Chapter 4: Even Angels Don’t Sing All the Time
The first question:
We have learnt from you that freedom lies in the transcendence of the mind, and it is the knowledge and the understanding of the mind which brings about its transcendence. The major part of religion deals with the mind, and so does psychology.
As modern psychology has successfully discovered and revealed the structure and process of the mind, would you call it a religion? Or a branch of religion? Or a parallel religion?
How do psychology and religion differ from each other? Kindly point out whether psychology and religion can be helpful to each other.
Religion understands mind in a totally different way from psychology. Their approach is different; their goal is different; their methodology is different.
Psychology studies the mind as an object, from the outside. Of course, it misses much. In fact, the most essential is missed. Only the periphery can be understood that way. The innermost is not objective, the innermost is subjective. You can study it from the within, not from the without.
Psychology is as if somebody wants to study love and watches two lovers hugging each other, holding hands, sitting together, making love - goes on collecting data about how two lovers behave. This won’t give him any idea of what love is, because love is not on the surface. The surface can be very deceiving, the appearance can be very deceiving. Love is something very inner. Only by being in love do you know it - there is no other way to know it.
Psychology tries to understand mind from the outside. The very approach makes mind material. Only matter can be understood from the outside, because matter has no inside to it. The mind can only be understood from the inside, because mind has no outside to it - the first thing.
That’s why psychology goes on becoming more and more behavioristic, more and more materialistic, more and more mechanical - and more and more suspicious about the soul of man. The soul is completely denied by psychology. Not that the soul does not exist, but because the very approach prohibits it, the very approach becomes a limitation. The conclusion depends on the approach. If you start wrongly, you end wrongly.
The second thing to be understood is that psychology tries to understand mind, not to go beyond it - because psychology thinks there is no beyond to it, it is the end. Religion also tries to understand mind - not to understand mind itself, but to go beyond it. The understanding is to be used as a stepping-stone.