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Dr K K Aggarwal

Myths

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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• The right skin cream can keep your skin looking young: For reducing wrinkles, the topical treatment with the best evidence behind it is retinoic acid. The best ways to keep wrinkles at bay are using sunscreen and not smoking.

• Antibacterial soap is best for keeping your skin clean: Many experts are concerned that the use of antibacterial soap could lead to more antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Antibacterial soap is not necessary for everyday use. Regular soap is fine. Thorough and consistent hand-washing, not antibacterial soap is what helps prevent the spread of infection.

You Cannot Serve Two Masters (God and Wealth)

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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This is true for both your internal spiritual journey as well as the external social journey in life. Wealth is an indicator of greed, which is one of the five known obstacles to the pathway of self-realization.

Greed according to the Patanjali is defined as possessing any material wealth more than your need.

Greed in turn is linked to attachment through any of the five senses and uncontrolled desires. Once desires are fulfilled more desires are created, which is nothing but greed. And when the desires are not fulfilled then greed gets converted into anger, which leads to loss of intellect and ultimately destruction of the body.

Lord Krishna, in the Bhagavad Gita, while explaining this to Arjuna has clearly mentioned the pathway of self destruction starting from attachment to loss of intellect and ultimately destruction of the self.

The Hindu mythology has always said that never be after money. When you are after money the knowledge or wisdom will not follow you. The classical example given is that if you are after Saraswati (God of Knowledge), Laxmi (God of Wealth) follows you and if you are after Laxmi, Saraswati may not remain with you.

God is representative of your true self and that is your consciousness, which is nothing but “Satchitananda” or the triad of truthfulness, consciousness based decisions and internal bliss or happiness. To be in touch with your consciousness you have to control your five senses through your mind and detach yourself from the egocentric desires.

Greed and wealth are representatives of attachment to the material world through one of your five senses, therefore, if you want to be in touch with your consciousness you have to be detached from the materialistic world and wealth is one of them.

There is a classical description of this phenomenon in Mahabharata in the battle of Kurukshetra when Lord Krishna became the Sarathi of Arjuna and rode the five horses chariot. The symbolic representation of the whole thing is, Lord Krishna represents your true self or consciousness; Arjuna represents the ego and the intellect; the reins of the horses represent the unstable mind and five horses represent the ever changing five senses.

Using your ego and intellect if you can tighten your mind (reins), you will be able to control the five horses (the five senses) and then you will have all the time in the world to be with Lord Krishna (your own consciousness). On the other hand, if you let the reins loose (let the mind wonder) all the horses (senses) will get uncontrolled and wander here and there (one gets attached to the materialistic world). The mind and the intellect, instead of becoming the master, then becomes the servant of the five senses and will get detached from the true self or the consciousness.

Electricity is a good servant and a bad master is a well-known saying. Something is true for the five senses. They are very good to the life provided they are controlled like servants and never treated like masters. Once they overpower you, they will create an umbrella of darkness over the mind and the intellect making you forget about the presence of soul in the body. Once this happens, you lose your dharma.

Whenever given a choice, always choose your consciousness as the master and not any of the five senses, mind, intellect or ego.

Why are most temples located in faraway places?

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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Most temples represent God or the spirit or the deity located in the temple or mandir situated in an area at the outskirts of the city. A spiritual atmosphere is one that is devoid of pollution and which promotes rajasik or tamasik behavior. The silence of the spiritual atmosphere reduces the internal noise and helps us onward in our inner journey. The inner journey of being in touch with one’s consciousness requires detachment from worldly pleasures and the withdrawal of the five senses of the body

To be in touch with one’s consciousness, one needs to bypass the disturbed state of consciousness controlled by emotion, memories and desires, through mind, intellect and ego. This usually requires a prolonged period of persistence and undertaking the inward journey devoid of external stimuli. The parikrama, which means “the path surrounding something”, incorporating many long walks helps to detoxify the mind and thus shifts the consciousness from a disturbed state to an undisturbed, calm state.

