• Although a plethora of ancient South Asian sources refer to situations that would be considered crises by modern standards, the early Sanskrit vocabulary lacks a word that we could understand as a distinct equivalent of the term “crisis” and its Greek and Latin predecessors. Nevertheless, the descriptions and discussions of personal and collective distress in the literary sources allow for a comprehensive examination of how crises were understood and dealt with in ancient India. In this presentation, I will discuss early South Asian concepts related to the Mediterranean/European notion of crisis and demonstrate the importance of theories about socio-religious norms (dharma) and actions determining one’s future fate (karma) to pre-modern understandings of calamities. Furthermore, I will sketch reflections regarding their causation and show suggested countermeasures against them. To this end, I will draw on textual sources from a variety of disciplines, including the Indian epics, medical treatises, as well as political and religious works.
    Keywords: Ancient South Asia, dharma, karma, crisis management, epidemics, prevention