Kiran Kumar SalagameKiran Kumar K. Salagame, PhD, is a Clinical Psychologist and a Professor of Psychology at the University of Mysore.  He is currently on a Senior Research Fellowship from Indian Council of Social Sciences Research, New Delhi examining the “Indian perspectives and approaches to Psychology”. He was a Fulbright Nehru Visiting Lecturer Fellow in 2011 and a Fulbright Post-Doctoral Research Fellow in 1990-91. He is also a Fellow of Indian Association of Clinical Psychologists and the Association presented Psycho-Award in 2006 for his distinguished contributions to the field of psychology.  Currently he is also an Honorary Professor, International Academy for Yoga Teacher Training, Belgrade, Serbia; Member, Scientific Board, International Society for Interdisciplinary Yoga Research, Belgrade, Serbia; and Member, Board of International Transpersonal Association, USA.  Kiran Kumar has been serving as the Associate Editor of Psychological Studies and is on the Editorial boards of many national and international journals.  Integrating Indian psychological concepts to mainstream psychology is his current focus. His research and publications relate to Indian concepts of health, happiness and well-being, self and identity; meditation & yoga, positive psychology, states of consciousness, and social cognition. He has authored The Psychology of Meditation: A contextual approach. He has contributed chapters to edited volumes published by Cambridge University Press, Oxford University Press, Pearson, Springer, and Wiley-Blackwell.

Invited Lecture Title: Positive Psychology of Meaning in Life: Indian Perspectives

Abstract: The problem of meaning in life has been addressed in India from ancient times both in Vedic and non-Vedic traditions, in the context of three kinds of debate viz., reality debate, consciousness debate, and happiness debate.  The reality debate has centered on inquiring into the nature of reality examining the ontological status of external reality as perceived through senses. It started in the earliest of the Vedas. The consciousness debate has centered on the epistemology, inquiring into the nature of knower, knowledge, and knowing, which forms the core of Upanishads. The happiness debate has centered on the nature of pleasure and pain, conditions of their occurrence, their significance in life, the strategies of enhancing pleasure and avoiding pain and ultimately going beyond the duality of pleasure and pain, which Jaina and Buddhist traditions have primarily focused upon.  Thus, meaning of life and meaning in life are integral to these three debates and they are interrelated. Since both Vedic and non-Vedic traditions affirm the spiritual dimension of human nature, the existential issues have been dealt with differently from the way they are dealt with by modern existential thinkers. It may not be wrong to say that the approach of Indian traditions to life is more positive and optimistic.

In this presentation an attempt will be made to provide a summarized account of the three debates and how they have led to construction of personal meaning. Since contemporary positive psychology has many similar concerns that preoccupied Indian seer and sages several centuries ago, this presentation will also attempt to highlight the points of convergence and divergence between Indian psychology and positive psychology. The presentation will be augmented with an audio-visual illustration from the socio-cultural ethos of India, which relates to the magnum opus of a visionary poet of 20th century India who has dwelt on the theme extensively.

Learning Objectives:

  1. The listener would be able to get familiarize with different thought traditions of India.
  2. The listener would be able to appreciate the differences between Indian and western perspectives on life and their implications for construction of personal meaning.
  3. The listener would be able to have a feel of how eidos (thought ways) translate into ethos (life ways) in the Indian context in terms of beliefs, attitudes, values, customs, rituals, etc.


Workshop Abstract:

Values and Meaning in Life – An Indian Perspective

Indian traditions have examined the meaning and purpose of human existence since ancient times. It is generally agreed that there are four cardinal values for human life viz., right living, pursuit of wealth, pursuit of pleasure and pursuit of liberation and one has to aspire for their fulfillment. Though each of them is regarded as a desirable end in itself, emphasis is laid on the last one as the highest value for a human being and the other three are subordinated to it. While all the traditions uphold this, they differ in how they construe liberation. In this workshop a particular perspective available in the Bhagavad-Gita (Song Divine) will be elaborated through the aid of theoretical input, questionnaire, and meditation.

Learning Objectives:

By attending this workshop the participants will be able

  1. to acquaint themselves with the major traditions of India
  2. know how meaning in life is derived from a spiritual perspective
  3. learn a practical way of approaching life from the perspective