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Dr K K Aggarwal

Meditation can change genes

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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The Amarnath cave was chosen by Lord Shiva to narrate the secrets of meditation, immortality and creation of Universe to Parvati.

A spiritual journey requires a spiritual frame of mind and a commitment of 7-10 days for self-purification. Most spiritual destinations are located at up into mountains to provide a pollution free environment and involve a difficult travel so that nobody can reach the destination before 7-10 days. This duration helps in controlling the mind, intellect, ego and getting rid of the desires, attachments and greed. On the path of spiritual journey as one is travelling alone without carrying the worldly attachments, one invariably reaches the destination in a positive state of mind and in a meditative phase to experience the truth of life and answers to unanswered questions.

The Amarnath Story

Once Parvati asked Shiva to let her know why and when he started wearing the beads of heads (Mund Mala). Shiva said whenever you are born I add one more head in my beads. Parvati said,” My Lord, my body is destroyed every time and I die again and again, but you are Immortal. Please let me know the secret of this.” Shiva replied that it is due to Amar Katha.”

Spiritual Significance

The spiritual significance of the above is, that here Shiva represents the Soul and Parvati the Body. The soul never dies and is immortal. The soul is the energized filed of information and in computer language is like the web of energized information. Every time any work is done (sanskara) a copy of the same is kept in the memory in both the soul and the spirit.

The further part of the story is the katha or the process of doing meditation and its benefits

The story

“Parvati insisted that she may be told that secret. For long Shiva continued postponing. Finally on consistent demand He made up his mind to tell the immortal secret. He started for lonely place where no living being could listen it. He chose the Amarnath Cave.”

Spiritual Significance

The first principle of learning how to meditate is dedication and persistence. Second is silence or a place with no internal and external disturbance. In ashtanga yoga, it is called Pratyahara (the withdrawal of senses).

The story

“Shiva left His Nandi (The Bull) at Pahalgam or Bail Gaon; his moon from his hair (jata) at Chandanwari; his snake at the banks of Lake Sheshnag; his Son Ganesha at Mahagunas Parvat (Mahaganesh Hill) and his five elements at Panjtarni.

As a symbol of sacrificing the earthly world Shiva and Parvati did Tandav dance. After leaving behind all these, Shiva enters the Holy Amarnath Cave along with Parvati. Lord Shiva takes his Samadhi on the Deer Skin and concentrate.”

Spiritual Significance

In the process of meditation, one first gets rid of desires (Bull Nandi or the mind), discriminating, expectations and power of analyzing thoughts (moon or the intellect) and ego (snake). Once that is done one is away from the worldly desires totally (Ganesh and finally the five elements). Now the body is in symphony with the soul (Tandava dance).

The story

“To ensure that no living being is able to hear the Immortal Tale, Shiva created Rudra named Kalagni and ordered him to spread fire to eliminate every living thing in and around the Holy Cave. After this He started narrating the secret of immortality to Parvati. But as a matter of chance one egg which was lying beneath the Deer skin remained protected. It is believed to be non-living and more over it was protected by Shiva-Parvati Asan (Bed). The pair of pigeons which were born out of this egg became immortal having listened the secret of immortality (Amar Katha).”

Spiritual Significance

It again signifies the importance of undisturbed state of mind at the time of meditation. Fire indicates the internally meditation generated spiritual fire or agni which burns all the negative thoughts and negative energies. The egg of the pigeon indicates that spiritual knowledge can transform at the level DNA. It also tells us that those who are sitting near the meditating persons also get benefitted.

