The Psychological Chart
by Paramhansa (Swami) Yogananda
This Psychological Chart contains in a nutshell a list of all those factors which go to make up the various salient characteristics of an individual. It is thus helpful in pointing out the good and bad qualities that govern human conduct. Though we are human beings endowed with freedom of will, yet few of us are ever aware of consciously using it. We are guided by our inherited or acquired tendencies and habits born of environment. An inherited habit is also an acquired habit, in the sense that it was acquired in a past form of existence. We often say we like this or we don’t like that. But we fail to recognize that in most instances we like or dislike those things not of our own free choice, but because our self-created habits compel us to do so.
If the performance of any action, good or bad, is influenced by, or dependent on, the dictates of habit, then certainly real freedom of will is lacking.
Wherever there is no freedom of choice, there cannot exist the power to freely perform the right action. Slaves of habits are unable to act rightly or freely, even when they so desire.
The purpose of this Chart is to help people in freeing their soul and will from ignorance, undesirable environmental influences, slavish customs, bad habits, and entanglements, by teaching them to understand and develop all the possibilities of their real nature, and by pointing out and eliminating their bad habits and tendencies. By analysis and introspection the student learns to know himself through this Chart, and the knowledge of how to improve will follow naturally. In order to know what he ought to be, he must first be acquainted with what he is.
Qualitatively considered, this Chart is very comprehensive, inasmuch as it is not one-sided, but embraces the qualities of every phase of man’s nature. Most modern systems concentrate on the development of intellect alone, sometimes even at the cost of spiritual growth. Methods like the Binett-Simons Intelligence Test emphasize the analysis and development of the human intellect only, leaving the other faculties of man’s nature, such as feeling, moral consciousness, and will, out of consideration. Furthermore, fair conclusions about a man’s faculties are not always reached by means of intelligence tests, which often render him self-conscious or nervous.
This Psychological Chart is used in connection with every student in my school in Ranchi, India, which has an enrollment of 300 students. Every student is carefully and lovingly observed by two or three teachers, and his conduct and habits as well as intellectual faculties are minutely recorded. These slow and comparative methods of daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly observation records of a student’s life furnish the teachers with sufficient data to enable them to know what particular line to follow in regulating the lives of their students in the right way, by various changes of environment, company, discipline, etc.
This Chart will greatly help all individuals, men, women and children, and is intended especially for my students in America, who should keep a record or even a mental diary of their changing tendencies, marking out their progress in the development of any good qualities which they may lack and which they are trying to cultivate.
Everyone desirous of following the path of Truth ought to live a
harmonious material as well as spiritual life. His material activities
connected with his physical body, family life, and money-making
should all be carefully and successfully performed. His body should be healthy, his financial status good, his matrimonial and social relationships ideal, and his mental life well-balanced. His spiritual development should enable him to harmonize all the activities and duties of his life, so that they all contribute to his lasting peace and happiness. He should master his senses, not be enslaved by them.
This Chart will greatly help parents to properly bring up their children, in an all-around way, if it is applied during their early life, when different actions and environments have not left indelible hardened habit-impressions on them. Just as one cannot re-mold [sic] a lump of clay which has been hardened by fire, so also it is very difficult to change the child’s tendencies after they have become stubborn habits.
But in spite of this difficulty, it should be clearly remembered that
human beings are not like material things, whose nature cannot be changed. No matter what nature they might have inherited or created by their own actions, it can be changed – not by mere wishing, but by acting in the right way repeatedly and patiently for some length of time. Human nature, even when hardened into rocks of habit, still retains its inherent plasticity, which reappears under the fire of constant discipline.
People wish to get rid of the germs of bad habits, but seldom actually adopt suitable measures for eliminating or destroying them, and few persist in their use of such mental hygienic measures. They forget that the powerful grip of a habit took a long time to tighten, gradually and by constant repetition. To undo it or loosen its hold also requires time.
Good and bad habits alike are fed by actions and by repetition. A
strong bad habit can be displaced by a strong good habit, which can be created by the repetition of good actions.
By using this Chart, one is furnished with the details of all his formed habits, those habits in the process of formation, his instincts, and the condition of his body, mind and soul faculties.
See yourself as the maker of all that you are, possessed of the power to make yourself whatever you wish and ought to be. This little Chart will be your searchlight in the dark pathways of life. Use it always.
How To Use The Psychological Chart
(For Yourself, Your Friends, and Children)
For your own use, this Chart, if read and introspected daily or even weekly, will serve as a reminding mirror for detecting and removing your psychological and material shortcomings. By self-analysis and constant watching of all your actions and moods, you will gradually learn your true nature and how to express it flawlessly. Mark out from week to week what progress you have made in subduing any bad tendency and in cultivating any good quality. Feed good qualities by good actions; starve bad ones by non-cooperation.
