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Dr K K Aggarwal

The science behind observing Shradhs

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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Shradhs are observed every year in Dakshinayana during Chaturmas in the Krishna Paksha of Ashwin month. Many rituals are performed to satisfy the unfulfilled desires of three generations of our ancestors.

According to the Vedas, every individual has three debts to be paid off, firstly, the Devtas (Dev Rin), secondly of Guru and teachers (Rishi Rin) and, thirdly, of Ancestors (Pitra Rin). From the scientific point of view, devtas represent people with Daivik qualities; teachers the ones who have taught us and Pitra, three generations of our ancestors. Rin from scientific point of view would mean unfinished desires or tasks.

The rituals scientifically would mean detaching oneself from the guilt of unfinished tasks of our ancestors by detoxifying our mind.

Debt means desires of our ancestors that had not been fulfilled during their lifetime. The responsibility to fulfil them automatically falls onto the eldest son in the family and they need to be carried out. If not, it is a sign of guilt disorder in the family and may present with loss of wealth, loss of direction and courage and health. The resultant problems faced were called Pitra Dosh in mythology.

The ritual of performing Shradhs originated to remove this guilt and the resultant illnesses. Shradh has many components.

  • Tarpan (offering water to the ancestors while reciting Mantras).
  • Arpan (preparing food what the ancestors used to like on the day of Shradh)
  • Brahmin bhoj (offering Satvik food to Brahmins)
  • Pind Daan (offering black sesame, Kusha Grass, Jwar and boiled or baked rice); observed by some.
  • Observing a spiritual holiday or incubation period (taking a break from the routine worldly desires and going to a distant place like Gaya).
  • Remembrance: Once the unfulfilled desires of the ancestors are over, remembering our ancestors every year on the day of their death anniversary.

Scientifically, Dakshinayana is the period of negative state of mind (nights are longer than days) and starts from 14th July and ends on 13th January. Chaturmas period (first four months) during Dakshinayana has the maximum negativity in the mind. Chaturmas includes the months of Sawan, Bhado, Ashwin and Kartik.

The negative state of mind in Sawan is related to anger and disturbed mind; in Bhado to non-fulfilment of desires and uncontrolled ego and in the month of Ashwin to guilt because of non-fulfilment of desires of others (ancestors), especially during Amavasya.

In the rituals, Tarpan of Jal (water) is offered to ancestors. Jal in mythology means flow of thoughts and offering Jal in mythology equates to confession and getting connected. Tarpan is always done with an aim to purify the mind and wash off the guilt.

Tarpan is always done after the desires of our ancestors have been fulfilled by the person performing the Shradh. This ritual is Arpan. Tarpan and Arpan on the day of Shradh mean getting connected to our consciousness and informing that all the unfinished tasks are over so that we can get rid of the long persisting guilt from our mind. Offering and making food which was liked by our ancestors on that day is just to remember and pay respect to them.

Confession is only possible in a Satwik state of mind, which requires eating of Satwik food for a few days. The ritual of offering Satwik food to Brahmins during the Shradh means making only Satwik food on that day so that everyone in the family is forced to eat Satwik food during Shradhs.

Pind Daan denotes medicinal ways of detaching oneself from the guilt. All the four offerings (black sesame, Kusha grass, Jwar and boiled or roasted rice) in Ayurveda have been described to detoxify the mind and making it Satwik by removing Rajas and Tamas.

If the guilt does not go by repeated Shradhs then one is required to go for a spiritual vacation during Shradh period so that he is away from the worldly desires for a few days before the Shradh and this is what going to Gaya means. This spiritual retreat works like an incubation period to the disturbed mind and gets rid of the disturbed mind and allows the undisturbed state of mind to confess and purify.

The Pitra ceremonies are usually performed either on Amavasya every month (period of most negativity in a month) or on the death anniversary or the Hindu Tithi (day) of the death of the ancestors coinciding with the day during Shradh days. If the date of death is not known then the Shradh is observed on Amavasya.

Some people perform Shradh for full 15 days and others perform it from the first day till the day of their ancestors’ Shradh.

It is said that once a Shradh is successfully performed or Gaya Shradh is performed, there is no need to perform Shradh rituals thereafter. Once the guilt is over, there is no need for further detoxification of the mind. After that the only ritual that needs to be performed is remembrance, which is usually performed on the death anniversary of the deceased ancestor usually by doing some charity on their names.

One is not supposed to do auspicious things during Shradh as during this period, the mind is in a process of detoxification.

