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Dr K K Aggarwal

Navratri is the detoxification of body, mind and soul. Body detoxification involves Navratri diet containing eating less devoid of cereals.  In Navratri diet flour is replaced with Kuttu or Singhara flour; pulses with amaranth or Rajgiri and Rice with Samak rice. Mental and soul detoxification involves practicing Yoga Sadhna as described in nine forms of respective Durga.

1. Chadraghanta is worshipped on the third day of Navratri

2. SHE is shown with golden skin and riding a tiger. She is depicted with ten hands and 3 eyes with a crescent moon on the head.

3. Eight of HER hands display weapons. The rest two are in the mudras or gestures of boon giving and stopping harm (Varada and abhay mudra) indicating protection.

4. Out of eight hands five contains Bow and arrow (to bend, focus, one point determination,  The bow and arrows also represent energy. Holding both the bow and arrows in one hand indicates control over both potential and kinetic energies); Trishul (balance), sword (sharp intelligence) and mace (power to destroy the evil). Rest three hands contains rosary (tapas); lotus (detached attachment) and Kamandalu (acceptance).

5.  In Ayurveda SHE represents the control over the fire element.

6. In Yogashstra SHE represents the solar or Manipura Chakra with the Bija sound RAM.

7. Sound of her bell terrifies demons as well as all enemies.

8. SHE represents protector and bravery.

Spiritual message on the 3rd Navratri: One should continuously (beaded rosary) control the fire (solar plexus) within by using our sharp intelligence (sword) and balancing the mind (Trishul) by focusing on one point (arrow and bow), practicing detached attachment (lotus), accepting things as they are (Kamandalu) and killing the negative energies by using gada (power) when needed.

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Navratri is the detoxification of body, mind and soul. Body detoxification involves Navratri diet containing eating less devoid of cereals.  In Navratri diet flour is replaced with Kuttu or Singhara flour; pulses with amaranth or Rajgiri and Rice with Samak rice. Mental and soul detoxification involves practicing Yoga Sadhna as described in nine forms of respective Durga.

Brahmacharini (Uma or Tapacharini) is worshipped on second day of Navratri as the goddess who performed ‘Tapa’ (penance or continuous efforts) (Brahma – Tapa, Charini – Performer ). SHE personifies love and loyalty and provides knowledge and wisdom. Those who worship her, attain, Tap (Religious Austerity), Tyagi (Sacrifice), and Vairagya (Asceticism).

She is shown to hold Japa mala (rosary beads) in her right hand and Kamandal in left hand.  This form of Shakti as per Yoga Shastras is present in second gonad chakra (in Allopathy gonad plexus) called Svadhisthana Chakra.  The bija sound for the chakras is VAM which removes attachments. In Ayurveda the 2nd Chakra represents the water element.

In mythology ‘white’ represents purity of mind; beaded rosary or japa mala represents continuous efforts (meditation and concentration) and Kamandal represents acceptance and water in it represents pure thoughts.

Kamandalu also means living an egoless state of mind. Kamandalu is a water pot made from a dry pumpkin contains nectar and is shown on the ground next to Shiva. The process of making Kamandalu has deep spiritual significance. A ripe pumpkin is plucked from a plant, its fruit is removed and the shell is cleaned for containing the nectar. In the same way, an individual must break away from attachment to the physical world and clean his inner self of egoistic desires in order to experience the bliss of the Self, symbolized by the nectar in the Kamandalu.

Spiritual message on the 2nd Navratri: Purify the mind (white cloths) with continuous efforts (japa mala) by accepting the things and situations as they are (kamalandu) and building humility in the mind (egoless state).

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In Navratri diet Samak Chaval is a good replacement for rice eaters. It is not a cereal but a fruit. It is the seed of a grass (Echinochloa Colonum) which frequently grows amongst the rice paddy. In fact it can be eaten in every spiritual fast.  It is also called as Samo rice, Samak rice, Varyacha tandul, Vari TandulBhagaror Kodri, jungle rice. It provides the nourishment and energy that rice does.

It contains 169 Calories per 174 g. it is high in digestible fiber. It is similar to rice in taste and texture. It has a rich source of minerals and vitamins, providing essential ingredients.

In classical India fast it is prohibited to eat rice and hence it becomes the healthy replacement of rice.

India is going through an epidemic of metabolic syndrome, a disease due to eating a lot of refined carbohydrates and manifests as insulin over production, insulin resistance, pot belly obesity, hypertension and diabetes.

Wheat and rice are rich in refined carbohydrates. It is said that one should observe cereal fast 80 days in a year and on that day one should not eat wheat flour, rice and sugar. In traditional fast diet one can replace wheat flour with kuttu and singhara flour; pulses or dal with rajgiri or cholai and rice with Samak chaval. All are fruits in origin and good for heart.

Even diabetic patients can eat Samak Chaval. One will loose the benefits if it is cooked in hydrogenated Vanaspati oil.

