This paper was presented at
Psychology: The Indian Contribution
National Conference on
Indian Psychology, Yoga and Consciousness
organised by the Indian Council of Philosophical Research
at the Sri Aurobindo International Centre of Education
Pondicherry, India, 10-13 December 2004

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The Indian approach to personality development: A solution to many psycho-social aberrations of the present day

T.D.Vimala — Govt. Degree College for Women, Guntur.

Personality is a complex, dynamic organisation within an individual, shaped by biological, psychological and social factors. The integrated development of personality was being practised in India during ancient times. This helped the individual to develop physical as well as mental health. The principles followed during those times for holistic development included observing the rules of health, cultivating and practising the art of speech, developing discretion and discrimination, fostering a sense of justice, family associations, and cohesion as well as good human relations. The ashrama scheme of life was designed to sublimate the basic instincts of human beings, and also to help in the harmonious development of society. The gurukula system of instruction enabled the individual to transform into a socially responsible citizen. During this stage, the child acquires the required concepts of life regarding work, values, discipline and social responsibilities. Grihasta ashrama followed the principle of purushardhas- dharma, artha, kama and moksha- to enrich human values for optimal social life. Thus order and discipline were included in the process of earning and spending as a part of integrated life in society. The ashramas were divided based on physical changes and psychological needs of the individual. This paper examines the ashrama scheme of life and other traditional practices for the integrated development of personality which equips the individual to face contemporary challenges and lead a fulfilled life.

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