Sub Logo

Dr K K Aggarwal

Vedic Fasting

By Dr K K Aggarwal
Filed Under Spirituality - Science Behind Rituals | Tagged With: , | | No Comments»

Fasting and starvation are two different terms commonly confused with each other.

Starvation means not eating or drinking altogether, while fasting means control and restrain of five sensory and five motor senses.

During fasting, one may continue eating or drinking but under discipline. Vedic fasting or spiritual fasting is mentioned in Karam Kanda in Yajurveda. Every fast in our mythology has a scientific basis and rituals are added so that the common man can follow it.

As per Garud Puran and Hindu mythology, one of the reasons for suffering is the debts of your past birth. Your purpose of life is to face sufferings to pay these debts. The second reason is your present deeds till today starting from birth. If your sum total of bad deeds is more than good deeds, they get added to your previous birth’s debts.

The third reason for suffering is the form of struggle, which you entertain to attain future success. Some people do not call it as suffering.

The last reason for suffering is that some people acquire yogic powers to take on the sufferings of others. The classical examples are Shirdi Sai Baba and Jesus Christ who were known to cure others by adding their suffering to their own account. Most Gods or holy people had suffered in their last time, be it Jesus Christ, Krishna, Buddha or Sai Baba. Only Rishi Munis can remain alive and die at will even after they have paid for all their debts.

In mythological world, the negative tendency of an individual is symbolized with animal nature. Gods in Indian mythology have been symbolized as living a positive behavior. Every God has a vehicle or Wahan. Both God and the Wahan symbolize how to live a positive life and how to control the animal tendencies.

A few examples:

  • Lord Ganesha’s vehicle is a Mouse. Mouse in mythology symbolizes greed and Ganesha is the one who removes obstacles. The spiritual meaning behind the two is “one should learn to control greed to tackle obstacles in life”.
  • Lord Shiva rides Nandi, the Bull. Bull symbolizes uncontrolled sexual desires. The duo signifies that to learn meditation, one needs to control sexual desires first.
  • Saraswati is the Goddesses of knowledge. She is depicted sitting on a Swan, which symbolizes that to acquire knowledge, one must learn to control the power of discrimination or Vivek. A swan can drink milk and leave water from a mixture of milk and water.
  • Indra has complete control over the intellect. He is shown riding on the elephant Airavat. This symbolizes that intellect (Indra) can be developed by controlling Masti and madness (elephant).
  • Durga symbolizes the perfect woman. Ma Durga rides a lion. This symbolizes that to become a perfect woman, one must learn to control agitation or aggression (lion).
  • Lakshmi symbolizes wealth. Lakshmi riding an owl symbolizes that to earn righteously, one must learn to control the owl-like properties within us, which is not to get befooled.
  • Lord Vishnu (the doer) rides eagle or Garuda. Eagles are opportunistic predators. They eat almost anything they can find. This means controlling desires to eat unbalanced meals.
  • Krishna riding five horses means one needs to control the five senses.
  • Kartikeya rides on Peacock. This symbolizes that one should learn to control one’s pride (vanity) or ego.
  • Goddess Kali rides a black goat, Agni rides Mesha – a ram, Kubera, the God of wealth, also rides a ram. A ram is an uncastrated adult male sheep. Goat also signifies uncontrolled sexual desires but lesser than the bull.
  • Yamraj rides a buffalo, which is known for its rampant destruction. Lord Yama or Yamraja is referred to as the God of death, lord of justice, Dharma Raja. One can do justice only if one knows how to control anger and aggressive behavior.

India is a land of diverse faith and myriad cultures. The festival of Rakhi, though rooted in mythology and ancient Indian history, has not really been understood for what it actually represents.

Rakhi traditionally celebrates the bond of love between a brother and a sister. Tying of rakhi, exchanging of sweets, a gift from the brother to his sister/s –this is the common perception and this is how most of us celebrate this festival.

But how many of us have given a thought to what this bond actually denotes?

