What if Lord Krishna were a doctor?

The most quoted phrase from Gita is about how we should do our best and be detached from results. What many probably don’t know is that Krishna enumerates on how to achieve that in the subsequent chapters to help lead a balanced, healthy and stress free life.

For nearly 8 years, I have studied chronically ill patients and the Bhagavad Gita. I saw a strange connection. The Gita laid out the mind-body connection so well that to me it is more of a parable of science than a book of philosophy / religion. Let me elucidate.

Krishna says that there are three properties that define a Man’s state in his body and mind. He calls them Sattva, Rajas and Tamas. People have interpreted (loosely) Sattva as Pious, Rajas as Desire, Tamas as Darkness. When deeply studied it contains many clues for balancing diseased bodies. In the context of health, Sattva is the state of balance or harmonious action, Rajas is the active state and Tamas is tending towards Inertia.

I have laid down my understanding in the form of a diagram below.

We need the right mix of Rajas and Tamas to be successful and healthy. While too much Tamas can lead to inaction, too much Rajas can lead to hypertension/stress. This state of balance can give us maximum results with minimum action. Most of us are in a mixed state or in a continuum (Like 45% Rajas, 65% Tamas at 11AM, 100 % Tamas on a Sunday morning, 80% Rajas before appraisal dates etc). But, prolonged indulgence in one state can lead to diseased mental states (Violence, Depression etc.) as I have shown in the top box.

By drinking enough water, eating the right food, pranayama, exercise, and rest - the states can be altered, repaired and restored.

Many alternate medical practices (Homeopathy, Acupuncture and Ayurveda especially) have coded this and strive to bring back the balance. Many of us have experienced Sattva at times, when we feel completely in harmony, in the ‘flow’ – where you have this absolute love for humanity and a desire to be in action without stress. In extreme cases of balance, you think of a person and that person will call you or something like that. This happens because you are vibrating in rhythm with the Universe.

These rare moments can be sustained if we take care of a few ‘balancing’ techniques in our daily life, which I have indicated in the arrows at the bottom. In this state, minimal action gives maximum results. It is not a desireless or disinterested state.

Much of my own understanding in this area is evolving but I wanted to share as much as I have understood, hoping it will benefit a lot of people. Again, don’t take this for a truth, but consider it as one potential model of human behavior that can be experimented further with. A good understanding of this has many implications – workplace productivity, job fit, leadership, innovation, motivation, relationships, schools (exam stress, obesity, suicides etc.) Maybe in the next 100 years we will figure this out and move Gita to the medical section of the library.

Please share with the people in the medical, HR, and healthcare research fraternity.

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