"Spirituality and Well-being: Hindu Perspectives"
Monday, October 9th, 2006 at 7PM
HPNP Auditorium (Directions)
Co-sponsored by Center for the Study of Hindu Traditions (CHiTra)
S. K. KIRAN KUMAR Ph.D.
Professor of Psychology
University of Mysore
Spirituality and well-being have been investigated independently as separate themes for quite some time in psychology, but exploration of their relation is relatively new. Humanistic, transpersonal and recently positive psychologies have been concerned with the relationship between spirituality and well-being. The findings from the studies on meditation and yoga, shamanism, prayer and healing, and on altered states of consciousness are the other most significant influences. These developments have brought Hindu traditions to lime light in scientific field as potential reservoirs of knowledge to be explored, tapped and utilized for the betterment of human beings.
Hindu perspectives distinguish between two aspects of spirituality viz., (1) transcendental and transpersonal experiences; (2) “being-values” and “meta-motivations” (in the Maslowian sense), and “character strengths and virtues” that contemporary positive psychology emphasizes on. The first is characterized as anubhuti and the latter as dharma in broad sense of the term. The essential argument of the Hindu perspectives is that human welfare and well-being is possible only when one leads a life of dharma and fulfills all his basic needs, desires, etc., within that framework. Further, Hindu perspectives distinguish sense of wellness that is experienced at empirical level from that experienced at transcendental level. Contemporary psychology has mainly focused on the latter and only very recently there has been some marginal recognition of the former. The lecture will address what is unique to Hindu perspectives.
Brief biographical sketch
S. K. Kiran Kumar, Professor of Psychology, has been serving in the University of Mysore, India since 1982. He obtained Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from the National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro-Sciences, Bangalore, India. He was a Fulbright Post-Doctoral Fellow, at Saybrook Institute Graduate School and Research Centre, San Francisco, in 1990-91 and carried out research on meditation. He is a recipient of Psycho-award from the Indian Association of Clinical Psychologists in 2006. He has been serving as an editorial board member of the International Journal of Transpersonal Studies, USA. He has been actively involved in teaching, guiding and researching in clinical psychology, Indian psychology, and positive psychology. He has authored the book Psychology of Meditation: A contextual approach and has published many papers. He has attended many national and international conferences, seminars and workshops and has delivered lectures in different institutions as a visiting/guest faculty, both in India and abroad. His wife is a musician and his son is an engineering student.