Friends should be helped in right thinking by loving suggestion, never by criticism.
A child should be taught by example, by actions, not words alone.
Once or twice is enough to tell him what quality you wish him to
cultivate, and then mentally hold the thought, not giving up until it is an accomplished fact. Think up new and suitable methods to engage his interest and to encourage good qualities. Teach him with love and reason, never with anger or unreasonableness. A change of environment and company should be made, if necessary. Let him understand that you have his best interest at heart. Use the Chart to check up on him at certain stated periods, recording his progress and changes.
Memory and Imitation
1.Name of the student.
4.Year and date of birth.
7.An account of the present and past occupation of the father.
10.The place where the student was born, brought up and educated (with a special mention of the climactic condition of the place or places. State whether city or country.)
11.The place of education – School or Home (if taught at home,
whether coached by parents, private tutors or relatives; mention
should be made of the method of teaching him).
12.How far it was possible to pay individual and undivided attention to him.
13.What sort of punishment he was subjected to for offence (if it were necessary at all); chiding, putting to shame, boycotting, beating (frequent or occasional), threatening, refusing to give dear objects, wounding feelings, and the effect of it – short-lasting or enduring.
14.Particular line or profession the parent wishes him to take up in the future.
15.A short history of the past three generations of the student (both paternal and maternal sides to be represented), with a special reference to any kind of genius, any physical peculiarity or disease (hereditary or acquired), marked mental habits, observed in any line.
16.An elaborate history of the student, concluded with remarks on the general trend and salient features of his nature – any special remark regarding him. (Predominant tendencies, habits, etc., should be noted.) What is required here is to pick out the outstanding characteristic of the boy and note how other traits of his character flow out of it in natural succession or are influenced or engendered by it or run counter to it.
17.Detailed description of the company in which he moved up to the age of 7 and from 7 to 12th year.
18.A list of tours he made during his early life.
19.Kind of dwelling places (whether admitting profuse air and light or not) he lived in.
20.Food – vegetarian or not – much starch or fat or otherwise.
General kind of food eaten.
21.Leisure hour diversions – Sports or pastimes – kind of music and conversation in which he is interested.
22.The society (cultured, rural, town, commercial, artistic, etc.) with which he came in direct contact.
23.Habitual dress – whether light or heavy.
4.Measurement of muscular capacity (as represented by instrument, if available).
5.Condition of Nervous System.
6.Whether the organs of sight, hearing, touch, smell and taste are in good order or not.
7.Whether the boy is fleshy, thin or medium.
8.Any disease, peculiarity or abnormal condition of the brain, liver,
heart, chest, limbs, intestines, stomach, kidney and nervous system.
9.Any physical peculiarity.
1.Visual perception of distance (exactness).
Visual perception of different colors (exactness).
2.Whether motor or sensory type.
Extent of range.
How far possessing rhythmical ear.
Whether hard of hearing or not.
5.Possessing sleepy tendency or not (as an effect of sustained
6.Reaction time as to sound.
Reaction time as to light.
7.Limit of muscular exertion without fatigue.
8.Period of sustained brain work.
Handwriting (As a clue to thought and character.)
1. Span of attention –
(i.e. How many things he can attend to simultaneously or in close
succession with eyes or ears in one or two seconds.)
2. Continuity of attention–(without wandering) – (i.e. length of time to be noted.)
3. Intensity of attention –(a) When attending to one thing does perception of other things become fuller?
(b) “Butterfly attention” – whether penetrating or superficial.
(c) Deep attention without any outward expression of it.
4. Inattention to the subject in [sic] hand but attending to some other object or thought.
Vacant-mindedness – not specially attention to any object at all.
5. Attention to or Interest in –Particular subjects: English, Sanskrit, science, mathematics, history, geography, games, literature (historical, mythical, fairy tales, lives of great men), philosophy, abstract subjects, outdoor work, mechanics, gardening, other affairs.
Memory and Imitation
1. Slow in memorizing and retaining for a short time.
2. Swift in memorizing but forgetful.
3. Swift in memorizing and retaining for long.
4. Slow in memorizing but retaining for long.
5. Memorizing without understanding the subject.
6. Memorizing after understanding the subject.
Memory for particular subjects –
Prose, poetry, essays, mathematics, abstract subject [sic], music,
stories, science, etc.
1. Memorizing in terms of sight (visual memory).
2. Auditory and verbal memory.
3. Memory by reasoned associations.
4. Memory by feeling.
Whether the faculty of memory changed in any way with the growth years.
1. In what direction it is found?
2. Particular subjects of imitation at particular stages of growth.
3. Whether blind or intelligent imitation.
Grasping faculty –
1. Power of observation.
2. Power of discrimination.
Power of assimilation –Slow.
Power of inference –
(As a sign of cleverness.)