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Navratri is the detoxification of body, mind and soul. Body detoxification involves Navratri diet containing eating less devoid of cereals. In Navratri diet flour is replaced with Kuttu or Singhara flour; pulses with amaranth or Rajgiri and Rice with Samak rice. Mental and soul detoxification involves practicing Yoga Sadhna as described in nine forms of Durga.
1. In mythology Mata Shailputri is a daughter of mountain king – Himalaya. She is the first among nine avatars of Durga and worshiped on the First day of Navratri.
2. In yogic language it represents the lowest chakra, Muladhara chakra. And the bija sound to chant is LAM in the sacral root area. In allopathic language it represents activation of sacral plexus.
3. The Mother Goddess has a half moon in her forehead & she is holding a trident (trishul) in her right hand & lotus flower in her left hand. She rides on mount Nandi a bull.
4. Bull in mythology represents ‘desires’. On the first day we must let go our desires.
5. Trishul in mythology represents balancing Tamas, Rajas and Satwa
6. Lotus in mythology indicates practicing detached attachment.
7. Moon in mythology means thinking with a cool mind.
8. Shailputri represents the shakti or power of the root chakra, who, upon awakening, begins Her journey upwards in search for the last crown chakra (Shiva).
9. In Navratri pooja on the first day Yogi keep their mind concentrated on Muladhara chakra as the starting point of spiritual discipline or Yoga Sadhna.

What to do on first day
1. Let go your desires
2. Keep the mind cool
3. Practice detached attachment
4. Balance Tamas and Rajas guna with Satwa. or to stay in balance.
5. Concentrate on Muladhara chakra (sacral root)
6. Chant LAM reducing the respiratory rate to 2-4 per minute.
7. In Ayurveda Muladhara chakra represents the earth element.
Gist: On the first day we control (riding), our desires (bull) by balancing (Trishul) the mind with cool thoughts (moon) and practicing detachment (lotus). This can be assisted by chanting LAM focusing on sacral chakra.

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Eating beetroot before any workout helps. Baked beetle root in one of the study at St. Louis University Chicago gave runners a modest edge in speed during a 5K run when they were close to the finish line. With the beetroot, they were 41 seconds faster at the finish.

A study from the U.K also had shown that exercisers could work out longer if they drank beetroot juice. Other research has found that beetroot juice can help reduce blood pressure. Beetle root is rich in nitrates. Nitrates are converted into nitric oxide by the body. The nitric oxide dilates blood vessels. That results in improved oxygen delivery.

The study included whole vegetable rather than the juice. In the study of 11 men and women, average age 25, each ate 200 grams of beetroot (500 milligrams of nitrates). After the beetroot, exercisers had overall times that were 3% faster compared to their times after eating cranberry relish, and 5% faster during the last mile, she found.

In the study 200 grams of beetle nut was baked at 350 degrees for 90 minutes. The skin was peeled and rest added with a tablespoon of lemon juice, 1/8 teaspoon of cinnamon, and 1/8 teaspoon of nutmeg to make it more palatable. It was consumed about 45 minutes before they jogged or can be eaten two and a half hours before an event.

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One day someone asked me why Muslims and Hindus fight with each other when they worship each other’s GODS. Hindu worship ALI in DIWALI and Muslims worship RAMA in RAMAZAN.

Diwali and Ramadan both have one thing in common and that is one month of spiritual Yagna.

In Hindu spiritual Yagna, the process starts from first day of Navratri on Amavasya and ends up on Diwali, again on Amavasya. The first 10 days involve intense spiritual practice and the rest 20 days entails receiving its benefits.

The first nine days, called Navratri are devoted to a process of purification and detoxification of mind, body and soul. During this period a person is required to lead a Satwik spiritual life devoting first three days into activities, which reduces negativity in the mind and the body; the next three days he is supposed to indulge in positive behavior and happenings and in the last three days he is supposed to read and learn about spiritual positive things in life.

Respectively, these three phases of purification are symbolized as worshiping the Goddesses, Kali, Laxmi and Saraswati. The spiritual purification process involves eating only Satwik food, one which is offered to God, and following the principles of Satwik lifestyle which are Satwik Ahaar, Satwik Vichar, Satwik Vyavahaar and Satwik Achaar. There is a custom of worshiping wheat and barley grass during this period. They are detoxifying grasses when consumed in the form of juices. The Satwik fast observed during this period helps in cleansing the internal body.

Once the nine days purification process is complete, on 10th day one gets the first benefits symbolized with Vijaydashmi as one conquers on that days a victory over Tamas (Kumbhakaran), Rajas (Meghnad) and Ego (Ravana). The victory over the Ego entails the ruling of Satwa (Vibshishan) and reunion of Mind (Lakshamana), Body (Sita) and Soul (Rama).

As per the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali when one attains an ego free mind one is likely to get benefits over a period of time.