First and foremost, Rakhi is synonymous with purity of the relationship and purity of the self and therefore of the soul. It is not just a thread tied by the sister on her brother’s wrist whereby the brother pledges to protect her from any worldly harm. In a broader spectrum, it is a chance to free oneself from one’s internal enemies, the vices. A man is pulled down by his negative energies and the festival of Rakhi gives him a chance to retrospect and pull out of that dark side.

This colored thread with multiple decorations and motifs is tied not necessarily only by one’s sister, but can be tied by any woman who shares a platonic relationship with a man. There is a complete absence of a physical relationship and has no age or space barriers between the two connected by this sacred thread. Simultaneously, it is absurd to think that a mere child or one who stays miles away would be able to offer protection to his “rakhi” sister. The issue which is of prime importance here is the bond of spiritual love established between two individuals of the opposite gender.

The message of Rakshabandhan is that of love and purity. It can be viewed as a thread tied on behalf of God to set us on the right path.

The initial representation of Rakhi as a pledge to protect the sister and her right to be protected by the brother has gained wide propagation due to the fact that in Indian history and mythology there have been instances when this aspect of the festival has been highlighted. Rani Karnavati sent a rakhi to the Mughal Emperor Humayun to ask for help when she was besieged by enemies. In the realm of the Gods, we have Indrani tying a rakhi on Lord Indra. There is also the tradition of tying rakhi by a Brahmin to a Yajman.

According to the Vedas, every individual has three debts to be paid off – firstly, of the Devtas (Dev Rin), secondly of Guru and teachers (Rishi Rin) and, thirdly, of Ancestors (Pitra Rin). From the scientific point of view, devtas represent people with Daivik qualities; teachers the ones who have taught us and Pitra, three generations of our ancestors. Rin from scientific point of view would mean unfinished desires or tasks.

The rituals scientifically would mean detaching oneself from the guilt of unfinished tasks of our ancestors by detoxifying our mind.

Debt means desires of our ancestors that had not been fulfilled during their lifetime. The responsibility to fulfil them automatically falls onto the eldest son in the family and they need to be carried out. If not, it is a sign of guilt disorder in the family and may present with loss of wealth, loss of direction and courage and health. The resultant problems faced were called Pitra Dosh in mythology.

The ritual of performing Shradhs originated to remove this guilt and the resultant illnesses. Shradh has many components:

  • Tarpan (offering water to the ancestors while reciting Mantras)
  • Arpan (preparing food what the ancestors used to like on the day of Shradh)
  • Brahmin bhoj (offering Satvik food to Brahmins)
  • Pind Daan (offering black sesame, Kusha Grass, Jwar and boiled or baked rice); observed by some
  • Observing a spiritual holiday or incubation period (taking a break from the routine worldly desires and going to a distant place like Gaya)
  • Remembrance: Once the unfulfilled desires of the ancestors are over, remembering our ancestors every year on the day of their death anniversary.

In the rituals, Tarpan of Jal (water) is offered to ancestors. Jal in mythology means flow of thoughts and offering Jal in mythology equates to confession and getting connected. Tarpan is always done with an aim to purify the mind and wash off the guilt.

Tarpan is always done after the desires of our ancestors have been fulfilled by the person performing the Shradh. Tarpan and Arpan on the day of Shradh mean getting connected to our consciousness and informing that all the unfinished tasks are over so that we can get rid of the long persisting guilt from our mind. Offering and making food which was liked by our ancestors on that day is just to remember and pay respect to them.

Confession is only possible in a Satwik state of mind, which requires eating of Satwik food for a few days. The ritual of offering Satwik food to Brahmins during the Shradh means making only Satwik food on that day so that everyone in the family is forced to eat Satwik food during Shradhs.

Pind Daan denotes medicinal ways of detaching oneself from the guilt. All the four offerings (black sesame, Kusha grass, Jwar and boiled or roasted rice) in Ayurveda have been described to detoxify the mind and making it Satwik by removing Rajas and Tamas.

If the guilt does not go by repeated Shradhs, then one is required to go for a spiritual vacation during Shradh period so that he is away from the worldly desires for a few days before the Shradh and this is what going to Gaya means. This spiritual retreat works like an incubation period to the disturbed mind and gets rid of the disturbed mind and allows the undisturbed state of mind to confess and purify.

