In India (Bharat), the ancient literatures discuss Psychology and Hypnosis since vedic period (app. 5000 BC), era of Upanishads(5000-2500BC), era of the Mahabharata - Bhagwad Gita (3500 BC) Ayurvedic era (1400 BC), Yog darshan (app. 5000 to 1000 BC), literatures like Puranas, Ramayana, Shakuntalam, Nyay darshan, Sankhya darshan (500 to 100 BC) and Vedantas (2000 to 700 BC).
Upanishads are most important from the point of Psychology. This is the era when states of mind had been understood and four avasthas(stages) – jagrat (waking state), Svapana (dreaming state), Sushupti (deep sleep state) and Samadhi were described.
Bhagwad Gita describes all aspects of yoga, psychology and is unique among the psychological and philosophical teachings for a student of psychotherapy.
During the Ayurvedic era, a detailed description of various mental disorders and their treatment has been described in Charak Samhita (1400BC), Sushrut Samhita (1500 BC) and Bhel Samhita. The subsequent texts of Ayurveda like Kshyap Samhita, Harit Samhita and Madhav nidan carry concepts from the earlier texts.
Several variations of personality types are possible due to several combinations of body type. Charak Samhita describes 16personality types: 7 belong to sattvic, 5 belong to Rajas and 4 to the tamas type. Classification of mental disorders based on trigunas and tridoshas have been very systematically done in 1. Nijmanas Rog (endogenous mental illnesses) and 2. Agantujmanas Rog (exogenous mental illnesses). Ayurvedic writers conceived personality as comprising multiple dimensions: intellectual, social, emotional, spiritual and moral.
The main therapies in Ayurveda are: suggestion, auto suggestion, hypnotism, assurance, persuasion and ritualistic therapy, transferring of symptoms, confession, penance, sacrifice, use of natural elements, medicine and endocrine therapies, tantric and yogic practices (Dube et al., 1978, 1983, 1985)
The Ashtanga yoga are as follows: 1. Yam (restraint), 2. Niyam (discipline) 3. Asanas (body posture) 4. Pranayama (control of breathing) 5. Pratyahar (withdrawal) 6. Dharna (fixed attention) 7. Dhyana (Contemplation) and 8.Samadhi (state of complete tranquility).The set of last four exercises are concerned with psychological dimensions of personality.
Six yogic disciplines have been described in Upanishads. They are Karma, Jnana, Hatha, Raja, Mantra and Laya. The aim of these spiritual practices is to convert the self in to a transcendental being.
Anecdotes of depressive disorder and grief reactions have been described in Ramayana.
According to Vedanta treatise, the structure of man is divided into five layers enveloping Atman, the core of personality. The five layers are of food, prana, mind, intellect and bliss.