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

Understanding Indriyas

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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As per ancient Indian literature, we have 10 Indriyas – 5 motor and 5 sensory. The motor Indriyas are called Karmendriyas and the sensory indriyas are called Gnanendriyas. The motor indriyas involve the functions of elimination (anus), procreation (genitals), movement (legs), grasping (hands) and speaking (speech). The five sensory indriyas in sequence are smell, taste, seeing, touching and hearing. The first motor indriya is linked to the first sensory indriya. Therefore, elimination is linked to smelling, procreation to tasting, movement to seeing, grasping to touching and speaking to hearing.Controlling the senses is the fundamental principle in acquiring spiritual health. Senses in Indian mythology are depicted by horses, which are chanchal and are likely to go out of control. The control over 10 senses is required to become a yogi. The Ashwamedha Yagna of ancient era of kings basically meant performing a sacrifice so as to be able to control one’s senses. In internal Ramayana, Raja Dashrath represents a person who has control over his 10 senses. Here ‘Dash’ means ten and ‘Rath’ means horse. During meditation also, one is taught to sequentially control one’s senses. For example, to be able to meditate, one must first pass urine and stool as in the presence of these urges, one will not be able to meditate. The second is to control one’s sexual desires. It is well known that sexuality and spirituality cannot go hand in hand. In any Shiv Mandir, Nandi, the bull, is always worshipped outside the temple and not inside the temple.

The next step in meditation is control on movements and that is practicing stillness followed by relaxing each every muscle representing control over grasping and then going to an inner journey of inner silence of controlling over the 5th motor indriya i.e. speech. Only after one has learnt to control the mortal indriyas, can one be able to control the 5 sensory indriyas in succession as mentioned above.

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

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).

You are born with a quota, use it judicially

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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Everyone is born with a passport with a defined battery life to live up to 100 years after which one has to go back to renew or recharge the batteries.

If the battery is overused or misused and is depleted early, one may have to go back prematurely for recharging, but this time when one comes back, he or she may come back with a different body which may not be the human one. There are 64 lakh Yonis as described in the Vedic Literature.

According to the Vedic description if one dies prematurely there are chances that the rebirth will not be in the same species.

To live up to the time period defined at the time of birth by Dharmaraja one has to follow the principles as described in Yogashastra.

The main principle is the principle of moderation and variety. It says that everything has to be used, if not used will get rusted and if overused will undergo wear and tear.

When using the principles of moderation and variety, it is important to remember that each one of us is born with a fixed quota of everything, a quota of diet, respiration, heart rate and thoughts.

According to swara yoga, one is born with predefined number of respirations to be taken during life. If one consumes them early he will depart for refueling early from the life. To reduce respiratory rate is therefore the basis of postponing aging and prolonging life. Stimulating the parasympathetic nervous system by learning and practicing pranayama, which is slow and deep breathing, does the same.

One breathes 15 times a minute or 21600 breaths in a day, or 7884000 (78.84 lakh) a year or 788400000 (78.84 crores) during life (assuming it to be 100 years). Some yoga books say that a person is born with 33 crore breaths, the same if taken at the rate or 15 per minute would last for 42 years.

In fact Pranayama originated on the concept that the breaths of each one of us are numbered, that our life-span is dependent on how many times we shall breathe in a given life, and that, as a consequence of this fact, we must reduce the number of breaths so as to live longer.

In Gorakshapaddhati (I.93), it is written that “Due to fear of death even Brahma, the Lord of creation, keeps on practicing pranayama, and so do many yogis and munis. It is recommended that a student of yoga must always control his breath.”

Hathayoga-pradipika (II.39) also writes: `All the Gods including Lord Brahma became devoted to the practice of pranayama because they were afraid of death. We the mortals should follow the same path and control the breath.”

Similarly one is born with a quota of heartbeats with an average of 70 per minute. Many studies have shown that people who have a higher resting heart rate have more chances of sudden death. The aim therefore is to keep their heart rate slow. This can be achieved either by regular exercise, meditation, AUM Pranayama, or by meditation. In people who run marathons or participate in other athletic activities, the temporary increase in the heart rate during exercise is compensated by the body by adapting the cardiovascular system in such a way that the basal heart rate reduces. The marathon runners may have a heart rate of only 50 per minute.

The less one eats the more he lives is an Yogic saying, It is said that people who eat once a day are Yogis, twice a day are Bhogis and thrice a day are Rogis. There are enough studies now, which say that 25% reduction in the calories content can increase the life span. Many studies in rodents have also shown the same effect.

The moderation in exercise is to walk 10000 steps a day. No exercise will end up with obesity and over use with osteoarthritis.