The first benefit is seen on the fourth day after Vijaydashmi, on Sharad Purnima, a day known for health benefits. People on this day gather in the night and eat kheer rich in moon rays.

Again after four days on the day of karvachauth one gets benefit of the longevity of the spouse which gives safety to the family. On this day all married women fast and prey for their husbands.

Four days later on “hoi ashtami” one prays for the longevity of their children. This ensures old age protection for the family.

Four days later again on “dhanteras” one gets the benefit of wealth. On this days people worships silver items. On this day no dealings are done and people spend only to invest of silver and gold items for future needs of the family.

By this time the person, who has indulged in the process of purification, learns the true purpose of his or her existence. The inner ignorance and darkness goes away and one gets the true meaning of wealth and that is inner happiness. The day it happens it is called Diwali where on the day of Amavasya (darkness) one gets internal lighting (Diwali).

Diwali, therefore, is a one-month long spiritual Yagna with nine days of purification and 21 days of acquiring spiritual benefits out of it.

Ramadan similarly involves a deep intense purification process of mind, body and soul. In Christians the similar spiritual purification process is celebrated as Easter.

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Tagore’s “Kabuliwala” the archetypal nut seller has never been as significant as in this modern era, when plethora of information is available that nuts are good for the heart.

Walnuts, are rich in polyunsaturated fatty acids, and have beneficial effect on serum cholesterol.

Replacing 35% of the energy obtained from monounsaturated fats [1] or 20% of calories [2] of total diet with walnuts have shown to reduce 4 -12 percent reductions in serum total cholesterol and 6-12 percent reduction in serum bad LDL cholesterol levels.

Walnuts also improve endothelial function in patients with elevated cholesterol [3]

In one study when almonds were given replacing 20% of energy (68g) in healthy adults and in adults with mildly elevated cholesterol levels, the diet led to marked improvements in lipids within four weeks [4].

Prospective Adventist Health Study results have shown that individuals who consume nuts more than four times per week have significant reductions in mortality from coronary heart disease and in nonfatal heart attacks compared to those who consumed nuts less than once per week [5]

Results of Physicians’ Health Study also showed that men who consumed nuts two or more times per week had significant reductions in total coronary deaths and sudden cardiac deaths. [6]

Almonds, peanuts and walnuts contain Vitamin E and are good for the heart. People who take nuts 5 days a week have 20 per cent less chances of having a heart attack. Patients may also consume nuts and seeds in moderate amounts.

Being plant in origin nuts contains zero cholesterol.

References
1. Ann Intern Med 2000; 132:538.
2. N Engl J Med 1993; 328:603
3. Circulation 2004; 109:1609.
4. Circulation 2004; 109:1609
5. Am J Clin Nutr 2003; 77:1379.
6. Arch Intern Med 1992; 152:1416

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In Navratre fast one need to omit wheat flour from the diet and substitute it with buckwheat flour (kuttu flour) or water chestnut (Singhara flour). Singhara is not a cereal but a fruit and hence a good substitute for a Navratre fasts where cereals are not to be eaten.

1. Singhara flour is prepared from Singhara or Water Chestnut.
2. Singhara is floating annual aquatic plants, growing in slow-moving water up to 5 meters deep. The plant bear ornately shaped fruits containing a single very large starchy seed.
3. The seeds or nuts are boiled and sold as street side snack or eaten raw.
4. The flour is made from dried, ground water chestnuts. The nuts are boiled, peeled, dried then ground into flour. The flour is bright white fine powder; it is actually a starch rather than flour.
5. The flour is primarily use as a thickener.
6. The flour is used as a food in Navratre and consumed as a falahaar (fruit) diet.
7. It is an excellent source of energy and provides 115 kcals per 100g.
8. The glycemic Index for chestnut is 60. Low GI foods have a GI value less than 55; medium GI foods have a GI value between 55 and 69 and high GI foods have GI value greater than 70.
9. Chestnuts are relatively low in net carbs (total carbohydrate minus dietary fiber). It is included in many low carb diets.
10. A gluten free product, chestnut flour is a cooking option for people with celiac disease or other gluten intolerances or allergies.
11. Chestnuts do not contain the fat that regular nuts have.
12. It contains less carbohydrate than white flour.
13. People with tree nut allergies should take care to avoid chestnut flour. It may cause an allergic reaction.
14. Flour made from chestnuts is typically more difficult to locate in many areas as well as more expensive than white flour.
15. One should not eat deep fried chestnut flour pooris of parantha
16. One should not use transfats vegetables oils to cook chestnut flour made bread
17. One should buy only branded flour as left over flour of last year can lead to food poisoning
18. As per Ayurveda chestnut flour has cool and buckwheat flour has hot properties.
19. Both chestnut flour and buckwheat flours can be combined
20. One should eat falahaar once a week and atleast 80 days in a year.

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