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Dr K K Aggarwal

Significance of Lighting a Lamp in Any Worship

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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Deepajyothi parabrahma

Deepa Jyotir Janaardanah

Deepo harati paapaani

Sandhyaa deepa namostute

“I prostrate to the dawn/dusk lamp; whose light is the Knowledge Principle (the Supreme Lord), which removes the darkness of ignorance and by which all can be achieved in life.”

Light symbolizes knowledge, and darkness, ignorance. Knowledge removes ignorance just as light removes darkness. The purpose of any ritual is to remove internal darkness and attain some knowledge.

Vedic literature recommends lighting a lamp daily as a part of puja ritual. Some do it once at dawn, others twice a day – at dawn and dusk ; while some let the lamp light continuously (akhanda deepa). No auspicious functions can commence without lighting of the lamp and the same is to be maintained right through the occasion.

Knowledge is a lasting inner wealth by which all outer achievement can be accomplished. By lighting the lamp, we bow down to knowledge as the greatest of all forms of wealth. Knowledge about the self is the greatest wealth. It goes around achieving inner happiness by burning the negativity of mind full of lust and ego.

The traditional oil lamp defines this spiritual significance. The oil or ghee symbolizes our vasanas (lust) and negative tendencies (the wick & the ego). When lit by spiritual knowledge, the vasanas get slowly exhausted and the ego too finally perishes. The flame of a lamp always burns upwards signifying that only that knowledge should be acquired that takes us towards higher ideals.

Why do we not offer Vanaspati Ghee at the time of cremation or worship?

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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Vanaspati Ghee is never offered to God at the time of Aarti in the Diya or to the dead body at the time of cremation. Only pure ghee is offered. It is considered a bad omen to offer Vanaspati ghee at the time of the cremation ritual even though the consciousness has left the body. What is not offered to God should not be offered to our consciousness and this is the reason for this ritual in a temple. Vanaspati ghee increases bad cholesterol and reduces level of good cholesterol in the blood. On the other hand, pure ghee only increases bad cholesterol but does not reduce the level of good cholesterol. The medical recommendation is that one should not take more than 15 ml of oil, ghee, butter or maximum ½ kg in one month.

It is a spiritual crime to offer vanaspati ghee to God.

Why do we ring the bell in a temple?

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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The vibrations of the ringing bell also produce the auspicious primordial sound ‘Om’, thus creating a connection between the deity and the mind. As we start the daily ritualistic worship (pooja), we ring the bell, chanting:

Aagamaarthamtu devaanaam

gamanaarthamtu rakshasaam

Kurve ghantaaravam tatra

devataahvaahna lakshanam

“I ring this bell indicating the invocation of divinity, So that virtuous and noble forces enter (my home and heart); And the demonic and evil forces From within and without, depart.”

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

Why is Ganesha worshipped in every puja?

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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Every Hindu ritual traditionally begins with a prayer to Lord Ganesh. The wedding ceremony too begins with a puja of Lord Ganesha invoking him to bless the couple and to ensure that the ceremony goes off well.

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

Ganesha’s head that of an elephant, represents wisdom, intelligence and a healthy mind capable of making sound decisions. Think before you speak, implies Ganesha’s head.

The big ears of this elephant deity signify the lending of a patient ear to the echo produced by others’ deeds and speech. It is said that half the dispute is resolved by patiently lending an ear to the words of the other. It also denotes that one must patiently listen to all sides before reaching a decision.

Ganesha’s extremely small mouth characteristically represents the need for a limited dialogue and the vanity of talking too much. Over-expression through words causes unsought-for problems which could have been avoided.

Ganesha’s small eyes, highlights the need for a focused outlook in life. Such an outlook not only re-defines and foresees the right goals, but also relieves one from the stress-manifested episodes in life.

The long trunk identifies with the power of discrimination. 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 of perceiving the good and bad for himself, and then have the strength to overcome these against all odds.

The tusks and the small teeth of Ganesha tell us to maintain a balance between loss (broken tooth) and gains (whole tooth) in the life. Man ought to maintain his mental state so that ups and downs do not deter him from his honest endeavors.

The ample stomach of Ganapati Deva advocates the need for retaining information. Acquiring knowledge, utilizing it and retaining it for years to come, is the crux of ‘big-belly commandment’.

