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Dr K K Aggarwal

  • Love is the law.
  • Everybody is born with a unique talent. Search for it and respect it.
  • The Universe is the macrocosm, man is the microcosm” (Return of the Rishi, p. 113).

There’s an ancient saying in Ayurveda:

“As is the atom, so is the Universe. As is the microcosm, so is the macrocosm.

As is the human body, so is the cosmic body. As is the human mind, so is the cosmic mind.”

Ganga, Yamuna and Saraswati, the sangam of the three rivers in Allahabad is believed to be the holiest place in the country where if one takes a dip, one washes away his or her past sins.

After death, ashes are also submerged in the Ganga with an assumption that the past sins will be removed.

In Vedic era, what was the intention of the rishis and munis while making this ritual?

In mythology, moon represents cool mind and Ganga represents the positive flow of thoughts. And sea turmoil indicates the disturbed state of mind.

Hanuman’s samudra yatra indicates the meditative journey through the flow of thoughts. Samudra manthan represents the journey of the mind during meditation.

Taking a dip can be equated to shifting your mind towards your consciousness. This may occur when you introspect in a relaxed state of mind or when you practice meditation. Meditation is defined as a journey from sympathetic and parasympathetic state of mind or a journey from disturbed state of consciousness to undisturbed state of consciousness.

Every time you meditate, you dip into your consciousness and clean your guilt and negative thoughts. It is something like reformatting your hard disk and removing the bad sectors and viruses in your software.

It is, therefore, possible for you to do Ganga snan (bath) at your house in the morning while meditating or during pooja by drifting away from disturbed state of mind to non disturbed relaxed state of mind, clearing your guilt and negative thoughts.

1. This involves principles of time management including some Vedic principles.

2. The first thing to do is to make a checklist of all the pending work by writing it down and re-categorizing them depending upon the urgency and importance.

3. Pending work can be classified under following four sections:

  • Urgent and important: Should be done immediately
  • Important but not urgent: Should be scheduled as per the time available
  • Urgent but not important: This work should be delegated to others
  • Not important and not urgent: One should learn to say no and dump it.

4. Urgency of the work is decided by the deadlines available.

5. The importance of the work is decided by directing the result of the work to the mind, body or the soul. One should see whether the result of the work gives pleasure to the body, mind or the soul. The one that gives pleasure to the soul will be free of fear or guilt.

6. When choosing between simple or difficult tasks, choose the difficult first so that you do not carry them back home in the mind. In terms of importance, difficult files are more important than simple files.

7. When choosing right versus convenient action, give priority to the right action and not the convenient action.

8. Delegation of work: Team work is very important.

9. When deadlines are available, it is always better not to keep the work just near the deadlines.

10. Anticipate delay and keep time for unforeseen movements.

11. Work is work and not something personal.

12. Always remember the spiritual principle that you get what you deserve and not what you desire. So never associate yourself to the results of your actions.

13. Yoga, pranayama, afternoon naps and meditation help to prioritize your work.

14. Follow the principles of creativity and learn to take breaks in between the work so that the mind is relaxed and can take soul boosting decisions.

15. Remember, Yudhishthir never kept anything pending for tomorrow. This way you can have a fearless, undisturbed sleep.

16. Organizing your pending list always helps.

17. Do not waste time on learning material on which you are already an expert.

18. Take advantage of down time. If you find free time in your routine, then convert it into a creative time so that you can plan strategies or do something new.

19. Always get up at the same time and never disturb your sleep time.

Confession

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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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 Christian religion as a hardcore ritual. Among Christians one usually goes to a Church and 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 with each offering one does a confession. The easiest way to confess is 3 minutes of free writing, which can be done every night. One can 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).

