Personality Development – Indian Perspective WHAT IS PERSONALITY ? : Our personality is the sum total of our character, emotions, intellect, behaviour, capabilities, qualities etc. which includes conception of ourselves and the also the estimate of outside people about us. In total, personality means what we are, what we think and what we do. SUBJECTIVE ANALYSIS OF PERSONALITY: Our personality is operational in mainly in five dimensions, say physical, energical, mental, intellectual and blissful. The five sheaths referred to in our Upanishads represent those dimensions. they are as follows: Physical Dimension Mental Dimension Intellectual Dimension - BODY - MIND - INTELLECT ---------- Annamaya Kosha Manomaya Kosha Vijnanamaya Kosha They are the 3 faculties, which determine the overall estimate of one’s personality. – This is the subjective analysis of Personality. The integrated personality development involves the development of all the above faculties, which forms different areas in which the personality is felt. As such, they do not constitute Personality in strictest sense but are dimensions, only through which, we can be aware of our personality. The objective analysis of personality: If we try to analyse the personality in objective sense, we can classify six levels in which our personality interacts with ouside world. When a person is interacting in different levels, he is called by different names. His personality will be having different dimensions. It is the same personality expanding to take an active participation in the WHOLE of which it is a PART except in the first case. 1. Another individual 2. family 3. Organization 4. Society 5. Nation 6. Universe -> Individual -> Member or Head of the Family -> Member or worker in the organization -> Citizen -> Citizen or Patriot -> Human being or Universal man What is personality development? It is nothing but strengthening the capacity of subjective dimensions of personality to interact more and more effectively and efficiently in the objective levels in which the personality has to operate. If a man can interact with another man more cordially or in a more friendly manner than in the past it means his personality has developed. – Individual level If a man behaves with his family members in more intimate way than in the past, it means his personality has developed. - Family If a worker works more effeciently than in the past, that means his personality is developed to that extent. - Organization If the citizen of a particualar society discharges his duty more effectively with more spirit of dedication, then it means his personality is developed to that extent.- society If a man identifies with his nation, feels for the nation and develop patrotic spirit, then it means his personality is developed to that extent. - Nation If a man is able to identify himself with every human being in the univere, it means his personality has developed to that extent - Universe Not only the personality development helps one to grow in working efficiency and behavioural expression, it also helps him to transcend from one level to another. An individual transcends himself to be a member of the family A family man transcends himself to the level of member of the organization A worker in the organization transcends himself to the level of member of the society. A citizen confined to a particualar society transcends himself to the level of patriot and idenfies with his nation. A patriot transcends himself to the level of universal man and idenfies with every man in every nation. PERSONALITY DEVELOPMENT AND EXCELLENCE: Through this analogy, we come to know that the Personality development is the inner growth contributing to the outer excellence. Then excellence or efficiency can be defined as the outward expression of inner potential. As the inner potential, whatever it may be, finds more and more expression outwardly, we say there is increase in the efficiency or excellence. If there is no inner potential, there can be manifestation of it into outward expression in the form of excellence. PERSONALITY DEVELOPMENT IS A NATURAL ENDEAVOUR: Then what exactly is Personality Development? It is but a constant and natural endeavour to manifest the inner potential in order to bring out qualitative improvement in our interaction with the outside world. PERSONALITY DEVELOPMENT IS SUBJECTIVE: The development of Personality as we have seen is purely subjective. Any improvement in the objective sense will not result in over all efficiency or excellence unless there is significant transformation in our personality because the key to objective improvement lies in the subjective growth. PERSONALITY DEVELOPMENT IS THE DEVELOPMENT OF FACULTIES: Then what is meant by Subjective growth? It is the integrated, well defined and well planned development of all the faculties in which our personality operates. These faculties are already referred . Hence the main task before us is the development of Physical, mental and intellectual faculties that result in over all Personality Development. However, we know these faculties are not the real Personality but are only the dimensions in which our personality operates. Then what is meant by Personality ? PERSONALITY DEVELOPMENT IS IDENTIFICATION WITH HIGHER FACULTIES: The personality development really means identification with the higher dimensions of personality i.e. from physical to mental, mental to vital, vital to intellectual and intellectual to blissful. As we move away from the physical identification, we are transcending ourselves from animalhood to manhood which further on takes us towards godhood. I- NESS: The I-ness is that which illumines all the faculties in which our personality operates, which in turn when interacting with the outside world, reflects as personality to an outside observer. Hence, the I-ness is the core of Personality, which is like electricity to bulbs, fans, electrical equipment etc. It is that which