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

Ganesha’s physical traits are an assembly of the characteristics most desired in an individual of substance.

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

Do unto yourselves what you do to God

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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There are two types of people who believe in Dvaita or Advaita philosophy.2. People who believe in Dvaitaphilosophy, for them God and human being are different.3. The people who believe in Advaita philosophy believe that God is within them.4. In Hinduism, the first group believes in Sanatan Dharma and does Moorti pooja (idol worship) and the second Arya Samaj, which does not believe in Moorti pooja.5. In both situations, medically the message is one.6. If God is different than you, then you try to be like Him and if God is in within you, then you are Him.7. In both situations, we should deal with our body the same way as we deal with God.8. Anything which is not offered to God should not be offered to our body such as cigarettes, drugs etc. or such things should be consumed in less quantity (onion, garlic, radish etc.).9. We never worship God with hydrogenated oil; we always worship him either with oil or with Desi Ghee. The message is we should not consume trans fats.10. “Bhagwan ko bhog lagate hain”; we never feed God. The message is eat less.11. Amongst all Gods, only Lord Shiva is said to consume Bhang and Alcohol that too only in his incarnation of Bhairon, which indicates that both alcohol and bhang can be consumed in some quantity only in special situations meaning that they cannot be consumed without medical supervision.12. Anything grown under the ground is not offered to God, thus, these items should not be eaten or eaten in moderation.13. We never offer white salt and white rice to God. They are also bad for human beings.14. Gur, shakkar, brown rice and puffed rice are offered to God. They can be consumed by human beings.

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

Why do we not offer Vanaspati Ghee at the time of cremation or worship?

By Dr K K Aggarwal
Filed Under Spirituality - Science Behind Rituals | Tagged With: , , , , | | Comments Off on Why do we not offer Vanaspati Ghee at the time of cremation or worship?

Vanaspati Ghee is never offered to God at the time of Aarti in the Diya or to the dead body at the time of cremation. Only pure ghee is offered. It is considered a bad omen to offer Vanaspati ghee at the time of the cremation ritual even though the consciousness has left the body. What is not offered to God should not be offered to our consciousness and that was the reason for this ritual in a temple. Vanaspati ghee increases bad cholesterol and reduces level of good cholesterol in the blood. On the other hand, pure ghee only increases bad cholesterol but does not reduce the level of good cholesterol. The medical recommendation is that one should not take more than 15 ml of oil, ghee, butter or maximum ½ kg in one month. It is a spiritual crime to offer vanaspati ghee to God.

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

Do what you do to God

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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  1. There are two types of people; those who believe in either Dvaita or Advaita philosophy.
  2. People who believe in Dvaita philosophy, for them God and human being are different.
  3. Those who believe in Advaita philosophy believe that God is within them.
  4. In Hinduism, the first group believes in Sanatan Dharma and does Moorti pooja (idol worship) and the second Arya Samaj, which does not believe in Moorti pooja.
  5. In both situations, medically the message is one.
  6. If God is different than you, then you try to be like Him and if God is in within you, then you are Him.
  7. In both situations, we should deal with our body the same way as we deal with God.
  8. Anything which is not offered to God should not be offered to our body such as cigarettes, drugs etc or such things should be consumed in less quantity (onion, garlic, radish etc.).
  9. We never worship God with hydrogenated oil; we always worship him either with oil or with Desi Ghee. The message is we should not consume trans fats.
  10. “Bhagwan ko bhog lagate hain” and we never feed God. The message is, we should eat less.
  11. Amongst all Gods, only Lord Shiva is said to consume bhang and alcohol that too only in his incarnation of Bhairon, which indicates that both alcohol and bhang can be consumed in some quantity only in special situations meaning that they cannot be consumed without medical supervision.
  12. Anything grown under the ground is not offered to God, thus, these items should not be eaten or eaten in moderation.
  13. We never offer white salt and white rice to God. They are also bad for human beings.
  14. Gur, shakkar, brown rice and puffed rice are offered to God. They can be consumed by human beings.