Power of assimilation of particular subject –
1. Through interest.
2. Through previous general knowledge.
3. Through quick intelligence.
Causes of slow assimilation –
2. Want of interest.
Power of comparison
Power of generalization.
Reason applied towards different subjects or lines –
2. Mathematics (numbers and figures).
3. In getting up theories.
4. Common sense (working out practical things or suggesting the
practical course of action).
Power of reasoning
(5) Playing on instruments.
(6) Appreciation of beauty.
(7) Early indications of these.
(1) About concrete subjects.
(2) About abstract subjects.
(3) About numbers and figures.
(4) Capable of imagining a situation.
(5) Capable of imagining a fact.
(6) Capable of imagining an event.
(7) Capable of imagining a story.
(8) Capable of imagining the future.
Power of description, story-telling, etc.
4. Insight into human nature.
5.Power of oration (any indication of it).
6.Wealth or poverty of original ideas.
8.Invention of playthings, etc.
Quality of it –
1.Willing and with delight.
4.For the sake of reward.
5.Occasional obedience for the sake of avoiding displeasure.
6.Occasional obedience for a short time.
7.Obedience mixed with respect or otherwise.
8.Having a disobedient nature, but trying to be obedient through
desire to improve.
9.Obedient nature suddenly turning disobedient through pressure of
work or continues remonstrances for fault.
10.Obedient nature turning temporarily disobedient because the
feelings of the agent have been wounded.
11.Superficial obedience of a crafty boy.
12.Wishing to be obedient but through particular bent of mind failing to be so.
13.Obedient if reason is satisfied.
Obedient if sentiment is appealed to.
Obedient if pedigree or rank is appealed to.
Obedient if self-respect is appealed to.
Sattwa (Elevating Qualities)
2.Love towards neighbors.
3.Love towards animals.
4.Love for good qualities.
5.Love of bliss and calmness.
6.Love for great men.
7.Practical sympathy for others.
8.Benevolent tendency towards the needy.
9.Truthfulness – spontaneous (i.e., habitual) – irrespective of
10.Dutifulness – out of love – out of respect.
12.Moral reason – sense of “ought.”
13.Sense of self-respect.
21.Acting in accordance with the suggestions of superior minds.
23.Having sense of propriety.
26.Calm or balanced.
27.Having devotional feeling – habitual or short-lasting.
29.Love for mental and physical cleanliness.
31.Having philanthropic tendency.
33.Gratitude towards benefactors.
Sattwa-Raja (Elevating-Activating Qualities)
2.Love for parents.
3.Love for relations.
4.Love for friends.
6.Dutifulness in relation to oneself or ones’ relations only.
7.Dutifulness out of hope of reward.
8.Proneness to correction.
Susceptible to correction.
(a) If intellect is appealed to.
(b) If feeling is appealed to.
(c) If pedigree, rank or one’s position is appealed to.
(d) If reminded of one’s own or others’ past state of misfortune.
(e) If affection is shown.
9.Painstaking by nature or when circumstances require.
12.Independent but law-abiding.
18.Controlling and guiding others.
19.Capable of vindicating himself.
24.Argumentative but respectful.
25.Having power of accommodation or adaptability to circumstances.
26.Having faculty of expression.
28.Having patriotic tendency.
29.Slow in accepting a principle but persistent in following it.
Sattwa-Tama (Elevating-Obstructing Qualities)
1.Lip-sympathy without deep feeling.
2.Moral reason – having sense of “ought,” but going astray through the
force of previous tendencies.
3.Sharp but shy.
5.Kind-hearted but dull and simple.
6.Prompt in forming resolutions at the slightest encouragement, but
not persistent in carrying them out.
7.Indifferent to household affairs.
Raja (Activating Qualities)
1.Occasional truthfulness with selfish motive.
11.Having tendency to equip himself with information about
Raja-Tama (Activating-Obstructing Qualities)
1.Having Egotistic love.
2.Dutiful for fear of punishment.
13.Independent but lawless.
15.Over-fond of dress and display.
19.Liable to be easily led or influenced by others.
22.Thoughtlessly accepting a principle and easily giving it up ere long.
23.Trying to please those in authority by half-deceitful, humble
25.Untruthful out of impulse – out of fun – out of exaggerating
Tama (Obstructing Qualities)
1.Attachment to objects of senses.
3.Moral reason – undeveloped sense of “ought.”
4.Want of self-respect.
7.Dull and shy.
8.Impervious to reason.
10.Dependent through want to capacity.
16.Getting strong feelings of obstinacy and anger when chastised for
faults, but careless when not chastised and simply asked to mend
17.Crooked – finding out undesirable meaning in things.
19.Intellectual bent but heartless.
22.Having stealing propensity.
23.Having begging nature.
26.Untruthful – habitual.
27.Shrinking attitude (lack of self-confidence).