The Pitra ceremonies are usually performed either on Amavasya every month (period of most negativity in a month) or on the death anniversary or the Hindu Tithi (day) of the death of the ancestors coinciding with the day during Shradh days. If the date of death is not known then the Shradh is observed on Amavasya.

Some people perform Shradh for full 15 days and others perform it from the first day till the day of their ancestors’ Shradh.

It is said that once a Shradh is successfully performed or Gaya Shradh is performed, there is no need to perform Shradh rituals thereafter. Once the guilt is over, there is no need for further detoxification of the mind. After that the only ritual that needs to be performed is remembrance, which is usually performed on the death anniversary of the deceased ancestor, usually by doing some charity on their names.

One is not supposed to do auspicious things during Shradh as during this period, the mind is in a process of detoxification.

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

Why do we not touch papers, books and people with our feet?

By Dr K K Aggarwal
Filed Under Spirituality - Science Behind Rituals | Tagged With: , | | Comments Off on Why do we not touch papers, books and people with our feet?

In every traditional Gurukul, no studies start without chanting the following

Saraswati namasthubhyam

Varade kaama roopini

Vidyaarambham karishyaami

Sidhirbhavatu me sadaa

“O Goddess Saraswati, the giver of Boons and fulfiller of wishes, I prostrate to You before starting my studies. May you always fulfil me”

Indian Vedas consider knowledge about self as the supreme knowledge and all tools for the same are considered sacred and divine and must be given respect. The traditional custom is not to step on any sacred educational tool.

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

The very purpose of life is to face sufferings

By Dr K K Aggarwal
Filed Under Spirituality - Science Behind Rituals | Tagged With: , , | | Comments Off on The very purpose of life is to face sufferings

According to Hinduism, the very fact we are born means that in our last life, we did not get liberation or Moksha. It also means that some sufferings in our last birth still remained. Therefore, the purpose of this birth is to face those sufferings.

When the purpose of our life is to face sufferings, why suffer from them?

This should be considered as ‘sukh’ and not ‘dukh’. As per Vedic literature, every adversity is an opportunity to learn or to do something different. The notable principles of Buddhism also talk about the same. The first is that suffering exists, second that there is a reason for every suffering and third that it is possible to neutralize the suffering by understanding the 8 paths of cessation of suffering.

Also remember that in every ‘dukh’ you think of ‘sukh’ and in every ‘sukh’ you think of a ‘dukh’. Next time you have a problem, think differently and learn to enjoy them.

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

Spiritual Prescription: Yoga, the Greatest Healer

By Dr K K Aggarwal
Filed Under Spirituality - Science Behind Rituals | Tagged With: , , | | Comments Off on Spiritual Prescription: Yoga, the Greatest Healer

The Sanskrit word for ‘healthy’ is ‘Svastha’ – Sav-Stha – means being established in one’s own true self. This is only possible when the body is in union with the mind and the consciousness.

The Bhagavad Gita (Ch. IV shloka 36), says Api chedasi papebhya sarvebhya pap kritama or in other words “even if thou are the sinner of all sinners, you shall cross over all sin by the raft of knowledge”. Here sin can be equated with physical or mental sickness.

Again, in shloka 37, Krishna says “Gyanagni sarva karmani bhasmasat kurute tatha”. In other words, “as fire reduces fuel to ashes, the fire of knowledge reduces all karma to ashes”.

In shloka 38, Krishna said “Na hi gyanena sa drisham pavitram ih vidyate” or in other words “there is no greater purifier than knowledge. One realizes it in his own heart in time, as he practices yoga”.

The medical interpretation of these is that to acquire mind-body union, one needs to practice yoga which helps to establish pure consciousness. Once that is established, only then one can be called as healthy. This is further clarified in Ch II verse 65, where Krishna said “prasade sarva dukhanam hanirasya upjayte” or in other words “in peace all the troubles are destroyed”. Here ‘peace’ can be equated with one with pure consciousness and troubles with ‘sickness’.