  • It is a benign self-limiting syndrome caused by several viruses.
  • It is one of the most frequent acute illnesses.
  • The term ‘common cold’ refers to a mild upper respiratory viral illness presenting with sneezing, nasal congestion, nasal discharge, low grade fever, headache and malaise.
  • Common cold is not the same as influenza or common sore throat, which can also involve the heart.
  • Common cold affects a pre-school child 5-7 times in a year and an adult 2-3 times in a year.
  • It can spread by hand contact, by direct contact with the infected person or by indirect contact with a contaminated environmental surface.
  • It can also spread by small particle droplets that become airborne from sneezing or coughing.
  • It can also be transmitted via large particle droplets that typically require close contact with infected person.
  • Most important is hand to hand transmission of the virus.
  • Infection can also spread through circulating air in commercial airline passenger cabins.
  • Saliva does not spread any cold.
  • The disease is most infectious on the 2nd and 3rd day of illness.
  • However, a person may be infectious for up to two weeks.
  • Normal cold may last for 8-10 days.
  • The diagnosis is based on clinical findings.
  • Common cold can exacerbate asthma in susceptible individuals.

What are Satvik offerings in Vedic literature?

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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  1. Food Offerings: Panchashasha (grains of five types – brown rice, mung or whole green gram, til or sesame, mashkalai (white urad dal) or any variety of whole black leguminous seed, jowar or millet).
  2. Panchagobbo (Five items obtained from cow: milk, ghee or clarified butter, curd, cow dung and gomutra), curd, honey, brown sugar, three big noibiddos, one small noibiddo, three bowls of madhupakka (a mixture of honey, curd, ghee and brown sugar for oblation), bhoger drobbadi (items for the feast), aaratir drobbadi mahasnan oil, dantokashtho, sugar cane juice, an earthen bowl of atop (a type of rice), til oil (sesame oil).
  3. Water offerings: Ushnodok (lukewarm water), coconut water, sarbooushodhi, mahaoushodhi, water from oceans, rain water, spring water, water containing lotus pollen.
  4. Three aashonanguriuk (finger ring made of kusha).
  5. Puja Items: Sindur (vermillion), panchabarner guri (powders of five different colors – turmeric, rice, kusum flowers or red abir, rice chaff or coconut fibre burnt for the dark color, bel patra or powdered wood apple leaves), panchapallab (leaves of five trees – mango, pakur or a species of fig, banyan, betal and Joggodumur or fig), pancharatna (five types of gems – gold, diamond, sapphire, ruby and pearl), panchakoshay (bark of five trees– jaam, shimul, berela, kool, bokul powdered in equal portions and mixed with water), green coconut with stalk, three aashonanguriuk (finger ring made of kusha).

Why do we not offer Vanaspati Ghee at the time of cremation or worship?

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Vanaspati Ghee is never offered to God at the time of Aarti in the Diya or to the dead body at the time of cremation. Only pure ghee is offered.

It is considered a bad omen to offer Vanaspati ghee at the time of the last cremation ritual even though the consciousness has left the body.

What is not offered to God should not be offered to our consciousness. Vanaspati ghee increases bad cholesterol and reduces level of good cholesterol in the blood. On the other hand, pure ghee only increases bad cholesterol but does not reduce the level of good cholesterol. The medical recommendation is that one should not take more than 15 ml of oil, ghee, butter or maximum ½ kg in one month.

It is a spiritual crime to offer vanaspati ghee to God.

Panchamrit body wash

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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Panchamrit is taken as a Prasadam and is also used to wash the deity. In Vedic language, anything which is offered to God can also be done to the human body. Panchamrit bath, therefore, is the original and traditional complete bath prescribed in Vedic literature. It consists of the following:

  • Washing the body with milk and water, where milk acts like a soothing agent.
  • This is followed by washing the body with curd, which is a substitute for soap and washes away the dirt from the skin.
  • The third step is washing the body with desi ghee, which is like an oil massage.
  • Fourth is washing the body with honey, which works like a moisturizer.
  • Last step is to rub the skin with sugar or khand. Sugar works as a scrubber.

A Panchamrit bath is much more scientific, cheaper and health-friendly.

