created an internal struggle for Carl Jung, which
western culture is still struggling with.[cxxvi] Jung also struggled between his own Christian and colonial thinking and the psychological implications of
Vedānta and Buddhism, which our Universities are still struggling with.[cxxvii] Jung, following Eurocentric views of his time, saw all religions/cultures other
than European-Christian as inferior and therefore the westernizing of Eastern concepts was considered to benefit them.
Indian thought has not been included in discussions of philosophy because of Hegel’s views of Indian philosophy as being a lower stage of European
evolution.[cxxviii] Hegel’s views supported the British Eurocentric white supremacist prejudice that was standard in the universities of America until the
1960s, and these ideas still persist in latent forms within various theories. Some university philosophy programs are still arguing in 2017 that only European
thought is considered philosophy.[cxxix] Because of this attitude, many modern psychologies are using techniques of Eastern philosophies, stripped of their
cultural clothing and unacknowledged.[cxxx] The Eastern concepts have been put into a western psychologism language, which is a belief system (similar to
religion) in itself.[cxxxi] And the majority of modern psychologists have no knowledge of the history of these techniques.[cxxxii] Many people associate
Indian philosophies’ influence on the West with the hippy movements of the 1960s and the Yoga movement of the 2000s, but this is indicative of the lack of
acknowledgement of the role of Sanskrit philosophy on modern psychological thought.[cxxxiii] Recent research and publications by scholars of the post-civil
rights generations have begun to present a more even viewpoint, but the system is slow to change. As more psychological benefits of Yoga have been
scientifically documented in the last few decades, some researchers have made statements that apologize for Yoga being the source of their
findings,[cxxxiv] as they can no longer change the name of the techniques to mask their source.[cxxxv]
As this article has demonstrated, the lack of understanding Sanskrit literature’s impact on Western culture is a remnant of Colonial rule. We can see Sanskrit
literature’s influence in some of the most influential minds of Western thought. The transformation of ideas and philosophy in the last four hundred years
cannot be seen outside of the context of Sanskrit philosophy’s impact on western consciousness, and the development of western psychology seen within this
context has the potential to broaden western clinical practice by deepening the roots of ideas and theories utilized today.

There is a lack of diverse plurality of philosophical traditions and practices within Western universities and a need to decolonize and teach more Eastern
philosophy.[cxxxvi] Research needs to acknowledge the Eastern sources for western ‘discoveries’ so that students and researchers have a greater depth when
studying. Allusions and vague references to Aristotle or Plato is not enough. The cultivation of a pluralistic outlook towards thousands of years of debates
about aspects of logic, reasoning, perception, imagination, consciousness, and the diverse views of mental health throughout the Eastern and Western
traditions can be accessible for the modern student. Psychology schools can look deeper at the influence of their founders, and begin teaching more of the
Eastern thought associated with the school’s ideologies, in a method that does not label it as alternative. Books can have a chapter on their antecedents, such
as a book on phenomenology could have a chapter on Buddhist phenomenological discussion, a book on Jungian therapy could have a chapter on the Tibetan
Book of the Dead, consciousness studies can reference Kashmir Śaivism. In this way, Eastern thought will have the respected place it deserves in the
psychological literature and the understanding of psychologists.
[i] Wilhelm Halbfass, India and Europe: An Essay in Understanding (New York: SUNY, 1988), 374.
[ii] Sheldon Pollock, A Rasa Reader: Classical Indian Aesthetics (New York: Columbia University Press), 4.
[iii] I use the term Sanskrit and Sanskrit literature instead of Indian or Hindu. I avoid the term Indian, as the classical literature was written in Sanskritic
Afghanistan, Pakistan, Nepal and modern day India. I avoid the term Hindu as it blurs the line between an ethnic connotation and a religious connotation.
Sanskrit literature contains Vedic, Hindu, Jain, Buddhist and non-religious literature such as texts on mathematics, laws, astronomy, art, poetry, etc. The
proper Sanskrit term would be Sanskriti, which means Sanskrit culture.
[iv] There were two main routes to China, controlled by the Portuguese and the Spanish. The Portuguese route stopped in Goa. D.E. Mungello, The Great
Encounter of China and the West 1500-1800 (Lanham, Maryland: Rowan & Littlefield Publishers, 2005), 34.
[v] Urs App, The Cult Of Emptiness: The Western Discovery of Buddhist Thought and the Invention of Oriental Philosophy (Switzerland, University
Media, 2014).
[vi] Alessandrini, Nunziatella. “Images of India through the Eyes of Filippo Sassetti, a Florentine Humanist Merchant in the 16th Century.” Sights and
Insights: Interactive Images of Europe and the Wider World 2 (Universidade Aberta, Lisbon, 2007): 43.
[vii] Thomas C. Mcevilley, The Shape of Ancient Thought: Comparative Studies in Greek and Indian Philosophies (New York, NY: Allworth Press, 2001). For
a critical look, see also Wilhelm Halbfass, “The Philosophical View of India in Classical Antiquity,” I ndia and Europe: An Essay in Understanding (New
York: SUNY, 1988), 1-23.
See also Parkes, Graham, Heidegger and Asian Thought (Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 1987).
[viii] Gaurinath Sastri, “History of the study of Sanskrit in the West”, A Concise History of Classical Sanskrit Literature (Motilal Banarsidass, 1987), 1.
