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Dr K K Aggarwal

What are the Principles of Vidur Niti?

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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The best description of the causes and treatment of insomnia comes from Vidura Niti a dialogue between Vidura and Dhritarashtra.

In the text, King Dhritarashtra said: “O Vidura, Sanjaya has come back. He has gone away after rebuking me. Tomorrow he will deliver, in the midst of the court, Ajatashatru’s message. I have not been able today to ascertain what the message is of the Kuru hero. Therefore, my body is burning, and that has produced sleeplessness. Tell us what may be good for a person that is sleepless and burning.

“My body is burning, and that has produced sleeplessness” is a typical description of anxiety and related sleeplessness, true even today.

Vidura said: “Sleeplessness overtakes thief, a lustful person, him that has lost all his wealth, him that has failed to achieve success, and him also that is weak and has been attacked by a strong person”.

He therefore described five basic reasons for insomnia and even in today’s science they are true. No new cause has been added in this list of stress induced insomnia.

The situations are:

  1. A thief
  2. A lustful person
  3. A person who has lost all his wealth
  4. A person who has failed to achieve success
  5. A person who is weak and has been attacked by a strong person.

Ayurveda describes sleep as an aggravation of Vata and Pitta dosha. The number one cause of the same is mental tension; suppressed feelings and acute bitterness. The above five situations again hold true to this effect.

Apart in Allopathy other causes of insomnia mentioned are constipation; dyspepsia; excessive intake of tea, coffee and alcohol and environment Factors-excessive cold, heat or change of environment. They are in most of the situations the effect and not the cause of insomnia.

The treatment of insomnia involves either suppressing the emotions with drugs or root level eradication of stress with proper counseling. Bhagavad Gita, Chanakya Niti and Vidur Niti are high level counseling books of ancient era and provide texts and sutras even true today.

Bhagavad Gita was a counseling when Arjuna went in an acute anxiety state and was not being able to decide whether or not he should fight with his near ones. He said: my legs are trembling, my bows are leaving me, by body is shaking, what should I do”. The principles of Gita today are incorporated as the principles of any counseling.

Chanakya gave principles of how to manage conflicts and win over others. One of his main teachings was that money earned by unfair means can only last for eight years.

Another answer to insomnia is learning meditation as described in Patanjali Yoga Sutra or Yoga Vashistha. It is based on the principle of concentrating on the present, which shifts the inner environment from sympathetic to para sympathetic mode. 20 minutes of meditation morning and evening provides the same biochemical benefit as gathered from 7 hours of deep sleep.

Here are some other sutras of Vidura Niti:

  1. Do not inhabit a country where you are not respected, cannot earn your livelihood, have no friends, or cannot acquire knowledge. (1.8)
  2. Do not reveal what you have thought upon doing, but by wise counsel keep it secret, being determined to carry it into execution. (2.7)
  3. Consider again and again the following: the right time, the right friends, the right place, the right means of income, the right ways of spending, and from whom you derive your power. (4.18)
  4. A wise man should not reveal his loss of wealth, the vexation of his mind, the misconduct of his own wife, base words spoken by others, and disgrace that has befallen him. (7.1)

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

About thyroid gland

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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  1. Low functioning thyroid is a new epidemic of the society affecting more than 3% of people. If thyroid function is low, it causes weight gain, loss of energy, cold intolerance and menstrual irregularities in women.
  2. All people who are aged 50 and above should have their thyroid profile (TSH test) done to look for thyroid deficiency.
  3. In younger people, or in cases of infertility, menstrual irregularity, pregnancy, weight gain, one should check for thyroid deficiency.
  4. Iodized salt should be used to prevent thyroid deficiency.
  5. Non–iodized salt is only used in two conditions: firstly in patient with thyroid inflammation and secondly, while doing Jalneti in naturopathy, a yoga–related nasal wash technique.
  6. Even mild thyroid deficiency in pregnancy can affect the growth of fetus; hence, dose requirement of thyroid medicine is much higher in pregnancy than in non–pregnancy.
  7. In the elderly, the dose of thyroid medicine to be started is always low as compared to one in the adults.
  8. If thyroid deficiency is untreated, osteoporosis (thickening of bone) and/or atrial fibrillation (irregular and fast heart rate) may result. Osteoporosis can cause recurrent fractures and atrial fibrillation may cause brain paralysis.
  9. In Allopathic medicine, thyroid deficiency is treated by synthetic T4 hormone replacement. In TFSP, thyroid extracts are available, which contain both T4 and T3 potential drugs.
  10. In Ayurveda, thyroid stimulant drugs are available but they are effective only if some amount of thyroid gland is available.
  11. As per Ayurveda, eating soya and drinking water from copper vessel is good for thyroid.

