Academician and counsellor, M Radhika Soundararajan has always wanted to her students to have a book in psychology that would adopt elements of Indian philosophy and also have the structure and logical flow her classes had. The decision to write her first book stems from this. Counseling hoped to make a comprehensive start to corroborate Indian knowledge from the Vedantas in counselling theories.
Former professor at Saveetha University, Chennai, Soundararajan completed her BSc and MSc in WCC and SIET College, Chennai, followed by a myriad of courses in counselling from Washington State University, USA. She completed her MPhil and PhD from Mother Teresa University, Kodaikanal, where she extracted principles of Indian thought and applied it to modern psychological theory. “There is a wealth of knowledge in the Vedantas — from what our goal and purpose in life is to how to deal with everyday situations. Knowledge, application and practice — what we need to learn in order to solve problems and be happy is the crux of the book,” she says. Soundararajan is currently the director at Kripa Home, a facility for adults with multiple disabilities.
She stresses on a few important thoughts in her book. Firstly, the concept of free will. “With freedom comes choices. Emotions, on the other hand, are spontaneous. They can only be controlled with your thoughts. When you take responsibility and ownership of what happens in your life, without blaming others or yourself, half your problems will be solved. How you are contributing to the problem is the key,” she believes. “Secondly, you cannot change the past. All the bitterness, hate and anger have to be replaced with forgiveness for yourself. And lastly, always consider karma. Introspection and karma will help you emerge stronger in adverse situations. Whatever we do is for the sake of the self. So ensure that you are at peace,” adds the 47-year-old. While she swears by Freud, she believes, that theory stops being just theory at some point and application is environment-based.
Her inspiration lies in Swami Dayananda Saraswathi and Swami Paramarthananda, who she turns to for advice on counselling. She prefers books that are clever, thrilling, and filled with the intricacies of human emotions. Ayn Rand’s philosophy, books by Richard Bach, John Grisham and Robert Ludlum are some of her favourites. But she intends on sticking to writing about her specialty — the human mind and being happy. She adds that we can look forward to her next in 2013.