Astik Vs Nastik

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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Traditionally people believe that Nastik are people who do not go to temples or related places of worship. They also do not believe in God. To differentiate between Astik and Nastik we need to first understand the concept of Sanatan Dharma and Arya Samaj Dharma. People who believe in Sanatan Dharma consider God as separate from the self and worship him in the form of an idol. They believe in Dualism theory. Arya Samaj followers do not do idol worship and believe in non dualism and treat God and self as one. Arya Samajis therefore will not go to a temple where the idols of Gods are placed. Being an Arya Samaji does not mean that the person is Nastik. The word Nastik means someone who does not believe in God at all therefore he or she also does not believe in self as God is nothing but self. In medical sciences these are the people who have no insight and will usually be suffering from depression and loss of self esteem. Disclaimer The views expressed in this write up are my own .

Why do we Offer Food to God in Every Pooja?

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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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 categorize 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 leftover 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 had 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. Disclaimer The views expressed in this write up are my own .

Why do we offer food to God in every pooja?

By Dr K K Aggarwal
Filed Under Spirituality - Science Behind Rituals | Tagged With: , , , , , , | | Comments Off on Why do we offer food to God in every pooja?

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 to these rituals. Bhagwad Gita and Yoga Shastras categorize 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 foods provide calmness, purity and promote longevity, intelligence, strength, health, happiness and delight. Fruits, vegetables, leaves, grains, cereals, milk, honey, etc. are examples of satwik food. 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 foods have 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 is 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.

Why do We Worship the Tulsi Plant?

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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Yanmule sarvatirhaani

Yannagre sarvadevataa

Yanmadhye sarvavedaascha

Tulasi taam namaamyaham

“I bow to the Tulsi, at whose base are all the holy places, at whose top reside all the deities and in whose middle are all the Vedas.”

The Tulsi or Sacred Basil is one of the most sacred plants. There is a saying in Sanskrit: “Tulanaa naasti athaiva tulsi” that which is incomparable in its qualities is the tulsi. It is the only pooja samagri, which can be washed and reused.

Satyabhama once weighed Lord Krishna against all her legendary wealth. The scales did not balance until a last single tulsi leaf was placed along with the wealth on the scale by Rukmini with devotion. Thus, tulsi played the vital role of demonstrating that even a small object offered with devotion is of greater value than all the wealth in the world.

The Tulsi leaf has great medicinal value and is used to cure various ailments, including the common cold. Tulsi seeds are good for male infertility and increase the viscosity of semen and sperm counts. It has detoxifying properties and is used in fasts including the Satynarayana Katha where a thousand tulsi leaves are added to the water for pooja, and which is consumed later by everybody.

Tulsi also symbolizes Goddess Lakshmi. Those who wish to be righteous and have a happy family life worship the tulsi. Tulsi is ‘married’ to Lord Vishnu with pomp and show like any other wedding. This ‘marriage’ is solemnised because according to a legend, the Lord blessed her to be His consort. Tulsi is worshipped in the months of Magh (January/February) and Kartik (October/November). Tulsi vivah is observed in the month of Kartik and is the symbolic marriage of Lord Vishnu in the form of a shaligram (sacred stone) and Tulsi. It indicates the importance of Tulsi for fertility. Tulsi pooja is an important component of any marriage.


Why do we not offer Vanaspati Ghee at the time of cremation or worship?

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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Vanaspati Ghee is never offered to God at the time of Aarti in the Diya or to the dead body at the time of cremation. Only pure ghee is offered. It is considered a bad omen to offer Vanaspati ghee at the time of the cremation ritual even though the consciousness has left the body.

What is not offered to God should not be offered to our consciousness and that was the reason for this ritual in a temple. Vanaspati ghee increases bad cholesterol and reduces level of good cholesterol in the blood. On the other hand, pure ghee only increases bad cholesterol but does not reduce the level of good cholesterol. The medical recommendation is that one should not take more than 15 ml of oil, ghee, butter or maximum half kg in one month. It is a spiritual crime to offer vanaspati ghee to God.

Why do We Worship the Tulsi Plant?

By Dr K K Aggarwal
Filed Under Spirituality - Science Behind Rituals | Tagged With: , , , | | Comments Off on Why do We Worship the Tulsi Plant?

Yanmule sarvatirhaani, Yannagre sarvadevataa, Yanmadhye sarvavedaascha,Tulasi taam namaamyaham

“I bow to the Tulsi, At whose base are all the holy places, At whose top reside all the deities and In whose middle are all the Vedas.”

