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The road to tranquil equanimity: excerpts from the Bhagavad Gita – psychiatry in sacred texts

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  24 February 2021

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Copyright © The Authors 2021. Published by Cambridge University Press on behalf of the Royal College of Psychiatrists

The Bhagavad Gita, a sacred Indian text that dates back to the 2nd century bce, is set in the form of a dialogue between the prince Arjuna, and his charioteer and mentor Krishna, at the start of the ‘righteous war’ between the two opposing factions of the Pandavas and the Kauravas. Observing the vast legions of the Kaurava army across the battlefield, Arjuna remarks:

‘Seeing my kinsmen arrayed for battle, my limbs are giving way and my mouth is drying up. My whole body shudders; my hair is standing on end. My bow is slipping from my hand, and my skin is burning all over. My mind is in quandary and whirling in confusion; I am unable to hold myself steady any longer.’

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