Header image alt text

Dr K K Aggarwal

Padma Shri and Dr B C Roy National Awardee

Should doctors smile while talking to their patients?

Filed Under Spirituality - Science Behind Rituals  | Tagged With: , , | | Comments Off on Should doctors smile while talking to their patients?

Bhagavad Gita 2.10

“Tam uvāca hṛṣīkeśaḥ

prahasann iva bhārata

senayor ubhayor madhye

viṣīdantam idaṁ vacaḥ”

Tam—unto him; uvāca—said; hṛṣīkeśaḥ—the master of the senses, Kṛṣṇa; prahasan—smiling; iva—like that; bhārata—O Dhṛtarāṣṭra, descendant of Bharata; senayoḥ—of the armies; ubhayoḥ—of both parties; madhye—between; viṣīdantam—unto the lamenting one; idam—the following; vacaḥ—words.

Translation: “O descendant of Bharata, at that time Kṛṣṇa, smiling, in the midst of both the armies, spoke the following words to the grief-stricken Arjuna.”

The answer comes in Bhagavad Gita, the first text book of counseling. When grief ridden Arjuna approaches Krishna, he starts his counseling in a happy and smiling mood.

Arjuna was grief-filled, sad and rebellious. Yet Krishna smiled. The word in the Gita is prahasann, which means to smile before laughing (beginning to laugh).

It was not a weak or full smile or a sarcastic grimace, but a very positive smile.

Half of grief/apprehension is alleviated if a patient sees his doctor smiling or the relatives see a smile on the face of a doctor coming out of operation theatre.

It also gives confidence to the patient (Arjuna) that his doctor (Krishna) has understood his problem fully and has a solution to his problem.

Buddha is also shown smiling and Goddess Kushmanda is also shown with a smiling face.

Tips to prevent deficiency of Vitamin B12

Filed Under Wellness  | Tagged With: , , | | Comments Off on Tips to prevent deficiency of Vitamin B12

Avoid consumption of alcohol. Consuming alcohol in excess leads to gastritis and damages the intestinal lining. This can further interfere with absorption of vitamin B12.

Quit smoking. It has been observed that serum vitamin B12 levels are usually lower in smokers.

Have supplements. Vegetarian food is deficient in vitamin B12. Therefore, it is important to take a B12-containing multivitamin. Other than this, include soy foods and foods fortified with vitamin B12 in your diet.

Include vitamin B6 in your diet. This will help in the absorption and storage of vitamin B12. Spinach, walnuts, poultry, avocados, and bananas are good sources of B6.

Swayambhu or self-manifested

Filed Under Spirituality - Science Behind Rituals  | Tagged With: , | | Comments Off on Swayambhu or self-manifested

Swayambhu or स्वयम्भू is a Sanskrit word that means “self-manifested”, “self-existing” or “that is created by its own accord”. In Sikh prayer it is called Ajuni Saibham. In Tibetan, this word appears as “Rangjung”.

The word Swayambhu is used to describe a self-manifested image of a deity, otr ku (Tibetan) which was not made by human hands, but instead is naturally arisen, or generated by nature.

The word etymology of swayambhu is Svayam (स्वयम्) which means self or on its own and bhu (भू) which means to take birth or arising. The idol of Venkateshwara at Tirumala is one such example.

In Sikh prayer the word ‘Ajuni’ makes God to be unborn. Saibham (saibhang) explains God as self-manifested, self-existent or self-effulgent.

Based on details in Bhagavada Purana and Matsya Purana, Narayana is said to be the self-manifested Swayambhu form of Brahman as the first cause of creation.

The Manu Smriti says, “In the beginning, all this existence was one undifferentiated, un-manifested, indefinable, unarguable and unknown in every way. From this condition arose the Universe of ‘name and form’ (namarupa), through the medium of the Self-existent Creator, Svayambhu.”

In terms of quantum physics, from the quantum field of unmanifest arose the quantum fluctuation, which led to the birth of hirnagarbha or the golden egg leading to the birth of universe.

In Spiritual Vedic Science, consciousness, soul and the spirit are Swyambhu. Soul never dies and is never born. It is self existing in the universe. The very basic nature of any living cell is multiplication and that can only happen in the presence of Swyambhu.

