India has a rich tradition of meditative practices designed to study the phenomenon of consciousness. From the distant past to the present, India has evolved a unique psychological culture with grand unifying themes and universal modes of meditative practice.
This book provides a detailed analysis of classical and modern Indian views on consciousness along with their related meditative methods. It offers a critical analysis of three distinct trends of Indian thought, viz., a dualistic mode of understanding and realizing consciousness in Hindu Sāṃkhya, an interactive mode in early Buddhist abhidhamma, and the evolutionary transformational mode in the teachings of the twentieth-century sage Sri Aurobindo. This book explores the unifying features in Indian first person practices with regard to consciousness and the importance of these applied psychological practices and their associated understanding of our conscious inner lives. The most striking feature of the work is that side by side theoretical exposition of consciousness, it includes a number of worksheets which explain how to use meditation to achieve relaxation as well as cognitive ‘maps’ of the different levels of conscious states and instruction and how one can traverse from one state to another. The final chapter explores Sri Aurobindo who introduced new and decisive Indian spiritual thought and practice to India in the form of Integral Yoga.
This innovative book will be of interest to scholars studying Indian philosophy, Indian religion and the emerging field of contemplation studies.
Table of Contents
1. Introduction 2. Dualism-Sāńkhya 3. Interactionism – The Abhidhamma 4. Monism – Sri Aurobindo Appendix 1 The Upanishads & Self Enquiry Appendix 2 Jaina Views on Consciousness & Prekshā Meditation Appendix 3 The Bridging Relations Appendix 4 Shakti & Sri Ramakrishna
Rahul Banerjee is Professor, Crystallography & Molecular Biology Division, Saha Institute of Nuclear Physics, Kolkata, India.
Amita Chatterjee is Professor Emerita, Department of Philosophy and School of Cognitive Science, Jadavpur University, Kolkata, India.