Self and well-being: A qualitative approach with focus on the Mahabharata

Kuchibhotla, Lakshmi (2015) Self and well-being: A qualitative approach with focus on the Mahabharata. Doctoral thesis, NIAS.

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Thesis advisorMenon, SangeethaUNSPECIFIED
Abstract: The present thesis on Self and Well-being: A Qualitative Approach with Focus on the Mahābhārata focusses on the psychological and philosophical aspects of self and well-being studied through the characters of the Indian epic, the Mahābhārata. The work involves studying a select set of characters – Yudhiṣṭhira, Arjuna, Duryodhana, Gāndhārī, and Draupadī – and their primary life incidents through themes of desire, conflict, and grief in relation to essential aspects for the development of one's person, such as empathy, forgiveness, altruism, and other foundational inclusive qualities which are vital in expanding the development of one's character, as well as the experiential dynamic self toward enhancement. Processes of self-concept, self-complexity, and self-enhancement have been used as important markers to gain an understanding of self and its interrelations with psychological well-being. The key aspects of the study are self, well-being, the Mahābhārata, Indian psychology, and qualitative approaches grounded in phenomenological frameworks, especially relevant for counselling. This research, primarily psychological, is also juxtaposed with the literary and philosophical approaches. The self is considered as a process with unity and coherence and well-being as an intricate participle of self and self-enhancement. The nature of the research on self and well-being is a phenomenological exercise, involving the researcher as much as the participants, in this case, the characters of the epic. The phenomenological-hermeneutics approach, with meaning and interpretation at its core, provide emergent ways of understanding subjective experiences. Apprehending the characters of the Mahābhārata, their potentialities, contexts, cultural forces and possibilities by the phenomenological-hermeneutics approach presents us with various nuances for our own self growth. A sense of wellbeing ensues from this psychological integration and meaningfulness of self and identity. A mere grasp of the Mahābhārata is not an end in itself, but forms a gestalt in mediating self-understanding and thus the self is apprehended through meaning and mediation of the text. The form of psychological well-being one aspires for is obtained through facing crises and conflicts, and various cultural, social, familial, and personal forces. The emerging resolutions and the subsequent ‘learning’ one integrates into the self structures allows an alleviation of crises and offers a constructive therapeutic condition leading to holistic healing. Desire, conflict, and grief are innate and vital forces through which one moves forward to fulfill one's potential and they form the means by which we continually make new connections to produce something new, something more powerful than we were before, presenting perspectives and horizons to explore newer dimensions. In Indian thought, the self is holistic and ‘being’ and ‘becoming’ are integral aspects of self-enhancement and psychological well-being. The study of the characters of the Mahābhārata and their experiential contexts qualitatively, through the lens of universal experiences of desire, conflict, and grief, provide understandings that the self and well-being are inclusive, intrinsic to each other, and are integrated experiences. Self-enhancement is commensurate with psychological well-being in utilizing positive psychological resources to fulfil purpose and meaning.
Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Additional Information: The thesis was submitted to the Department of Psychology, University of Mysore, Mysore. [Year of Award 2015] [Thesis No. Th26]
Keywords: Indian Psychology, Indian Philosophy, Self, Well-being, Mahabharata, Characters in Mahabharata, Self-enhancement
Subjects: School of Humanities > Psychology
Doctoral Programme > Theses
Divisions: Schools > Humanities
Date Deposited: 03 May 2016 10:48
Last Modified: 18 Feb 2021 10:51
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    Funders: UNSPECIFIED
    Projects: UNSPECIFIED

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