Prayer for Inner Happiness

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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Stress is defined as the physical and mental reaction to the interpretation of a known situation. In absence of a known situation there cannot be a stress. One cannot be stressful for a person who has just died in New York in an accident unless he or she is a known person.

There has to be a right, conscience–based interpretation of the situation as the same situation can bring happiness to one and stress to the other.

The most important consequence of stress, physical or mental, therefore, depends on the right interpretation of the situation.

The interpretation or judgment in the body is governed by chemical reactions and is controlled by the balance of autonomic balance system, which in turn is governed by the interaction of parasympathetic and sympathetic nervous systems.

During the phase of acute stress, when the sympathetic system is predominant, the heart rate and blood pressure increase and a person cannot take correct and decisive decision.

He or she is likely to make mistakes, which can often be detrimental to living. Sympathetic mode is basically the mode of flight or fight reactions of the body.

Right conscience–based decisions can only be taken in a state of relaxed mind when the intention is inserted in the field of consciousness. The relaxed state of the body is the parasympathetic mode, which is healing and is evident by reduction in heart rate, blood pressure and increase in the skin resistance. Most conscience-based decisions will be based on truthfulness, will be necessary and will bring happiness to both the persons and the surroundings.

The yogic lifestyle by which a person learns the dos and don’ts of living, does regular practice of correct postures, daily pranayama and practices regular withdrawal from the outer atmosphere, helps in preparing a state of physical and mental body state, which is more receptive for conscience-based decisions.

Prayers have no value when the mind is not at rest. All of us have participated in hundreds of mourning prayers with two minutes of silence. This prayer has no value if the two minutes of silence is not observed. If prayer is done without it, the mind will remain restless and we will keep on thinking these two minutes are not over yet.

The process of silence does shift our awareness towards parasympathetic state and temporarily we get to be in contact with the memories of the departed soul and we pay homage to him or her. Today a large number of organizations are teaching the process of meditation but the same cannot be taught unless a person practices procedures by which the mind gets relaxed.

The eight limbs of Patanjali focus in detail about premeditation preparations and once that is learned, one can go to the other three limbs which are Dharna, Dhyana and Samadhi.

Yoga asanas are different from exercises. They stimulate and stretch all or one of the seven charkas, autonomic plexuses, and ganglion and ductless endocrine glands. Also during a yogasana, the mind is in the exercise and not wandering here and there.

Yogic exercises at rest are termed yoga asanas and the same yogic meditative exercises with activity are called traditional Indian dances. Western exercises and dances do not follow the principles of yoga. Many international studies have shown that over one–third of the people during their lifetime pray either for their own illness or for somebody else.

All hospitals should have spirituals areas. The prayer and meditation rooms in a hospital setting invariably will provide an arena which will improve patient-doctor relationship and will reduce the rising disputes amongst them in the country.

Importance of silence

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True silence is the silence between the thoughts and represents the true self, consciousness or the soul. It is a web of energized information ready to take all provided there is a right intent. Meditation is the process of achieving silence. Observing silence is another way of deriving benefits of meditation. Many yogis in the past have recommended and observed silence now and then. Mahatma Gandhi spent one day in silence every week. He believed that abstaining from speaking brought him inner peace and happiness. On all such days he communicated with others only by writing on paper.

Hindu principles also talk about a correlation between mauna (silence) and shanti (harmony). Mauna Ekadashi is a ritual followed traditionally in our country. On this day the person is not supposed to speak at all and observes complete silence all through the day and night. It gives immense peace to the mind and strength to the body. In Jainism, this ritual has a lot of importance. Nimith was a great saint in Jainism who long ago asked all Jains to observe this vrata. Some people recommend that on every ekadashi one should observe silence for few hours, if not the whole day.