A long walk not only offers physical benefits but one also gets the benefits of nature as one’s inner stimuli are exposed to the outer stimuli during the parikrama. The person is often required to walk bare foot on natural ground, inhale pure air and concentrate and listen to the sounds of the nature, birds and trees. This proximity to nature helps in the inward spiritual journey and shifts one from the sympathetic to parasympathetic mode described by lowering of blood pressure and pulse rate. The final happiness invariably comes from within us at the time of final darshan when a person invariably closes his eyes and experiences God within his heart.

Most temples today are being constructed in residential colonies and provide a holy atmosphere to people right at their doorstep. However, they do not have the same spiritual significance and benefits as a temple located at the outskirts of a city.

There is no way a person can go to a temple in the vicinity of his house and detoxify his mind as this can hardly be achieved in minutes unless you are a siddha yogi, and if you are one, you need not go to a temple as the temple is within you.

In Vedic texts, it has been clearly mentioned that to acquire powers and inner happiness, rishi, munis had to do tapasya for months and years together. This tells us that spiritual well-being is acquired over an extended period of time as the process of detoxification is a long drawn process. Cars and other vehicles should not be allowed near temples as the basic motive is to have a pollution-free atmosphere and to give time and space for the mind to detoxify.

3 simple ways for a restful sleep

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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1. Cut down on caffeine: Caffeine drinkers may find it harder to fall asleep. Even a single cup of coffee in the morning may lead to a sleepless night. Caffeine blocks the effects of adenosine, a neurotransmitter thought to promote sleep. Caffeine can also interrupt sleep by increasing the need to urinate during the night. Because caffeine withdrawal can cause headaches, irritability, and extreme fatigue, it may be easier to cut back gradually rather than to go cold turkey. Those who can’t or don’t want to give up caffeine should avoid it after 2 p.m., or noon if they are especially caffeine–sensitive.

2. Stop smoking or chewing tobacco: Nicotine is a central nervous system stimulant that can cause insomnia. If you continue to use tobacco, avoid smoking or chewing it for at least one to two hours before bedtime.

3. Limit alcohol intake: Alcohol depresses the nervous system, so a nightcap may seem to help some people fall asleep. Alcohol suppresses REM sleep, and the soporific effects disappear after a few hours. Alcohol also worsens snoring and other sleep breathing problems.

Smoking in women can increase risk of colorectal cancer

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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Women who smoke are at twice the risk of developing cancer of the rectum and the risk goes up with the increase in number of cigarettes smoked per day, duration of smoking and older age at smoking cessation.

Women should never smoke. Current smokers are 95% more likely to develop rectal cancer. Younger adults can develop colorectal cancer, but the chances increase markedly after age 50. More than 9 out of 10 people diagnosed with colorectal cancer are older than 50.

A history of adenomatous polyps (adenomas) especially if they are large, increase the risk of cancer.

If you have had colorectal cancer, even though it has been completely removed, you are more likely to develop new cancers in other areas of the colon and rectum. The chances of this happening are greater if you had your first colorectal cancer when you were younger.

Though the no. 1 cancer in women in urban areas is breast cancer and in rural areas is cancer of the cervix, cancer of the rectum is on the rise.

Writing a Vedic Will – as I understand it

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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Sometimes back, I used to think that a ‘will’ simply meant how my finances would be controlled by my wife and my children after my death. As I started acquiring Vedic knowledge, my interpretation changed. Following is the gist for writing a Will, as I understand it the Vedic way. Of course, writing a will requires a sound state of mind, two witnesses, signed registered paper with accompanying, if possible audio-visual link.

• The first step is to calculate your life earnings. Your earnings are not only your finances earned but also the respect, dignity and image that you have earned in the society.

