Do the Bhagavad Gita and the ancient musical instruments have tremendous potential which can contribute to the existing knowledge in the field of psychology? Yes, was the answer from a Ph.D. student of psychology from the Indian Institute of Technology, Hyderabad (IITH). Meet Vineet Gairola a young man from Uttarakhand. Being raised in the Uttarakhand Himalayas, seeing the trance, divine embodiment, and ecstatic experiences of the people of Uttarakhand, he was fascinated to take up the subject and to look deep into it. He says that music that is played in the Uttarakhand Himalayas through the regional rhythmic instruments named dhol-damaun can result in invocation of the deities and the scriptures like Vedas and Upanishads are profoundly psychological in nature.
“I was able to bring this area to the field of academic psychological research by reading Carl Jung’s Man and His Symbols in 2016. In my extensive field work in the central Himalayas in my master’s, I explored perspectives from analytical psychology and developed fresh psycho-musical perspectives by studying two rhythmic instruments named dhol-damaun. I had attempted to trace the link between music and possession. With the help of ethnography, participant observation, semi-structured interviews, and extensive field recordings, I was able to extend Carl Jung’s concept of archetypes to music. I proposed the possibility of a sonic collective unconscious. My research was the first ever psychological study of the ‘supernatural’ phenomena seen in the Uttarakhand Himalayas. I wrote a paper based on my master’s thesis titled Significance of Archetypal Sounds: Exploring the Mystical Practices of the Uttarakhand Himalayas , which is selected for presentation at the upcoming congress of the International Association for Analytical Psychology (IAAP) in Buenos Aires in 2022,” Mr. Vineet told The Hindu .
“My primary research interests are understanding spiritual and mystical experiences, their relation to music, dissociation, and analytical psychology. My doctoral research area is about investigating the ‘and’ between consciousness and unconsciousness, madness and divinity, clinic and culture by looking at the occult and esoteric practices of the Uttarakhand Himalayas. My doctoral research proposal has also received the Student Research Award 2021 from the Society for the Psychology of Religion and Spirituality (Division 36) of the American Psychological Association,” said Mr. Vineet, adding that both the instruments can be used to bring psychological change among masses and the ancient scriptures like Vedas and Upanishads can give an eloquent insight into the workings of the mind and the human condition.