inspires or furnish energy for the different faculties of personality to be active as well as to interact with the outside world. REPOSITORY OF INFINITY: What makes one's personality different in degree with another is just the outward manifestation inner infinite possibility or capacity of our own personality. Indian wisdom, which is generally referred to as VEDANTA says that our personality does not need any ingredient to be supplied from outside in order make it more capable, strong, wise or efficient, which are the hallmarks of personality Development. It says our inner core of personality is the repository of infinite capability, strength and knowledge. PERSONALITY DEVELOPMENT IS ACTUALLY DISCOVERING: Hence, the very idea of development our personality is meaningless. How can we develop our "I", the core of our personality which is a constant entity throughout our life ? No, we cannot develop the capacity in Iness. However, we can discover the unexplored infinite possibilities and potential that the ness is endowed with. This is the ancient teaching of the Vedanta. UNDERSTANDING OURSELVES: How to discover our own infinite possibilities and capabilities our Atman or I-ness is endowed with ? Understanding ourselves is the key to fathom the unexplored depths of our own personality. It enhances our estimate about over own capabilities and inner strengths. The knowledge of our own personality is essential to bring about qualitative improvement in our thinking, action, and relationship with others. integrated personality development. SWAMI VIVEKANANDA”S IDEAL: This is what Upanishads and in modern times Swami Vivekananda teach. Personality development forms the crust of all the teachings of ancient " My ideal indeed can be put into a few words This in turn brings about I- scriptures. Swami Vivekananda puts this in this way and that is: to preach unto mankind their divinity, and how to make it manifest in every movement of life" The practical aspect of Personality Development: It constitutes the cleansing of our body, mind and intellect in so that we can identify with higher dimensions of our personality. This is what is meant by higher life. The higher life consists of nobler thoughts and nobler deeds. Theere are innumerable practical suggestions described in Upanishads, Gita, Yoga Sutras etc. 4 such teachings are very useful in the modern context. YOGA METHOD OF BASIC PURITY: Patanjali in his philosophy of YOGA, explains YAMA and NIYAMA to be the fundamental requisites for personality development. Swami Vivekananda in his commentary on the Yoga Sutras explains them as follws: Non-killing, truthfulness, non-stealing, continence, and non-receiving are called Yamas.. These, unbroken by time, place, purpose, and caste-rules, are (universal) great vows. .Internal and external purification, contentment, mortification, study, and worship of God are the Niyamas. External purification is keeping the body pure .There must be internal purification also. That is obtained by the virtues named in. Of course, internal purity is of greater value than external, but both are necessary, and external purity, without internal, is of no good. How to prevent the negative thoughts that crop in the process of Yama and Niyama? Patanjali says that to obstruct thoughts which are inimical to our goal, contrary thoughts should be brought. That is the way to practise the virtues that have been stated. For instance, when a big wave of anger has come into the mind, how are we to control that? Just by raising an opposing wave. Think of love. Sometimes a mother is very angry with her husband, and while in that state, the baby comes in, and she kisses the baby; the old wave dies out and a new wave arises, love for the child. That suppresses the other one. Love is opposite to anger. Similarly, when the idea of stealing comes, non-stealing should be thought of; when the idea of receiving gifts comes, replace it by a contrary thought. o Disciplines for the healthy body: o o o o o Hygiene proper diet and exercise – YOGA ASANAS preventive steps to curb the occurrence of diseases and proper diagnosis Medical treatment of diseases etc. Disciplines for the strong and matured mind Purification of mind and body through moral disciplines and codes of conduct ( Yama and Niyama) : Patanjali in his philosophy of YOGA, explains YAMA and NIYAMA to be the fundamental requisites for personality development. Non-killing, truthfulness, non-stealing, continence, and non-receiving are called Yamas.. .Internal and external purification, contentment, mortification, study, and worship of God are the Niyamas. Swami Vivekananda says that external purification keeps the body pure .Internal purification is obtained by the virtues named above. Of course, internal purity is of greater value than external, but both are necessary, and external purity, without internal, is of no good. Control of emotions like anger etc.: How to prevent the negative thoughts that crop in the process of Yama and Niyama? Patanjali says that to obstruct thoughts, which are inimical to our goal, contrary thoughts should be brought in. For instance, when a big wave of anger has come into the mind, how are we to control that? Just by raising an opposing wave. Think of love. Sometimes a mother is very angry with her husband, and while in that state, the baby comes in, and she kisses the baby; the old wave dies out and a new wave arises, love for the child. That suppresses the other one. Love is opposite to anger. Similarly, when the idea of stealing comes, non-stealing should be thought of; when the idea of receiving gifts comes, replace it by a contrary thought. ( Raja Yoga of Swami Vivekananda) Directing the thoughts and emotions through proper channels - KARMA YOGA, BHAKTI YOGA : o Development of unselfishness in whatever we do is called Karma Yoga. “Karma Yoga is a system of ethics and religion intended to attain freedom through unselfishness and by doing good works…. His