Stress is the excess of thoughts in the mind. Controlling the mind forms the basis of meditation. Samadhi is the state of no thoughts. Practicing meditation 20 minutes twice daily helps to restrain the mind with resultant state of Turiya where the mind has controlled limited positive thoughts.

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

Spirituality, the key to health

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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To stay healthy, one needs to eat right, get plenty of exercise and rest and avoid bad habits such as smoking. But, now it is said that “what you believe in” can have a big impact on health and longevity. Many studies show that patients with strong spirituality can improve their health from a variety of chronic conditions, like hypertension, heart disease, recovery from surgery and more.

Research indicates there are real health benefits from spirituality:

  1. People with high levels of religious beliefs or spirituality have lower cortisol responses. Cortisol is a hormone the body releases in response to stress.
  2. Positive thinking produces nearly a 30% drop in perception of pain.
  3. Spirituality and the practice of religion have recently been associated with a slower progression of Alzheimer’s disease.
  4. Those who regularly attend organized religious activities may live longer than those who don’t. Regular participation lowers mortality rate by about 12% a year.
  5. People undergoing cardiac rehabilitation feel more confident and perceive greater improvements in their physical abilities if they have a strong faith.
  6. Increased levels of spirituality and religious faith may help substance abusers kick their habit.
  7. Spirituality stimulates the relaxation response. When the body is relaxed, your heart rate, blood pressure and breathing rate all go down, which decreases the body’s stress response.
  8. Spirituality can affect immune-system function. Spirituality, faith, church attendance improves immune function in ways that can be measured, like an increase in white blood cells.
  9. Prayer heals the heart.
  10. Positive talking and thinking in the ICU produces better results.

Spirituality is what brings you peace and safety. It can be achieved through God or Goddess, nature, a beautiful sunset, a meditation, Pranayama, religious meeting, chanting, mind-body relaxation, etc. Spirituality is something that can help all the way from promoting wellness to helping with recovery.

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

Meditation can change genes

By Dr K K Aggarwal
Filed Under Spirituality - Science Behind Rituals | Tagged With: , , , | | Comments Off on Meditation can change genes

The Amarnath cave was chosen by Lord Shiva to narrate the secrets of meditation, immortality and creation of Universe to Parvati.

A spiritual journey requires a spiritual frame of mind and a commitment of 7-10 days for self-purification. Most spiritual destinations are located at up into mountains to provide a pollution free environment and involve a difficult travel so that nobody can reach the destination before 7-10 days. This duration helps in controlling the mind, intellect, ego and getting rid of the desires, attachments and greed. On the path of spiritual journey as one is travelling alone without carrying the worldly attachments, one invariably reaches the destination in a positive state of mind and in a meditative phase to experience the truth of life and answers to unanswered questions.

The Amarnath Story

Once Parvati asked Shiva to let her know why and when he started wearing the beads of heads (Mund Mala). Shiva said whenever you are born I add one more head in my beads. Parvati said,” My Lord, my body is destroyed every time and I die again and again, but you are Immortal. Please let me know the secret of this.” Shiva replied that it is due to Amar Katha.”

Spiritual Significance

The spiritual significance of the above is, that here Shiva represents the Soul and Parvati the Body. The soul never dies and is immortal. The soul is the energized filed of information and in computer language is like the web of energized information. Every time any work is done (sanskara) a copy of the same is kept in the memory in both the soul and the spirit.

The further part of the story is the katha or the process of doing meditation and its benefits

The story

“Parvati insisted that she may be told that secret. For long Shiva continued postponing.  Finally on consistent demand He made up his mind to tell the immortal secret. He started for lonely place where no living being could listen it. He chose the Amarnath Cave.”

Spiritual Significance

The first principle of learning how to meditate is dedication and persistence. Second is silence or a place with no internal and external disturbance. In ashtanga yoga, it is called Pratyahara (the withdrawal of senses).