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

Science behind Addiction

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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The three main reasons for any addiction are ignorance, ego and dependence. If you ask people as to why do they smoke, some would say that they were ignorant about its side effects (ignorance), while others would say that doing so gave them a status in the society (ego). And the rest once they began, they cannot leave it and are now dependant on it (dependence).

The treatment of ignorance is based on education the principle of hearing (suno), listening (samjho), understanding (jaano) and action full of wisdom (karo).

Ego can only be treated by proper counseling. The principles of counseling are well described in Bhagavad Gita and involve 18 sessions over a period of time.

Treatment of dependence involves early detoxification followed by counseling and education.

Science behind kalpvas

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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The month of Magh is observed as Kaplvas where for one month people from all over gather, do sun worship (Vitamin D) , eat sesame (high in calcium) and do tulsi or basil pooja (high fertility and high in calcium).

The significance is to gather one year’s vitamin D quota. For getting vitamin D we need to expose 40 % of the body for at least 40 minutes at a stretch for forty days in a year (formula of forty).

Science behind Chhath pooja

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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• 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.

• It is a ritual bathing 4-day 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.

• This is the only festival which does not involve a priest.

• The devotees offer their prayers to the setting sun, and then the rising sun.

• It is the most glorious form of Sun worship.

• The main worshippers (parvaitin) are women.

• The parvaitin pray for the well-being of their family, for prosperity and for offspring.

• The prasad offerings include sweets (Thekua) and fruit offered in small bamboo winnows.

• The food is strictly vegetarian and it is cooked without salt, onions or garlic.

• 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).

• 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.

• 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.

• 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

• Sun worship in Kartik month is related to absorption of vitamin D. • Vitamin comes from UVB rays.

• These rays are predominant at sunset and sunrise.

• Vitamin D deficiency is like an epidemic in the society today.

• Vitamin D helps to absorb calcium from the food.

• All the food items used in the pooja are high in calcium.

• Kartik is also high fertility month. Vitamin D deficiency is linked to infertility.

• Natural calcium is better absorbed in a fasting state.

• Patients with compromised kidney function should not observe this fast.

• Fast is never broken with a feast. Ginger and jiggery is usually used.

Science behind 6th Navratri or Katyayani Mata Worship

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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Mata Katyayani is worshipped on the sixth day of Navratri.

SHE has three eyes and four hands and rides on a Lion. Her top right hand is positioned in a gesture of providing courage and the other hand is positioned in a gesture of rendering a boon. The top left hand is holding a sword and the other holding a lotus.

In Yoga Shastra, SHE represents the Ajna Chakra and AUM bija mantra.

AUM chanting helps attaining success in religion, wealth, passion and salvation and removing fear and sorrows. Spiritual message on the 6th Navratri: AUM chanting is one of the most powerful chakra and should be done concentrating on the Ajna chakra.

 

Science behind Training and Development

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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Training in any field requires gaining knowledge, skills and positive mental attitude towards the object of learning. Knowledge is everything about what and why. In Yoga, it correlates with the Gyan (Gnana) Marg. The skill is all about how to do it and correlates with Karma Marg. A positive mental attitude is linked to willingness to do any work or in other words one’s Astha in that action. In Yoga, it is synonymous with Bhakti Marg.

In Bhagwad Gita, Lord Krishna talks about all the principles of management including how to train and develop an individual. The development teaches and increases one’s intelligence quotient (IQ), physical quotient (PQ), emotional quotient (EQ) and moral quotient (MQ).

The Science Behind Bhabhuti and Ash

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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Satya Sai Baba was known to give Bhabhuti as prasad to his visitors. In mythology also, Rishi Munis gave Bhabhuti to their followers. Lord Shiva is known to have Bhabhuti on his skin. Many people believe that Ash or Bhabhuti reminds one that the human body is perishable and will be converted into Ash ultimately after the death of the physical body. But there is also another meaning behind this mythological ritual of applying Ash onto the body. Fire in mythology means the fire of knowledge, knowledge about the true self consciousness. Knowing about true self is obstructed by negative thoughts, animal tendency, egoistic vanities and foolish attachments. Kama Krodha Lobha Moha and Ahankara fall into the same category. Burning negative tendency, animal behavior, ego and attachment into the fire of knowledge is what spirituality is. Once you burn your negative tendencies in the fire of knowledge, the resultant Ash or Bhabhuti which is to be ingested as the Prasad is what Rishi Munis gave to their seekers. Rishis are different from Pandits as Pandits are the ones who have knowledge but may not have spiritual experiences. Rishi Munis have both the knowledge and the personal experiences. The Rishi Munis are the ones who have learnt to burn their negative tendencies and ego into an Ash and help their followers in turn to burn their negative tendencies. The Ash given to their seekers is a constant reminder that the seekers need to burn their negative tendencies and convert them into the same ash.

