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Dr K K Aggarwal

Nirjala Ekadasi is observed the next day after Ganga Dusshera, a ten days period of self confession to remove the guilt acquired over the lat year.

As per mythology observing Nirjala Ekadasi fast which falls during the waxing phase (Shukla Paksha) in Jyeshta month has the benefits of observing all the 24 Ekadasis. Nirjala Ekadasi is one of the strictest fast in Hindu religion and among all Ekadasis. Nirjala means ‘without water.’ Devotees who undertake this fast does not drink water while fasting on the day. No food is also consumed on the day. The fast begins on Ekadasi sunrise and ends on next day (Dwadasi) sunrise.

Observing it is also equal to going on pilgrimage. During the month of Jyestha the day is longer and one after feels thirsty. As a result it is difficult to observe this vow without drinking water. This vow can only be fulfilled by meticulously observing this vow.

But why fast on the third day before the new and full moons – why not fast on the new and full moon days themselves? Scientists have shown that emotional disturbance starts three days before, so we must counteract this effect from the very beginning, before it has a chance to greatly upset our bodies and minds. British scientists have shown that there are two days during the month when the electron-magnetic vibration of the body radically changes – three days before the new and full moons. On these two days during the month there is a marked difference in the electrical potential between the body’s electromagnetic vibration at the navel and in the brain.

Even though many people during these periods may become irritable, restless and upset, those who fast without water will find that their minds remain balanced and calm. Nirjala Ekadashi therefore prevents al the ill effects likely to come on the day of full moon.  The dehydration produces on ekadashi will compensate the water retention occurring on the day of full moon. Rice or carbohydrates are not eaten in this fast. If worms are present in the GI tract they cannot tolerate dehydration and gets attracted towards carb diet and can migrate in gall bladder or appendix causing obstructions.

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One reason for a man or a woman not to smoke is that a man is likely to end up with erectile dysfunction and the woman with premature aging with wrinkles on face

It has been shown that men who smoke more than 20 cigarettes a day have 60% higher risk of erectile dysfunction as compared to those who never smoke. Fifteen percent of past and present smokers experience erectile dysfunction. Men, who are current smokers or are former smokers, are 30% more likely to suffer from erectile dysfunction. Among men who never smoke, only 12% end up with erectile dysfunction.

Smoking increases the risk of erectile dysfunction by more than 50% in men in the 30–40 year age group. Diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol are other important risk factors for erectile dysfunction.

Apart from erectile dysfunction, smoking also causes reduced volume of ejaculation, low sperm count, sperm shape etc.

In women, smoking leads to premature aging with formation of wrinkles on the face.

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The day when one can get all sins washed away Ganga is most sacred Divine River of the world. Its water never gets spoiled even when heavily polluted. It is worshipped like a Goddess sitting on white lotus (detached attachment) and wearing white cloths (purity).

In uttarayana (positive energy six months period) two festivals are linked to removing the negativity in the kind. The first is eight days of holasthak before Holi when we burn our negative thoughts over a period of eight days.

And the second ten days of Ganga Dusshera festival where we prey, meditate and do cleansing of our sins (guilt) acquired over time. The same can be done by internal meditation and self confession or externally by confessing to Mother Ganges (Ganga) before each dip in the river over a period of ten days.

Eight to ten days are required for any guilt or negative thoughts to be washed away. Black sesame consumption in Ayurveda is known to help remove negativity of mind.

As per mythology it was the tenth day of Jyeshta bright half when Ganga descended on earth from heaven. The day is Ganga Dussehra, which is also the day when ages long hard work and penance of Bhagirath, a Suryavanshi king, got successful and fruitful in the form of river Ganga.

The Ganga Dusshera (Dus means ten and Hera means removal) had ten Vedic astrologic calculations. Jyeshtha month, Shukla Paksha (bright half), Tenth date, Wednesday, Hasta Nakshatra, Vyatipata yoga, Gar Anand Yoga and Moon in Virgo and Sun in Tauras.
These ten Yogas signify Ganga’s ability to wash ten sins linked to thoughts (mental), speech (verbal) and actions (organic).

Action linked three sins are: Fetching anything from others forcibly, indulging in violence and having extra marital affairs. Four verbal sins are speaking harsh words, telling a lie, complaining about others and indulging in irrelevant rambling. Mental sins are occupying other’s assets; desiring to harm others and discussions on irrelevant

As per the ritual on Ganga Dusshera one dips in cold water repeatedly and doing self confession each time. Cold water helps in cooling the mind. Repeated dips help in achieving a para sympathetic state of mind and bringing you closer to your own ‘Judge” who is none other than your consciousness who van pass the order of forgiving you.
The idol of Ganga is considered as Trinetr, quadrilateral, adorned with white clothes and white lotus.

Lord Shiva is the prime deity to be worship during the Ganga Pooja as he is sole owner and holder of river Ganga and by grace of his mercy only sent the river on earth for the welfare of mankind.

Spiritual significance is that to wash the sins (Kama, krodha, lobha, moha and ahankara represented as blue neck or slow poison) one must continuously (matted hairs) with cool mind (moon), through positive thoughts (Ganga) over the sins and wash them.

Ganga Dusshera also reminds us of keeping our rivers clean by not polluting them with feces, urine and gargles. We should not wash clothes of use soap in that area. The ten days of Ganga bath in sun also give enough vitamin D required for the body.

The festival is followed with Nirjala Ekadashi where we try to dehydrate our body so that the water retention which accompanies on full moon can be balanced and we can avoid getting the ill effects of full moon.

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