In quantum physics, a quantum fluctuation (or vacuum state fluctuation or vacuum fluctuation) is the temporary change in the amount of energy in a point in space as explained in Werner Heisenbergs uncertainty principle. This allows the creation of particle-antiparticle pairs of virtual particles. Quantum fluctuations may have been necessary in the origin of the structure of the universe: according to the model of expansive inflation the ones that existed when inflation began were amplified and formed the seed of all current observed structure.

A quantum fluctuation is the temporary appearance of energetic particles out of empty space, as allowed by the uncertainty principle.

The uncertainty principle states that for a pair of conjugate variables such as position/momentum or energy/time, it is impossible to have a precisely determined value of each member of the pair at the same time. For example, a particle pair can pop out of the vacuum during a very short time interval.

In Puranas, it is mentioned that Hirnagarbha the golden egg remained floating for a year and did not divide till it was entered by a Swyambhu or in other words experienced a quantum fluctuation.

Based on this theory it is possible that the whole universe could have been created at the same time without going through the Darwinian principles.

In Bhagavad Gita Chapter 10, Krishna says “ He who knows Me as the unborn, as the beginningless…”.

“The seven great sages and before them the four other great sages and the Manus [progenitors of mankind] are born out of My mind, and all creatures in these planets descend from them”

  • 10.20: I am the Self, O Gudakesa, seated in the hearts of all creatures. I am the beginning, the middle and the end of all beings.
  • 10.21: Of the Adityas I am Visnu, of lights I am the radiant sun, I am Marici of the Maruts, and among the stars I am the moon.
  • 10.22: Of the Vedas I am the Sama-veda; of the demigods I am Indra; of the senses I am the mind, and in living beings I am the living force [knowledge].
  • 10.23: Of all the Rudras I am Lord Siva; of the Yaksas and Raksasas I am the lord of wealth [Kuvera]; of the Vasus I am fire [Agni], and of the mountains I am Meru.
  • 10.24: Of priests, O Arjuna, know Me to be the chief, Brhaspati, the lord of devotion. Of generals I am Skanda, the lord of war; and of bodies of water I am the ocean.
  • 10.25: Of the great sages I am Bhrgu; of vibrations I am the transcendental om. Of sacrifices I am the chanting of the holy names [japa], and of immovable things I am the Himalayas.
  • 10.26: Of all trees I am the holy fig tree, and amongst sages and demigods I am Narada. Of the singers of the gods [Gandharvas] I am Citraratha, and among perfected beings I am the sage Kapila.
  • 10.27: Of horses know Me to be Uccaihsrava, who rose out of the ocean, born of the elixir of immortality; of lordly elephants I am Airavata, and among men I am the monarch.
  • 10.28: Of weapons I am the thunderbolt; among cows I am the surabhi, givers of abundant milk. Of procreators I am Kandarpa, the God of love, and of serpents I am Vasuki, the chief.
  • 10.29: Of the celestial Naga snakes I am Ananta; of the aquatic deities I am Varuna. Of departed ancestors I am Aryama, and among the dispensers of law I am Yama, lord of death.
  • 10.30: Among the Daitya demons I am the devoted Prahlada; among subduers I am time; among the beasts I am the lion, and among birds I am Garuda, the feathered carrier of Visnu.
  • 10.31: Of purifiers I am the wind; of the wielders of weapons I am Rama; of fishes I am the shark, and of flowing rivers I am the Ganges.
  • 10.32: Of all creations I am the beginning and the end and also the middle, O Arjuna. Of all sciences I am the spiritual science of the Self, and among logicians I am the conclusive truth.
  • 10.33: Of letters I am the letter A, and among compounds I am the dual word. I am also inexhaustable time, and of creators I am Brahma, whose manifold faces turn everywhere.
  • 10.34: I am all-devouring death, and I am the generator of all things yet to be. Among women I am fame, fortune, speech, memory, intelligence, faithfulness and patience.
  • 10.35: Of hymns I am the Brhat-sama sung to the Lord Indra, and of poetry I am the Gayatri verse, sung daily by brahmanas. Of months I am November and December, and of seasons I am flower-bearing spring.
  • 10.36: I am also the gambling of cheats, and of the splendid I am the splendor. I am victory, I am adventure, and I am the strength of the strong.
  • 10.37: Of the descendants of Vrsni I am Vasudeva, and of the Pandavas I am Arjuna. Of the sages I am Vyasa, and among great thinkers I am Usana.

