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The Analyst and the Mystic Psychoanalytic Reflections on Religion and Mysticism

by Sudhir Kakar

  • ISBN: 9780226422831
  • ISBN10: 0226422836

The Analyst and the Mystic Psychoanalytic Reflections on Religion and Mysticism

by Sudhir Kakar

  • List Price: $41.00
  • Binding: Hardcover
  • Publisher: Univ of Chicago Pr
  • Publish date: 03/01/1992
  • ISBN: 9780226422831
  • ISBN10: 0226422836
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Description: In this original contribution to the psychology of religion, the Indian psychoanalyst Sudhir Kakar focuses on the phenomenon of ecstatic mysticism. Reviewing and revising traditional Freudian views of religion and drawing on the work of "relational" theorists such as Winnicott and Kohut, Kakar compares the mystical journey to the analytical process. In both he sees a creative immersion, with its potential risk of phases of chaos and disintegration. The centerpiece of The Analyst and the Mystic is the absorbing story of the nineteenth-century Bengali mystic and Hindu saint Sri Ramakrishna. Using Ramakrishna's life as a case study, Kakar discusses in depth three interacting factors that he feels may be essential in the making of an ecstatic mystic: particular life historical experiences, the presence of a specific artistic or creative gift, and a facilitating cultural environment. Kakar goes beyond the traditional psychoanalytic interpretation of Ramakrishna's mystical visions and practices. He clarifies their contribution to the psychic transformation of a mystic and offers fresh insight into the relation between sexuality and ecstatic mysticism. Through a comparison of the healing techniques of the mystical guru and those of the analyst, Kakar highlights the difference in their healing objectives and reveals the positive psychological aspects of the religious experience.
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