The Bhagavad Gita has described ten symptoms that Arjuna faced when he was indecisive facing a life event. These somatic and mental symptoms are consistent with acute panic reaction or acute anxiety.
The Bhagavad Gita is a 700-verse Sanskrit scripture that is part of the Hindu epic Mahabharata (Chapters 23–40 of Bhishma Parva).
The described symptoms are:
- My limbs are giving way.
- My mouth is drying up.
- My whole body shudders.
- My hair is standing on end.
- My bow (the Gandiv) is slipping from my hand.
- My skin is burning all over.
- My mind is in quandary and whirling in confusion.
- I am unable to hold myself steady any longer.
- I only see omens of misfortune.
- I do not foresee how any good can come from killing my own kinsmen in this battle.
अर्जुन उवाच |दृष्ट्वेमं स्वजनं कृष्ण युयुत्सुं समुपस्थितम् |सीदन्ति मम गात्राणि मुखं च परिशुष्यति ||1. 28||
arjuna uvāchadṛiṣhṭvemaṁ sva-janaṁ kṛiṣhṇa yuyutsuṁ samupasthitamsīdanti mama gātrāṇi mukhaṁ cha pariśhuṣhyati
arjunaḥ uvācha—Arjun said; dṛiṣhṭvā—on seeing; imam—these; sva-janam—kinsmen; kṛiṣhṇa—Krishna; yuyutsum—eager to fight; samupasthitam—present; sīdanti—quivering; mama—my; gātrāṇi—limbs; mukham—mouth; cha—and; pariśhuṣhyati—is drying up
Meaning: Arjun said: O Krishna, seeing my own kinsmen arrayed for battle here and intent on killing each other, my limbs are giving way and my mouth is drying up.
वेपथुश्च शरीरे मे रोमहर्षश्च जायते || 29||गाण्डीवं स्रंसते हस्तात्वक्चै व परिदह्यते |न च शक्नोम्यवस्थातुं भ्रमतीव च मे मन: || 30||निमित्तानि च पश्यामि विपरीतानि केशव |न च श्रेयोऽनुपश्यामि हत्वा स्वजनमाहवे || 31||
vepathuśh cha śharīre me roma-harṣhaśh cha jāyategāṇḍīvaṁ sraṁsate hastāt tvak chaiva paridahyatena cha śhaknomy avasthātuṁ bhramatīva cha me manaḥnimittāni cha paśhyāmi viparītāni keśhavana cha śhreyo ’nupaśhyāmi hatvā sva-janam āhave
vepathuḥ—shuddering; cha—and; śharīre—on the body; me—my; roma-harṣhaḥ—standing of bodily hair on end; cha—also; jāyate—is happening; gāṇḍīvam—Arjun’s bow; sraṁsate—is slipping; hastāt—from (my) hand; tvak—skin; cha—and; eva—indeed; paridahyate—is burning all over; na—not; cha—and; śhaknomi—am able; avasthātum—remain steady; bhramati iva—whirling like; cha—and; me—my; manaḥ—mind; nimittāni—omens; cha—and; paśhyāmi—I see; viparītāni—misfortune; keśhava—Shree Krishna, killer of the Keshi demon; na—not; cha—also; śhreyaḥ—good; anupaśhyāmi—I foresee; hatvā—from killing; sva-janam—kinsmen; āhave—in battle
Meaning: My whole body shudders; my hair is standing on end. My bow, the Gāṇḍīv, 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. O Krishna, killer of the Keshi demon, I only see omens of misfortune. I do not foresee how any good can come from killing my own kinsmen in this battle.