Mind and Mental Health: Expositions from Patañjali’s Yoga Sūtras
Yoga darśana by Patañjali is a systematized discipline providing a means of attaining the highest consciousness, leading to final liberation. This course will touch upon his yoga sūtras to guide the learner on the path of Self awareness.
Mental health is a state of well-being in which an individual realizes his or her own abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and is able to make a contribution to his or her community. The study of mind and behaviour (encompassing mental health) has evolved under the prescript of ‘Psychology’ which has increasingly delved into these dimensions with a predominantly positivist and anthropocentric view. This has led to the utter neglect of the inner world, self-awareness, experiential realities and insights from the Indic Knowledge Systems (such as yoga, vedānta, āyurveda etc.). The prevailing human sufferance, causing an impoverished perspective on the human potential demands an expansion of the scope of psychological discourse. The conversation must accord space for due recognition of ‘Consciousness’ and an in-depth understanding of ‘Mind’ in building an enabling paradigm. Patañjali’s yoga sūtras encompassing universal ideas on ‘Mind’ and ‘Mental Health’ in terms of its nature, characteristics, function, etc. is also called the science of mental discipline. The yoga sūtras lay down a step-by-step methodology (practice) towards raised levels of awareness, gaining deeper wisdom and natural state of peace, by unleashing the power and knowledge contained within the mind and transcending the same. This short introductory course will deep dive into a few aphorisms (sūtras) from the yoga sūtras of Patañjali with the goal of exploring some of the universal ideas on ‘Mind, Mental Health & Beyond the Mind’ by virtue of its philosophy and practice.