The Oceanic Feeling
The Origins of Religious Sentiment in Ancient India

The past few years have witnessed the beginning of a new and extremely promising trend in indological studies. The direction - on the part of a few scholars - is toward the great psychological realities that underlie the mythic, legendary, and religious literature of India. This trend, largely inspired by the efforts of Professor Masson, is represented by a small but growing body of work which, in building upon rigorous philogical and text-historical scholarship, and eschewing the empty debates of theologists and traditional-apologists, has demonstrated how valuable a classical psychoanalytic study of a culture and its artifacts can be when it is in the hands of a scholar deeply versed in the relevant languages and traditions.

This book is perhaps the most incisive and far reaching of such studies to date. Professor Masson is a renowned scholar both of Sanskrit and of the literature and history of psychoanalysis. In addition, he is a trained psychoanalyst and brings to his scholarship a varied clinical experience as well as first hand familiarity with Indian society and culture.

"Freud said that psychoanalytic studies of various cultures would be of great value only when their authors were rigorously trained both in analysis and in the appropriate branch of scholarship. The Oceanic Feeling is undoubtedly exactly the sort of work that he had in mind. This book is a landmark in modern Indic scholarship and will be discussed widely by all scholars with a serious interest in India and her past.

R.P. Goldman
Professor of Sanskrit
University of California at Berkley, U.S.A.