Science behind Ganesha worship

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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While mythological studies knit stories of the Almighty’s existence, the fact remains that human being is bestowed with the untainted potential of recognizing heavenly facets in his own self.

Ganesha, the son of Shiva and Parvati, is likewise the name given to the harmonious Aacharan or characteristic disposition of man. Remembered and ritually worshiped before starting a new venture, the entity of Ganesha has in store the facets of a complete man.

The magnanimous head of the Ganesha, which is that of an elephant, represents wisdom, intelligence and a healthy mind capable of making sound decisions. Not in vain is it said that ‘think before you speak’, which implies Ganesha’s huge head, that is identified with the need for a thoughtful and retrospective attitude.

The big ears of this elephant deity instill among the earthly man the patient channel of lending ears to the echo produced by others’ deeds and speech. It is said that half the dispute is resolved when an ear is lend most patiently.

Ganesha’s extremely small mouth characteristically represents the need for a limited dialogue and the vanity of chattering. Overexpression through words triggers unsought problems many a times which otherwise could be avoided by a tight–lip.

Ganesha also represents the guru of stress affected individuals. Shiva’s most promising son, Ganesha, by virtue of his small eyes, highlights the need of a focused outlook in life. Such an outlook not only redefines and foresees the right goals, but also relieves one from the stress-manifested episodes from the various chapters of life.

The long trunk identifies with the power of discrimination. The sensitivity of Ganesha’s long nose has the strength to uproot a tree and the competency of picking up a pin from the ground. Such should be the approach of an individual who should be capable enough to perceive the good and the bad for himself besides the undaunted strength of overcoming all odds.

The tusks and the small teeth of Ganesha should however, be recollected with the loss and gains in the life of a man. Man similarly ought to engrave his mental stature in such a manner that the ups and downs may not deter him from his honest endeavor and the balance of inevitable bliss and sorrow is maintained to add spice in the earthly existences. This stable healthy mental stature is only possible if the physical, social, spiritual and environmental requirements of the body are fulfilled. For the needful, individuals need to be bestowed upon a complete mental and physical health.

Further the big tummy of Ganapati Deva preaches the need for retaining information. Acquiring knowledge, utilizing it and retaining it for years to come, becomes the crux of ‘big–belly commandment’.

The Char–Bhuja Dhari Ganesha, further represents strength by virtue of the four hands in which the Lord entraps his attachments, desires and greed. Two of the arms of Ganesha, which hold rope, symbolize control over the attachments. The laddoo or sweet in the other two shows command over the desires and earthly delusion. The mouse sitting near the feet of Ganesha represents greed and gluttony upon which the Almighty rides, propagating a control over the evils.

Ganesha’s physical traits are an assembly of the characteristics most required in an individual of substance. Disposition incarnated with the goodness of such features will result in success in life and will positively procure an ailment–free survival.

Specifically for executives, Ganesha’s characteristic principles may be incorporated in a time–table format which will help in the dawn of a conformable work–atmosphere along with congenial relationship between the management and the union of workers.

Deciding the first day of the week to hear all grievance and woes of the workers, the second for thinking and planning strategies to work upon and finally setting targets to be achieved may utilize three days of the week very constructively. Then a day devoted to evaluating losses and gains (Ganesha’s teeth principle) may help additionally in business management. Retaining the information and filing all the pending work can affirmatively call upon the fifth day of the week, which works entirely on the principle of Ganesha’s tummy, which is massive by the virtue of holding tremendous loads of information. Contemplation, discrimination and judging the good and the bad for the entire unit may take another day, leaving the Sunday for self–retrospection through meditation and yoga. One should strive and adopt Ganpati Bappa Maurya’s principles of life management rather than worshiping him with vanity.

Life has much in store besides bothering about unnecessary qualms. Giving into a disciplined attitude may assuredly dawn upon a peaceful life. Heaven is where you are, it’s only a matter of perception which makes life as difficult as hell.

Science behind regrets

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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In a US–based study, dying people were asked about their regrets, if any. The top five regrets were:

  1. 1. I wish I had the courage to live a life I wanted to live and not what others expected me to live.
    2. I wish I had worked harder.
    3. I wish I had the courage to express my feelings.
    4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.
    5. I wish I had let myself to be happier.

