The Maternal–Feminine in Indian Psychoanalysis*

Sudhir Kakar

in Culture and Psyche

Second edition

Published in print June 2008 | ISBN: 9780195696684
Published online October 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199080304 | DOI:
The Maternal–Feminine in Indian Psychoanalysis*

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This chapter deals with the ubiquity and multiformity of the ‘primitive idea of being a woman’, and how this fantasy is embedded in the maternal configurations of the Indian family and culture. It argues that the ‘hegemonic narrative’ of Hindu culture with respect to male development is neither Christianity's Adam nor Sigmund Freud's Oedipus. In India at least, a primary task of psychoanalysis is to grapple with the goddess Mahamaya. This chapter does not deny or underestimate the importance of the powerful mother in Western psychoanalysis. Rather, it claims that certain forms of the maternal-feminine may have a more central role in Indian myths and psyche than in their western counterparts. It also shows that the role of the father has a specific cultural configuration, and that the construction and experience of the self are influenced by culture from the very beginning of life.

Keywords: India; psychoanalysis; maternal-feminine; family; culture; mother; myths; psyche; self; father

Chapter.  5945 words. 

Subjects: Social Psychology

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