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Dr K K Aggarwal

Understanding exact speech

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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Upanishads, Yoga sutras of Patanjali and teachings of Gautam Buddha, all talk about “the right speech”. As per Gautam Buddha, the right speech has three components:

  • It should be based on truthfulness.
  • It should be necessary.
  • It should be kind.

All three have to be in the same sequence with truthfulness taking the top ranking. For example, when a patient asks a doctor, “Am I going to die in the next few weeks or will I survive longer?” The truth may be that he is serious enough and may not survive but it is not necessary to speak the truth and also it is not kind. Therefore, that truth should not be spoken.

Lord Krishna in Mahabharata explained when not to speak the truth and when to speak a lie. The truth which is going to harm the society may not be spoken and a lie which can save the life of a person without harming others may be spoken.

  • A truth which is necessary and kind may be spoken.
  • A truth which is not necessary but kind may not be spoken.
  • A truth which is necessary but not kind may not be spoken.
  • A truth which is neither necessary nor kind may not be spoken.

Why do we apply holy ash?

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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Bhasma is the holy ash produced from the Homa, the sacrificial fire, wherein special wood along with ghee and other herbs are offered as a part of pooja. By the time a bhasma is formed, no trace of original matter remains in the ash. Ash obtained from any burnt object is not bhasma.

The ritual involves worshipping the deity by pouring ash as abhishek and then distributing it as bhasma, which is then applied on the forehead (usually), upper arms, chest, or rubbed all over the body. Some consume a pinch of Bhasma when they receive it.

The word bhasma is derived from “bha” or “bhartsanam” (“to destroy”) and “sma” or “smaranam” (“to remember”). It denotes “that by which our sins are destroyed and the Lord is remembered”. Bhasma is also called vibhuti, which means glory. Bhasma is associated with Lord Shiva who applies it all over His body.

Spiritually, the Homa is the offering of oblations into the fire with sacred chants and signifies offering or surrender of the ego and egocentric desires into the fire of knowledge. The resultant ash signifies the purity of the mind. The fire of knowledge burns the oblation and wood signifying ignorance and inertia, respectively. The application of ash implies that one should burn false identification with the body.

Bhasma has medicinal values in Ayurveda. It is supposed to be the strongest of all Ayurveda preparations. According to Ayurveda, a Bhasma is formed when the matter is converted into non matter by the process of homa. The non matter is the spirit or the energy of the matter being processed with strong healing powers. It has the same significance as any ‘potentized’ medicine in Homoeopathy.

It absorbs excess moisture from the body and prevents colds and headaches.

When applied with a red spot at the centre, the mark symbolizes Shiva–Shakti (the unity of energy and matter that creates the entire seen and unseen universe).

The Upanishads say that the famous Mrityunjaya Mantra should be chanted whilst applying ash on the forehead.

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

Why do we apply holy ash?

By Dr K K Aggarwal
Filed Under Spirituality - Science Behind Rituals | Tagged With: , , | | Comments Off on Why do we apply holy ash?

Bhasma is the holy ash produced from the Homa, the sacrificial fire, wherein special wood along with ghee and other herbs are offered as a part of pooja. By the time a Bhasma is formed, no trace of original matter remains in the ash. Ash obtained from any burnt object is not bhasma.

The ritual involves worshipping the deity by pouring ash as abhishek and then distributing it as Bhasma, which is then applied on the forehead (usually), upper arms, chest, or rubbed all over the body. Some consume a pinch of Bhasma when they receive it.

The word Bhasma is derived from “bha” or “bhartsanam” (“to destroy”) and “sma” or “smaranam” (“to remember”). It denotes “that by which our sins are destroyed and the Lord is remembered”. Bhasma is also called vibhuti, which means glory. Bhasma is associated with Lord Shiva who applies it all over His body.

Spiritually, the Homa is the offering of oblations into the fire with sacred chants and signifies offering or surrender of the ego and egocentric desires into the fire of knowledge. The resultant ash signifies the purity of the mind. The fire of knowledge burns the oblation and wood signifying ignorance and inertia respectively.

The application of ash implies that one should burn false identification with the body.

Bhasma has medicinal values in Ayurveda. It is supposed to be the strongest of all Ayurveda preparations. According to Ayurveda, a Bhasma is formed when the matter is converted into non matter by the process of homa. The non matter is the spirit or the energy of the matter being processed with strong healing powers. It has the same significance as any ‘potentised’ medicine in homoeopathy.

It absorbs excess moisture from the body and prevents colds and headaches.

When applied with a red spot at the centre, the mark symbolizes Shiva–Shakti (the unity of energy and matter that creates the entire seen and unseen universe).

The Upanishads say that the famous Mrityunjaya Mantra should be chanted whilst applying ash on the forehead.

