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Dr K K Aggarwal

Padma Shri and Dr B C Roy National Awardee

There are three ways to manage stress. One is to think opposite, second is to think different and the third is to think positive.

Thinking opposite was advocated by Patanjali, thinking differently by Adi Shankaracharya and thinking positive by Gautam Buddha. Out of three approaches, the Indian Vedic philosophy focuses on thinking differently. Thinking positive and thinking opposite may not be feasible at the time of any adversity.

Thinking differently has been emphasized in mythology at multiple places. The 10 heads of Ravana, five heads of Brahma, elephant head of Lord Ganesha, fish incarnation of Lord Vishnu and third eye of Lord Shiva remind us of the principle of thinking differently.

We can see or analyze a person or a situation with the eyes of our physical body (physical eye) or eyes of the mind (thinking and analyzing) and eyes of the soul (conscious-based decision).

Lord Buddha once said that a good action should be based on truth, should be necessary and bring happiness both for the person doing it and the society.

The 3H principle advocated in the West is also based on the same principle, which means before any action think from your Head and from the multiple options available, choose from the Heart and then order the Hands to do the job.

The first incarnation of Lord Vishnu, fish, indicates the capacity of swimming against the stream. The third eye of Lord Shiva symbolizes thinking from the mind and choosing the right answer from the heart. The 10 heads of Ravana and five heads of Brahma also denote thinking to get multiple options.

The example of thinking differently comes from the dialogue between Urvashi and Arjuna. Once Urvashi in a mind full of Kama went to Arjuna and said “If you are not going give me a son like you today, I am going to curse you”.

Arjuna was in a dilemma but he thought differently and said – “Why do you want to wait for 25 years to get a son like me from today I am your son, Mother.”(Disclaimer: The views expressed in this write up are my own).

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Regular consumption of polyphenol–rich cocoa products like dark chocolate may be considered a part of dietary approaches to lower BP, provided there is no total gain in calorie intake.

Drug treatment is the basis of blood pressure control, and it should always be accompanied by lifestyle measures such as exercise and proper diet.The recommendation is an occasional cup of cocoa but not chocolate milk, because it is high in sugar and fat.

According to a survey of medical literature by German researcher, Dr. Dirk Taubert from the University Hospital of Cologne, cocoa–rich products, and not tea, help lower high blood pressure. They covered 10 studies on cocoa that included 173 participants and five tea studies with 343 participants. The cocoa studies lasted an average of two weeks, with four out of five trials reporting a reduction in both systolic and diastolic BP.

The average reduction was 4 to 5 mm Hg in systolic pressure and 2 to 3 mm in diastolic pressure –– enough to reduce the risk of stroke by 20% and of coronary heart disease by 10%. No such reduction in blood pressure was noted in any of the tea trials, which lasted an average of four weeks. Tea and cocoa contain different kinds of polyphenols –– flavan–3–ols in tea, procyanids in cocoa.

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Confession is one of the many ways of detoxifying the mind. It has its roots in Hindu mythology but today it is mainly practiced in Christianity as a ritual, where the individual confesses to the Bishop without disclosing his or her identity.In Hindu mythology, confession is a routine spiritual practice. People can confess to their Guru, to their God in the temple or their mentor. Confession can also be done to a plant (Peepal tree), an animal (dog or a cat) or birds. It is a common saying that taking a dip in Yamuna or Ganga removes all your sins. The dip in water involves a ritual of confessing guilt every time we make a dip.Giving food to birds is also a way of confession where one does a confession with each offering. The easiest way to confess is 3 minutes of free writing, which can be done every night. Tear off the paper after writing. This involves writing from the heart and not giving time to the mind to think.Earlier people used to confess and de–stress their emotions by writing in a diary or making a folder in the computer and writing.However, the best confession is to meditate, which is equivalent to reformatting the hard disk and removing viruses and corrupt files from our body computer. Meditating with intent to get rid of guilt washes them over a period of time.Confession involves the process of forgiving and forgetting. Forgiving is at the level of mind and forgetting is at the level of heart.

(Disclaimer: The views expressed in this write up are my own).

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Get a “preflight” check

  1. Talk with your doctor before you start or change a fitness routine.
  2. Especially if you are overweight or have a history of heart disease, peripheral vascular disease, or diabetic neuropathy.
  3. Go for a complete physical exam and an exercise stress test for people if you are 35 or older and who have had diabetes for more than 10 years. The results can help determine the safest way for you to increase physical activity.