Previous to this, Portuguese translations from Marathi were taking place, with parts of the Jñāneśvarī translated in 1560 by Manoel d’Oliveira.
[ix] Wilhelm Halbfass, India and Europe: An Essay in Understanding (New York: SUNY, 1988), 46.
[x] Tathagatananda, Swami. Journey of the Upanishads to the West (Vedanta Society of New York, 2002).
[xi] Giovanni Dominico Cassini published astronomical rules brought from Assam by M. de la Loubiére in 1691. G. R. Gaye, Hindu Astronomy Memoirs of the
Archaeological Survey of India, No. 18 Archaeological Survey of India (New Delhi: Bengal Offset Works, reprint 1998, original 1924).
[xii] Jesuit reports filled with philosophical content were published regularly in Lettres édifiantes et curieuses.
[xiii] Bayle compares Spinozism with the pagan scholars of India and Persia. Urs App, The Cult Of Emptiness, 225.
[xiv] Urs App, The Cult Of Emptiness, 219.
[xv] All major authors of the Enlightenment were familiar and aware of their present period knowledge about Eastern philosophies. “The Age of
Enlightenment was characterized by a very distinct association between a general interest in non-European traditions and the motif of criticizing
contemporary Christianity and Europe. Wilhelm Halbfass, India and Europe: An Essay in Understanding (New York: SUNY, 1988), 69.
[xvi] Gopnik, Alison. “Could David Hume Have Known about Buddhism?: Charles François Dolu, the Royal College of La Flèche, and the Global Jesuit
Intellectual Network.” Hume Studies 35, no. 1 (2009): 5-28. See also
[xvii] Don Garrett, Hume (New York: Routledge, 2015),14.
[xviii] This was translated by Nathaniel Brassey Halhed while in service of the East India Company in hopes to improve British implementation of law in
India where British law was used for general matters and Hindu or Islamic law was used for religious matters. It was followed by a Bengali grammar text in
1778. Halhed later translated Tipu Sultan’s book of Dreams (1810) and various parts of the Mahabharata. His Upaniṣad translation was unpublished and is
only available at the British Museum. See Rosan Rocher, “Nathaniel Brassey Halhed on the Upaniṣads (1787).” Annals of the Bhandarkar Oriental
Research Institute 58/59 (1977): 279-89.
[xix] Wilhelm Halbfass, India and Europe: An Essay in Understanding (New York: SUNY, 1988), 45, 79.
[xx] Gopnik, Alison. “Could David Hume Have Known about Buddhism?: Charles François Dolu, the Royal College of La Flèche, and the Global Jesuit
Intellectual Network.” Hume Studies 35, no. 1 (2009): 5-28.
[xxi] Wilhelm Halbfass, India and Europe: An Essay in Understanding (New York: SUNY, 1988), 407.
[xxii] Wilhelm Halbfass, India and Europe: An Essay in Understanding (New York: SUNY, 1988), 420.
[xxiii] Details of lectures and discussions can be found in Tathagatananda, Journey of the Upanishads to the West, 2002.
[xxiv] Charles Wilson, The Bhagavat Geeta: or Dialogues of Kreeshna and Arjoon in Eighteen Lectures with Notes (London: C. Nourse, 1785)
[xxv] Thomas R. Trautmann, Aryans and British India (Berkely: University of California Press, 1997), 28-61. See also Amit Ray, Negotiating the Modern:
Orientalism and Indianness in the Anglophone World (New York: Routledge, 2007), 42.
[xxvi] The Sanskrit language, whatever be its antiquity, is of a wonderful structure; more perfect than the Greek, more copious than the Latin, and more
exquisitely refined than either, yet bearing to both of them a stronger affinity, both in the roots of verbs and in the forms of grammar, than could have been
produced by accident; so strong, indeed, that no philologer could examine them all three, without believing them to have sprung from some common source,
which, perhaps, no longer exists. From Vasunia, Phiroze, The Classics and Colonial India (Oxford University Press, 2013), 17.
[xxvii] He is also known to have carried on a ten year correspondence about Jyotiṣa with Samuale Davis, another orientalist who was a diplomat for the East
Indian Company.
[xxviii] Thomas A. Tweed and Stephen Prothero, Asian Religions in America: A Documentary History (New York: Oxford University Press, 1999), 43.
[xxix] Thomas A. Tweed and Stephen Prothero, Asian Religions in America: A Documentary History (New York: Oxford University Press, 1999), 44-49.
[xxx] Georg Forster produced the German prose translation of Jones’ English version of “Sakuntala” and sent a copy to Goethe who wrote,
“If in one word of blooms of early and fruits of riper years,
Of excitement and enchantment I should tell,
Of fulfillment and content, of Heaven and Earth;
Then will l but say “Sakuntala” and have said all.”
“How Kalidasa’s Works Reached Germany,” Indian Review, accessed 25 March 2017,
[xxxi] Thomas Ollive Mabbott, ed., Edgar Allen Poe: Complete Poems (Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 2000), 116.
[xxxii] Wilhelm Halbfass, India and Europe: An Essay in Understanding (New York: SUNY, 1988), 35.
[xxxiii] This is the first official translation, but there is dispute about how much of this came into Europe earlier through Jesuit Priests. Bhāsakāra II (1114-
1185 CE) and Madhava Sangamagrama (1340-1425), the founder of the Kerala school of mathematicians, used calculus before either Newton or Leibniz.