Understanding the Gunas

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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The mental state of a person in Vedic language is described in terms of gunas. The present state of mind of any person is a result of mixing of three gunas of nature called tamas, rajas and satoguna. In terms of states of mind, they are called tamas, rajas and satva and the nature of a person is described as tamsik, rajsik and satwik.

Whether it is Vedas, Upanishads, Bhagwad Gita or the text of Ayurveda, all talk about these gunas. The sankhya philosophy also says that a mixture of the three makes the cosmic mind as well as the human mind. Bhagwad Gita talks in great detail about the nature, yagna as well as diet depending upon these gunas.

A satwik diet enhances satoguna in a person and makes him/her with a predominant satwik nature. The same is true for the other two gunas. According to Ayurvedic texts and in Atharvaveda. any food that comes from the roots or underground part of the tree, is tamsik in nature. Tamsik foods should not be eaten raw. They should either be slow cooked or soaked in water for hours before consumption.

Foods which are from the top part of the tree like coconut, fruits, leaves and flowers are satwik in nature and can be consumed fresh, as they are. Food which comes from the middle part of the tree is often rajsik in nature.

Fresh, soaked, sprouted, natural food are often satwik, while left over foods are tamsik in nature. Most satwik foods are naturally white.

Ramayana also has characters with different nature. Kumbhakaran represents a person with tamsik nature, Meghnad and Ravana with rajsik nature and Vibhishan with satwik nature. One can see that the diet of Kumbhakaran was left over foods, onions, radish, carrots and non vegetarian food, all are tamas producing.

Shastras also teach us about satwik food. In Vedic knowledge, God is represented by the consciousness and whatever is offered to God is the one, which is offered to consciousness and hence all offerings to God are soul healing and soul nurturing food items. Only satwik foods are offered to God as one can live on satwik food forever. Examples are dry fruits, fruits and milk. One cannot live on rajsik or tamsik food hence, they have to be taken in moderation only.

The offerings to God include honey, milk, curd, fruits and vegetables, etc. Panchamrit, offered in Puja, a mixture of milk, curd, ghee, honey and sugar, is a classic example.

Yogashastra also talks about the role of satwik diet in great detail. It says people who eat less are yogis, people who eat in moderation are bhogis and people who eat a lot are rogis. The synonymous are tamsik for rogis, rajsik for bhogis and satwik for yogis.

In terms of proper diet, one should eat dinner lighter than lunch, eat only natural food in the night and follow the principles of moderation and variety.

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

The Right Action

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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Dharma is the path of righteousness and living ones 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, its 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 Bhagavata 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 Bhagwata 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.thaamdharma-samsthaapanaarthaaya sambhavaami yuge yuge” (Chapter IV – 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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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 Shãstras are the basic texts which talks about the morality of individuals and the society. Most Indian laws are made from these Shãstras.

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?

  1. Do unto others what you do unto yourself and satisfy your conscience. That is your Dharma.
  2. The word ‘Living Dharma’ signifies right action in every moment of the life.
  3. 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).

Understanding exact speech

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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Upanishads, Yogasutras of Patanjali and teachings of Gautam Buddha, all talk about “the right speech”. As per Gautam Buddha, the right speech has three components:

  1. It should be based on truthfulness.
  2. It should be necessary.
  3. It should be kind.

All three have to be in the same sequence with truthfulness taking the top ranking. For example, when a patient asks a doctor, “Am I going to die in the next few weeks or will I survive longer?” The truth may be that he is serious enough and may not survive but it is not necessary to speak the truth and also it is not kind. Therefore, that truth should not be spoken.

Lord Krishna in Mahabharata explained when not to speak the truth and when to speak a lie. The truth which is going to harm the society may not be spoken and a lie which can save the life of a person without harming others may be spoken.

  1. A truth which is necessary and kind may be spoken.
  2. A truth which is not necessary but kind may not be spoken.
  3. A truth which is necessary but not kind may not be spoken.
  4. A truth which is neither necessary and nor kind may not be spoken.