Spread your activity throughout the week

  1. Adults should aim for a weekly total of at least 160 minutes of moderate aerobic activity, or 80 minutes of vigorous activity, or an equivalent mix of the two.
  2. Be active at least 3 to 5 days a week.

Time your exercise wisely

  1. The best time to exercise is 1 to 3 hours after eating, when your blood sugar level is likely to be higher.
  2. If you use insulin, it’s important to test your blood sugar before exercising. If it is below 100 mg/dL, eat a piece of fruit or have a small snack to boost it and help you avoid hypoglycemia. Test again 30 minutes later to see if your blood sugar level is stable.
  3. Check your blood sugar after any particularly grueling workout or activity.
  4. If you use insulin, your risk of developing hypoglycemia may be highest 6 to 12 hours after exercising.
  5. Do not exercise if your blood sugar is too high (over 250).

Be prepared

  1. Should you experience a medical problem while exercising (or at any time) it is important that the people who care for you know that you have diabetes.
  2. Keep card handy or glucose tablets with you while exercising in case your blood sugar takes a sudden nosedive.
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The Amarnath cave was chosen by Lord Shiva to narrate the secrets of meditation, immortality and creation of Universe to Parvati.

A spiritual journey requires a spiritual frame of mind and a commitment of 7-10 days for self-purification. Most spiritual destinations are located at up into mountains to provide a pollution free environment and involve a difficult travel so that nobody can reach the destination before 7-10 days. This duration helps in controlling the mind, intellect, ego and getting rid of the desires, attachments and greed. On the path of spiritual journey as one is travelling alone without carrying the worldly attachments, one invariably reaches the destination in a positive state of mind and in a meditative phase to experience the truth of life and answers to unanswered questions.

The Amarnath StoryOnce Parvati asked Shiva to let her know why and when he started wearing the beads of heads (Mund Mala). Shiva said whenever you are born I add one more head in my beads. Parvati said,” My Lord, my body is destroyed every time and I die again and again, but you are Immortal. Please let me know the secret of this.” Shiva replied that it is due to Amar Katha.”

Spiritual SignificanceThe spiritual significance of the above is, that here Shiva represents the Soul and Parvati the Body. The soul never dies and is immortal. The soul is the energized filed of information and in computer language is like the web of energized information. Every time any work is done (sanskara) a copy of the same is kept in the memory in both the soul and the spirit.

The further part of the story is the katha or the process of doing meditation and its benefits

The story“Parvati insisted that she may be told that secret. For long Shiva continued postponing. Finally on consistent demand He made up his mind to tell the immortal secret. He started for lonely place where no living being could listen it. He chose Amarnath Cave.”

Spiritual SignificanceThe first principle of learning how to meditate is dedication and persistence. Second is silence or a place with no internal and external disturbance. In ashtanga yoga, it is called Pratyahara (the withdrawal of senses).

The story“Shiva left His Nandi (The Bull) at Pahalgam or Bail Gaon; his moon from his hair (jata) at Chandanwari; his snake at the banks of Lake Sheshnag; his Son Ganesha at Mahagunas Parvat (Mahaganesh Hill) and his five elements at Panjtarni.

As a symbol of sacrificing the earthly world Shiva and Parvati did Tandav dance. After leaving behind all these, Shiva enters the Holy Amarnath Cave along with Parvati. Lord Shiva takes his Samadhi on the Deer Skin and concentrate.”

Spiritual SignificanceIn the process of meditation, one first gets rid of desires (Bull Nandi or the mind), discriminating, expectations and power of analyzing thoughts (moon or the intellect) and ego (snake). Once that is done one is away from the worldly desires totally (Ganesh and finally the five elements). Now the body is in symphony with the soul (Tandava dance).

The story“To ensure that no living being is able to hear the Immortal Tale, Shiva created Rudra named Kalagni and ordered him to spread fire to eliminate every living thing in and around the Holy Cave. After this He started narrating the secret of immortality to Parvati. But as a matter of chance one egg which was lying beneath the Deer skin remained protected. It is believed to be non-living and more over it was protected by Shiva-Parvati Asan (Bed). The pair of pigeons which were born out of this egg became immortal having listened the secret of immortality (Amar Katha).”