You look at people the same way as you are

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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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).

Typhoid fever

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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Typhoid fever is caused by a bacteria Salmonella typhi and is transmitted through the ingestion of food or drink contaminated by the feces or urine of infected people.

Flying insects feeding on feces may occasionally transfer the bacteria through poor hygiene habits and public sanitation conditions. Though the cases occur all through the year, the number is higher during the summer and rainy seasons. Symptoms usually develop 1 to 3 weeks after exposure, and may be mild or severe. They include high fever, malaise, headache, constipation or diarrhea and enlarged spleen and liver. A healthy carrier state may follow acute illness. Typhoid fever can be treated with antibiotics. However, resistance to common antimicrobials is widespread. Healthy carriers should be excluded from handling food. Sanitation and hygiene are the critical measures that can be taken to prevent typhoid.

  1. Typhoid does not affect animals and therefore transmission occurs only from human to human.
  2. Typhoid can only spread in environments where human feces or urine are able to come into contact with food or drinking water.
  3. Careful food preparation and washing of hands are crucial to preventing typhoid.
  4. Typhoid fever in most cases is not fatal.
  5. Prompt treatment of the disease with antibiotics reduces the case-fatality rate to approximately 1%.
  6. When untreated, typhoid fever may persist for three weeks to a month.
  7. Resistance to common antibiotics is now common.
  8. Typhoid that is resistant to common antibiotics is known as multidrug-resistant typhoid (MDR typhoid).
  9. Ciprofloxacin resistance is an increasing problem, especially in the Indian subcontinent and Southeast Asia.
  10. Typhoid vaccine taken every three years is the best preventive approach.

Why do we put on Tilak on the forehead?

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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The Tilak is a mark of auspiciousness and invokes a feeling of respect in the wearer and others. It is recognized as a religious mark. Its form and color vary according to one’s caste, religious sect or the form of worship of the person in question. Tilak is applied on the forehead with sandal paste, sacred ash or kumkum, a red turmeric powder. In a wedding, a Kumkum tilak is applied on the forehead of both the bride and groom.

In earlier times, the four castes (based on varna or color) – Brahmana, Kshatriya, Vaishya and Shudra – applied marks differently. The Brahmin applied a white chandan mark signifying purity, as his profession was of a priestly or academic nature. The Kshatriya applied a red kumkum mark signifying valor as he belonged to the warrior race. The Vaishya wore a yellow kesar or turmeric mark signifying prosperity as he was a businessman or trader devoted to creation of wealth. The Shudra applied a black bhasma, kasturi or charcoal mark signifying service as he supported the work of the other three castes.

The devotees of Shiva apply sacred ash (Bhasma) on the forehead as a Tripundra (three parallel horizontal lines); the devotees of Vishnu apply sandal paste (Chandan) in the shape of “U” and the worshippers of Devi or Shakti apply Kumkum. The tilak is applied in the spot between the eyebrows, which is the seat of memory and thought. It is known as the Aajna Chakra in the language of Yoga. The Tilak is applied with the prayer – “May I remember the Lord. May this pious feeling pervade all my activities. May I be righteous in my deeds.” Even when we temporarily forget this prayerful attitude, the mark on another reminds us of our resolve. The tilak is thus a blessing of the Lord and a protection against wrong tendencies and forces. The entire body emanates energy in the form of electromagnetic waves – the forehead and the spot between the eyebrows especially so. That is why worry generates heat and causes a headache. The tilak cools the forehead, protects the wearer and prevents energy loss. Sometimes the entire forehead is covered with chandan or bhasma.