Yoga sutras of Patanjali also describe the first sutras as “yoga chitta uritti nirodhe” or in other words “yoga is the cessation of fluctuations in the mind”.

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

Significance of Lighting a Lamp in Any Worship

By Dr K K Aggarwal
Filed Under Spirituality - Science Behind Rituals | Tagged With: , , | | Comments Off on Significance of Lighting a Lamp in Any Worship

Deepajyothi parabrahma

Deepa Jyotir Janaardanah

Deepo harati paapaani

Sandhyaa deepa namostute

“I prostrate to the dawn/dusk lamp, whose light is the Knowledge Principle (the Supreme Lord), which removes the darkness of ignorance and by which all can be achieved in life.”

Light is a symbol of knowledge, and darkness, of ignorance. Knowledge removes ignorance the way light removes darkness. The purpose of any ritual is to remove internal darkness and attain some knowledge.

Vedic literature recommends lighting a lamp daily as a part of puja ritual. Some do it once at dawn, others twice a day – at dawn and dusk ; while some let the lamp light continuously (akhanda deepa). No auspicious functions can commence without lighting of the lamp and the same is to be maintained right through the occasion.

Knowledge is an enduring inner wealth which is a means to accomplish all outer achievement. By lighting the lamp, we bow down to knowledge as the greatest of all forms of wealth. Knowledge about the self is the greatest wealth. It goes around achieving inner happiness by burning the negativity of mind full of lust and ego.

The traditional oil lamp defines this spiritual significance. The oil or ghee symbolizes our vasanas (lust) and negative tendencies (the wick & the ego). Lit by spiritual knowledge, the vasanas slowly exhaust and the ego perishes. The flame of a lamp always burns upwards signifying that only that knowledge should be acquired that takes us towards higher ideals.

The spiritual meaning of the word ‘Artha’

By Dr K K Aggarwal
Filed Under Spirituality - Science Behind Rituals | Tagged With: , , | | Comments Off on The spiritual meaning of the word ‘Artha’

Dharma, Artha, Kama and Moksha are the four fundamental principles of our very existence which means earning righteously with a desire to fulfil the inner happiness.

Righteous earning is called ‘Artha’ and mistakenly it has been linked to materialistic money. In mythology, Artha is synonymous with Lakshmi, Saraswati and Kali, where Lakshmi represents righteously earned materialistic wealth, Saraswati represents wealth of knowledge and Kali represents wealth of wisdom to fight the bad in you and in the society.

In any country, it is the wealth of knowledge, which is more important. India was ruled initially by warriors (Kali), later by money (Lakshmi) and in future will be ruled by knowledge (Saraswati).

It is the human resources, which today decide the growth of a company and the amount of money invested. If you have good human resources, your company is going to succeed.

Managing grief by free expressive writing

By Dr K K Aggarwal
Filed Under Spirituality - Science Behind Rituals | Tagged With: , , | | Comments Off on Managing grief by free expressive writing

The loss of a loved is often painful. The resultant grief makes it hard to eat, sleep and leads to loss of interest in routine life, affecting behavior and judgment.

Some can feel agitated or exhausted, to sob unexpectedly, or to withdraw from the world and others may find themselves struggling with feelings of sorrow, numbness, anger, guilt, despair, irritability, relief, or anxiety.

It is well known that disclosing deep emotions through writing can boost immune function as well as mood and well-being. Conversely, the stress of holding in strong feelings can increase blood pressure and heart rate and increase muscle tension.

One can write on a piece of paper, in his personal book, on the open website or keep it in the mind. One doesn’t have to preserve the emotions and can throw away the writings.

In absence of deeply troubling situations, such as suicide or a violent death, which are best explored with the help of an experienced therapist, one can choose writing as a way to express the grief.

  • Start writing for 15 to 30 minutes a day for 3 to 4 days.
  • Continue up to a week if it is helping.
  • Continue writing for 15 to 30 minutes once a week for a month.
  • Writing has stronger effects when it extends for more number of days.
  • Remember, writing about grief and loss can trigger strong emotions (one may cry or feel deeply upset).
  • Several people find journal writing valuable and report feeling better afterward.
  • Don’t worry about grammar or sentence structure.
  • Truly let go. Write down how you feel and why you feel that way.