There are various theories about this work entering Europe though open translations made by Jesuit priests, particularly the German Jesuit
astronomer/mathematician Clavius who was investigating how other cultures calculated their calendars. Almeida, D. F., J. K. John, and A. Zadorozhnyy.
“Keralese mathematics: Its possible transmission to Europe and the consequential educational implications.” Journal of Natural Geometry 20, no. 1/2
(2001): 77-104.
Gheverghese says “For some unfathomable reasons, the standard of evidence required to claim transmission of knowledge from East to West is greater than
the standard of evidence required to knowledge from West to East.” Indians Predated Newton’s ‘Discovery’ by 250 Years, posted 13 August 2007, accessed 16
August 2017, . See also Joseph, George Gheverghese. The
crest of the peacock: Non-European roots of mathematics. Princeton University Press, 2011. For an activist anti-racist discussion of the history of
mathematics see C.K. Raju, Archive for the ‘History and Philosophy of Mathematics’ Category, assessed 16 April 2017,

[xxxiv] Transactions of the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland 1, no. 1 (1824). This is
referenced by Hegel in his Lectures on the Philosophy of Religion.
[xxxv] Oliver Crawford, Hegel and the Orient, accessed 25 March 2017, . A sample of Hegel’s Indian
philosophy is available here: . A comparison of Hegel’s thought and Indian
philosophies is available here: .
[xxxvi] Urs App, The Birth of Orientalism (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2010), xiii. See also Wilhelm Halbfass, “Hegel,” India and
Europe: An Essay in Understanding (New York: SUNY, 1988), 84-99. See also by Thomas R. Trautmann, Aryans and British India (Berkely: University
of California Press, 1997), 53.
For a discussion of the cognitive dissonance that this brought up, see D.E. Mungello, The Great Encounter of China and the West 1500-1800 (Lanham,
Maryland: Rowan & Littlefield Publishers, 2005), 89.
[xxxvii] … how early this basic truth was recognized by the sages of India, since it appears as the fundamental tenet of the Vedānta philosophy ascribed
to Vyasa, is proved by Sir William Jones in the last of his essays: “On the Philosophy of the Asiatics” (Asiatic Researches, vol. IV, p. 164): “The fundamental
tenet of the Vedānta school consisted not in denying the existence of matter, that is solidity, impenetrability, and extended figure (to deny which would be
lunacy), but in correcting the popular notion of it, and in contending that it has no essence independent of mental perception; that existence and
perceptibility are convertible terms.”
[xxxviii] Urs App, Schopenhauer’s Compass. An Introduction to Schopenhauer’s Philosophy and its Origins. University Media, 2014.
[xxxix] Wilhelm Halbfass, India and Europe: An Essay in Understanding (New York: SUNY, 1988), 107. Hegel read Colebrooke as early as 1823, see Dale
Riepe, The Philosophy of India and Its Impact on American Thought (Springfield, Illinois: Charles Thomas Publisher, State University of New York at
Buffalo, 1970), 20.
[xl] Wilhelm Halbfass, India and Europe: An Essay in Understanding (New York: SUNY, 1988), 70. See also Douglas T. McGetchin, Indology,
Indomania, and Orientalism: Ancient India’s Rebirth in Modern Germany (Madison: Farleigh Dickinson University Press, 2009).
[xli] For example, Nietzsche met Wagner in the house of the Indologist H. Brockhaus arranged by Nietzsche’s student E. Windisch who was also an
Indologist. See Wilhelm Halbfass, India and Europe: An Essay in Understanding (New York: SUNY, 1988), 124.
[xlii] Freny Mistry, Nietzsche and Buddhism: prolegomenon to a comparative study. Vol. 6. (New York: Walter de Gruyter, 1981).
[xliii] Nietzsche’s high regard for Buddhism was my own entry into the world of Buddhism. My sophomore year of high school, I read the collected works of
Nietzsche, and afterwards started reading Buddhist thought.
[xlv] “I am convinced that everything has come down to us from the banks of the Ganges, – astronomy, astrology, metempsychosis, etc… It is very important
to note that some 2,500 years ago at the least Pythagoras went from Samos to the Ganges to learn geometry…But he would certainly not have undertaken
such a strange journey had the reputation of the Brahmins’ science not been long established in Europe.” Voltaire, Lettres sur l’origine des sciences et sur
celle des peuples de l’Asie letter of 15 December 1775, first published Paris, 1777. See “British Indomania”, by Thomas R. Trautmann, Aryans and British
India (Berkely: University of California Press, 1997), 62-98.
[xlvi] Wilhelm Halbfass, India and Europe: An Essay in Understanding (New York: SUNY, 1988), 49-68.
[xlviii] Thomas A. Tweed and Stephen Prothero, Asian Religions in America: A Documentary History (New York: Oxford University Press, 1999), 58.
[xlix] Thomas R. Trautmann, Aryans and British India (Berkely: University of California Press, 1997), 99-130.
[l] Discusses the East India Company, its politics and how India is perceived because of that: Roosa, John. “Orientalism, Political Economy, and the
Canonization of Indian Civilization.” In Enduring Western civilization: the construction of the concept of Western civilization and its “others” edited
by Silvia Federici, pages 137-155 (Westport, Connecticut: Praeger Publishers, 1995).