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

Sugar, not salt, may be at fault for high BP

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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Sugar, not salt contributes to the majority of the hypertension risk associated with processed food and a reduction in the consumption of added sugars and, in particular, processed foods may translate into decreased rates of hypertension as well as decreased cardiometabolic disease.

James J. DiNicolantanio, PharmD, from Saint Lukes Mid America Heart Institute in Kansas City, Missouri, and Sean C. Lucan, MD, MPH, from Albert Einstein College of Medicine in Bronx, New York, published their review of epidemiological and experimental studies in the journal Open Heart. They concluded that high-sugar diets may make a significant contribution to cardiometabolic risk.

Highly refined processed foods should be replaced by natural whole foods.

Do we get a human birth every time we will die?

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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Exercise impact on the knee

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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Different exercises produce different impact on the knee joints. The best and safest exercises causing minimum impact on the knee for patients post knee replacement or knee arthritis are walking, biking, hiking, riding an exercise bike, riding an elliptical trainer and walking on the treadmill. In sports one can play doubles tennis and not singles. One can also participate in downhill or cross–country skiing. The maximum stress–producing exercises are jogging and golf swings.

Impact

  1. Biking generates the least force, producing impact of about 1.3 times the person’s body weight.
  2. Treadmill walking was next best, producing forces of 2.05 times the body weight.
  3. Walking on level ground generated forces of 2.6 times the body weight.
  4. A game of tennis produces forces of 3.1 to 3.8 times the body weight; serving produces the highest impact.
  5. Jogging produced forces of 4.3 times body weight.
  6. Golf swings produces forces of 4.5 times body weight on the forward knee and 3.2 times body weight in the opposite knee.

Mindfulness meditation

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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  1. Sit on a straight-backed chair or cross-legged on the floor.
  2. Focus on an aspect of your breathing, such as the sensation of air flowing into your nostrils and out of your mouth, or your belly rising and falling as you inhale and exhale.
  3. Once youve narrowed your concentration in this way, begin to widen your focus. Become aware of sounds, sensations and ideas.
  4. Embrace and consider each thought or sensation without judging it good or bad. If your mind starts to race, return your focus to your breathing. Then expand your awareness again.

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

Cant avoid anger: Take aspirin

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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Emotionally stressful events, and more specifically, anger, immediately precede and appear to trigger the onset of acute heart attack. Episodes of anger are capable of triggering the onset of acute heart attack and aspirin can reduce this risk. People who cannot control their anger should ask their doctors to consider taking aspirin.

The Onset Anger Scale identified 39 patients with episodes of anger in the 2 hours before the onset of heart attack. The relative risk of heart attack in the 2 hours after an episode of anger was 23. Regular users of aspirin had a significantly lower relative risk (1.4) than nonusers (2.9). Anger in response to stress is also of particular importance for the development of premature heart attack in young men. An episode of anger may also trigger an acute heart attack in the next 2 hours.

Positive Attitudes

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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All those out there who feel you are at your wits end wondering how things don’t ever work out for you, can now relax and dwell on all those failures that life has taken you through and turn failure into success.

• Failure doesn’t mean you are a failure. But it does mean you haven’t succeeded yet.  • Failure doesn’t mean you have accomplished nothing. It does mean you have learned something.  • Failure doesn’t mean you have been foolish. It does mean you had a lot of faith.  • Failure doesn’t mean you’ve been discouraged. It does mean you were willing to try.  • Failure doesn’t mean you don’t to do. It does mean you have to do it in a different way.  • Failure doesn’t mean you are inferior. It does mean you are not perfect.  • Failure doesn’t mean you have wasted your life. It does mean you have a reason to start afresh.  • Failure doesn’t mean you should give up. It does mean you must try harder.  • Failure doesn’t mean you’ll never make it. It does mean it will take a little longer.  • Failure doesn’t mean God has abandoned you. It does mean God has a better idea.