The story

“Shiva left His Nandi (The Bull) at Pahalgam or Bail Gaon; his moon from his hair (jata) at Chandanwari; his snake at the banks of Lake Sheshnag; his Son Ganesha at Mahagunas Parvat (Mahaganesh Hill) and his five elements at Panjtarni.

As a symbol of sacrificing the earthly world Shiva and Parvati did Tandav dance. After leaving behind all these, Shiva enters the Holy Amarnath Cave along with Parvati. Lord Shiva takes his Samadhi on the Deer Skin and concentrate.”

Spiritual Significance

In the process of meditation, one first gets rid of desires (Bull Nandi or the mind), discriminating, expectations and power of analyzing thoughts (moon or the intellect) and ego (snake). Once that is done one is away from the worldly desires totally (Ganesh and finally the five elements). Now the body is in symphony with the soul (Tandava dance).

The story

“To ensure that no living being is able to hear the Immortal Tale, Shiva created Rudra named Kalagni and ordered him to spread fire to eliminate every living thing in and around the Holy Cave. After this He started narrating the secret of immortality to Parvati. But as a matter of chance one egg which was lying beneath the Deer skin remained protected. It is believed to be non-living and more over it was protected by Shiva-Parvati Asan (Bed). The pair of pigeons which were born out of this egg became immortal having listened the secret of immortality (Amar Katha).”

Spiritual Significance

It again signifies the importance of undisturbed state of mind at the time of meditation. Fire indicates the internally meditation generated spiritual fire or agni which burns all the negative thoughts and negative energies. The egg of the pigeon indicates that spiritual knowledge can transform at the level DNA. It also tells us that those who are sitting near the meditating persons also get benefitted.

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

Spirituality is friendly to Wellbeing

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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What you believe in may impact health and longevity. Spirituality and religion have been shown to have a positive association with well-being and better health outcomes.

Spirituality and the practice of religion have been associated with a slower progression of Alzheimer’s disease. Positive thinking results in almost 30% decrease in pain perception. People who regularly attend organized religious activities may live longer than those who do not participate. Regular participation in such activities reduces mortality rate by about 12% a year. Satsang is one way of acquiring spiritual well–being. Many scientific studies have shown that when mediation or chanting is done in groups it has more benefits than when done individually.

Spirituality can influence function of the immune system, which can be measured, like an increase in white blood cells.

Patients who undergo cardiac rehabilitation feel more confident and perceive greater improvements in their physical abilities if they keep strong faith. Increased levels of spirituality and religious faith may help substance abusers kick their habit.

Spirituality stimulates the relaxation response. It shifts one from sympathetic to parasympathetic mode, which is the relaxed state. It is healing and allows one to make better and correct, consciousness-based choices. People who are very religious or deeply spiritual have lower cortisol responses. Cortisol is a hormone released in the body in response to stress. When the body is relaxed, the heart rate, blood pressure and breathing rate all go down, which decrease the body’s stress response. This is also why most of our temples are located in distant places. The silence of the spiritual atmosphere reduces the internal noise and helps us onward in our inner journey.

The Mantra to acquire spiritual health is to think positive and differently. It is very difficult to remove negative thoughts but it is very easy to cultivate positive thoughts. Persistent negative thoughts creates sympathetic over activity and leads to lifestyle disorders like blood pressure, acidity, depression, diabetes and heart blockages.

Spirituality is what brings you peace and safety. It can be achieved through God or Goddess, nature, a beautiful sunset, a meditation, Pranayama, religious meeting, chanting, mind body relaxation, etc. Spirituality is something that can help all the way from promoting wellness to helping with recovery.

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

Mindfulness meditation

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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  • 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 youve 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

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

Importance of silence

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in the text are entirely my personal views)

Why do we close our eyes for meditation?

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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Whenever we pray, think of God, undertake an internal healing procedure, kiss someone, or meditate, we automatically close our eyes.

It is a common Vedic saying that the soul resides in the heart and all the feelings are felt at the level of heart.

Most learning procedures in meditation involves sitting in an erect, straight posture,  closing the eyes, withdrawing from the world and concentrating on the object of concentration. Yoga Sutra of Patanjali describes pratihara (withdrawal of senses) as one of the seven limbs of yoga, Yama, niyama, asana, pranayama, pratihara, dharma, dhyana and Samadhi.