Environmental Impact on Eye Health

Filed Under Wellness  | Tagged With: , | | Comments Off on Environmental Impact on Eye Health

Expanding areas of arid land, air pollution and greater exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation all present potential health hazards to the eyes.

The cornea, eyelid, the sclera and even the lens—are all exposed directly to the environment. Rising temperatures and shifting atmospheric circulation patterns force dry air into regions. Drier air means that more people are likely to suffer from dry eye, a condition in which tears aren’t produced properly or evaporate too quickly. There is no evidence that drier conditions cause dry eye but they can accelerate symptoms in people who are prone to dry eye.

Air pollution has long been linked to respiratory disorders; more recently it’s been shown to play a role in eye disease.

Exposure to wood or charcoal cooking fires—ubiquitous in many developing countries—appears to accelerate the scarring caused by trachoma. Recurrent infections over a lifetime lead to scarring inside of the eyelids, which in turn causes the eyelashes to turn inward and brush against the cornea, eventually resulting in damage that impairs vision.

Ozone depletion can lead to higher levels of UV light exposure, which is a known risk factor for cortical cataract. Chronic exposure to the sun’s damaging rays can alter the orderly arrangement of proteins in the lens of the eye or damage lens epithelium, causing the lens to become cloudy. Wearing a hat can reduce UV exposure by 30%. Sunglasses, even simple plastic lenses that offer full UV protection, can reduce exposure by nearly 100% and should be used judiciously.

Entire community should take note of the severe damage that can be caused to the eyes. It becomes all the more important to note these precautions as Indians tend to be vitamin D deficient.

Happy Mother’s day

Filed Under Spirituality - Science Behind Rituals  | Tagged With: | | Comments Off on Happy Mother’s day

Vedic Saying:

ātma-mātā guroḥ patnī

brāhmaṇī rāja-patnikā

dhenur dhātrī tathā pṛthvī

saptaitā mātaraḥ smṛtāḥ

Vedas describe seven types of mother with special mention in the Bhagawat Puran.

  1. Atma Mata: The mother who has given birth to us
  2. Guru Patni: The wife of our Guru
  3. Brahmini: The wife of the Brahmin
  4. Raja Patnika: The queen or the first lady
  5. Dhenur: The Cow
  6. Dhatri: The Nurse or the Doctor
  7. Tatha Prithvi: The Mother Earth

Honey excellent for Cough

Filed Under Wellness  | Tagged With: , , | | Comments Off on Honey excellent for Cough

A spoonful of honey can quieten children’s night time cough and help them and their parents sleep better.

When compared to the cough syrup ingredient dextromethorphan or no treatment, honey came out on top. As per a study from Archives of Paediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, the results are so strong that it can be said that honey is better than no treatment and dextromethorphan. There is currently no proven effective treatment for cough due to an upper respiratory infection like the common cold. While dextromethorphan is widely used, there is no evidence that it works, and it carries risks.

Honey is used around the world as a home remedy for cough, and might provide a safe, effective alternative to cough medicine. To investigate, the researchers compared buckwheat honey, a honey–flavored dextromethorphan preparation, and no treatment in 105 children who had sought treatment for night time coughs due to colds. Among the three groups, children given honey had the greatest reduction in cough frequency and severity, and the most improved sleep, as did their parents. Its sweet, syrupy quality may be soothing to the throat, while its high antioxidant content could also be a factor. Honey also has antimicrobial effects. Honey is not recommended for infants below one year of age because of the risk of botulism spores.

Should doctors detach themselves?

Filed Under Spirituality - Science Behind Rituals  | Tagged With: , , | | Comments Off on Should doctors detach themselves?

In dealing with patients, the traditional Patient-Doctor relationship model has been that doctor should remain cool, calm and collected at all times.The doctor’s approach needs to be strictly scientific, logical, objective, methodical precise and dispassionate. This has been the model since the era of William Osler, the father of modern medicine. The term used is imperturbability, which means coolness and presence of mind under all circumstances.

Osler said a rare and precious gift to doctor is right of detachment. The right of detachment insulates doctors and protects them from powerful emotions that patients display in their presence like anger, frustration, grief, rage and bewilderment. It also insulates patients from the rolling emotions that doctors may at times feel towards them.