[li] Amit Ray, Negotiating the Modern: Orientalism and Indianness in the Anglophone World (New York: Routledge, 2007), 32
[lii] Mesopotamia is still often taught as the cradle of civilization to western students while archeology indicates the Indus, Chinese and Egyptian civilizations
are all happening at the same time.
[liii] Amit Ray, Negotiating the Modern: Orientalism and Indianness in the Anglophone World (New York: Routledge, 2007), 40.
[liv] Amit Ray, Negotiating the Modern: Orientalism and Indianness in the Anglophone World (New York: Routledge, 2007), 31.
[lv] Edward Conze, “Spurious Parallels to Buddhist Philosophy.” Philosophy East and West 13, no. 2 (1963): 105-15. doi:10.2307/1396797.
[lvi] James Giles, “The No-Self Theory: Hume, Buddhism, and Personal Identity,” Philosophy East and West, Vol. 43, No. 2 (University of Hawai’i Press,
1993), 175-200).,_Buddhism,_and_Personal_Identity_-
[lvii] Tola & Dragonetti, “Philosophy of mind in the Yogacara Buddhist idealistic school,” History of Psychiatry, 16(4): 453–465.
[lviii] Jonardon Ganeri, Why Philosophy Needs Sanskrit, Now More than Ever, Lecture at Yale University, 6 April 2017, p.7.
[lix] Edmund Husserl, the father of phenomenology, studied at the University of Leipzig (1876-1878), which is where many of the above Sanskrit translators
also went to school and which led a movement in grammar based on Sanskrit. Husserl was also inspired by the lectures of Wilhelm Wundt. For a comparison
of Buddhism to Phenomenology see Dan Lusthaus, Buddhist Phenomenology: A Philosophical Investigation of Yogacara Buddhism and the Ch’eng
Wei-shih Lun. Curzon Critical Studies in Buddhism Series (London: Routledge, 2002), viii. And Nyanaponika Thera and ed. Bhikkhu Bodhi, Abhidhamma
studies: Buddhist Explorations of Consciousness and Time (Somerville, Massachusetts: Wisdom Publication, 1998), 20. For articles discussing textual
comparisons see Fred Hanna, “Husserl on the Teachings of the Buddha,” The Humanistic Psychologist 23, no.3 (1995), 365-372. And Kwok-Ying Lau,
“Husserl, Buddhism and the Crisis of European Sciences,” Phenomenology and Intercultural Understanding: Contributions To Phenomenology, vol
87 (Springer, Cham, 2016). 53-66.
[lx] “From a psychological, historical and causal point of view, however, influence may be rather different. We know that psychologically, people can be
influenced by ideas, even if they themselves forget the source of those ideas. In fact, this ‘source amnesia’ is the rule rather than the exception. Information
about sources is actually encoded in a different kind of memory, ‘autobiographical’ or ‘episodic’ memory, while ideas or facts themselves are stored in more
robust ‘semantic’ memory.” Gopnik, Alison. “Could David Hume Have Known about Buddhism?: Charles François Dolu, the Royal College of La Flèche, and
the Global Jesuit Intellectual Network.” Hume Studies 35, no. 1 (2009): 7.
[lxi] Discusses the colonial myth of Greece as the cradle of knowledge for imperial control over the colonies. For example, presenting mathematics and
astronomy as a purely a European invention and omitting its actual development in the colonial territories to present the view that the empire has brought
civilization to the uncivilized. Joseph, George Gheverghese, “Mathematics and Eurocentrism.” In Enduring Western civilization: the construction of the
concept of Western civilization and its “others” edited by Silvia Federici, pages 119-135 (Westport, Connecticut: Praeger Publishers, 1995).
[lxii] Balaganapathi Devarakonda, “History of Indian Philosophy: Analysis of Contemporary Understanding of the Classical Through the Colonial,” Studies in
Humanities and Social Sciences, vol.19, 2012.
[lxiii] Wilhelm Halbfass, India and Europe: An Essay in Understanding (New York: SUNY, 1988), 51.
[lxiv] Hans Thomas Hakl, Eranos: An Alternative Intellectual History of the Twentieth Century (Ithica: Montreal & Kingston, 2013), 33-42.
[lxv] Hans Thomas Hakl, Eranos: An Alternative Intellectual History of the Twentieth Century (Ithica: Montreal & Kingston, 2013), 33.
[lxvi] Dale Riepe, The Philosophy of India and Its Impact on American Thought (Springfield, Illinois: Charles Thomas Publisher, State University of New
York at Buffalo, 1970), 19.
[lxvii] This has a similar correlation to publications of modern Indian philosophers, see Joel Katzav, “The disappearance of modern Indian philosophy from
Mind and the Philosophical Review,” Digressions & Impressions blog, accessed 22 November 2017,
[lxviii] Dale Riepe, The Philosophy of India and Its Impact on American Thought (Springfield, Illinois: Charles Thomas Publisher, State University of New
York at Buffalo, 1970), ix, 3-24.
[lxix] Dale Riepe, The Philosophy of India and Its Impact on American Thought (Springfield, Illinois: Charles Thomas Publisher, State University of New
York at Buffalo, 1970), xiv.
[lxx] Thomas A. Tweed and Stephen Prothero, Asian Religions in America: A Documentary History (New York: Oxford University Press, 1999), 62.