Regrets are always based on suppression of emotions or non–fulfillment of desires and needs. These need–based desires can be at the level of physical body, mind, intellect, ego or the soul. Therefore, regrets can be at any of these levels.

I did a survey of 15 of my patients and asked them a simple question that if they come to know that they are going to die in next 24 hours, what would be their biggest regret.

Only one of them, a doctor said that she would have no regrets.

Only one person expressed a physical regret and that was from a Yoga expert who said that her regret was not getting married till that day.

Mental regrets were two.

  1. A state trading businessman said, “I wish I could have taken care of my parents.”
  2. A homeopathic doctor said, “I wish I could have given more time to my family.”

Intellectual regrets were three.

  1. A lawyer said, “I wish I could have become something in life.”
  2. A businessman said, “I wish I could have helped more people.”
  3. A retired revenue inspector said, “I wish I had married off my younger child.”

Egoistic regrets were two.

  1. One fashion designer said, “I wish I could have become a singer.”
  2. A housewife said, “I wish I could have become a dietician.”

Spiritual regrets were six.

  1. A Consultant Government Liaison officer said, “I wish I could have made my family members happy.”
  2. A businessman said, “I wish I could have meditated more.”
  3. A Homeopathic doctor said, “I wish I could have spent more time with my family.”
  4. A reception executive said, “I wish I could have spent more time with my parents.”
  5. An entertainment CEO said, “I wish I could have taken my parents for a pilgrimage.”
  6. A fashion designer said, “I wish I could have worked more for the animals.”

In a very popular and successful movie, Kal Ho Na Ho, the hero was to die in the next 40 days. When asked to remember the days of his life, he could not remember 20 ecstatic instances in life.

This is what happens with each one of us where we waste all our days and cannot remember more than 50 or even 20 of such instances. If we are given 40 days to live and if we live every day ecstatically, we can get inner happiness. Therefore, we should learn to live in the present instead of having a habit of postponing everything we do.

We should learn to prioritize our work and do difficult work first or else we would be in a state of constant worry till that work is over.

I teach my patients that they should practice confession exercise and one confession is to talk about your regrets and take them as challenge and finish before the next Tuesday. When working, there are three things which are to be remembered –passion, profession and fashion. Profession is at the level of mind, ego and spirit.

We should convert our profession in such a manner that it is fashionable and passionate. Passion means working from the heart and profession means working from mind and intellect and fashion means working the same at the level of ego which is based on show–off.

Science behind Karva Chauth Fast

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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  • The fast is observed four days after Sharad Purnima and eight days after Dusshera.
  • It is a popular fast in Hinduism. It is observed by the married women for the well being of their husbands.
  • The fast builds relationship between the husband and wife and is often promoted on the theme “be faithful to your partner”
  • The fast is linked to Navratri. The benefits of doing mind body soul detoxification during Navratri are seen on health (Sharad Purnima), longevity (Karva Chauth), fertility (Ahoi Ashtami), wealth (Dhanteras) and inner happiness (Diwali).
  • The fast starts before sunrise and ends after worshipping the moon. On this day, married women wake up before sunrise and take bath and offer their usual prayers. They then consume food that helps in maintaining the fluid level of the body – milk, fruits, juice, tea or coffee.
  • Non-vegetarian food is avoided.
  • No food is consumed after sunrise.
  • The practice of “feast, fast and feast” is not health friendly.
  • Patients with diabetes and hypertension may need to reduce their dose of drugs. During fast the requirement may reduce by 40%.
  • Most patients with high blood pressure are advised to take their BP drug at night. The fast therefore will not affect the BP regimen timing.
  • One should avoid trans fat rich foods before or after the fast.
  • One should break the fast with light food only for getting the maximum spiritual benefit.
  • Moon is worshipped on both Sharad Purnima and Karva Chauth.
  • In Sharad Ritu, with predominant metabolism (Pitta) the importance of moon with cooling properties cannot be over emphasized.
  • Moon in mythology indicates positive thinking with cool mind.
  • Most pregnant ladies are asked to avoid fasting during pregnancy and if they do they are allowed to take fruits and liquids.
  • The difference between Karva Chauth fast and ekadashi fast is (in both water is not allowed) is that in Karva Chauth one is allowed to consume enough liquids early in the morning. Ekadashi Vrata aims at producing dehydration in the body so as to avert the mental side effects of water retention during full moon. In Karva Chauth, one is not required to dehydrate the body.

Science behind Ganesha worshipScience behind Ganesha worship

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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While mythological studies knit stories of the Almighty’s existence, the fact remains that human being is bestowed with the untainted potential of recognizing heavenly facets in his own self.

