International Conference on ‘Indian Psychology and Mental Health’

CVV’s School of Philosophy, Psychology and Scientific Heritage (PPSH), in association with the Chinmaya International Foundation (CIF), organised the first international conference on ‘Indian Psychology and Mental Health’ from 1st to 3rd December 2023 at the Warriam Road facility. It proved to be a successful convergence of ancient Indian wisdom and contemporary research.

Notable keynote speakers, including  Prof. Craig Hassed (Founding Director of Education, Monash University, Australia), Prof. William Van Gordon (Chartered Psychologist and Associate Professor of Contemplative Psychology, University of Derby (UK)), and Prof. Ramesh Pattni, Professor Emeritus in the School of PPSH, addressed various topics. Over 140 abstract submissions were received from professionals and students globally, leading to 41 complete papers presented in both online and offline modes.

The conference comprised keynote sessions, a student panel discussion, paper presentations, and cultural performances. It aimed to bring forth insights from ancient Indian wisdom applicable across cultural and geographical boundaries.

At the inaugural function, Dr. Satheesh Varma delivered an introductory address, followed by insightful talks by Prof. Craig Hassed, Prof. William Vongordon and Dr. Meethu Khosla, Professor, Department of Psychology, Daulat Ram College, University of Delhi.

On the second day, intellectual exploration continued with a keynote address by Dr. Shilpa Ashok Pandit (Associate Professor, School of Arts and Sciences, Ahmedabad University) on ‘Deha, Śarira and Vigraha: Understanding Embodiment in Indian Psychology’. An interactive panel discussion by students and additional key speakers such as Dr. Sam S. Manickam (Formerly Professor of Clinical Psychology, JSS Medical College Hospital, JSS Deemed University, Mysuru. Currently an Independent Researcher, Tele Psychotherapy practitioner for professionals and Gestalt therapy trainer) and Dr. Rashmi Jaipal (Professor Emeritus of Psychology at Bloomfield College, New Jersey, and a representative of the American Psychological Association at the UN), added depth to the discourse.

The concluding day featured a keynote address on ‘Psychology in Advaita Vedanta’ by Dr. Sunitha Grandhee, Dean of Life-Long Learning and Wellness and Director, Centre of Excellence in Applied Indian Knowledge Systems at CVV, a talk on spirituality and mental health, using the Bhagavad Gita as a basis, by Dr. Ramesh Pattni and Dr. Tara Kannan, Head, School of Kalayoga, CVV, explored the therapeutic role of Hindustani Music. The valedictory ceremony was presided over by chief guests Prof. Gauri Mahulikar (Director CIF, and former Vice Chancellor in-charge and former Dean, CVV) and Dr. Johnson Alex (Associate Professor, Kannur University)’. The event included cultural performances by students of CVV and the prize distribution ceremony.

In essence, the conference provided a rich platform for intellectual exchange, showcasing the depth and breadth of Indian psychology and mental health. The success of the event underscored its seamless organisation, insightful content, and the collaborative spirit of participants, promising continued discourse and collaboration in the realm of global mental well-being.