[lxxi] Dale Riepe, The Philosophy of India and Its Impact on American Thought (Springfield, Illinois: Charles Thomas Publisher, State University of New
York at Buffalo, 1970), x and xiii.
[lxxii] Dale Riepe, The Philosophy of India and Its Impact on American Thought (Springfield, Illinois: Charles Thomas Publisher, State University of New
York at Buffalo, 1970), 25-69.
[lxxiii] A comparison of Whitman’s ideas and poetry to the Sanskrit translations available at the New York public libraries during the time period he
wrote Leaves of Grass: Rajasekharaiah, Tumkur Rudraradhya. The Roots of Whitman’s Grass (New Jersey: Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, 1970).
[lxxiv] Sri, Padmanabhan S. TS Eliot, Vedanta and Buddhism (Vancouver: University of British Columbia Press, 1985). See also: Kearns, Cleo McNelly. TS
Eliot and Indic Traditions: A Study in Poetry and Belief (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1987). See also: Singh, Amar Kumar. TS Eliot and
Indian philosophy (Sterling Publishers, 1990).
[lxxv] A book discussing the influence of Sanskrit concepts starting with Emerson and Thoreau and focusing on its extensive impact on modern culture.
Goldberg, Philip. American Veda: From Emerson and the Beatles to Yoga and Meditation–how Indian Spirituality Changed the West (New York:
Three Rivers Press, 2010).
[lxxvi] Schlegel was the first to use the term “comparative grammar” which opened the dialogue of comparative philosophy through the Sanskrit literature
concept of accepting different yet valid perspectives (a concept we take for granted now). “Schlegel considered the ‘merely empirical way of thinking’ which
dominated his time to be even more deficient…” Wilhelm Halbfass, India and Europe: An Essay in Understanding (New York: SUNY, 1988), 80, 420.
Quoted from Schlegel’s Über die Sprache und Weisheit der Indier (On the Language and Wisdom of the Indians), 303. English Translation See also Wilhelm Halbfass, India and Europe, 427.
[lxxvii] Harold G. Coward and K. Kunjunni Raja (1990). “The Philosophy of the Grammarians,” Encyclopedia of Indian Philosophies Volume 5 (Princeton
University Press, 1990). ISBN 978-81-208-0426-5.
Also see Shrikant Talegeri, The Aryan Invasion Theory: A Reappraisal (Dew Delhi:Aditya Prakashan, 1993), 15.
[lxxviii] For example, in the Sarvadarṣanasaṁgraha we see a summary of Cārvāka, Bauddha, Ārhata, Rāmānuja, Purṇaprajñā of Madhva, Pāśupata,
Saivasiddhānta, Pratyabhijña, Raseśvara, Vaiśeṣika, Nyāya, Jaiminīya Mīmāṁsa, Pāṇinīya grammar, Sāṁkhya, Yoga and Advaita Vedānta, and another
chapter on vyākaraṇa (grammar). The author was an Advaitan who ordered these in his perception of lowest to most developed philosophy. Wilhelm
Halbfass, India and Europe: An Essay in Understanding (New York: SUNY, 1988), 352.
[lxxix] Johannes Bronkhorst, Language and reality: On an episode in Indian thought. Vol. 36. (Danvers, MA: Brill Indological Library, 2011).
[lxxx] De Saussure references Pāṇini and Bhartṛhari as having the most significant influence on his grammatical ideas in his 1879 Mémoire sur le système
primitif des voyelles dans les langues indo-européennes (Memoir on the Original System of Vowels in the Indo-European Languages) and his 1881 De
l’emploi du génitif absolu en sanscrit (On the Use of the Genitive Absolute in Sanskrit).
[lxxxi] Ferdinand de Saussure, Writings in General Linguistics (Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2006). Leonard Bloomfield, the father of American
structuralism, also wrote on Sanskrit grammar-“On some rules of Pāṇini.”
[lxxxii] Saussure sees the need for close collaboration between linguists and psychologists (73) and mentions Humbolt, Hermann Paul, Wundt, and Whitney
all in one section (185). He contemplates Whitney’s question whether we should ‘see language as a mechanism for allowing the expression of thought?’ (27,
140-150). Ferdinand de Saussure, Writings in General Linguistics (Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2006).
[lxxxiii] Paul Thibault, Re-reading Saussure: The Dynamics of Signs in Social Life (London: Routledge. 1996).
[lxxxv] One of the original analytic philosophers, Gottfried Leibniz, discussed the various opinions of Oriental scholars after the publication of Pierre
Bayle’s Dictionnaire Historique et Critque. See Urs App, The Cult of Emptiness: The Western Discovery of Buddhist Thought and the Invention of
Oriental Philosophy (Switzerland, University Media, 2014), 225-226.
[lxxxvi] “…That Sanskrit became richly imbricated within British and American intellectual and cultural histories, contributing significantly to the
development of modern forms of higher education, aesthetic forms such as British Literary Modernism, intellectual traditions, such as American philosophy,
and ideas about language, culture and religion, fundamentally influencing their future directions.” Sinha, Rajeshwari Mishka. “A history of the transmission
of Sanskrit in Britain and America, 1832-1939.” PhD diss., University of Cambridge, 2012. See also Sinha, Mishka. “Orienting America: Sanskrit and Modern Scholarship in the United
States, 1836–94” In Debating Orientalism, pp. 73-93. Palgrave Macmillan UK, 2013.