Ganesha, the son of Shiva and Parvati is likewise the name given to the harmonious Aacharan or characteristic disposition of man. Remembered and ritually worshiped before starting a new venture, the entity of Ganesha has in store the facets of a complete man.

The magnanimous head of the Ganesha, which is that of an elephant, represents wisdom, intelligence and a healthy mind capable of making sound decisions. Not in vain is it said that ‘think before you speak’, which implies Ganesha’s huge head, that is identified with the need for a thoughtful and retrospective attitude.

The big ears of this elephant–deity instills among the earthly man the patient channel of lending ears to the echo produced by others’ deeds and speech. It is said that half the dispute is resolved when an ear is lend most patiently.

Ganesha or the Ganapati’s extremely small mouth characteristically represents the need for a limited dialogue and the vanity of chattering. Over–expression through words triggers unsought problems many a times which otherwise could be avoided by a tight–lip.

Ganesha also represents the guru of stress affected individuals. Shiva’s most promising son, Ganesha, by virtue of his small eyes, highlights the need of a focused outlook in life. Such an outlook not only redefines and foresees the right goals, but also relieves one from the stress-manifested episodes from the various chapters of life.

The long trunk identifies with the power of discrimination. The sensitivity of the Ganesha long nose has the strength to uproot a tree and the competency of picking up a pin from the ground. Such should be the approach of an individual who should be capable enough to perceive the good and the bad for himself besides the undaunted strength of overcoming all odds.

The tusks and the small teeth of Ganesha should however, be recollected with the loss and gains in the life of a man. Man similarly ought to engrave his mental stature in such a manner that the ups and downs may not deter him from his honest endeavor and the balance of inevitable bliss and sorrow is maintained to add spice in the earthly existences. This stable healthy mental stature is only possible if the physical, social, spiritual and environmental requirements of the body are fulfilled. For the needful, individuals need to be bestowed upon a complete mental and physical health.

Further the big tummy of Ganapati Deva preaches the need for retaining information. Acquiring knowledge, utilizing it and retaining it for years to come, becomes the crux of ‘big–belly commandment’.

The Char–Bhuja Dhari Ganesha, further represents strength by virtue of the four hands in which the Lord entraps his attachments, desires and greed. Two of the arms of Ganesha, which hold rope, symbolize control over the attachments. The laddo or sweet in the other two shows command over the desires and earthly delusion. The mouse sitting near the feet of Ganesha represents greed and gluttony upon which the Almighty rides, propagating a control over the evils.

Ganesha’s physical traits are an assembly of the characteristics most required in an individual of substance. Disposition incarnated with the goodness of such features will result in success in life and will positively procure an ailment–free survival.

Specifically for executives, Ganesha’s characteristic principles may be incorporated in a time–table format which will help in the dawn of a conformable work–atmosphere along with congenial relationship between the management and the union of workers. Deciding the first day of the week to hear all grievance and woes of the workers, the second for thinking and planning strategies to work upon and finally setting targets to be achieved may utilize three days of the week very constructively. Further a day devoted to evaluating losses and gains (Ganesha’s teeth principle) may help additionally in business management. Retaining the information and filing all the pending work can affirmatively call upon the fifth day of the week, which works entirely on the principle of Ganesha’s tummy, which is massive by the virtue of holding tremendous loads of information. Contemplation, discrimination and judging the good and the bad for the entire unit may take another day, leaving the Sunday for self–retrospection through meditation and yoga. One should strive and adopt Ganpati Bappa Maurya’s principles of life management rather than worshiping him with vanity. Life has much in store besides bothering about unnecessary qualms. Giving into a disciplined attitude may assuredly dawn upon a peaceful life. Heaven is where you are, it’s only a matter of perception which makes life as difficult as hell.

The science behind IPL matches

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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Is IPL injurious to the health of Indian cricket?

Many would say no but I personally feel in the long run it will be. Because, you are disclosing the weaknesses of your fellow national cricketers who are in other league teams to foreign players who are a part of your IPL team. For example, you are telling an Australian bowler who is in your IPL team how to get Shikhar Dhawan or Rohit Sharma out because they happen to be in the opposite teams.

Some may argue that foreign players may also convey similar information about their own colleagues but remember only a few of the foreign players play in IPL, while 100% Indian players are playing. A time will come when weaknesses of each and every Indian cricketer would be known to every foreign cricket team and that will be the day when it will be true that IPL is injurious to health of Indian cricket.

Another thing which is worrying about IPL is that you are also creating animosity amongst the Indian cricket players who play opposite each other.