Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Depth Advaita
by Purton, Thomas, Ph.D., California Institute of Integral Studies, 2019, 345; 13897624
Abstract (Summary)

This dissertation is an attempt to integrate aspects of Western depth psychology and certain schools of Hindu thought. In terms of depth psychology I address the lineage that stretches from Freud through Jung to Grof, with perhaps Nietzsche as its herald. Grof’s classification of the psyche into Freudian (biographical), Rankian/Reichian (perinatal), and Jungian (transpersonal) layers is discussed in the context of an early depth psychologist, Herbert Silberer, whose work seems to be a remarkable precursor of Grof’s.

The specific Hindu scriptures I explore are the Katha and Aitareya Upanishads, the Samkhya Karika, the Bhagavad Gita, and the Yoga Sutras. I work primarily with the anatomy of the psyche of the dualist Samkhyan school, proceeding to address how this anatomy then evolved towards the non-dualist Advaita Vedanta school (the word Advaita literally means “not two”). I pay particular attention to the concept of the causal body in Advaita Vedanta, and discuss the extent to which the anatomy of the psyche in Western depth psychology seems to have been anticipated in Hindu scripture. From the reverse perspective, the discoveries of depth psychology, and particularly Grof’s concepts of systems of condensed experience (COEX systems) and perinatal matrices may throw some new light on existing paradoxes and tensions in Hindu thought.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Kelly, Sean
Commitee: Banerji, Debashish, Sullivan, Gerry, Tarnas, Richard
School: California Institute of Integral Studies
Department: Philosophy and Religion
School Location: United States -- California
Source: DAI-B 80/12(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Religion, Psychology
Keywords: Advaita vedanta, Bhagavad gita, Hinduism, Psychoanalysis, Stanislav grof, Transpersonal psychology
Publication Number: 13897624
ISBN: 978-1-392-29728-5
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