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Dr K K Aggarwal

The Right Action

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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Dharma is the path of righteousness and living one s life according to the codes of conduct as described by the Vedas and Upanishads. Its western equivalents might include morality ethics virtue righteousness and purity. The term dharma can best be explained as the law of being without which things cannot exist. The word dharma is derived from dhri which means to hold . It literally means that which holds the people of this world and the whole creation. The same is described in the Vedic Text in Atharva Veda as Prithivim dharmana dhritam i.e. this world is upheld by dharma . In Hinduism Dharma is the very foundation of life. Tulsidas the author of Ramcharitmanas defined the root of dharma as compassion. Buddha has also described this principle in his book Dhammapada. According to Hindu philosophy it s GOD who holds us through Truth and or Love . Dharma prevails or truth prevails is the essence of Hinduism. In order to achieve good karma Vedas teach that one should live according to dharma the right action . This involves doing what is right for the individual the family the class or caste and also for the universe. According to the Bhagavat Purana righteous living or life on a dharmic path has four pillars truthfulness satya austerity tap purity shauch and compassion daya . It further adds that the adharmic or unrighteous life has three main vices pride ahankar bad company sangh and intoxication madya . Manusmriti prescribes ten essential rules for the observance of dharma Patience dhriti forgiveness kshama piety or self control dama honesty asteya sanctity shauch control of senses indriya nigrah reason dhi knowledge or learning vidya truthfulness satya and absence of anger krodha . Manu further writes Non violence truth non coveting purity of body and mind control of senses are the essence of dharma . In Bhagwad Gita Lord Krishna says that in the society dharma is likely to fall from time to time and to bring dharma back a GOD representative is born from time to time. The shloka parithraanaaya saadhoonaam vinaasaaya cha dhushkr.thaam dharma samsthaapanaarthaaya sambhavaami yuge yuge Chapter IV ndash 8 says that For the protection of the virtuous for the destruction of evil doers and for establishing the rule of righteousness Dharma I am born from age to age in every age . Another shloka yada yada hi dharmasya glanir bhavati bharata abhyutthanam adharmasya tadatmanam srjamy aham means that O descendant of Bharata Whenever and wherever there is a decline in religious practice and a predominant rise of irreligion at that time I descend Myself . Deepak Chopra in his book Seven Spiritual Laws of Success talks about the Law of Dharma or Purpose in Life . According to him everybody should discover his or her divinity find the unique talent and serve humanity with it. With this one can generate all the wealth that one wants. According to him when your creative expressions match the needs of your fellow humans then wealth will spontaneously flow from the un manifest into the manifest from the realm of spirit to the world of form. In spiritual terms this is an attempt to find out whether one s life is progressing as per the Laws of Dharma Dharma in Sanskrit means purpose in life which according to the scriptures is said to be the sole purpose for a human being to manifest in this physical form. For one to achieve DHARMA he suggests the following affirmative exercises Today I will lovingly nurture the god or goddess in embryo form that lies deep within my soul. I will pay attention to the spirit within me that animates both my body and my mind. I will awaken myself to this deep stillness within my heart. I will carry this consciousness of timeless eternal being in the midst of time bound experiences. I will make a list of my unique talents. Then I will list all of the things I love to do while expressing my unique talents. When I express my unique talents and use them in the service of humanity I lose track of time and create abundance in my life as well as in the lives of others. I will ask myself daily How can I serve and How can I help The answers to these questions will allow me to help and serve my fellow human beings with love. Karma dharma and samsara are three fundamental aspects of Hinduism. Buddhism Jainism and Hinduism are all built on these aspects. Dharma is one s appropriate role or attributes. Karma measures how well one performs one s dharma explains why one is born where he or she is and why there is suffering and seeming injustices. Samsara is the continuous cycle of birth death and rebirth and the context for all experience. Dharma sutras from Dharma Sh stras are the basic texts which talks about the morality of individuals and the society. Most Indian laws are made from these Sh stras. In Jainism also the wheel of Dharma Chakra with 24 spokes represents the religion preached by the 24 Tirthankaras consisting of nonviolence Ahimsa and other virtues. The very first word of the Gita is Dharma . The Gita concludes with the word Mama . The whole of Bhagavad Gita is contained in the two words Mama and Dharma . When you join these two words it becomes mamadharma meaning your true Dharma . This is what the Gita teaches. What is your Dharma How to achieve your dharma Do unto others what you do unto yourself and satisfy your conscience. That is your Dharma. The word Living Dharma signifies right action in every moment of the life. Do not follow the dictates of body and do not indiscriminately follow the mind for the mind is like a mad monkey. Hence follow the conscience. Disclaimer The views expressed in this write up are my own .

