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.