However, a detached attitude also insulates doctors from empathizing with patients. A detached doctor may talk in a language that is over patient’s head.

Detachment is not like a light switch that you can turn on and off to suit the situation. Detachment, as a practice, cannot be in isolation if it becomes your personal style of distracting from the world; it may not be just for the patients but also from your colleague, family friends and even yourself.

I recall when I joined my hospital, the first lesson given to me by my boss was not to get unduly attached with patients. As part of etiquettes, we were taught not to socialize with patients. Even today, the new American Guidelines talk that doctors should not socialize with their patients on social media including Facebook. Even doctors are human beings and their personal life should not be known to the patients. As far as lawsuits are concerned, it is equally true that known patients file a lawsuit much more than unknown people because over a period of time they know your weakness. One should learn to empathize with the patients and yet be detached from its results. Doctors who follow Bhagawad Gita understand this concept very well.

Is caffeine good for health?

Filed Under Wellness  | Tagged With: , , | | Comments Off on Is caffeine good for health?

  • Caffeine is the most widely consumed stimulant in the world.
  • It is consumed in the form of coffee and tea.
  • At present there is no scientific data for promoting or discouraging coffee and/or tea consumption in the daily diet.
  • Short-term benefits include mental alertness and improved athletic performance.
  • Short-term adverse effects include headache, anxiety, tremors and insomnia.
  • Long-term adverse effects include generalized anxiety disorder and substance abuse disorders.
  • Long-term benefits are dose-dependent. Caffeine is associated with a reduced risk of Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer disease, alcoholic cirrhosis, and gout. Coffee, both caffeinated and decaffeinated, is also associated with a lower risk of type 2 diabetes.
  • Heavy coffee intake may trigger coronary and arrhythmic events in susceptible individuals, although coffee intake is not considered a long-term risk factor for myocardial disease.
  • Most studies show a modest inverse relationship between coffee consumption and all-cause mortality.
  • Caffeine withdrawal is a well-documented clinical syndrome with headache being the most common symptom. (Source: Uptodate)

More about Debts

Filed Under Spirituality - Science Behind Rituals  | Tagged With: | | Comments Off on More about Debts

Hindu scriptures have talked about three types of rins (debts) – Dev rin, Pitra rin and Rishi rin.God or the devtas gave us consciousness, parents gave us our body and teachers gave us the knowledge or intellect.

In Vedic language, our body is a mix of mind, body and soul which can be equated to three rins of mind (teachers), body (parents) and soul (Rishi & Gods).

In computer language, it can be equated to operational software (God), application software (teachers) and computer hardware (parents).

Mindful meditation

Filed Under Spirituality - Science Behind Rituals  | Tagged With: , | | Comments Off on Mindful meditation

Sit on a straight–backed chair or cross–legged on the floor.

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.

Once you’ve narrowed your concentration in this way, begin to widen your focus. Become aware of sounds, sensations, and ideas.

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.

type 2 diabetes

Filed Under Wellness  | Tagged With: , | | Comments Off on type 2 diabetes

  • Caffeine is the most widely consumed stimulant in the world.
  • It is consumed in the form of coffee and tea.
  • At present there is no scientific data for promoting or discouraging coffee and/or tea consumption in the daily diet.
  • Short-term benefits include mental alertness and improved athletic performance.
  • Short-term adverse effects include headache, anxiety, tremors and insomnia.
  • Long-term adverse effects include generalized anxiety disorder and substance abuse disorders.
  • Long-term benefits are dose-dependent. Caffeine is associated with a reduced risk of Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer disease, alcoholic cirrhosis, and gout. Coffee, both caffeinated and decaffeinated, is also associated with a lower risk of type 2 diabetes.
  • Heavy coffee intake may trigger coronary and arrhythmic events in susceptible individuals, although coffee intake is not considered a long-term risk factor for myocardial disease.
  • Most studies show a modest inverse relationship between coffee consumption and all-cause mortality.
  • Caffeine withdrawal is a well-documented clinical syndrome with headache being the most common symptom. (Source: Uptodate)

Longer chest pain equals bigger MI risk

Filed Under Wellness  | Tagged With: , | | Comments Off on Longer chest pain equals bigger MI risk

Patients with acute myocardial infarction (MI) have longer duration of chest pain than those without MI. Patients with chest pain of short duration, less than 5 minutes, are unlikely to have an acute infarction and have a good prognosis at 30 days.