Science behind Chhath pooja

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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1. Chhath puja is mainly observed in Bihar and Nepal. Bihar has a number of Sun temples, flanked by a surajkund or sacred pool of the Sun. 2. It is a ritual bathing festival that follows a period of abstinence and ritual segregation of the worshiper (parvaitin) from the main household for four days. The parvaitin observes ritual purity, and sleeps on the floor on a single blanket. 3. This is the only festival which does not involve any priest. 4. The devotees offer their prayers to the setting sun, and then the rising sun. 5. It is the most glorious form of Sun worship. 6. The main worshippers (parvaitin) are women. 7. The parvaitin pray for the well-being of their family, for prosperity and for offspring. 8. The prasad offerings include sweets (Thekua) and fruit offered in small bamboo winnows. 9. The food is strictly vegetarian and it is cooked without salt, onions or garlic. 10. Day 1: Nahay khay (bathe and eat): The parvaitin take a dip in river. The house is cleaned. Only one meal is eaten and contains �kaddu-bhat� or channa dal, and arwa chawal (rice). 11. Day 2: Kharna (the day before Chhath): On Panchami, the parvaitins observe a fast till evening a little after sunset. Just after the worship of earth, the offerings of Rasiao-kheer (rice delicacy), puris (puffs of wheat flour) and bananas, are distributed. From time onwards, for the next 36 hours, the parvaitin goes on a fast without water. 12. Day 3: Chhath: Sanjhiya Arghya (evening offerings): The day is spent preparing the Prasad (offerings) at home. Offerings (Argh) are made in the evening to the setting sun. In the night a colorful event of Kosi is held. Here, lighted earthen lamps are kept under a canopy of five sugarcane sticks. The five sticks signify the human body made of five elements. 13. Day 4: Parna (day after Chhath): Bihaniya Aragh (next morning offerings): On this final day the parvaitin with family go to the riverbank before sunrise and offer (Aragh) to the rising sun. The festival ends with the breaking of the fast. Science behind the pooja 1.Sun worship in Kartik month is related to absorption of vitamin D. 2. Vitamin D comes from UVB rays. 3. These rays are predominant at sun set and sun rise. 4. Vitamin D deficiency today is running like an epidemic in the society. 5. Vitamin D is sued for absorbing calcium from the food. 6. All the food items used in this pooja are high in calcium. 7. Kartik is also high fertility months. Vitamin D deficiency is linked to infertility. 8. Natural calcium is better absorbed in fasting state. 9. Patients with compromised kidneys should not do this fast. 10. Fast is never broken with feast. This fast is usually broken with ginger and jaggery. (Disclaimer: The views expressed in this write up are my own).

We follow a ritual of offering ‘bhog’ to the deity we worship. The ritual also involves sprinkling water all around the place where we sit down to eat food. Many people have advocated that the sprinkling of water is related to preventing ants and insects from approaching the food. But in spiritual language there is a deeper meaning of these rituals.

Bhagwad Gita and Yoga Shastras categorise food into three types corresponding to their properties termed as gunas. Depending upon satoguna, rajoguna and tamoguna, the food items are categorized as satwik, rajsik or tamsik.

Satwik food provides calmness, purity and promotes longevity, intelligence, strength, health, happiness and delight. The examples of satwik food items are fruits, vegetables, leaves, grains, cereals, milk, honey, etc. These items can be consumed as they are. One can also live on satwik food for life.

Rajsik food items possess attributes of negativity, passion and restlessness. Hot, spicy and salty food items with pungent, sour and salt taste promote rajas qualities.

Tamsik food has attributes of inducing sleep, ignorance, dullness and inertia. The examples of tamsik food are meat, onions, garlic, left-over food, etc.

Only satwik food is offered to God. Rajsik and tamsik food is never offered as Bhog. The only persons who were offered tamsik and rajsik food in Ramayana are Ahi Ravana and Kumbhkaran. Both of them were of an evil nature. Kumbhkaran signified tamas and Ahi Ravana, rajas or aggression. Tamsik and rajsik food can be converted into satwik by slow heating, sprouting or keeping them in water overnight. The examples are sprouted wheat and chana (chickpeas), etc.

A mixture of honey, milk, ghee, curd and sugar is called panchamrut and is a routine offering to the God. All the five components have satwik properties and their consumption promotes health.

In Ayurveda, there is a saying that any food item, which grows under the ground, is tamsik in nature and one, which comes from the top of the tree or plant like leaves, flower and fruits are satwik in nature. Satwik food is usually fresh, seasonal and locally grown.

Human beings are made up of body, mind and soul and soul is equated to consciousness or God. Whatever offered to external God if offered to the internal God or consciousness leads to inner happiness. The ritual, therefore, of offering food to God before eating forces us to either eat only satwik food or to include a substantial portion of satwik food in our meals. It helps a person convert his meal into a pure satwik one or at least adding satwik items.

