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Mad and Divine: Spirit and Psyche in the Modern World

Overview

Sudhir Kakar, India’s foremost practitioner of psychoanalysis, has focused his career on infusing this preeminently Western discipline with ideas and views from the East. In Mad and Divine, he takes on the separation of the spirit and the body favored by psychoanalysts, cautioning that a single-minded focus on the physical denies a person’s wholeness. Similarly, Kakar argues, to focus on the spirit alone is to hold in contempt the body that makes us human.

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Overview

Sudhir Kakar, India’s foremost practitioner of psychoanalysis, has focused his career on infusing this preeminently Western discipline with ideas and views from the East. In Mad and Divine, he takes on the separation of the spirit and the body favored by psychoanalysts, cautioning that a single-minded focus on the physical denies a person’s wholeness. Similarly, Kakar argues, to focus on the spirit alone is to hold in contempt the body that makes us human.

Mad and Divine looks at the interplay between spirit and psyche and the moments of creativity and transformation that occur when the spirit overcomes desire and narcissism. Kakar examines this relationship in religious rituals and healing traditions— both Eastern and Western—as well as in the lives of some extraordinary men: the mystic and guru Rajneesh, Gandhi, and the Buddhist saint Drukpa Kunley.

Enriched with a novelist’s felicity of language and an analyst’s piercing insights and startling interpretations, Mad and Divine is a valuable addition to the literature on the integration of the spirit and psyche in the evolving psychology of the individual.

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Editorial Reviews

Choice

"In this intriguing little collection of essays, Kakar (a psychoanalyst in India) brings together East and West in exploring aspects of the mad and divine. . . . Kakar's flowing, easy-to-read style opens the book to a broad audience. Those interested in East/West psychology, the spiritual journey, or the human side of the "enlightened" will appreciate this book."--Choice
Choice

"In this intriguing little collection of essays, Kakar (a psychoanalyst in India) brings together East and West in exploring aspects of the mad and divine. . . . Kakar's flowing, easy-to-read style opens the book to a broad audience. Those interested in East/West psychology, the spiritual journey, or the human side of the "enlightened" will appreciate this book."--Choice
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780226422879
  • Publisher: University of Chicago Press
  • Publication date: 7/1/2009
  • Pages: 192
  • Product dimensions: 5.20 (w) x 8.10 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Sudhir Kakar is a psychoanalyst and the author of many books, including The Analyst and the Mystic: Psychoanalytic Reflections on Religion and Mysticism; Intimate Relations: Exploring Indian Sexuality; and Shamans, Mystics and Doctors: A Psychological Inquiry into India and its Healing Traditions.

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Table of Contents

1.         Introduction

2.         Childhood of a Spiritually Incorrect Guru: Osho

3.         Seduction and the Saint: The Legend of Drukpa Kunley

4.         Desire and the Spiritual Quest: The Legend of Drukpa Kunley (contd)

5.         Gandhi and the Art of Practical Spirituality

6.         Empathy in Psychoanalysis and Spiritual Healing

7.         The Uses of Ritual

8.         Religion and Psyche: Reading Freud’s ‘The Future of an Illusion’ in Goa

9.         Afterword: Spirit and Psyche

Notes and References

Acknowledgements

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