Vedantic Wednesday: Recipe for your personality!

Very often one does not understand clearly as to what makes up their personality. As understood in a worldly manner, each one of us believes that few have a personality. There is also a greater agreement that most are not bestowed upon with a great personality.  But all such references are from the external look and ‘feel’ of people we come across. Most often we get carried away by the way people look, behave, speak, act, etc. Based on these inputs everyone buckets the other person as having or not having a personality.  Should this thought be dismissed merely because it is ‘SKIN’ deep – absolutely not! But it is to be understood that this is a very limited view. This is only a part of what makes up the complete personality of the individual. This part is called – The Physical Personality.

In recent times we have heard people harp a lot about a deeper facet of what makes up a person. They talk about the emotional quotient of the individual. This aspect focuses more on the individual’s maturity in handling situations. It lays its understanding more on the the way a person responds or reacts to external stimuli. This component of personality definition is also very important, though it is still only at the superficial level. This second part is called – The Emotional Personality.

A slightly older aspect that was always considered by people as a measure of personality (though in lesser numbers) is the intellectual ability. Because so few develop the gross intellect seriously, most people are not able to comprehend how this is important in what comprises the personality of an individual. It is considered more often as the aspirational part of personality.  However as much of the evidence for the intellect at work has been at the layer of solving earthly challenges , very often this gross intellect is branded as intelligence quotient. The fallacy of this assumption can be seen through those exceptions who have been attributed with the most significant of breakthroughs despite a dismal Intelligence Quotient. This third part of the personality that is defined by the usage of gross intellect is called – The Intellectual Personality.

The fourth part remains fairly unknown. Even when known, it is brushed aside as not important. This fourth part builds on the subtler aspect of the intellect. To know, develop and realize the potential of this fourth part, requires first a person to become conscious to the fact that the driving force of life on earth is not the body, the mind or the intellect – but is ‘Atman’  which is something beyond the three instruments. To search, find and live it brings to the forefront the real reason of one’s existence.  This fourth part is called – The Spiritual Personality.

Because the fourth part is called ‘spiritual’ a lot of people ignore it thinking it to imply being ‘religious’. It has nothing to do with the worldly understanding of religion.  But tt has everything to do with self-realization; and hence  it is naturally an integral part of our personality. Nothing more – Nothing less!

The personality of an individual is a composition of each of these FOUR components ( Physical / Emotional / Intellectual and Spiritual). If the personality of an individual can be assumed to represent 100% (whole) – then each component is present in varying proportions. In some cases the proportion of a component may even be close to ZERO – don’t be surprised! Depending upon this proportion an individual actions and interactions gets defined.  

 Many people on this earth live their whole lives without even realizing that there are four parts that need to be developed to have a complete personality. For experiencing ‘happiness’, we need to work on developing all components of our personality.  For example there is no use in trying to realize the self without having good health that allows you to experience it. In fact if you look into the lives of vedantic teachers – you will see the strong importance given to physical fitness through various techniques woven into their lifestyle.  In a similar fashion – a fair proportion of each depending on our reason for existence is needed. This fact has to be acknowledged   and the components have to be developed and sustained.

Hope this provides some initial thoughts on – how to build one’s own personality!

Happy Cooking!

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3 thoughts on “Vedantic Wednesday: Recipe for your personality!

  1. Hi Raj,

    Nice thoughts! First thing that came to my mind after reading this blog was a parallel between these personality types and some teachings of Vedanta.

    Vedanta talks about four possible paths that one can take to reach God or self-realization. These are Jnana/Gyana Yoga (Intellectual), Bhakti Yoga (Emotional), Raja Yoga (Spiritual) and Karma Yoga (Physical). A person can choose one or can work on all of them as per his nature and his liking. Though can’t say if these fit exactly with the personality types, but to me it appears to link somewhere. Just a thought.

    -Rahul

    1. Nice thoughts Rahul. In fact when i was writing this post i did not think there might have been a correlation. You have brought out an interesting perspective to this piece. I agree with your last line that it may be early to accept a 100% correlation or mapping – but it is not to be ignored. To see oneness in the message of Vedanta requires deeper study and even deeper reflection. But people see only greater differences and pradoxes in the early stages of Vedantic study because they study superficially and don’t reflect. But I am sure as our study, reflection and conversation increases, there ought to be some advancement in our thought process. Let’s build our subtle intellect and spend greater time in contemplation.

  2. Hi Raj, couldn’t agree more on that. Philosophy encourages us to think, rationalize and refine our thoughts so as to understand ‘self’ and ‘life’ better.

    I kept thinking about the distant connect that appeared between Yogas and personality types. On contemplation, the link becomes more clear – it appears that all yogas are linked to one personality type – The spiritual personality (obviously). One (i.e. personality) is effect/end and other (Yoga) is means/method. Through practicing the method (any of the four Yogas) we can enrich our Spiritual personality. Which, in turn has some conscious or unconscious impact on all other personalities of a person – Intellectual, emotional and physical.

    – Rahul

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