Mataji Vanamali on Philosophy and Psychology in Bhagavad Gita



Is it fair to say that Sri Krishna is the father of the fields of Transpersonal and Cognitive Psychology?

It would be a lot fairer to say that Sri Krishna is the master of all fields of psychology. His answer to Arjuna's question is one which is a solution to the universal problem of unhappiness and unfulfillment. All psychology tries to solve this type of problem whatever be the name they call it.

Transpersonal psychology tries to make the person go beyond the self and discover their greater potential. Jung was a pioneer in this field. Certainly this is the first method advocated by Lord Krishna. He told Arjuna to delve into the million dollar question,
’Who am I.’ He goes further to explain to him that the outer personality which we are all familiar with is not our real Self. This is only the small self which is totally conditioned by the environment and education etc. However there is a higher self in all of us which is the Person beyond the personality and this is our true Self and this is what we have to discover if we want abiding happiness.

Cognitive psychology helps people to discover what went wrong in their thinking and helps them to rectify these thinking patterns. In the very first chapter itself Arjuna starts his arguments based on very wrong thinking patterns. He is only seeing a partial view of the problem from his biased and individual view point. ‘I don't like to fight and perhaps kill by teacher and grand sire’. This is no doubt a very legitimate view, you might say but the fact is that Krishna is trying to take him to see a higher view point. It is like an old time general who stations himself on top of a hillock in order to have an overall view of the battle. He is thus able to gauge what should be done where and when and keeps sending messages to the soldiers and captains which might not be understandable to them from their limited stand point on the field. Thus one might say that Krishna is also the father of cognitive psychology.

All Hindu philosophy deals with transpersonal and cognitive psychology. All types of yoga encourage the individual to go beyond his personality and discover the Person underlying it which is the true core of his being. So long as we float on the surface of the ocean (our superficial personality) we are sure to be buffeted by the waves. It is only when we dive into the depths that we can come into contact with ‘the Person’ who ever abides in the peace and quiet of the ocean bed. Having understood the Person we can come up to the surface and play with the waves and we will not be harmed by them but until we find this for ourselves we are not capable of dealing with the waves!

Mataji Vanamali