• Now the next step is to pay off your unpaid debts (Hrins). Apart from actual loans we have taken from banks, friends and others, there are three more debts (Hrins) which we need to pay before we die and define in our Will to be paid from our earning if we die unexpectedly. These as per mythology are Pitra Hrin, Dev Hrin and Rishi Hrin and mean that we have not been able to fulfill the committed desires of our ancestors and commitments made to our GOD and teachers respectively. All these debts, if unpaid, need to be paid out of the finances you are leaving at the time of death. A percentage of your finances, therefore, should be kept to pay these debts. These commitments are usually fulfilled by the eldest son and eldest daughter if there is no son or wife till she is alive.

• Rest of the finances need to be divided to fulfill your Dharma, Artha, Kama and Moksha or purpose for which you were born.

o Artha: A percentage of your finances should go and be equally divided within your immediate family. A percentage of this amount should be converted into a family trust account to be used for the minus 18 years of age children in future.

o Dharma: Dharma in literal meaning is to hold. A percentage of your finances should be kept into a reserve account and this account interest can be used by the family only if they stick to the code of family conduct (includes rituals, religious activities etc) you have created in your life and mentioned in the will or this amount may be given for charity as defined in your will.

o Kama and Moksha: Kama means the unfulfilled desires at the level of intellect and ego and Moksha the same at the level of our soul.

We must enlist both our desires at the level of mind and at the level of soul and a percentage of our finances should be converted into a trust or defined to fulfill these desires. The examples of desires at the level of soul are to do some charitable work without any publicity. The same at the level of ego are to open some dispensary, dharamshala etc. in our own name. You also need to fulfill and document your desired rituals at the time of death. These rituals must answer the following questions:

• Should my death be celebrated (band, lunch) as I have completed all my purposes of life?

• How should my death anniversary be celebrated or observed?

• How should my last rites be done?

Final Note: If my children and wife are not willing to take care of the finances other than Artha, I nominate the following persons to manage my finance to look after my other desires…….

Children and adolescents with congenital heart disease should avoid body piercing

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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Children and teenagers with congenital heart disease should be strongly discouraged from getting a tattoo or piercing their ears or other body parts, because it could lead to endocarditis, a potentially deadly infection of the heart.

Infective endocarditis occurs when bacteria or fungi attach and begin to grow on the valves of the heart. If left untreated, it can lead to a fatal destruction of heart muscle.

Body art in the form of tattoos and piercing has become increasingly popular among children and teenagers. But, most people remain unaware that they should talk to their doctor before tattooing or piercing their body. Most experts today strongly discourage all forms of body art. For those who cannot be dissuaded, the recommendation is to give antibiotics prior to tattooing or piercing, “with strong advice for prompt treatment of any signs of subsequent infection”.

Spiritual Prescriptions: Prefer Meditation and Not Medication

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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Meditation and not medication should be the first line of treatment for most lifestyle disorders. The very fact that our body has a receptor for each and every drug means it has the capacity to produce that drug. God did not make these receptors for pharmacological agents or drugs. The key lies in achieving the undisturbed state of consciousness, which can be obtained by either controlling the disturbed state of mind or bypassing it by using the mantra.

The subject of spiritual medicine should be included in schools, colleges and medical sciences.

Confession and communication are two easy modules of controlling the disturbed state of mind. As darkness is absence of light, negative thoughts are absence of positive thoughts. To reduce negative thoughts, one should inculcate positive thoughts, actions and behaviors. One cannot hate a stranger. One can only hate a person whom he or she has loved. Hatred is therefore withdrawal of love, and it can only be removed by bringing the love back.

It has been shown that diseases like diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, paralysis, asthma and acid-peptic disease can be kept under control with meditation without or with minimal medicines

Artificial Sweeteners in Sweets May Be Harmful

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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In a joint statement, the American Heart Association (AHA) and the American Diabetes Association (ADA) have given a cautious recommendation to the use of nonnutritive sweeteners to help people maintain a healthy body weight and for diabetics to aid glucose control. These products should be considered like a nicotine patch. They are appreciably better than the real product (sugar), but not part of an optimal diet. The statement, published in both Circulation and Diabetes Care on July 9, 2012, warns that sweeteners are helpful only as long as people don’t eat additional calories later as compensation.

