Indian Journal of PsychiatryIndian Journal of Psychiatry
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Year : 2020  |  Volume : 62  |  Issue : 5  |  Page : 459-461

Building resilience in the COVID-19 era: Three paths in the Bhagavad Gita

Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, USA

Correspondence Address:
Matcheri S Keshavan
Room 542, Massachusetts Mental Health Center, 75 Fenwood Road, Boston, MA 02115
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/psychiatry.IndianJPsychiatry_829_20

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The COVID-19 pandemic has emerged as a major stressor of a global scale, affecting all aspects of our lives, and is likely to contribute to a surge of mental ill health. Ancient Hindu scriptures, notably the Bhagavad Gita, have a wealth of insights that can help approaches to build psychological resilience for individuals at risk, those affected, as well as for caregivers. The path of knowledge (Jnana yoga) promotes accurate awareness of nature of the self, and can help reframe our thinking from an “I” to a “we mode,” much needed for collectively mitigating the spread of the coronavirus. The path of action (Karma yoga) teaches the art of selfless action, providing caregivers and frontline health-care providers a framework to continue efforts in the face of uncertain consequences. Finally, the path of meditation (Raja yoga) offers a multipronged approach to healthy lifestyle and mindful meditation, which may improve resilience to the illness and its severe consequences. While more work is needed to empirically examine the potential value of each of these approaches in modern psychotherapy, the principles herein may already help individuals facing and providing care for the COVID-19 pandemic.



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