The Main Principle of Knowing the Truth

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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The main figure in the Upanishads is sage Yajnavalkya known as one of the greatest philosophers. Most of the great teachings of later Hindu or Buddhist philosophy are derived from him. He taught the great doctrine of neti neti the view that truth can be found only through the negation of all thoughts about it. Brhadaranyaka Upanishad is the oldest and the most important of all the Upanishads. Its name actually means the great forest book. Sage Yajnavalkya s dialogues with his wife Maitreyi are featured in the Muni Kanda or Yajnavalkya Kanda. The doctrine of neti neti suggests the indescribability of the Brahman the Absolute. Yajnavalkaya attempts to define Brahman. Atman is described neither this nor this neti neti. The Self cannot be described in any way. Na iti that is Neti. Through this process of neti neti you give up everything the cosmos the body the mind and everything to realize the Self. Once the Atman is defined in this manner are you become familiar with it a transformation takes place as realization dawns that the phenomenal world and all its creatures are made up of the same essence of bliss. Brahman is infinite amorphous colorless characterless and formless Universal Spirit which is omnipresent and omnipotent and like cosmic energy is pervasive unseen and indescribable. Neti neti Meditation The principle of neti neti has been used in meditation involving gnana yoga. Whenever a thought or feeling comes to mind that is not the goal of the meditation or is not the soul or the inner self the meditator simply has to say Not this not this and dismiss the thought image concept sound or sense distraction. Any thought any feeling is patiently discarded again and again if necessary until the mind is clear and the soul or the self is revealed. Neti neti and the mind When you get into the habit of neti neti you can also discard thoughts of worry doubt or fear and become established in the light of your inner self. You can then look back at worries and fears with deep insight and handle them. Neti neti and the medical profession One of the basic medical teachings is to diagnose a condition by way of excluding other similar conditions. This is called differential diagnosis and this is the mainstay of allopathy. This also makes one investigative oriented but is the only scientific way of knowing the truth. Neti neti and multiple choice questions In any modern exam today the principle of neti neti is used. A question has about four nearly similar answers and the student has to answer the correct one. He can only answer by the principle of negation. Neti neti and police investigations This principle is also used while handling a criminal case. Everyone is a suspect in the crime initially till a process of elimination clears them. Disclaimer The views expressed in this write up are my own .

The Seven Dhatus in Ayurveda

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As per Ayurveda physiology, food is Brahman and contains the same consciousness as in us and this consciousness is the essence of any food.

Any food digested is converted into three portions, the gross undigested food is converted into waist (feces); the middle one is converted in one of the Dhatus and the subtlest form gets converted into ojha or the immunity.

As per standard Ayurveda food once eaten is converted into the first Dhatu i.e. Rasa. Once the formation of Rasa is complete, the remaining is converted into Rakta (blood).The left over essence of food makes Mamsa (muscles), left over of which makes (Medha (adipose tissue) and so on to form Asthi (Bone), Majja (Bone Marrow) and Shukra (sperm/ova).

As per this physiology, the second Dhatu will only form once the first Dhatu is of good quality and so on and at any step in Dhatu, if not formed properly, subsequent Dhatu will also show defective formation.

For example, defective Dhatu at the stage of Asthi (bone) will have normal plasma (blood), muscle and adipose tissue but may have an impaired immunity/sperm/bone marrow. Similarly, defective Dhatu at the level of bone marrow may have only impaired immunity with no impairment of other Dhatus. On the other hand, impairment of Dhatus at the level of plasma or blood will involve all other Dhatus in sickness. Isolated disorders of Shukra may have no involvement of other Dhatus at all.

This Ayurveda principle can help us in answering many unanswered questions in modern allopathy. Like – why in typhoid fever all the organs are involved and why in azoospermia no other organ is involved.

Upanishads talk about formation of Dhatus in much more detail. According to them, different types of food make different types of Dhatus. The firy foods like oil and ghee are responsible for formation of Karamaindriyan (part of shukra), bone and bone marrow (Dhatu).

The earthy foods are responsible for formation of Gnanandriyan and Manas (shukra) and muscle (flesh) and water in food is responsible for formation of Rasa and Rakta (plasma and blood) and Pran (Shukra).

That means every different type of food would make different types of Dhatus and a balanced food with a combination of fire, water and earth will only be responsible for formation of shukra, immunity or the essence.

Upanishads, Yogasutra of Patanjali and Gautam Buddha teachings all talk about “the right speech”. As per Gautam Buddha, it has three components:

i. It should be based on truthfulness.
ii. It should be necessary.
iii. It should be kind

All three have to be in the same sequence with truthfulness being on the top. For example, if a patient asks a doctor, “Am I going to die in the next few weeks or will I survive longer?”; the truth may be that he is serious enough and may not survive but it is not necessary to speak the truth and  also it is not kind. Therefore, that truth should not be spoken.

Lord Krishna in Mahabharata explained when not to speak the truth and when to speak a lie. The truth which is going to harm the society may not be spoken and a lie which can save the life of a person without harming others may be spoken.

i. A truth which is necessary and kind may be spoken.
ii. A truth which is not necessary but kind may not be spoken.
iii. A truth which is necessary but not kind may not be spoken.
iv. A truth which is neither necessary and nor kind may not be spoken.

The mental state of a person in Vedic language is described in terms of gunas. The present state of mind of any person is a result of mixing of three gunas of nature called Tamoguna, Rajoguna and Satoguna. In terms of states of mind they are called Tamas, Rajas and Satwa and the nature of a person is called Tamsic, Rajsic and Satvic.

Vedas, Upanishads, Bhagavad Gita and Ayurveda all talks about these gunas. The Sankhya philosophy also says that a Read more