Understanding PERSONALITY based on INDIAN PHILOSOPHY

Personality study in Indian Psychology has evolved from 3 major domains/methods defined in Indian Philosophy
which are -

1. Pancha Koshas
2. Pancha Mahabhutas
3. Trigunas

1. Pancha Koshas: Understanding a person, from the view point of the Pancha Koshas, was first written about in the Taittiriya Upanishad. This is the earliest reference to the study of human personality from the Indian psycho-philosophical point of view.

2. Pancha Mahabhutas: Is the 5 element theory of understanding the personality which is based on the Samkhyan principles, which in turn is the basis for Ayurvedic principles and its development. It means that a personality is a composition of the 5 elements listed as follows.

English terms   Sanskrit terms
1. Ether/Space = Akasa
2. Air = Vayu
3. Fire = Agni
4. Water = Ap
5. Earth = Prithvi

The 5 element theory explains the similarity between humans and the natural world surrounding them, meaning that they are all made of the same 5 elements in varying compositions. The elements (Mahabhutas) have certain qualities, attributes and impacts on the body and mind.

2. Tridoshas: These five elements combine with each other to form the Tridoshas—the physiological traits such as
1. Vata
2. Pitta
3. Kapha

Dosha is often translated as ‘biological type’ or physical constitution. The permutation and combination of Tridoshas and Trigunas are different in each person, and give rise to unique individuals, which give each of us the distinctive characteristic that makes us what and who we are and the reasons for our behaviours.

3. Trigunas: Are the psychological attributes responsible for the behaviour of traits and categorising types of human personality consisting of
1. Sattva
2. Rajas
3. Tamas

The Trigunas are common psychological representation of human behaviour across all the orthodox Indian traditional systems of Philosophy. In fact each and every action of a person – the way we speak, the food we eat, and behaviour represent one of the 3 Gunas.

Therefore, to sum up from the Indian Traditional perspective, the three methodologies - Pancha Koshas, Tridoshas and Trigunas - form the most important and comprehensive methodology of understanding Human Personality. Trigunas are the psychological components of the Pancha Mahabhutas while the Tridoshas are the physiological components responsible for the behaviour and categorising types of human personality.

All are essential to sustain life and one cannot exist without the others. Knowing your Dosha and Guna provides you with an understanding of your basic physical and psychological nature.

Understanding Swayam Personality Assessment (SPA)

Swayam, is a Sanskrit word which literally means ‘oneself’ or ‘own’. To understand oneself better – your needs, wants, thought processes, behaviour and thinking patterns, SPA was created and is designed to help you find these answers. SPA gives you comprehensive answers to your most basic questions about yourself and helps you make decisions that are better for you as a person, and achieve maximum satisfaction and happiness in life.

What is Swayam Personality Assessment ?

Swayam is based on the ancient Indian science and wisdom that has come to us through the ages. Combining this with scientific methodology, Swayam is built and designed to derive an empirical analysis of human personality with a rigor of testing and assessment procedures. The end result is that it gives a holistic, layered and an in-depth analysis of a person’s behaviour and its various modes of expression.

Here, we only deal with the Pancha Mahabhutas and consequently the Tridosha and Triguna perspective of understanding people in detail.

Understanding Tridoshas & Trigunas

The Tridoshas form a bottom-up processing from the atomic and cellular level to give us an understanding of the person as a whole, while the Trigunas form a top-down processing from the intellectual / psychological level.

These two systems form the body-mind-spirit holistic unit of understanding personality from the Ayurvedic perspective. Ayurveda is an ancient Indian medical science. These two forms have been handed down through the millennia, and have led us to a better understanding of human traits, types, behaviours, interests, attitudes, and nature.

By understanding the psychological effects of the physical traits of the Tridoshas we can understand the physical dominance of the combinations in a person, and accordingly predict his interests and needs, and areas of his strengths and weaknesses, leading to better adjusted individuals in the work-place and society.

By combining the psychological expressions of the Trigunas to the physical trait-networks of the Tridoshas, we get a comprehensive personality profile of a person, which is intrinsic and not changeable over a period of time.

Pan-Global Methodology

Indian Psychology is derived from the Indian school of thought, but it does not mean that it is applicable only to the indigenous Indian population. These two comprehensive methodologies of understanding people is pan-global and is applicable to people of all races, religions, ethnicities, genders, languages, cultures, geographical divisions and any and all divisions across the world and human civilization, without distinction.

Swayam is of the belief that we are all a part of the same species, while also allowing us unique personalities with different combinations of the same Pancha Mahabhutas. All that this test requires is a working knowledge of English and computers.

Understanding the Assessment Process

The personality tests at Swayam are based on the 2nd and 3rd domains of Tridoshas and Trigunas. When the psychological correlates of the Tridoshas are assessed, the outcomes help us understand a person’s unique way of behaving and tackling situations daily. These play a large role in determining our likes, dislikes, wants, desires, interests, achievements and the like.

By knowing the kind of combination that a person has at the physical-physiological level, it is easy to predict the kind of behaviour that they will probably indulge in, and the kind of work or professional culture that they are best suited for. On the other hand, the best place where they will do well can also be pointed out, leading to a better adjusted individual who is happy in his work environment and consequently in all areas of life situations.

Likewise, the test that assess the Triguna combinations in a person, help us in predicting work-place ethics, cultural ethos, leadership values, spirituality, commitment to work situations and the like. The questions through out the test are not based on any religion, but address only the spiritual aspect of an individual.

To conclude, Swayam Personality Assessment test will help you consider and understand yourself better to make choices that are best suited for your specific type of personality and individuality. It enables you to seek solutions to be in harmony, so that you may work to your full potential and not against your basic nature.

swayam-international affiliation

By taking the personality test I was able to discover and understand myself better. This has in-turn given me the skills to navigate my business with the right mindset.

- Nuraan Alli – Jassat
Chief Executive,
Greeenovate Solutions and
Projects, Sandton, South Africa.