A single–center study showed that only 8.9% of the patients received a final diagnosis of acute MI, and these patients had a significantly longer duration of chest pain compared with the rest of the cohort (120 versus 40 minutes) according to Carlos Calle–Muller, MD, of Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit, and colleagues. Those who had chest pain lasting less than 5 minutes always had a good outcome, with no acute MIs or deaths within 30 days, as reported in the journal Critical Pathways in Cardiology.

If the clinical assessment and ECG are benign, such patients might be able to be discharged directly from the emergency department without stress testing for outpatient follow-up.

The median chest pain duration was 180 minutes among the 10 patients who died and only 40 minutes for the others.

Among patients with acute MI, longer chest pain duration was not associated with higher 30–day mortality, but it was associated with a higher initial level of cardiac troponin-I.

Why Do We Say Aum Shanti Thrice?

Filed Under Spirituality - Science Behind Rituals  | Tagged With: , , | | Comments Off on Why Do We Say Aum Shanti Thrice?

“Trivaram satyam” It is believed that something said thrice comes true. To emphasize a point, we repeat a thing thrice. In the court of law also, one who takes the witness’ stand says, “I shall speak the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth”.

Prayer is to get something for which we have an intense desire like Shanti which means “peace” or inner happiness.

There is only love in the universe. Hatred is withdrawal of love. It follows the same principle of light and darkness. There is no darkness in the universe, it is only absence of light.

Similarly, there is only peace in the natural environment (both external and internal). Peace naturally exists in a place until someone makes noise (external or internal).

Internally, peace underlies all agitations and negativity of the mind. When negative thoughts end, peace is the only happening as it was already there.

Peace is covered and controlled by kama, krodha, lobha, moha and ahankar. It can be earned by removing these five gateways to hell.

To invoke peace, one meditates or chants prayers. By chanting prayers, one shifts one’s awareness from sympathetic to parasympathetic mode, a state of relaxation.

All prayers end by chanting shanti thrice. Some interpret it as if chanting first time loudest addresses the unseen forces (Aadhidaivik, the natural disasters), second time, addresses the immediate surroundings (Aadhibhautika: external modifiable factors) and, softest the last and third time addresses oneself (Aadhyaatmika).

Harvard 7 tips for smarter snacking

Filed Under Wellness  | Tagged With: , | | Comments Off on Harvard 7 tips for smarter snacking

  1. Go for the grain. Whole–grain snacks — such as whole–grain low–salt pretzels or tortilla chips and high–fiber, whole–grain cereals — can give you some energy with staying power.
  2. Bring back breakfast. Many breakfast foods can be repurposed as a nutritious snack later in the day. How about a slice of whole–grain toast topped with low–sugar jam? Low–sugar granola also makes a quick snack.
  3. Try a “hi–low– combination. Combine a small amount of something with healthy fat, like peanut butter, with a larger amount of something very light, like apple slices or celery sticks.
  4. Go nuts. Unsalted nuts and seeds make great snacks. Almonds, walnuts, peanuts, roasted pumpkin seeds, cashews, hazelnuts, filberts, and other nuts and seeds contain many beneficial nutrients and are more likely to leave you feeling full (unlike chips or pretzels). Nuts have lots of calories, though, so keep portion sizes small.
  5. The combo snack. Try to eat more than one macronutrient (protein, fat, carbohydrate) at each snacking session. For example, have a few nuts (protein and fat) and some grapes (carbohydrates). Try some whole–grain crackers (carbohydrates) with some low–fat cheese (protein and fat). These balanced snacks tend to keep you feeling satisfied.
  6. Snack mindfully. Don’t eat your snack while doing something else like surfing the Web, watching TV, or working at your desk. Instead, stop what you’re doing for a few minutes and eat your snack like you would a small meal.
  7. You can take it with you. Carry a small bag of healthful snacks in your pocket or purse so you won’t turn in desperation to the cookies at the coffee counter or the candy bars in the office vending machine.

Managing grief by free expressive writing

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 your personal book, on the open website with nick name or keep it in the mind. These emotions need not be preserved and the writings can be thrown away.

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.

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