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

Winter Asthma

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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Any breathlessness after the age of 40, appearing for the first time in winter, is cardiac asthma unless proved otherwise. Such patients should immediately have their blood pressure check-up done and if high needs immediate medical attention. First-onset breathlessness can also be an indication of angina or heart attack. However, the more common is winter asthma or acute exacerbation of winter COPD (chronic bronchitis). Asthma is reversible airway obstruction and COPD is irreversible airway obstruction. Sudden exposure to cold, humidity, pollution at lower levels in atmosphere can precipitate asthma in susceptible individuals. Winter is the time to increase the dose of asthma medicines.

If a person can speak a full sentence, the asthma attack is mild; if a person speaks broken sentences the asthma attack is moderate and if the person is able to speak only words then the asthma attack is severe. Severe attack of asthma needs immediate hospitalization.

Controlling the Inner Noise

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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Yoga Sutras of Patanjali define yoga as restraint of the mental states (Chapter 1.2). In the state of total restraint, the mind is devoid of any external object and is in its true self or the consciousness. To control the mind many Vedic scholars have given their own formulas.  Being in touch with one’s own consciousness requires restraining of the mind, intellect and ego on one hand and the triad of rajas, tamas and satwa on the other hand. Every action leads to a memory, which in turn leads to a desire and with this a vicious cycle starts.  The mental turmoil of thoughts can be equated to the internal noise and the external desires and objects to an external noise.  The process of withdrawing from the external noise with an aim to start a journey inwards the silent field of awareness bypassing the internal noise is called pratihara by Yoga Sutras of Patanjali. It involves living in a satwik atmosphere based on the dos and don’ts learnt over a period of time or as told by the scriptures.  To control the inner noise, we either need to neutralize negative thoughts by cultivating opposite thoughts or kill the origin of negative thoughts.  Not allowing thoughts to occur has been one of the strategies mentioned by the scholars. One of them has been neti–neti by Yajnavalkya.  The other method is to pass through these inner thoughts and not get disturbed by it and that is what the process of meditation is. This can be equated to a situation where two people are talking in an atmosphere of loud external noise. For proper communication one will have to concentrate on each other’s voice for long till the external noise ceases to disturb. In meditation, one concentrates on the object of concentration to such an extent that the noisy thoughts cease to bother or exist. One of the ways mentioned by Adi Shankaracharya in Bhaja Govindam and by Yoga Sutras of Patanjali (Chapter 2.35) is that whenever one is surrounded by evil or negative thoughts one should think contrary thoughts. For example, if one is feeling greedy, one can think of donating something to somebody. Deepak Chopra in his book “The Seven Laws of Spiritual Success” talks in detail about the importance of giving and sharing. He says you should never visit friends or relations empty handed. You should always carry some gift of nature, which if nothing is available can be a simple smile, compliment or a flower. By repeatedly indulging into positive behavior and thoughts, you can reduce the internal noise, which helps in making the process of meditation or conscious living a simpler one.  Washing out negative thoughts is another way mentioned by many Vedic scholars. Three minutes writing is one such exercise which anybody can do. Before going to bed, take three minutes to write down all your emotions and then discard the paper. Another exercise is to reward or punish oneself at bed time for the activities done during the day by either patting or slapping yourself.

