Abraham Maslow, a hierarchy of needs

Abraham Maslow, a hierarchy of needs

Abraham Maslow (1908-1970) was an American psychologist who, like Carl Jung, has had an experience of the “Self”. He is best known for his “hierarchy of needs”, taught in all the business schools. He himself never applied his research to the professional domain: it is the work of psychologists who used it, and who almost invariably did not mention the most important part of its work : the Self-actualization or we could say, the Realization of the Self. This is easy to understand, as how can someone talk about a thing that he has not experienced by himself or integrated in himself?

He designed a “positive theory of human motivation” a pyramid of five basic needs starting from the most basic ones. It is a description of the internal evolution that human beings have in common and it is closed to what Shri Mataji says about human evolution in general.

1) Physiological needs
They are vital and if not satisfied, the entire consciousness is mobilized to fulfil them, such as hunger. To a hungry man, heaven is like a place full of food.

We can compare this stage to the third chakra, that of Nabhi, which is the chakra controlling the feeling of satisfaction and the organes of digestion (stomach among others). It is also connected to the more basic needs controlled by the first two ckakras, the Mooladhara and the Swadisthan chakras. When you are satisfied at his level, other needs arise.

2) Need for security
Children need regular rhythms, a predictable and orderly world where in all cases, all-powerful parents protect it. Young children thrive best in a system with some regularity, or even stiffness. The central role of parents and the normal organization of the family is essential. Thus, arguments, physical abuse, divorce can be especially terrifying. Tantrums parents or threats of punishment, physical punishment, can cause panic and terror. The neurotic individual is an adult who has retained his/her childish attitude towards the world.

This stage is comparable to the fourth chakra, that of the heart, which represents the sense of security in the center. On the left side, this chakra is the abode of the mother who has been internalized and the father is on the right side of this chakra.

3) Need of love, affection, belonging
If the physiological needs and safety needs are reasonably well satisfied, the needs for love, affection and belonging emerge. The individual feels strongly the absence of friends, spouse, children. He thirsts for affectionate relations with people in general, a place in a group.

This stage is similar to the fifth chakra, Vishuddi, which controls the expression of communication, membership in the community. The verbalization and expression of the feelings are connected to the right side of this chakra..

4) Need of esteem
All individuals in our society have a need for self-respect, self-esteem and esteem of others. First, there is the desire for power, performance, confidence towards the world, independence and freedom.

Then there is the desire for reputation or prestige, recognition, attention, importance and appreciation.

Meeting the need of self-esteem leads to feelings of self-confidence, value, strength, skill, ability, to be useful and necessary in the world. The frustration of these needs produces feelings of inferiority, weakness and helplessness.

This stage can be compared to the one of Agnya chakra: here one can see that the positive qualities of self-esteem can quickly turn into ego if there are too important. Precisely, this desire “of power, performance,” which, unchecked, can lead to domination.

But the frustration of this need of the ego to be recognised leads to the opposite, the super ego, with “feelings of inferiority, weakness and helplessness. ” This phase is by essence frustrating and must lead to a higher one.

5) Self-actualization or Realization of the Self
A man must be able to become anything he is capable of being. In our society, people basically happy are rare exceptions as we know very little about self-fulfillment.

Cognitive Skills are tools for people to adjust oneself to the society. Their loss or obstruction are directly threatening the curiosity, the quest for knowledge, for truth, the wisdom and desire to solve the mysteries of the universe.

This stage can be compared to the seventh chakra, the Sahasrara chakra, which is the chakra of integration that absorb the qualities of all the other chakras.

According to Abraham Maslow, the fate of the man should be in relation with his nature and what his qualities allow him to become. He describes the sensations he himself felt while being immersed in the Self, connected to the universe. But he has not been able to transmit what he felt, he could only try to describe his sensations. He underlignes the inability of our occidental societies to understand this ultimate spiritual need.

It is interesting that this path to the Union with God is described by a psychologist who believes that religion could be studied scientifically. He also considered that a man frustrated in any of his basic needs can be regarded as a sick man. Especially, according to Maslow, the search for the Absolute is part of the basic needs of human beings, once the other previous needs are being met.

This notion of the evolution of needs and desires into a pure spiritual desire of Realizing oneself is the basis of Sahaja Yoga Meditation. Only a person who has fulfilled his/her material desires that are according to Maslow, basic needs, (as physiological needs, position in the society and the caring love of a family), will feel the desire for spiritual growth and seek a more universal existence.

Dissatisfactions, frustrations, correspond to a lack of vitality of a chakra and its needs of energy. A healthy chakra will express all the qualities that are associated with this chakra. Maslow called these divine qualities related to a chakra “Being- values”. These “Being-values” are personified, in Sahaja Yoga, by a Deity. The veneration of Deities or “high value” is a path towards the Absolute. Sahaja Yoga allows us to reach these “high values” through our meditation.

More on Abraham Maslow, read Basic Needs and their Hierarchical Arrangement (1957)

Anaic studied linguistics in Paris and worked first as a French teacher for foreigners and then as a school teacher. Since her second child she is a house wife. She likes many different things like : blogging, dancing, singing, but also reading poetry, philosophy and comics. She enjoys a lot Indian classical music as well as American soaps…

Related articles

Meditation Poll

2 comment(s) so far, want to say something now?

  • R.P.Singh
    Feb 11, 2011
    comment arrow

    Dear Brother,
    Thank u for yr mail.The comments received depends on how they understand about meditation.In one of Her lecture Shri Mata Ji has advised/told that meditate on yr self.What I have understood is that watch/see oneself and expand attention arround us in all direction.Slowly u will go into thoughtlessness.While doing so one must not forget that Mother is within us and actually I am meditating on Mother residing within.This is possible because Mother Kundalini is at the top of our head/sahasrar.Let it be tried and experienced.Certainly this will make very easy to reach the mental silence when we sit for meditation.
    I will be oblige to have yr view/experience on what have mentioned.
    Yours brother,



  • Hansa
    Mar 29, 2011
    comment arrow

    Very beautiful post…as I am doing my first year MBA, I just studied Maslow’s hierarchy and was comparing this with Shri Mataji’s teachings. You have indeed brought out the points very beautifully. Thanks so much Anaic.



Add a comment