[lxxxvii] Wilber, Integral Psychology, 164-165
[lxxxviii] For example, Ferdinand de Saussure’s idea that a linguistic sign is composed of three parts – a material signifier (written or spoken word), the
signified (a concept associated with the word), and the actual referent – was considered monumental. In the fourth century, Bhartṛhari taught that within the
comprehension of sound there are three primary elements to perceiving. The first is the sound or word ( śabda) which denotes an object, then the mental
apprehension (pratyaya) of the meaning of the word, connecting the sound to the object. Then there is the actual object ( artha) denoted by the word. The
consciousness has pratyaya (apprehension) of artha (objects) and names those objects by śabda (word). The majority of ideas contained within the
linguistic turn are traditional Sanskrit concepts, and was developed much more in later Sanskrit texts, yet its Indian source is only rarely referenced in
European discussion.
[lxxxix] Parkes, Graham, Heidegger and Asian Thought (Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 1987).
[xc] A direct look at the roots of postmodern philosophy influenced by Sanskrit thought. Olson, Carl. Indian Philosophers and Postmodern Thinkers:
Dialogues on the margins of culture (New Delhi, India: Oxford University Press, 2002).
[xci] Heidegger, who completed his doctoral thesis on psychologism in 1914, was said to be more influenced by Chinese thought and even attempted a
translation of the Tao Te Ching, but by that time, Sanskrit ideas had already created the field of thought in German psychology as can be seen in
Olson, Indian Philosophers and Postmodern Thinkers, 2002.
[xcii] The 18th and 19th century philosopher Friedrich Schlegel stated that “European philosophy depended on the impulses, admittedly often indirect and
obscured, which it periodically received from Eastern thought, on an “alien ferment.” Wilhelm Halbfass, India and Europe: An Essay in
Understanding (New York: SUNY, 1988), 79. Quoted from Schlegel’s Über die Sprache und Weisheit der Indier (On the Language and Wisdom of
the Indians), 305. English Translation
[xciii] Edward Reed, From Soul to Mind (Yale University Press: New Haven, 1997), 22.
[xciv] Wundt had published Grundzüge der physiologischen Psychologie (Principles of Physiological Psychology) in 1874, but his experimental psychology is
dated to the founding of his laboratory.
[xcv] Saṁkhya philosophy is a non-theist philosophy of consciousness. It is non-theist because it says that god cannot be proven to exist or proven not to exist
and is therefore not pertinent to the study of consciousness. What is pertinent between Wundt and Saṁkhya is the focus sensory perception, cognition, and
volition. Many people often assume that Indian philosophy relates only to spirituality, as they have learned about Hindu religion, but have not learned about
the long history of rational Indian theories of logic, physical science, mathematics and astronomy.
[xcvi] Alan Kim, “Wilhelm Maximilian Wundt”, The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Fall 2016 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.), See also Wilhelm Wundt, trans. Charles Hubbard Judd, Outlines of Psychology
[Grundriss der Psychologie] (Leipzig, Wilhelm Engelmann, 1897).
[xcvii] Wilhelm Halbfass, India and Europe: An Essay in Understanding (New York: SUNY, 1988), 399, 572; referencing 105 Vivekananda I, 128ff.
[xcviii] The ideals of the Theosophical Society influenced many other movements, including what came to be called psychology. The Society’s objectives were
[1] To form a nucleus of the universal brotherhood of humanity without distinction of race, creed, sex, caste, or colour. [2] To encourage the study of
comparative religion, philosophy, and science. [3] To investigate the unexplained laws of nature and the powers latent in man. This is the original meaning of
the term ‘New Age.”
[xcix] In 1875/6 James taught Harvard University’s first course in physiological psychology called “The Relations between Physiology and Psychology.” His
research went between physiology and philosophy and followed the German experimental research closely. See Courses William James Taught at
Harvard, University of Kentucky, accessed 02 October 2017,
[c] David Scott, William James and Buddhism: American Pragmatism and the Orient, Religion, Volume 30, Issue 4, October 2000, Pages 333-352
[ci] Most closely was Josiah Royce with his knowledge of the Upaniṣads and the Harvard Sanskritist Charles Lanman. See Cleo McNelly Kearns, T.S. Eliot
and Indic Traditions: A Study in Poetry and Belief (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1987), 96.
[cii] Tony LySy, “William James, Theosophist,” Quest magazine, 88.6 November-December 2000): pg 228-233.
[ciii] “Many of his ideas such as the stream of consciousness (sota), constellation of mental states with changing satellite mental states, his pragmatic
epistemology is the central deconstructionist tenet of the Madhyamika school of Buddhism, artha-kriya, as elaborated by the Buddhist logic school of
Dignaga and Dharmakirti.” From Rajiv Malhotra, Being different: An Indian challenge to western universalism (New Delhi: HarperCollins, 2011), 95,
[civ] “This is the psychology everybody will be studying 25 years from now.”
[cv] Harry Oldmeadow, Journeys East: 20th Century Western Encounters with Eastern Religious Traditions (Indiana: World Wisdom Inc., 2004), 103.
[cvi] C.J. Jung, The Psychology of Kundalini Yoga (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1996).
[cvii] Freud had little direct South Asian influence, besides the German preoccupation with understanding the psyche that was awoken with Sanskrit
literature. Freud’s views seem to be based primarily on Plato, Kabala, experiences with hypnotherapy and his clinical research.