Spiritual SignificanceIt again signifies the importance of undisturbed state of mind at the time of meditation. Fire indicates the internally meditation generated spiritual fire or agni which burns all the negative thoughts and negative energies. The egg of the pigeon indicates that spiritual knowledge can transform at the level DNA. It also tells us that those who are sitting near the meditating persons also get benefitted.

(Disclaimer: The views expressed in this write up are my own).

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It is diseases such as jaundice with hepatitis A in children and E in adults, typhoid, cholera and gastroenteritis that reflect the hygiene status of a city and not the occurrence of dengue and malaria.

Food and water–borne diseases can be eradicated by the following public awareness formula: When in doubt follow the principle, “heat it, boil it, cook it, peel it or forget it”. This means that in an unhygienic environment, one can eat an orange or a banana but not a tomato or apple. Other steps are:

  1. Do not eat salad that has been left open for more than 2 hours even if it is washed properly.
  2. Do not take cooked food that has been left on the table for more than 2 hours.
  3. Vegetables grown under the ground or over the surface of the ground should be washed properly before eating them raw. They may be the biggest source of worm infection in the brain, a condition called neurocysticercosis.
  4. Boiled water is the safest water to drink.
  5. Ice made from unhygienic water can be the source of most water–borne diseases.

It is our duty to keep our home and city as clean as possible. We must regard our city as our extended home, a garden as our farmhouse and roads as are our personal walking tracks.

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According to Prashna Upanishad, at the time of death, the Prana Vayu (life force and respiration) merges with Udana Vayu (brain stem reflexes) and leaves the body.

But this does not happen immediately after clinical death, defined as stoppage of heart and respiration. Medically the term used for clinically dead patients is sudden cardiac arrest.

As per modern medicine, in cardiac arrest, the brain does not die for the next 10 minutes and during this period, if the heart can be revived, life can be brought back.

The revival of patient during this period can be remembered by the formula of ten which is that within ten minutes of the stoppage of heart (cardiac arrest), if effective chest compressions are given for the next 10 minutes with a speed of 100 per min (10 x 10), 80% of the cardiac arrest victims can be revived.

This period can be much longer in hypothermia state. If the temperature of the body is low, the soul does not leave the body till the temperature is brought back to normal. Today, this property of soul is also used as therapeutic measure where patients who cannot be revived in the first 10 min of clinical death are put in a freezing chamber and artificial hypothermia is produced and these patients can then be transported to an advance cardiac centre where even after 24 hours resuscitation measure can be applied after re-warming the body. Many people have been revived even after 24 hours of cardiac arrest with such a technology.

There are instances in literature where a newborn with hypothermia was declared dead and got revived in the cremation ground when the heat of the atmosphere brought his temperature to normal and the pressure of the wood worked like cardiac massage.

This aspect of “life after death” is a contribution of the modern science to the Vedic science. Though in Vedic literature, it was a well-known phenomenon as Savitri brought life back into Satyavan even after his clinical death.

The take home message is that one should not declare a patient dead in the first 10 minutes give cardiac massage and try reviving him with chest compression cardio pulmonary resuscitation (CPR).

(Disclaimer: The views expressed in this write up are my own).

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  1. Rapid recognition of cardiac arrest is the essential first step of successful CPR 10.
  2. As per guidelines, the lay rescuer who witnesses a person collapse or comes across an apparently unresponsive person should confirm unresponsiveness by tapping the person on the shoulder and shouting: “are you all right?”
  3. If the person does not respond, the rescuer should call for help or ambulance and initiate excellent chest compressions.
  4. Lay rescuers should not attempt to assess the victim’s pulse and, unless the patient has what appear to be normal respirations, should assume the patient is apneic or without respiration.
  5. Remember even well–trained professionals can have difficulty determining if breathing is adequate or pulses are present in unresponsive adults.
  6. After assessing responsiveness, health care providers should quickly check the patient’s pulse.
  7. While doing so, it is reasonable to visually assess the patient’s respirations.
  8. It is appropriate to assume the patient is in cardiac arrest if there is no breathing or abnormal breathing (gasping) or if a pulse cannot be readily palpated within 10 seconds.
  9. The key point is not to delay CPR.
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