In his book, The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success, Deepak Chopra talks in great detail about the importance of observing silence in day to day life. He recommends that everyone should observe silence for 20 minutes every day. Silence helps to redirect our imagination towards self. Even Swami Sivananda in his teachings recommends observation of mauna daily for 2 hours. For ekadashi, take milk and fruits every day, study one chapter of Bhagwad Gita daily, do regular charity and donate one-tenth of your income in the welfare of the society. Ekadashi is the 11th day of Hindu lunar fortnight. It is the day of celebration, occurring twice a month, meant for meditation and increasing soul consciousness.

Vinoba Bhave was a great sage of our country known for his Bhoodaan movement. He was a great advocator and practical preacher of mauna vrata.

Mauna means silence and vrata means vow; hence, mauna vrata means a vow of silence. Mauna was practiced by saints to end enmity and recoup their enmity. Prolonged silence as the form of silence is observed by the rishi munis involved for prolonged periods of silence. Silence is a source of all that exists. Silence is where consciousness dwells. There is no religious tradition that does not talk about silence. It breaks the outward communication and forces a dialogue towards inner communication. This is one reason why all prayers, meditation and worship or any other practice whether we attune our mind to the spiritual consciousness within are done in silence. After the death of a person it is a practice to observe silence for two minutes. The immediate benefit is that it saves a tremendous amount of energy.

Silence is cessation of both sensory and mental activity. It is like having a still mind and listening to the inner mind. Behind this screen of our internal dialogue is the silence of spirit. Meditation is the combination of observing silence and the art of observation.

Spiritual Prescriptions: Satsang

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Satsang is a common household word and is often held many residential colonies. Traditionally, Satsang means the regular meeting of a group of elderly or women of an area with a common intention of attaining inner happiness or peace through Bhajans or devotional songs for a particular God or Gods. In Satsang, people realize that it is the Self, communing with Self.

The Sanskrit word ‘Satsang’ literally means gathering together for guidance, mutual support or in search of truth. It may involve talking together, eating together, working together, listening together or praying together.

Most scriptures describe Sat and asat. They discriminate that this world is maya (asat) and God is Divine. Furthermore, they state that maya is not yours; Divine is yours.

Sang means to join, not just coming close, but to join. And how do you join? Only with love, which acts as glue. So Satsang is: Sat—Divine. Sang—loving association. In non–traditional Satsang, people verbally express themselves to others in an uninhibited way. Here, each participant talks free of judgment of others, and self. In this way, each person is able to see many viewpoints, which may serve to diminish the rigidity of their own.

Satsang is one way of acquiring spiritual well–being. Many scientific studies have shown that when mediation or chanting is done in groups it has more benefits than when done individually. Maharishi Mahesh Yogi once said that if 1% of the population meditates or chants together it will have a positive influence on the entire society.

Satsang also helps in creating a network of people with different unique talents. Satsangi groups are often considered in a very deep–rooted friendship.

Adi Shankaracharya in his book Bhaja Govindam also talks about satsang in combination with sewa and simran and says that together the three can make one acquire spiritual well-being. Nirankaris and Sikhs also give importance to satsang and in fact every true Sikh is supposed to participate in the Gurudwara on a regular basis.

Chanting of mantra or listening to discourses in a satsang helps to understand spirituality through gyan marga. Group chanting continued on a regular basis is one of the ways of meditation mentioned in the shastras. It shifts consciousness from sympathetic to the parasympathetic mode.

The medical educational programs of doctors of today can be called medical satsangs as whatever is discussed is for the welfare of the society.

Satsang also inculcates in us, one of the laws of Ganesha, the law of big ears, which teaches everyone to have the patience to listen to the others.

In satsang, nobody is small or big, everybody has a right to discuss or give his or her views. Over a period of time, most people who regularly attend satsang, start working from the level of their spirit and not the ego.

Do we get a human birth each time we die?

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As per Vedic sciences, Hindu philosophy believes in rebirth unless your Sanchit and Prarabdha Karmas are totally exhausted.

It also believes in liberation wherein once your past karmas debt is over, you do not take a rebirth.

On the other hand, Garuda Purana says that you can take rebirth in animal species, which means you can be born like a donkey or a dog. Vedic science, on the other hand, says that once you get a human body, you will either be liberated or only get another human body.