After pranayama, one needs to withdraw from the world and the senses and then start dhyana on the object of concentration. The process of pratihara becomes easy and is initiated with the closing of the eyes.

The inward journey starts with the detachment of the body from the external world and in yogic language, it is called Kayotsarga.

In the initiation of hypnosis also, a person is made to lie down, look at the roof and withdraw from the world. The procedure involves asking the person to gently roll the eyeball up until he goes into a trans. Rolling of the eyeballs upward has the same physiological significance as that of closing the eyes.

When we close our eyes, there is a suppression of sympathetic nervous system and activation of para sympathetic nervous system. During this period, blood pressure and pulse reduce and skin resistance goes up. A person goes into a progressive phase of internal and muscular relaxation.

The inward journey is a journey towards restful alertness where the body is restful yet the consciousness is alert. The intention is to relax the body and then the attention is focused on the object of concentration. Most visualization and meditation techniques involve closing of the eyes.

By detaching from the external stimuli, one suppresses the activities of the five senses and shifts ones awareness from disturbed to undisturbed state of consciousness. The inner journey helps in producing a state of ritambhara pragya where the inner vibrations of the body become in symphony with the vibrations of the nature.

People who visit Vaishno Devi by traveling long distances on foot enter the cave and as soon as they see Maa Vaishno Devi they close their eyes. This is natural and instant. Because Maa Vaishno Devi is not felt in the murti but her presence is felt in the heart and that presence can only be felt by closing the eyes.

Most yogic techniques like shavasana, yoga nidra, body-mind relaxation, progressive muscular relaxation, hypnosis involves closing the eyes in the very first step. Daytime nap is also incomplete without closing the eyes. Shok sabha and 2 minutes maun sabha are also practiced with the eyes closed. When we think of someone or try to remember something the body automatically closes the eyes and one starts exploring the hidden memories. For recalling anything one must withdraw from the external world through its five senses.

Only advanced yogis or rishis acquire the power where with eyes opened they are in a state of ritam, bhara, pragya. These yogic powers are acquired by practicing advanced sutra meditation for hours, days and years. Lord Shiva has been shown in a meditative pose sitting on Kailash Parvat with the eyes semi opened. But for ordinary persons like us where the aim is to be in that phase only for 20 min. twice a day, the best is to close our eyes as the first step towards the process of meditation.

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

What is the difference between smile, hug and laugh?

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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Smile is a sign of joy while hug is a sign of love. Laughter on the other hand is a sign of inner happiness.

Neither of them are at the level of mind or intellect. All come from within the heart. They are only the gradations of your expressions of your happiness.

It is said you are incomplete in your dress if you are not wearing a smile on your face.

Hug comes next… and laughter the last. Laughter is like an internal jogging and has benefits similar to meditation.

But be careful we must know when not to laugh. The most difficult is to laugh on oneself.

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

How to keep your memory sharp?

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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  1. Manage your stress, especially pressures of deadlines and petty arguments.
  2. The biggest stress is an ongoing sense of extreme anxiety. This can be managed by deep breathing, meditation, yoga and by mindful approach to living.
  3. Get a good night’s sleep. The most common reason for poor sleep is difficulty in falling asleep and staying asleep. Many drugs are used to treat insomnia, which can also impair memory.
  4. If you need a sleeping medicine, it should be used in the lowest dose for the shortest period of time.
  5. Get up at the same time in the morning.
  6. If you smoke, quit.
  7. If you do not drink, do not start.
  8. Alcohol makes it difficult to perform short term memory tasks such as memorizing list. Alcohol induces vitamin B1 deficiency, which can cause dementia.
  9. Protect your brain from injury as repeated minor head trauma can cause brain damage. Wear seat belt when riding in motor vehicle. Wear helmet while driving or riding motorcycle.

