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PERSPECTIVE/VIEWPOINT
Year : 2021  |  Volume : 3  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 150-153

Learnings from Ancient India: Relevance to Contemporary Psychiatry


1 Professor and Head, Department of Psychiatry & National Drug Dependence Treatment Centre, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi - 110 029, India
2 Senior Resident, Department of Psychiatry & National Drug Dependence Treatment Centre, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi - 110 029, India

Correspondence Address:
Prof. Rakesh Kumar Chadda
Head, Depatment of Psychiatry, and Chief, National Drug Dependence Treatment Centre, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, Ansari Nagar, New Delhi - 110 029
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/wsp.wsp_50_21

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India is one of the oldest civilizations in the world and has a rich cultural heritage. Ancient Indian scriptures (Vedas, Upanishads, and Bhagavad Gita) and epics (Ramayana and Mahabharata) are a great source of knowledge. Some of the principles, described in these texts, have applicability to the discipline of psychiatry in the contemporary scene. Ayurveda, the Indian system of medicine with history dating back to the Vedic period, also recognizes mental disorders, giving their descriptions, and explaining their etiology and management. Bhagavad Gita has given detailed description of crisis management and dealing with anxiety, stress, and depression and elucidated the principles of psychotherapy. Buddhism, one of the religions with origin in India, describes the principles of meditation and ways of dealing with stress and anxiety. Yoga, an important gift of ancient India, has been found to be effective in the management of anxiety and psychosomatic disorders. Various meditation techniques practiced today make the use of principles that date back to ancient India. Epics such as Ramayana and Mahabharata include multiple descriptions of dealing with stress and mental health issues which have relevance in the contemporary psychiatry. The methods of stress and crisis management as described in the ancient Indian literature have also applicability in dealing with certain mental health issues during the crisis situations such as the COVID-19 pandemic.


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