(Source: Harvard News Letter)

You look at people the same way as you are

By Dr K K Aggarwal
Filed Under Spirituality - Science Behind Rituals | Tagged With: , , | | Comments Off on You look at people the same way as you are

Honest people regard everybody as honest and dishonest people regard everybody as dishonest. It all depends on the type of people you interact with. If you do not take bribe, nobody will come and offer bribe to you and you will feel everybody is honest. If you take bribe then everybody will come to you to offer bribe and you will feel that everybody in the society is dishonest.

Never judge people with your personal experience. I recall a doctor saying that every doctor takes and gives bribe because he was running an imaging center and every doctor who approached him asked for a bribe. But he did not take into consideration the doctors who did not approach him.

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

Think differently in mythology

By Dr K K Aggarwal
Filed Under Spirituality - Science Behind Rituals | Tagged With: , , | | Comments Off on Think differently in mythology

  • Lord Ganesha’s elephant head depicts that one should use his/her wisdom before taking any decision.
  • Vishnu’s first incarnation, fish, symbolizes the need to learn to swim in the opposite direction.
  • Brahma’s five heads mean to use all five senses before taking any decision.
  • Shiva’s third eye means to think differently in difficulties.
  • Ravana’s 10 heads mean using your ten senses before taking any decision (but he used them for negative forces).
  • Maha Mrityunjaya mantra starts with saying that we worship the three eyed Shiva.
  • Gayatri mantra means that one should ask the heart to direct the intellect to take the right decision.

The 3H philosophy is linked to the same, where first H is ask the head for options, second H is to ask the heart to choose one of the options and the third H means to order the hands to do the action.

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

Do unto yourselves what you do to God

By Dr K K Aggarwal
Filed Under Spirituality - Science Behind Rituals | Tagged With: , | | Comments Off on Do unto yourselves what you do to God

  1. There are two types of people – those who believe in Dvaita or Advaita philosophy.
  2. People who believe in Dvaita philosophy, for them God and human being are different.
  3. The people who believe in Advaita philosophy believe that God is within them.
  4. In Hinduism, the first group believes in Sanatan Dharma and does Moorti pooja (idol worship) and the second Arya Samaj, which does not believe in Moorti pooja.
  5. In both situations, medically, the message is one.
  6. If God is different than you, then you try to be like Him and if God is within you, then you are Him.
  7. In both situations, we should deal with our body the same way as we deal with God.
  8. Anything which is not offered to God should not be offered to our body, such as cigarettes, drugs, etc., or such things should be consumed in less quantity (onion, garlic, radish, etc.).
  9. We never worship God with hydrogenated oil; we always worship him either with oil or with Desi Ghee. The message is, we should not consume trans fats.
  10. “Bhagwan ko bhog lagate hain”; we never feed God. The message is eat less.
  11. Amongst all Gods, only Lord Shiva is said to consume Bhang and alcohol, that too only in his incarnation of Bhairon, which indicates that both alcohol and bhang can be consumed in some quantity only in special situations meaning that they cannot be consumed without medical supervision.
  12. Anything grown under the ground is not offered to God, thus, these items should not be eaten or eaten in moderation.
  13. We never offer white salt and white rice to God. They are also bad for human beings.
  14. Gur, shakkar, brown rice and puffed rice are offered to God. They can be consumed by human beings.

Why do we not offer onions to God?

By Dr K K Aggarwal
Filed Under Spirituality - Science Behind Rituals | Tagged With: , , , | | Comments Off on Why do we not offer onions to God?

Anything that grows under the ground is not offered to God. According to Vedic science, anything which is grown under the ground is Tamasik in nature and produces sluggishness, heaviness and extreme aggressiveness. Not only onion, all food products grown under the ground are not offered to God and are not supposed to be eaten during spiritual fasts. People who are spiritually-oriented like monks, rishis, munis, avoid underground food altogether. Some people try to convert Tamasik food into Satvik food by slow heating them or by sprouting them or by soaking them in water. This is one reason why boiled potato is eaten during Vrat.