Sprinkling water around the plate is considered an act of purification.

Many people confuse bhog with chadhava or offerings to the deity. While bhog is shared with God, chadhava is the offering of your illness or negative thoughts to the God and you go back with prasada of inner happiness. Many people counter the above argument by saying that alcohol is offered to Bhairon, viewed as a demon God, which means alcohol, is good for health. I personally feel that alcohol is offered to Bhairon not as a bhog but as an offering which means that people who are addicted to alcohol go to Bhairon and give their share of alcohol to him so they can de-addict themselves.

The existence of universe has been described in the Vedic literature by three different philosophies, dualism, non-dualism and modified dualism. Dualism or dwait considers soul in the human body separate from spirit, non dualism or adwait considers soul in the human body a part and parcel of the spirit and modified dualism of Ramanuj considers human body as nothing but a cell of the universe which is one thinking organism having its own life span cum life cycle called a Brahma year. Read more

Navratri is the detoxification of body, mind and soul. Body detoxification involves Navratri diet containing eating less devoid of cereals.  In Navratri diet flour is replaced with Kuttu or Singhara flour; pulses with amaranth or Rajgiri and Rice with Samak rice. Mental and soul detoxification involves practicing Yoga Sadhna as described in nine forms of respective Durga.

1. Chadraghanta is worshipped on the third day of Navratri

2. SHE is shown with golden skin and riding a tiger. She is depicted with ten hands and 3 eyes with a crescent moon on the head.

3. Eight of HER hands display weapons. The rest two are in the mudras or gestures of boon giving and stopping harm (Varada and abhay mudra) indicating protection.

4. Out of eight hands five contains Bow and arrow (to bend, focus, one point determination,  The bow and arrows also represent energy. Holding both the bow and arrows in one hand indicates control over both potential and kinetic energies); Trishul (balance), sword (sharp intelligence) and mace (power to destroy the evil). Rest three hands contains rosary (tapas); lotus (detached attachment) and Kamandalu (acceptance).

5.  In Ayurveda SHE represents the control over the fire element.

6. In Yogashstra SHE represents the solar or Manipura Chakra with the Bija sound RAM.

7. Sound of her bell terrifies demons as well as all enemies.

8. SHE represents protector and bravery.

Spiritual message on the 3rd Navratri: One should continuously (beaded rosary) control the fire (solar plexus) within by using our sharp intelligence (sword) and balancing the mind (Trishul) by focusing on one point (arrow and bow), practicing detached attachment (lotus), accepting things as they are (Kamandalu) and killing the negative energies by using gada (power) when needed.

Science behind 2nd Navratri or Mata Brahmacharini (Sati) Worship (let go your impure thoughts)

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Navratri is the detoxification of body, mind and soul. Body detoxification involves Navratri diet containing eating less devoid of cereals.  In Navratri diet flour is replaced with Kuttu or Singhara flour; pulses with amaranth or Rajgiri and Rice with Samak rice. Mental and soul detoxification involves practicing Yoga Sadhna as described in nine forms of respective Durga.

Brahmacharini (Uma or Tapacharini) is worshipped on second day of Navratri as the goddess who performed ‘Tapa’ (penance or continuous efforts) (Brahma – Tapa, Charini – Performer ). SHE personifies love and loyalty and provides knowledge and wisdom. Those who worship her, attain, Tap (Religious Austerity), Tyagi (Sacrifice), and Vairagya (Asceticism).

She is shown to hold Japa mala (rosary beads) in her right hand and Kamandal in left hand.  This form of Shakti as per Yoga Shastras is present in second gonad chakra (in Allopathy gonad plexus) called Svadhisthana Chakra.  The bija sound for the chakras is VAM which removes attachments. In Ayurveda the 2nd Chakra represents the water element.

In mythology ‘white’ represents purity of mind; beaded rosary or japa mala represents continuous efforts (meditation and concentration) and Kamandal represents acceptance and water in it represents pure thoughts.

Kamandalu also means living an egoless state of mind. Kamandalu is a water pot made from a dry pumpkin contains nectar and is shown on the ground next to Shiva. The process of making Kamandalu has deep spiritual significance. A ripe pumpkin is plucked from a plant, its fruit is removed and the shell is cleaned for containing the nectar. In the same way, an individual must break away from attachment to the physical world and clean his inner self of egoistic desires in order to experience the bliss of the Self, symbolized by the nectar in the Kamandalu.

Spiritual message on the 2nd Navratri: Purify the mind (white cloths) with continuous efforts (japa mala) by accepting the things and situations as they are (kamalandu) and building humility in the mind (egoless state).