About Hinduism and India

Their curriculum of councilors and coaching institutes holding seminars and workshops for personality development helps the participants to mold in to vocational personalities only who can work in specific environment only. It does not make person capable to negotiate real life situations. Personality traits and work environment required for a doctor, soldier, butcher, or other professions shall vary in each case and the same cannot be easily swapped. Real life situations require multiple personality traits to suit impromptu situations also.

There is a need for developing an all-purpose human personality for which the development module should be capable to shape individuals to undertake multiple responsibilities under varying situations and environments. Hindu model meets this requirement effectively.

Motivation for Action

Abraham Maslow, a behavioral scientist had propagated ‘Need Theory’ to suggest that ‘needs’ motivated persons to work. His theory is cited by experts in the field of Human Resource Development. Maslow classified needs in to physiological needs and psychological needs. Physiological needs were graded lower and included food, sleep, security and other necessities required for sustaining life. Psychological needs were graded higher. These satisfied person’s ego within the group as individuals seek respect from others and often try to perform better than others. According to Maslow most humans worked only to satisfy physiological needs, and once those needs were satisfied, few worked to satisfy psychological needs.


However, Maslow did not clarify ‘why needs arose?’ But Hindu sages had identified five ‘passions’ that resided within every living being, that motivated individuals and animals to feel the need and consequently act to satisfy the same. The ‘passions’ identified are Lust (Kama), Anger (Krodha), Greed (Lobha), Infatuation (Moha) and Ego (Ahamkara) that create needs, and consequently motivated persons to act.

The effect of passions can be experimented individually. Whenever any of these passions (Lust, Anger, Greed, Infatuation and Ego) arises, a corresponding physical reaction is ignited automatically in the body and a need is arisen in the mind to be satisfied. The need could be rational or sinful. It is only at this stage onward, the action to satisfy the need is contemplated.

The effect of passions is not uniform on all individuals. It could be constructive or destructive. Passions not only motivate persons to act but also provide extra energy for the same. The extra energy is some time so strong that under the influence of passion individuals perform miraculous or most heinous acts that are not expected from them under normal circumstances.

For instance, when ego passion of a soldier gets inflated, he would display exemplary bravery to protect the honor of his person, caste, nation and flag even in the face of death. But if the ego passion is directed to negativity, the same person would kill someone in revenge for some trivial insult and land up in jail. Similarly a person under the influence of infatuation would donate his body organs to save the life of his loved one, but on the other hand do corruption to benefit his kith and kin. The effect of passions is directly related to the personality of the individual to decide his action.  Reaction will follow automatically.

Effectiveness of Personality

The effectiveness of every person lies in his ability to control his own passions, and that of others, constructively and prevent their negative effect. If the group leader can keep his own passions under control and can stimulate appropriate passions in the followers to coordinate his action plan he shall certainly succeed in achieving the goal.

Many times one or more passions get stuck to the identity of individuals. Some are proud, some are lustful and perverted. Some indulge in nepotism, and some are greedy. Some persons are habitual liars, quarrelsome while others are helpful, honest and kind by nature. There could be two or more passions affecting an individual simultaneously, in the same or opposite direction. Under such situation, the more intense passion will dominate the temperament and personality of the individual and motivate action. It is therefore necessary to control passions and channelize them in the right direction. If they are not controlled, they turn out to be harmful personality traits.

Controlling of Passions

The technique of controlling passions comes through Yamas, Niyamas and Sadhnas. Spiritual disciplines are called Sadhnas and involve continuously repeating the action till perfection is reached. Kama is controlled through Brahmacharya and pious thoughts; Anger is controlled by commitment to Non-Violance and by observing silence (Maun-Vrata). Greed can be overcome through contentment, temptation through detachment, and ego by submission, simplicity, and humbleness. Ignorance can be washed by self-study.

By constantly practicing Yama and Niyamas individuals can master self-control, and the one who can control his passions can also control the passions of others. In whichever direction parents orient, the child continues in the same direction. Practical training is imported by parents through conduct at home. There is no room for tensions to those, who practice Yama and Niyama.

Exercising Choice of Profession

Hindu sages have suggested that person should choose his profession according to aptitude. No work is low or high. Dignity of labor resided in the dedication and perfection of the doer. Discipline is not enforced.

The philosophy contained in Srimad Bhagvad Gita is most subtle and complete with reference to personality development. Sadhnas for personal development have been classified under four broad categories of four Yogas.

  • Karma Yoga is the path of Activism suited to the active type.
  • Bhakti Yoga is more suitable to the emotional type and to overcome frustrations in life.
  • Raja Yoga is the path of activism with calculated risks.
  • Gyana Yoga is ideal for those endowed with a sharp intellect and a keen power of discrimination.

The Middle Path is a balanced combination of all the Yogas, with more of one and less of others depending upon one’s temperament are desirable for quick results. The emphasis is on doing one’s duty and leaving the rewards to the Superior being is common to all.

Universal Application

The individual trained on this model shall be capable to give optimal performance in all environments. This fact already stands proved:

  • Indian students have been doing well at studies and in jobs all over world.
  • Indian soldiers participated in world wars and earned praise even under adverse conditions. This can be compared with others who had to evict themselves through safe passage, since they could not sustain without luxuries.
  • Indian drivers can drive even out dated vehicles anywhere and keep cool whereas foreign drivers cannot drive their user-friendly vehicles in India.

It is all in the mental state of the person that encouraged him to face challenges. Indian training has thus qualified under adverse circumstances. This is because Indian system emphasis on austerity, self-discipline, perfection and self-reliance in personal habits right from Gurukul stage.

On the contrary western module prepared individuals for specific jobs under specific environments, to compete with fellow beings and win against others. They end up as self-centered individuals. Their life is spent in defeating competitors.  They segment instead of uniting. This effect is clearly visible right from school to work places and in social life. The end result is frustrations and dejections. In sharp contrast, Hindu approach encourages individual to develop along with others not as competitor but as a colleague.

The syllabus of Human Development in Hinduism is not for short-term goals in work place, but it prepared an individual to negotiate every situation at any point in life. Concept of Moksha has much more to suggest than mere job satisfaction.  The development module prepared a person to be an integral part of environment and not merely a competitor against others. It offered a holiest approach.

Mere gaining of knowledge is not enough in life. One has to absorb knowledge in daily activities of life so that it turns into reflex actions. Knowing only that honesty and truth are good to be observed will not serve any purpose unless one absorbed this knowledge to reflect through thoughts, speech, and actions in public as well as in private life. Hindu philosophy prepares an individual to discharge his obligations, not only towards himself and his family, but also towards the society at large. He is constantly reminded of his obligations towards the environment also, in which he is dependent. Instead of competing with society, he is seeking oneness with all the constituents of the society.

Chand K Sharma

(Next: Splashes – 22 / 72 – Formation of Hindu Society)


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