Friday, October 28, 2016

Bhagavad Gita’s Sankhya Yoga and Maslow’s Motivation Theory to Mitigate The Drug Menace

(Abstract for the International Conference on Nurturing Human Values in Youth: A Perspective of Srimad Bhagavad Gita at Guru Jambeshwar University of Science & Technology, Hisar, Haryana, India, December 6-8 2016)

The drug addiction problem has already become an epidemic in Punjab, and is getting worse day by day. This paper shows how Bhagavad Gita’s Sankhya Yoga – a technique based on the science of Psychophysics (Sensory Psychology) – and Maslow’s motivation theory can help us to mitigate the drug menace and inculcate ethical values in youth. 

In The Organism (1934), Kurt Goldstein, alluding to self-actualization being the purpose/goal of life, had said, “The organism has definite potentialities, and because it has them it has the need to actualize or realize them. The fulfillment of these needs represents the self-actualization of the organism.” And in his 1943 paper A Theory of Human Motivation, Abraham Maslow identified these needs as the body’s Physiological Needs, Psychosocial Needs, and the Need for Self-actualization. Maslow’s paper says that the Physiological Needs are the most prepotent/powerful of all our needs, and asks us to consider nutrition/homeostasis for fulfilling the Physiological Needs. And the Need for Self-actualization, Maslow says, is our need for acquiring and systematizing the knowledge necessary for fulfilling all our needs.

Stress is the main cause of mental disorders such as drug addiction. This paper examines the physiology of homeostasis and stress, to understand the essential nutrients needed by the body for fulfilling the Physiological Needs. It explains how nutritional deficiencies and toxicity in the body can cause substance use disorder, – drug addiction – and suggests the nutrients needed for the prevention and treatment of drug addiction. Besides the drug habit, addicts have many other bad habits and emotional problems that need to be corrected for them to live in harmony with others and to become useful productive members of society. This can best be achieved by practicing the simple Sankhya Yoga technique that has been explained in this paper.

 “Learning is the acquisition and storage of information as a consequence of experience”. We acquire information about things outside the body from the experiences of our external sense organs, primarily from our eyes and ears – such as the knowledge imparted by schools and colleges. This knowledge helps us to manage things in the external world and to be successful in life. However for self-actualization – also known as self-realization (Sanskrit, moksha, amrit) – we also need to know about the things going on inside the body. We acquire this information by means of the tactile sensory receptors that lie under the skin and inside the body – our sense of touch. This tactile learning helps us to understand our self (Atman), and manage our emotional and habitual responses. But as the tactile learning usually occurs without our conscious awareness, our consciousness faculty – intellect or the mind – cannot use this learning to correct our negative emotions and habits. Sankhya Yoga is India’s ancient Vedic technique that enables us to consciously observe and learn from our own tactile sensations. The biological explanation of this ancient technique is given in Aristotle’s 4th Century BC treatise De Anima (On the Soul). And this paper uses the principles of modern physiology to understand Sankhya Yoga.

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