[cviii] Harry Oldmeadow, Journeys East: 20th Century Western Encounters with Eastern Religious Traditions (Indiana: World Wisdom Inc., 2004), 97.
[cix] Harry Oldmeadow, Journeys East: 20th Century Western Encounters with Eastern Religious Traditions (Indiana: World Wisdom Inc., 2004), 98.
[cx] C.G. Jung, trans R.R.C. Hull, Psychology and the East: from the Collected Works of C.G. Jung, Volumes 10, 11, 13 and 18 (Princeton: Princeton University
Press, 1978), 209.
[cxi] Herman Keyslerling was a proponent for a synthesis of Eastern and Western philosophy. Jung was a pluralist highlighting differences and being critical
of a unitive philosophy promoted by the Theosophical Society. Sudhir Kakar, Jung, Freud and India, accessed 21 March 2017, http://www.figs-, p.1.
[cxii] Jung took a colonialist approach to his use of Buddhist and Yogic practices as he believed he was taking out what had value and removing the more
primitive culture associated with them, see Luis O. Gómez, “Oriental Wisdom and the Cure of Souls: Jung and the Indian East” in Curators of the Buddha,
ed. Donald S. Lopez (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1995), 202. Jung was invited to India by the Indian Science Congress in 1938. He suffered
amoebic dysentery in the hospital for ten days and later said that “I got dysentery because I could not digest India,” see Jeffery Paine, Father India (New
York: Harper Collins, 1998), 106. Jung had a hard time when he visited India as his European superiority didn’t allow him to be receptive to learning directly
from the culture. He believed the Indians were civilized noble savages and mocked the Indian clothing (dhoti) as effeminate and complained about the Indian
culture. The following statement reveals his attitude when he said that India has “no sense of persona; it only knows the archetype. And that is why I made no
plans to visit Swamis or Gurus when I went to India. I knew what a Swami was; I had an exact idea of his archetype; and that was enough to know them all,
especially in a world where extreme personal differentiation does not exist as it does in the West. We have more variety, but its only superficial.” Referenced
from Sudhir Kakar, Jung, Freud and India, accessed 21 March 2017,, 6.
[cxiii] C.G. Jung, recorded and edited by Aniela Jaffé, Memories, Dreams, Reflections (New York: Vintage Books, 1989), 177.
[cxiv] C.G Jung, “Psychological Commentary” in W.Y. Wentz, ed. The Tibetan Book of the Dead (Boulder: Shambala, 1975), uu.
[cxv] Hans Thomas Hakl, Eranos: An Alternative Intellectual History of the Twentieth Century (Ithica: Montreal & Kingston, 2013), 33.
[cxvi] Most popular was Oskar A.H. Schmitz, Psychoanalyse und Yoga (Darmstadt: Otto Reichl, 1923).
[cxvii] Jung and Olga Fröbe had met previously while both studying in Hermann Keyserling’s Wisdom School founded in Darmstadt in 1920. Keyserling had
travelled extensively in India, Ceylon, China and Japan before publishing The Travel Diary of a Philosopher in 1919.
[cxviii] Harry Oldmeadow, Journeys East: 20th Century Western Encounters with Eastern Religious Traditions (Indiana: World Wisdom Inc., 2004), 101.
Referencing a direct quote from Olga Fröbe in Gerhard Wehr, Jung: A Biography (Boston: Shambala,1988).
[cxix] Harold Coward, Jung and Eastern Thought (SUNY Press, 1985).
[cxx] Harry Oldmeadow, Journeys East: 20th Century Western Encounters with Eastern Religious Traditions (Indiana: World Wisdom Inc., 2004), 104-5.
[cxxi] His folk psychology (which is an anthropological cultural psychology study) discusses myth through the religious lense of soul, salvation, and heaven of
Christian culture and the natural rhythms of nature that are embedded in Greek nature myths (pages 414-426). His concepts of Buddhism were extremely
Christian to the point of seeing Nirvana as similar to Heaven (pages 497-509). Wilhem Wundt, translated by Edward Leroy Schaub, Elements of Folk
Psychology: Outlines of the Psychological History of the Development of Mankind (New York: The MacMillan Company, 1916).
[cxxii] Harry Oldmeadow, Journeys East: 20th Century Western Encounters with Eastern Religious Traditions (Indiana: World Wisdom Inc., 2004), 97.
[cxxiii] Harry Oldmeadow, Journeys East: 20th Century Western Encounters with Eastern Religious Traditions (Indiana: World Wisdom Inc., 2004), 325-6.
[cxxiv] “…of the encounter of Western psychology and Eastern spirituality we must face the melancholy fact that Western psychology, taken as a whole but
especially in its academic aspect, remains astonishingly ignorant of the psycho-spiritual traditions of the East. Harry Oldmeadow, Journeys East:
20th Century Western Encounters with Eastern Religious Traditions (Indiana: World Wisdom Inc., 2004), 323.
[cxxv] Harry Oldmeadow, Journeys East: 20th Century Western Encounters with Eastern Religious Traditions (Indiana: World Wisdom Inc., 2004), 331.
Referencing Alan Watts, Psychotherapy East and West (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1973), ix-x.