The term nonnutritive sweeteners cover six sweeteners including aspartame, acesulfame K, neotame, saccharin, sucralose, and plant–derived stevia. These nonnutritive substances have zero calories. Two things may happen in terms of compensation

1.Physiological, where the body might be expecting more calories and so the individual may be hungrier and therefore may eat more

2.Psychological, where the individual thinks they are allowed to eat more sugar-rich food because they had a diet soda instead of a full–sugar soda.

When people use sweeteners there is compensation. The key is how much? Partial compensation is ok but people often completely compensate or even overcompensate, so these sweeteners have to be used smartly to be successful. Compensation seems less of a problem when these sweeteners are consumed in beverages as opposed to food. People don’t really notice the lack of calories in a diet soda and so don’t tend to eat more, whereas if they consume a low–calorie foodstuff, they do tend to eat more as compensation.

Its better when sweeteners are used in beverages and not sweets or other foods. One is not completely sure about the safety of these products, because their long–term use in humans has not been studied fully. However, the artificial sweeteners on the market are almost certainly safer than consuming large amounts of sugar, which has definite harm when consumed in large amounts. This harm, particularly when consumed in beverage form such as soda, includes increases in risks of obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and gout. A concern, though, is that just replacing sugar with artificial sweeteners leaves a person, especially children, conditioned to high levels of sweetness, which is likely to influence their food choices adversely.

Can a mantra or sound be used as a medicine?

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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The answer is yes. The difference between a Mantra and a sound is that the Mantra sound is an energized sound with medicinal values. There are many aspects of Mantra as a sound:

1. The type of sound matters. It is a well known that chanting of vowel sounds produces interleukin 2 in the body, which has the same action as that of aspirin and works like a natural painkiller.

Chanting of nasal consonants produces delta activity in the EEG and has similar action like tranquilizers. Chanting of other consonants has different actions in the body for example chanting of LUM reduces fear, VUM reduces attachments, RUM reduces doubt, YUM increases love, HUM increases truthfulness and AUM non-judgmental activities.

2. Mantra sounds can be vibratory or non-vibratory. Vibratory sounds use nasal consonants and vibrate bones starting from mandible, spine, and the automatic plexus lying along the spine. Chanting of nasal consonants leads to parasympathetic state.

3. Any Mantra chanting associated with reduced respiratory rate leads to parasympathetic state of the body. Ideal is to reduce the respiratory rate to 4 per minute and then continue it for next 20 minutes that means 80 breathes in 20 minutes. This can be done by chanting, for example, the complete Gayatri mantra in one respiratory cycle.

4. How does one chant also matters? The yogic way of chanting is when the mind is in mantra or the chanting. This leads to deeper relaxation.

5. Whether you chant with the understanding the meaning of the Mantra or not also matters? If you do that the chanting benefits will be more. Foreigners do not understand the meaning of Indian Mantras but yet they get benefits. But if they chant with understanding the meaning of the Mantra, the health benefits will be more.

6. Chanting a mantra with its meaning in the mind invokes the power of intention. It’s like getting connected to any search engine on the internet and typing your query. Your consciousness in our body is the internet and the intention the search button.

7. Chanting a mantra with its meaning in the mind also results in emotions and expressions which have an added advantage.

8. Overtone chanting has additional benefits. The new sound heals not only those who are chanting but also those who are listening and bystanders.

