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Title: A psychological understanding of the Yogasūtra of Patañjali (sūtra 1 to 6) with a comparative phenomenology of Samādhi and flow
Author: Pattni, Ramesh
ISNI:       0000 0004 6424 5218
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2016
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Over the past thirty years, academic dialogue on the relationships between science and religion within historical, theological and philosophical contexts has flourished, with the importance of this dialogue being positively expressed. In particular, at the intersection of psychology and religion there is a triple relationship between these domains and in this thesis, we bring the Hindu tradition of Classical Yoga into this discourse, aiming for a psychological understanding of the Yogasutra of Patañjali as the primary text of this tradition. With a 'psychology in religion' perspective we identify key psychological concepts in the first six sutra of the text, explicate and explore its psychological dimension, through referencing with other key sutra or aphorisms in the Yogasutra. With a robust methodology consisting of a hermeneutic and phenomenological based close reading of the text and rigorous conceptual analysis, we construct a detailed model of the mind contextualised within the principles and practice of Yoga. We discuss the modifications and states of the mind, the underlying subliminal factors; the nature of embodiment, identity and subjective experience, and the affective and volitional aspects of the individual, as explicated from the text. In Section Three of this thesis we take a dialogical and comparative approach at the intersection of psychology and religion. Csikszentmihalyi has asserted that there is a close resemblance between Yoga and Flow, the latter being developed within the domain of Western Positive Psychology. We carry out a detailed comparative analysis of the phenomenology of Flow and Samadhi presented within a proposed methodology and framework of dimensions of subjectivity and consciousness, to investigate this claim. Clarifying the conceptual differences, establishing parallels and demonstrating common topographical and functional areas in the two phenomena, opens the possibility for an empirical investigation, which we propose. Finally, we point out the contributions of this study and suggest future directions for research in this field.
Supervisor: Flood, Gavin ; Collicutt McGrath, Joanna Sponsor: Leverhulme Trade Charities Trust
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Yoga--Psychological aspects ; Samadhi ; Attention ; Religion and science ; Phenomenological psychology