Thursday, October 2, 2008

Triguna Theory of Personality with Special Reference to Samkhya System

Lakhwinder Singh, M.Phil. (Psychology), Dept. of Psychology ,K.U.K
Desh Raj Sirswal, Research Scholar(ICPR-JRF),Dept. of Philosophy, K.U.K.
With the increasing realization that many of the Western psychological concepts and methods lack relevance to different cultural systems the need for developing indigenous psychologies was recognized all over the world (Kim & Berry,1973). In recent times more and more researchers have taken active interest in indigenizing and developing indigenous Psychology (Misra & Mohanty, 2000; Paranjpe,1999; Srivastava, 2002).the structure, nature and evolution of human personality are elaborated in these sources with special reference to the concept of Triguna. More than 40 books have appeared in Indian Psychology (Mathew,2004).
The present paper is attempts to look at the personality from the Indian perspectives as presented in the Samkhya System। Paper explains the philosophical basis of samkhya system and its empirical implication in personality psychology as the concept of Triguna।The concept of triguna mentioned in Atharveda. However, it is in the Samkhya system, that this concept has gained prominence as a major explanatory construct. Samkhya is a dualistic philosophy, which postulates two interdependent, simultaneously existing realities purusha (Consciousness) and prakrti (nature or matter).Apart from the purusha, which forms the inner core of the personality, everything in the universe, physical and psychological, including the mind, are regarded as originated from prakrti, which is constituted of three gunas viz. sattva, rajas and tamas. These gunas act together and never exist in isolation. They interact and compete with each other resulting in the preponderance of one over the others. The degree of predominance of one guna determines the individual’s personality type. Based on the above understanding, personalities are categorized into three viz. sattvic, rajasic and tamasic types(Rao,1966).
Discription of Triguna
• Sattva is that element of prakrti which is of the nature of pleasure, and is buoyant of light (laghu), and bright or illuminating (prakasaka)। Pleasure in its various forms ,such as satisfaction, joy, happiness, bliss, contentment, etc. is produced by things in our minds through the operation of the power of sattva inhering in them both.
• Rajas is the principle of activity in things. It always moves and makes other things move. It is of the nature of pain, and is mobile and stimulating. It helps the elements of sattva and tamas which are inactive and motionless in themselves, to perform their functions.
• Tamas is the principle of passivity and negativity in things. It is opposed to sattva in being heavy (guru) and in obstructing the manifestation of objects. By obstructing the principle of activity in usit induces sleep, drowsiness, and laziness. It also produces the state of apathy or indifference (visada). Hence it is that sattva, rajas and tamas have been compared respectively to whiteness, redness, and darkness.
• The gunas are in the state of both conflict and co-operation with one another.
• The gunas are in the state of both conflict and co-operation with one another. They always go together and can never be separated from one another. Nor can any one of them produce anything without the help of other two.
• The nature of things is determined by the predominant guna, while the other others are their in a subordinate position. The classification of objects to in good, bad and indifferent, or into pure, impure and neutral, or into intelligent , active and indolent, has reference to the preponderance of sattva, rajas and tamas respectively.
• The theoretical expositions on triguna and their manifestations in human nature have attracted the attention of Indian psychologists.The concept has been examined theoretically (Boss,1966; Misra et al.,2000; Rao.1971) and empirically (Das,1987,1991;Kapur et al., 1997 ; Marutham ,Balodhi & Misra, 1998 ; Mathew.1995; Mohan & Sandhu,1986;Sebastian & mathew,2002 etc.).
Mathew’s Poorna Chakra
• It is model of personality and development of consciousness rooted in concept of triguna.• It is the extent to which the qualities of mind vary(sattva) called as stability; rajas called as activation and tamas called as inertia) help differentiate an individual’s mind from the other minds.

Note: This paper presented entitled “The Triguna Theory of Personality with special reference to Samkhya System” in National Conference on Community Mental Health; Issues and Challenges, held on 15-16 Feb.2008 at Department of Psychology, Kurukshetra University, Kurukshetra.

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