9. Group chanting is more powerful. If 1% population chants together, rest 99% also gets the benefits.

10. One can also do distance healing by chanting at a far distance. The only way one can explain this is by understanding consciousness as an internet cum social site model. In this understanding each one of us has our page in the internet (soul) as well as a page in the cloud internet (spirit). All our pages are connected with every person in this earth through the cloud internet. People can chant at a distance and their audio file with intent automatically gets posted on their soul internet and the cloud internet. The person for whom we are chanting the prayer gets the benefit whenever he is connected to the cloud internet.

11. During chanting, the mind diverts. Continuously chanting of Mantra for 12 seconds means concentration, 12×12 seconds is contemplation and 144×144 seconds is meditation. So by concentrating on the object of concentration, the mantra, one can avoid diversion of the mind.

12. The intensity or the loudness of the chanting sound also matter. Higher the loudness, less will be the effects. Japa meditation involves two hours of Mantra chanting to get the benefit. In a non Japa meditation, these benefits can be acquired in 20 minutes. Thoughtless chanting is more powerful than verbal Mantra chanting. Vipasana is chanting without Mantra where you are just aware of the breath and one has to do this type of meditation for hours together to get the benefit.

13. In Chautha or Teravi (mourning period), we have one hour of chanting of Mantra or prayers. This helps relax the mind, shifts one from sympathetic to parasympathetic mode. In the initial 15 minutes, there is sympathetic overactivity and the person is restless. As the time passes, parasympathetic state takes over and by the time one hour is over, parasympathetic state is at its full blown activity and at that time getting connected to cloud internet is easier. Attending the entire one hour of Chautha ceremony is only for those who are connected to the dead person and want to get distressed. These people have empathy for the deceased person. Those who have sympathy mostly show up before or after the Chautha ceremony to complete their formality. In Chautha, we say that Bhagwan Uski Aatma Ko Shanti De. God will forgive him only if the soul is under distress, which can only happen if there are some non–fulfilled desires and these desires will always be linked to a particular person. Therefore, only those who have guilt will feel that the diseased person’s soul is not at rest. In a Chautha ceremony one can only remove this guilt in the parasympathetic phase towards the end of the Chautha ritual and seeks forgive and forgiveness.

14. In different religions, this has different implications. In Hinduism, we only attend Chautha of whom we know but in Islam people attend the mourning ceremony of people whom they not even know. They believe in mass prayers and pray for the soul of the deceased person. In Islam this mass prayer message gets written on the cloud internet and has mass effect in the community.

In Islam, a person usually says Mein khuda se tumhare liye dua mangunga. It is possible for them as they offer Namaz prayer five times in a day and when they ask for Dua for someone they put the intent in the cloud internet which can be retrieved by others.

In Christians, it is different. The dying patients or the relations ask the doctors and others to pray with them and not only for them.

Five cholesterol-friendly foods

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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1. Oats give you 1 to 2 g of soluble fiber. 2. Beans are rich in soluble fiber. They also take a while for the body to digest. 3. Nuts: Eating 2 ozs of nuts a day can slightly lower LDL, on the order of 5%. 4. Foods fortified with sterols and stanols gum up the body’s ability to absorb cholesterol from food. Getting 2 g of plant sterols or stanols a day can lower LDL cholesterol by about 10%. 5. Fatty fish. Eating fish 2 or 3 times a week can lower LDL cholesterol.

Ego in Mythology

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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For spirituality, one needs to control two things, firstly, lust and lastly, the ego. In Kaama, Krodha, Lobha, Moha and Ahankara, ego and lust both are slow poisons and do not allow one to be spiritual healthy. There are many examples of how to control ego in mythology. Fundamentally, it is said that one should learn to kill ego of oneself and never hurt the ego of others.

Ego in Ramayana is equated to Ravana and in Krishna’s era to Kans. One should learn to kills the ego. In Ramayana, Kumbhkarana is Tamas killed by the self i.e. Rama, Meghnath is Rajas and is killed by the mind i.e. Lakshman and ego, the Ravana, is killed again by self i.e. Rama. In Krishna’s Yuga Kans is killed by consciousness or Lord Krishna.