[cxxvi] And from the Christian side Jung faced accusations that “the talking cure” was similar to confession. Luis O. Gómez, “Oriental Wisdom and the Cure
of Souls: Jung and the Indian East” in Curators of the Buddha, ed. Donald S. Lopez (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1995), 199-200.
[cxxvii] Luis O. Gómez, “Oriental Wisdom and the Cure of Souls: Jung and the Indian East” in Curators of the Buddha, ed. Donald S. Lopez (Chicago: The
University of Chicago Press, 1995), 197-250.
[cxxviii] Wilhelm Halbfass, India and Europe: An Essay in Understanding (New York: SUNY, 1988), 146-7.
The Indian commentary on this has been to see the progress oriented (vikāsonmukha) standards (ādarśa) of western civilization as a way of avoiding a sense
of inferiority (hīnabhāva). Halbfass, India and Europe, 261.
[cxxix] Jay L. Garfield and Bryan W. Van Norden, “If Philosophy Won’t Diversify, Let’s Call It What It Really Is,” The NewYork Times, May 11, 2016,
accessed 26 March 2017,
region&WT.nav=inside-nyt-region&_r=0 and see also Amod Lele, “Why philosophy departments have focused on the West,” The Indian Philosophy Blog,
posted 22 May 2016, accessed 26 March 2017,
[cxxx] Harry Oldmeadow, Journeys East: 20th Century Western Encounters with Eastern Religious Traditions (Indiana: World Wisdom Inc., 2004), 312.
[cxxxi] “Psychologism can be described as the assumption that man’s nature and behavior are to be explained by psychological mechanisms which can be laid
bare by a scientific and empirical psychology.” Harry Oldmeadow, Journeys East: 20th Century Western Encounters with Eastern Religious Traditions
(Indiana: World Wisdom Inc., 2004), 313.
[cxxxii] An exception to this has been the modern mindfulness movement which has taken place in the last few decades where the environment does not
support unreferenced appropriation.
[cxxxiii] A technical history that looks directly at the colonial mind-set and its denial of Sanskrit literature’s influence since the Renaissance: Clarke, John
James. Oriental enlightenment: The encounter between Asian and Western thought (New York: Routledge, 1997).
[cxxxiv] There are many examples of this, but the most recent I read was in Amy Cuddy’s Presence, when she introduces the benefits of Yoga. There is almost
an apology before she can discuss the benefits, as she is associating Yoga with the fad of the 2000s and not the ancient science and its influence on modern
[cxxxv] For example, both Jacobson’s progressive relaxation (1908) and Schultz’s system of “autogenic training” (1932) both are said to be ‘invented’ by them
and rarely is there any reference to the yoga from which they were influenced.
[cxxxvi] Jonardon Ganeri, Why Philosophy Needs Sanskrit, Now More than Ever, Lecture at Yale University, 6 April 2017, p.2.

The Origins of Western Psychology

Sigmund Freud is often thought of as the father of Western psychology. He is also credited with the discovery of the subconscious.
Where did psychology really begin?

The term psychology has two roots, psyche and logia. Although today we define the psyche as mind, its original meaning was soul.

This started to change when the great philosophers of Ancient Greece, began to admit that they had lost sight of the mystical origins
behind their philosophies. Rather than pondering the now unfathomable mysteries of the universe and of human existence, thinkers
had nowhere to turn but outside, into an intellectual, analytical, quantifiable and therefore finite, worldview. Logia means ‘the study
of’. So, until relatively recently, psychology was the study of the soul.

Now that we have established the original and mystical meaning of the word psychology, we can identify that the earliest traces of
human spiritual beliefs can be found around 30,000 years ago in the Bhimbetka Rock structures in India. Worldwide, in both East
and West, various types of shamanism were the predominant worldviews. These words evoke images of spirits and a sacred
worldview of a primitive nature. Although Ancient Shamanism has evolved and still exists in some cultures, with the passing of
time and the evolution of man’s intellectual capacity, our worldview also evolved.

“In the mid-1700s the meaning of psyche became ever more closely synonymous with mind…” As psychology emerged as a
discrete science, “religion too was edged out of mainstream Western psychology. While psychology filed for divorce from religion,
religion did not dismiss psychology. Christianity developed pastoral and Biblical counseling in response to psychology’s secularity.
Judaism and Islam, especially Sufism have also remained open to psychology, personal development, modern self-help approaches
and the idea of cultivating self-knowledge.

“…Since time immemorial, mystical worldviews have been giving us a mind-over-matter perspective, implicating our responsibility
for our states of mind as well as acknowledging the many environmental and subtle factors at play. And then science began telling
us that we are simply mechanisms falling prey to our brain chemistry.

Implicit in the earlier, holistic schools of thought was our responsibility for that part of our being, mind, and life over which we
have the power to influence. We have, more or less, the ability to control or shape our environment depending on the situation. The
ultimate responsibility for our attitude and mindset is in our hands. With the dawning of the age of science, we lose that which is
most sacred to us: our power and responsibility to evolve. This shift in responsibility has personal, societal and spiritual

Tracing back to the mystical origins of psychology in both the East and West, Psychology in the Light of the East invites an
examination and a re-integration of the sacred into our understanding of psychology. For, only when psychology can address the full
range of human experience and potential, from the most mundane to the most mystical, can it start to help us truly heal, become
whole and engage in wholesome and meaningful lifestyles.