Spirituality is the key to health

By Dr K K Aggarwal
Filed Under Spirituality - Science Behind Rituals | Tagged With: , , , | | Comments Off on Spirituality is the key to health

To stay healthy, one needs to eat right, get plenty of exercise and rest, and avoid bad habits such as smoking. But, now it is said that “what you believe in” can have a big impact on health and longevity. There have been a lot of studies that show how patients with strong spirituality can improve their health from a variety of chronic conditions, like hypertension, heart disease, recover from surgery and more.

Research indicates there are real health benefits from spirituality.

  1. People with high levels of religious beliefs or spirituality have lower cortisol responses. Cortisol is a hormone released by the body in response to stress.
  2. Positive thinking produces nearly a 30% drop in perception of pain.
  3. Spirituality and the practice of religion have recently been associated with a slower progression of Alzheimer’s disease.
  4. Those who regularly attend organized religious activities may live longer than those who dont. Regular participation lowers mortality rate by about 12% a year.
  5. People undergoing cardiac rehabilitation are more confident and perceive greater improvements in their physical abilities if they have a strong faith.
  6. Increased levels of spirituality and religious faith may help substance abusers kick their habit.
  7. Spirituality stimulates the relaxation response. When the body is relaxed, the heart rate, blood pressure and breathing rate all go down, which decrease the bodys stress response.
  8. Spirituality can affect immune system function. Spirituality, faith, church attendance improves immune function in ways that can be measured, like an increase in white blood cells.
  9. Prayer heals the heart.
  10. Positive talking and thinking in the ICU produces better results.

Spirituality is what brings you peace and safety. It can be achieved through God or Goddess, nature, a beautiful sunset, a meditation, Pranayama, religious meeting, chanting, mind body relaxation, etc. Spirituality is something that can help all the way from promoting wellness to helping with recovery.

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

Meditation can change genes

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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The Amarnath cave was chosen by Lord Shiva to narrate the secrets of meditation, immortality and creation of Universe to Parvati.

A spiritual journey requires a spiritual frame of mind and a commitment of 7-10 days for self-purification. Most spiritual destinations are located at up into mountains to provide a pollution free environment and involve a difficult travel so that nobody can reach the destination before 7-10 days. This duration helps in controlling the mind, intellect, ego and getting rid of the desires, attachments and greed. On the path of spiritual journey as one is travelling alone without carrying the worldly attachments, one invariably reaches the destination in a positive state of mind and in a meditative phase to experience the truth of life and answers to unanswered questions.

The Amarnath StoryOnce Parvati asked Shiva to let her know why and when he started wearing the beads of heads (Mund Mala). Shiva said whenever you are born I add one more head in my beads. Parvati said,” My Lord, my body is destroyed every time and I die again and again, but you are Immortal. Please let me know the secret of this.” Shiva replied that it is due to Amar Katha.”

Spiritual SignificanceThe spiritual significance of the above is, that here Shiva represents the Soul and Parvati the Body. The soul never dies and is immortal. The soul is the energized filed of information and in computer language is like the web of energized information. Every time any work is done (sanskara) a copy of the same is kept in the memory in both the soul and the spirit.

The further part of the story is the katha or the process of doing meditation and its benefits

The story“Parvati insisted that she may be told that secret. For long Shiva continued postponing. Finally on consistent demand He made up his mind to tell the immortal secret. He started for lonely place where no living being could listen it. He chose Amarnath Cave.”

Spiritual SignificanceThe first principle of learning how to meditate is dedication and persistence. Second is silence or a place with no internal and external disturbance. In ashtanga yoga, it is called Pratyahara (the withdrawal of senses).

The story“Shiva left His Nandi (The Bull) at Pahalgam or Bail Gaon; his moon from his hair (jata) at Chandanwari; his snake at the banks of Lake Sheshnag; his Son Ganesha at Mahagunas Parvat (Mahaganesh Hill) and his five elements at Panjtarni.

As a symbol of sacrificing the earthly world Shiva and Parvati did Tandav dance. After leaving behind all these, Shiva enters the Holy Amarnath Cave along with Parvati. Lord Shiva takes his Samadhi on the Deer Skin and concentrate.”

