What is self ? How does the Indian notion of self differ from the Western notion?
Self-refers to the totality of an individual’s conscious experiences, ideas, thoughts, and feelings with regard to herself or himself.
The Indian notion of self and the Western notion of self-differ from each other by a number of important features. The most import distinction is the way the boundary is drawn between the self and the other. In the Western view, this boundary appears to be relatively fixed, on the other hand, the Indian view of self is charge by the shifting nature of this boundary. Thus, our self at one moment of time expands to fuse with the cosmos or include the others. But at the next moment, it seems to be completely withdrawn from it and focused fully on individual self (e.g., our personal needs or goals).
The Western view seems to hold clear dichotomies between self and other, man and nature, subjective and objective while the Indian view does not make such clear dichotomies.
In the Western culture, the self and the group exist as two different entities with clearly defined boundaries i.e. individual members of the group maintain their individuality while in the Indian culture, the self is generally not separated from one’s own group; rather both remain in a state of harmonious co-existence.
In Western culture, on the other hand, they often remain at a distance. That is why many Western cultures are charact as individualistic, whereas many Asian cultures are characterized as collectivistic.