aim is realizing selfishness”. “Work for works’ sake” – It is the most potent factor in the generation of tremendous characters like Buddha, Christ etc. People work for selfish gains, in which moral energy of action is frittered away. Unselfish work conserves will and moral energy and generates mighty characters and hence, unselfishness is more paying. Swami Vivekananda learnt following lesson from a great sage: “Let the means and the end be joined into one” He says: “When you are doing any work, do not think of anything beyond. Do it as worship, as the highest worship and devote your whole life to it for the time being” The true Karma Yogin must have faith in God who is ever present in the world, undying and eternally active and infinitely wakeful. Such faith prevents a worker being a fanatic or an egoistic. This makes one calm and collected. “ The calmer we are and the less disturbed our nerves, the more we love and the better will our work be” o Upanishadic Philosophy of Work: The Upanishad says AiÀÄzÉÃªÀ «zÀåAiÀiÁ PÀgÉÆÃw, ±ÀæzÀÞAiÀiÁ G¥À¤µÀzÁ ¸À «ÃAiÀÄðªÀvÀÛgÀA ¨sÀªÀw 1. Vidya: science or knowledge. – Technical know-how of a thing. 2. Sraddha: Faith – Faith in oneself, the impulse from within “I can, I can” – the condition that the work you are going is worthwhile and that there is a meaningfulness to life and to the world. – Astikya Buddhi (The Totality of positive attitudes) – This faith and conviction increases all work-efficiency. – “Great convictions are the mothers of great deeds” says Swami Vivekananda. Behind every great work there is this tremendous power of conviction. 3. Upanishad: Deep thinking, meditative thinking on the subject concerned. 4. Viryavattaram: Any work that has behind it, these three values of vidya, Sraddha and Upanishad alone become viryavattaram- The superior energy. Virya means energy. The taram stands for the comparative degree. o Bhakti Yoga: Sri Ramanujacharya says that the Constant remembrance is denoted by the word “Bhakti”. It means the unbroken flow of mind towards and object as when oil is poured from one vessel to another” In Bhakti Yoga, the practice consists in giving Godward turn to human affections. So the teachers of Bhkati have taught how to channelise human affections into forms of God-love. Again there is another dimension to Bhakti Yoga i.e. transforming love towards to God into love towards humanity. The love in action is called WORSHIP or SEVA, which in higher levels transform itself into service to mankind. Development of concentration and will power through practice and meditation: RAJA YOGA or DHYANA YOGA – It involves eight limbs including Yama and Niyama, which have already been described. Unless an aspirant attained some success in the practice of these disciplines, the practice of the subsequent steps of Yoga will be ineffective The other 6 limbs are as follows: 1) Asana: It consists of correct bodily posture.. The third step Asana is important in Raja yoga only in so fare as one must have practice to sit for long periods in a firm posture that is conducive for meditation 2) Pranayama: Control of vital energy. Pranayama is generally described as breath control. It leads to control over vital air, which in turn is helpful in concentrating the mind The concentration or meditation involves three steps. Only the last step is called Dhyana 3) Pratyahara: The withholding of the mind from going out along the channels of perception and “ingathering” it is Pratyahara, which literally means “ gathering towards”. The capacity to do so is the essence of all self-mastery. 4) Dharana: After practicing the Pratyahara one should go to next step, that is, Dharana, which means holding the mind at certain point. Long and arduous practice is required for success in Dharana or complete fixing of the mind. 5) Dhyana: When the mind has been trained to remain fixed on a certain internal or external location, there comes to it the power of flowing in an unbroken current, as it were, towards that point. This state is called Dhyana. 6) Samadhi: Yogis hold that the mind can go beyond the self-conscious level of the mind. When the mind goes beyond this line of self-consciousness it is called Samadhi of super-consciousness. It is the only proof of religion and ethics since it substantiates the statements of prophets and preachers that inspiration comes from beyond the circle of reason. Disciplines for the penetrative and discriminative intellect Hearing, contemplation and deep thinking : Shrotavyo, Mantavyo, Nidhidhyasitavyah Self-Study : SWADHAYA Directing the intellect through higher channel : JNANA YOGA : under standing ourselves REAL PERSONALITY : The Meaning of I : Original and pure idea of personality lies the concept of "I-ness" i.e. who am I ? What does the word "I" refer to? The experience of “I” is common to all. Nobody can deny the existence of “I”. But the understanding of “I” is diverse in people depending upon their thinking and understanding capacity. Any kind of experience of “I ness” is indicated by the word “Atman”. If I feel I am hurt by a stone, my concept of Atman is limited to body. If I feel I am hurt by some one’s abuse, then Atman refers to mind. If I identify myself with the breath that forms the vital air through which the body functions, then Atman refers to Prana or Vital energy. If I feel I have understood a particular subject, then I am relating my “ Iness” to “Intellect”. When I am experiencing the unalloyed bliss during the deep sleep I am relating my “ I- ness” to “Bliss". the blissful aspect of my personality. This raises the following questions: Am I body ? Am I mind ? Am I Intellect? If not, Who am I ? Another interesting thing is it is possible to indicate body as my body, mind as my mind and intellect as my Intellect. Through this it can be deduced that "I- ness" is different from all these. This I-ness or Atman is the pure and original concept of personality.
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