Water Hygeine

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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  1. Travelers should avoid consuming tap water.
  2. Avoid ice made from tap water.
  3. Avoid any food rinsed in tap water.
  4. Chlorination kills most bacterial and viral pathogens.
  5. Chlorination does not kill Giardia and amoeba cysts.
  6. Chlorination does not kill Cryptosporidium.
  7. Boiled and treated water is safe.
  8. Carbonated drinks, wine and drinks made with boiled water are safe.
  9. Freezing does not kill the organisms that cause diarrhea. Ice in drinks is not safe unless it has been made from adequately boiled or filtered water.
  10. Alcohol does not sterilize water or the ice. Mixed drinks may still be contaminated.
  11. Hot tea and coffee are the best alternates to boiled water.
  12. Bottled drinks should be requested without ice and should be drunk from the bottle with a straw rather than with a glass.
  13. Boiling water for 3 minutes followed by cooling to room temperature will kill bacterial parasites.
  14. Adding two drops of 5% sodium hydrochloride (bleach) to quarter of water (1 liter) will kill most bacteria in 30 minutes.
  15. Adding 5 drops of tincture of iodine to a quarter of water (1 liter) will kill bacteria within 30 minutes.

The vast power of the Spirit

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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Om Poornamadah, “Om Poornamadah Poornamidam, Poornaat Poornamudachyate  Poornasya Poornamaadaaya, Poornameva Avasihyate”  The whole is whole; if you take away the whole away from the whole the whole will still remain. (That is infinite, this is infinite, from the infinite, the infinite has come out. Having taken the infinite out of the infinite, the infinite alone remains).  (In Vedanta “That” represents super consciousness, God or the Brahman and “This” the visible universe)  Atman, which makes up our body, is 99.99% space and if we look at the rest, it is also nothing but space or void. This void or ‘akasha’ is what is called Brahman, God or consciousness and is a web of energized information. This web of information of inner space called inner consciousness is the Atman or the Soul. This is connected with the outer space in the universe having a similar web of energized information called the Spirit or Brahmand.  This spirit has been given many names by different religions. Allah (Islam), Buddha (Buddhism), Brahman (Hinduism), Christ (Christianity) or Wahe Guru (Sikhism), all signify the same. This spirit, the energized field of information, is a powerful expression of live energy which can move faster than the speed of light. Soul is nothing but an individualized expression of the spirit.  This energy containing information in the spirit cannot be seen, felt, touched, tasted or smelt. It is beyond the perception of five senses. One cannot destroy it with a weapon, fire, water or air. This consciousness is embedded in the space of each and every cell of the body. It is like sugar added to the milk. Once added, you cannot find it as it gets embedded with each and every drop of the milk.  Soul originates from the spirit. Each soul differs from the other by way of the subtle layer of consciousness called the ‘sukshma sharira’ which is controlled by the triad of actions, memories and desires. Spirit is like light, which is always positive and only removes darkness. The basic nature of the consciousness is “truth and bliss”. The soul and the spirit are devoid of hatred, anger or jealousy and are full of unconditional love. They are nothing but a treasury of information about everything. This infinite information is capable of doing anything, including miracles. It is like the flame of a candle, which can light an infinite number of candles, while still retaining its illumination to the same degree.  Dr Deepak Chopra once said that the soul is like the voice of Lata Mangeshkar coming out of a radio, and even if you break the radio, you will not find Lata Mangeshkar in it. Similarly, even if you cut the body into pieces, you cannot find the physical presence of the spirit.  Spirit is present all over, be it the universe or the living beings. Any amount of spirit taken out from it will not make any difference to the spirit. In religious terms, the infinite or the vastness is equated and described by the blue color, and that is one reason why most of the gods are represented by the blue color, or are shown in the background of blue sky. This only represents the vastness and infinite character of the consciousness. One of the Gurus explained to his disciple the description of the spirit by the following equation. 1×1=1, 1/1=1 or, in other words everything is one. One can also explain it by the equation that infinity when added, subtracted, multiplied or divided by infinity will result in infinity only.  This infinite potential in our mind is present in between the thoughts and can be experienced by enabling oneself to go in between the thoughts by a process called mediation. One can experience the silent gap between the thoughts either with the use of primordial sound mantra as a vehicle or by way of yoga. People who have learnt meditation and have achieved the ability to go into the silent gaps can accomplish everything in their life using the principles of intention and attention. After any intention is introduced in the silent gap, a new reality can be created.  “That which is born of the flash is a flash; that which is born of the spirit is spirit” (John)

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