Mythology also teaches us to keep our ego under control.

• The door of any temple is always low in height so that nobody can enter without bending. Bending is sign of humility. Most temples have caves which have the same significance. Older the temple longer will be the cave and smaller will be the entry gate.

• Ego in mythology is depicted by Sheshnaaga or Cobra snake with its hood directed inwards indicating keeping your ego under control. The Sheshnaaga over Vishnu when he is resting indicates the same. In Krishna’s birth also, the snake represents controlled ego and protects Krishna when Vasudev takes him out in the rain.

• Lord Shiva is also shown wearing a snake in his neck with hood directed inwards. Shiva is also said to have a blue neck or Neelkanth indicating that to control anger one should neutralize the anger continuously (matted hairs) with cool mind ( Moon) using positive flow of thoughts (ganga) with ego controlled (naag)

• In Hanuman ki Lanka Yatra, Sursa snake is handled by Hanuman with humility. Sursa, the ego, went on increasing in size when Hanuman increases his size.

• No Hindu marriage is complete without Varmala, which again indicates the need to bow in front of each other.

Seven Common Causes of Forgetfulness

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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1. Lack of sleep is the most common cause. Too little restful sleep can also lead to mood changes and anxiety which in turn can contribute to memory impairment.

2. Many drugs can affect memory, which includes tranquilizers, antidepressants, blood pressure drugs and anti-allergic drugs.

3. Low functioning thyroid can affect memory.

4. Drinking too much alcohol can interfere with short-term memory.

5. Stress and anxiety can lead to memory impairment. Both can interfere with attention and block the formation of new memory or retrieval of old memories.

6. Forgetfulness can be a sign of depression or a consequence of it.

7. If you are vegetarian, vitamin B12 deficiency can loss memory impairment.

Shiksha and Sabhyata

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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Suno, Samjho, Jaano and Karo is the mantra for education and involves not only hearing but listening and understanding and converting understanding into wisdom by doing it practically.

One of the components of education is etiquettes or manners which can be at every level of education. In older era, Rajkumars or princes were sent to Gurukuls for formal education including that of warriorship. They were also sent to Gharanas/Kothas to learn tehzeeb the Lucknawi way where they were taught how to talk to each other and respect others. Their language in typically Lucknawi style used to be ‘we’ oriented and not ‘I’ oriented. Today’s education is more oriented towards ‘I-ness’ or ego and not towards the soul or respect.

When we were students, we were taught that a senior is a senior and needs to be respected. Even today, when we meet our teachers, we take blessings by touching their feet but today’s students believe in shaking hands or saying ‘hi’. There is more and more commercial touch in the teacher-student relationship of today.

Ego makes one rude and arrogant with a mentality full of Rajas and Tamas. Road rage, gang rapes, murders, violence, terrorism are all examples of not learning etiquettes at the right time.

How to cut back on added sugar

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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Many of the “healthy” foods you eat such as energy bars, fruit juices, and flavored yogurt contain sugar. The first step is to read labels carefully and opt for products that are low in sugar.

The American Heart Association recommends keeping calories from added sugars under 100 calories a day (24 grams, or 6 teaspoons) for women and under 150 calories (36 grams, or 9 teaspoons) for men.

Giving up juices and soft drinks can be tough, but here are few ways to get started:

• Make your own. Start with plain sparkling water or tap water. Add a flavoring that strikes your fancy. Here are a few options: an ounce or two of 100% fruit juice; a slice of lemon, lime, orange, or grapefruit; a sprig of fresh mint; a few raspberries.

• No frills coffee and tea. A small dash of sugar or artificial sweetener and milk is okay, but go easy on the extras like flavored syrups and whipped cream.

• Transition to “diet” beverages. Sugar–free sodas and other soft drinks can help you transition away from sugar–sweetened beverages. (HealthBeat)