Spiritual SignificanceIn the process of meditation, one first gets rid of desires (Bull Nandi or the mind), discriminating, expectations and power of analyzing thoughts (moon or the intellect) and ego (snake). Once that is done one is away from the worldly desires totally (Ganesh and finally the five elements). Now the body is in symphony with the soul (Tandava dance).

The story“To ensure that no living being is able to hear the Immortal Tale, Shiva created Rudra named Kalagni and ordered him to spread fire to eliminate every living thing in and around the Holy Cave. After this He started narrating the secret of immortality to Parvati. But as a matter of chance one egg which was lying beneath the Deer skin remained protected. It is believed to be non-living and more over it was protected by Shiva-Parvati Asan (Bed). The pair of pigeons which were born out of this egg became immortal having listened the secret of immortality (Amar Katha).”

Spiritual SignificanceIt again signifies the importance of undisturbed state of mind at the time of meditation. Fire indicates the internally meditation generated spiritual fire or agni which burns all the negative thoughts and negative energies. The egg of the pigeon indicates that spiritual knowledge can transform at the level DNA. It also tells us that those who are sitting near the meditating persons also get benefitted.

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

Why Do We Close Our Eyes For Meditation?

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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Whenever we pray, think of God, undertake an internal healing procedure, make love, kiss someone, or meditate, we automatically close our eyes. It is a common Vedic saying that the soul resides in the heart and all the feelings are felt at the level of heart.

Most learning procedures in meditation involves sitting in an erect, straight posture,  closing the eyes, withdrawing from the world and concentrating on the object of concentration. Yoga Sutra of Patanjali describes pratihara (withdrawal of senses) as one of the seven limbs of yoga, Yama, niyama, asana, pranayama, pratihara, dharma, dhyana and Samadhi.

After pranayama, one needs to withdraw from the world and the senses and then start dhyana on the object of concentration. The process of pratihara becomes easy and is initiated with the closing of the eyes.

The inward journey starts with the detachment of the body from the external world and in yogic language, it is called Kayotsarga.

In the initiation of hypnosis also, a person is asked to lie down, look at the roof and withdraw from the world. He is then asked to gently roll the eyeball up until he goes into a trans. Upward rolling of the eyeballs has the same physiological significance as that of closing the eyes.

When we close our eyes, there is a suppression of sympathetic nervous system and activation of parasympathetic nervous system. During this period, blood pressure and pulse reduces and skin resistance goes up. A person goes into a progressive phase of internal and muscular relaxation.

The inward journey is a journey towards restful alertness where the body is restful yet the consciousness is alert. The intention is to relax the body and then the attention is focused on the object of concentration. Most visualization and meditation techniques involve closing of the eyes.

By detaching from the external stimuli, one suppresses the activities of the five senses and shifts ones awareness from disturbed to undisturbed state of consciousness. The inner journey helps in producing a state of ritam bhara pragya where the inner vibrations of the body become in symphony with the vibrations of the nature.

People who visit Vaishno Devi by traveling long distances on foot enter the cave and as soon as they see the darshan of Maa Vaishno Devi they close their eyes. This is natural and instant. Because Maa Vaishno Devi is not felt in the murti but her presence is felt in the heart and that presence can only be felt by closing the eyes.

Most yogic techniques like shavasana, yoga nidra, body-mind relaxation, progressive muscular relaxation, hypnosis involves closing the eyes in the very first step. Daytime nap is also incomplete without closing the eyes. Shok sabha and 2 minutes maun sabha are also practiced with the eyes closed. When we think of someone or try to remember something, the body automatically closes the eyes and one starts exploring the hidden memories. For recalling anything one must withdraw from the external world through its five senses.

Only advanced yogis or rishis acquire the power where with eyes opened they are in a state of ritambhara pragya. These yogic powers are acquired by practicing advanced sutra meditation for hours, days and years.  Lord Shiva has been shown in a meditative pose sitting on Kailash Parvat with the eyes semi opened. But for ordinary persons like us where the aim is to be in that phase only for 20 min. twice a day, the best is to close our eyes as the first step towards the process of meditation.

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