The message of Garuda Purana can be read and interpreted in a different perspective. In mythology, humans have been linked to animal tendencies. For example, bull is linked to sexual and non–sexual desires, peacock to vanity etc. Probably, people who wrote Garuda Purana meant that if you do not live according to the Shastras, you will end up getting another human body but with animal tendencies and behavior.

Health Implications of Chaturmas

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The “Chaturmas” begins on Ekadashi in the month of Ashadha (June/July) and ends with Ekadashi in the month of Kartik (overlaps October/November) and has got both spiritual and health implications. It is a period when no marriages and auspicious functions are held.

The four months of monsoon are called holy months of the year or Chaturmas and coincide with many festivals. Chaturmas starts with Guru Poornima, a festival to worship your teacher. Then comes the month of Shravana, in which Mondays are worshiped for Lord Shiva. The Narali Poornima in this month marks the end of heavy rain and the throwing of the coconut in the sea appeases it and it calms down. Nag Panchami and Gokul Ashtami are also a part of this month.

Bhadrapad is the next. The first half is dedicated to the worship of Ganapati, the lord of removal of obstacles and the second half to shradhs when religious ceremonies are held in memory of the departed souls.

The month of Ashwin starts with “Navratri” through Dussehra to Diwali. Kojagiri Purnima in this month is the bright Purnima. The last two days of Ashwin and the first two days of Kartik are usually the days of the Diwali festival. Ekadashi in the first half of the month of Kartik marks the end of the Chaturmas.

The days of monsoon are not usually healthy days. For doctors it is a healthy season as they get a large number of patients.

Health implications

  • In the monsoon, all the three doshas (movement, metabolism and structure) are vitiated.
  • Light diet and less oily food are advised, as digestive power is weak. Stomach upsets are common.
  • Most ground worms come to the surface and contaminate underground and surface vegetables.
  • Community feasts, marriages, social functions, gatherings are therefore prohibited in this season.
  • River water gets contaminated.
  • Observance of regular fast counteracts these unhealthy conditions.
  • Snakes come out and snakes bites are common. Nag Panchami tells us not to kill them unnecessarily as most of them are not poisonous.
  • Green leafy vegetables are avoided in the Shravan month, curd in Bhadrapad, milk in Ashwin and pulses (split variety) and oils in Kartik month. The reason is that in rainy season Vata dosha is aggravated (vegetables aggravate vata) and pitta is accumulating. Pitta producing foods are therefore avoided (curd and fermented foods). In Kartik, the kapha is accumulating and hence oils are restricted. In allopathy, vata is movement, pitta is metabolism and kapha is structural functions.
  • In general, the advice is to abstain from tea, coffee, sugar, rice, wheat, etc., and avoid garlic and onion as it can stimulate unnecessary excitements and cause indigestion.
  • Chaturmas is the time to meditate, read spiritual scriptures and strengthen inner immunity by meditation.
  • Negative thinking and emotions are common in Chaturmas due to vata imbalance and hence most agreements and important celebrations are avoided during this period.

Who is a Good Teacher?

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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A good teacher is the one who follows the principles of listening first, teaching in detail till confusion arises and then teaching with reasoning while going into the minutest details and finally summarizing the ‘take–home’ messages.

This is how Lord Krishna discoursed to Arjuna in Bhagavad Gita. In the first chapter, he only listens, in the second, he gives detailed counseling and from chapters 2 to 17, he gives reasoning and in 18th chapter, he revises.

Be Positive, Be Different and Be Persistent

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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You should not only be positive, and different, but also persistent. Among the ten incarnations of Lord Vishnu, the first is a fish, which indicates to be different in life. The second incarnation is the tortoise, which indicates that you should be different but learn to withdraw when the need arises. The third is a boar, which indicates persistence.

The mantra of a successful life is to be positively different and persistent and yet learn to withdraw when the situation arises.