The Tulsi or Sacred Basil is one of the most sacred plants. There is a Sanskrit saying: “Tulanaa naasti athaiva tulsi” that which is incomparable in its qualities is the tulsi. It is the only pooja samagri which can be washed and reused.

Satyabhama once weighed Lord Krishna against all her legendary wealth. The scales did not balance until a single tulsi leaf was placed along with the wealth on the scale by Rukmini with devotion. Thus, tulsi played the vital role of demonstrating that even a small object offered with devotion is of greater value than all the wealth in the world.

The Tulsi leaf has great medicinal value and is used to cure various ailments, including the common cold.

Tulsi (shyama) seeds are good for male infertility and increase the viscosity of semen and sperm counts (as per Ayurveda). It has detoxifying properties and is used in fasts including the Satynarayana Katha where a thousand tulsi leaves are added to the water for pooja, and which is consumed later by everybody.

Tulsi is worshipped in the months of Magh and Kartik. Tulsi vivah is observed in the month of Kartik and is the symbolic marriage of Lord Vishnu in the form of a shaligram (sacred stone) and Tulsi. It indicates the importance of Tulsi for fertility. Tulsi pooja is an important component of any marriage.

Why do We Worship the Tulsi Plant?

By Dr K K Aggarwal
Filed Under Spirituality - Science Behind Rituals | Tagged With: , , | | Comments Off on Why do We Worship the Tulsi Plant?

Yanmule sarvatirhaani
Yannagre sarvadevataa
Yanmadhye sarvavedaascha
Tulasi taam namaamyaham

“I bow to the Tulsi, at whose base are all the holy places, at whose top reside all the deities and in whose middle are all the Vedas.”

The Tulsi or Sacred Basil is one of the most sacred plants. There is a saying in Sanskrit: “Tulanaa naasti athaiva tulsi” that which is incomparable in its qualities is the tulsi. It is the only pooja samagri, which can be washed and reused.

Satyabhama once weighed Lord Krishna against all her legendary wealth. The scales did not balance until a last single tulsi leaf was placed along with the wealth on the scale by Rukmini with devotion. Thus, tulsi played the vital role of demonstrating that even a small object offered with devotion is of greater value than all the wealth in the world.

The Tulsi leaf has great medicinal value and is used to cure various ailments, including the common cold. Tulsi seeds are good for male infertility and increase the viscosity of semen and sperm counts. It has detoxifying properties and is used in fasts including the Satynarayana Katha where a thousand tulsi leaves are added to the water for pooja, and which is consumed later by everybody.

Tulsi also symbolizes Goddess Lakshmi. Those who wish to be righteous and have a happy family life worship the tulsi. Tulsi is ‘married’ to Lord Vishnu with pomp and show like any other wedding. This ‘marriage’ is solemnised because according to a legend, the Lord blessed her to be His consort. Tulsi is worshipped in the months of Magh and Kartik. Tulsi vivah is observed in the month of Kartik and is the symbolic marriage of Lord Vishnu in the form of a shaligram (sacred stone) and Tulsi. It indicates the importance of Tulsi for fertility. Tulsi pooja is an important component of any marriage. (Suggestion: give the English equivalent months for magh and kartik)

Why do We Worship the Tulsi Plant?

By Dr K K Aggarwal
Filed Under Spirituality - Science Behind Rituals | Tagged With: , , | | Comments Off on Why do We Worship the Tulsi Plant?

Yanmule sarvatirhaani
Yannagre sarvadevataa
Yanmadhye sarvavedaascha
Tulasi taam namaamyaham

“I bow to the Tulsi, At whose base are all the holy places, At whose top reside all the deities and In whose middle are all the Vedas.”

The Tulsi or Sacred Basil is one of the most sacred plants. There is a Sanskrit: “Tulanaa naasti athaiva tulsi” that which is incomparable in its qualities is the tulsi. It is the only pooja samagri which can be washed and reused.

Satyabhama once weighed Lord Krishna against all her legendary wealth. The scales did not balance until a last single tulsi leaf was placed along with the wealth on the scale by Rukmini with devotion. Thus, tulsi played the vital role of demonstrating that even a small object offered with devotion is of greater value than all the wealth in the world.

The Tulsi leaf has great medicinal value and is used to cure various ailments, including the common cold. Tulsi seeds are good for male infertility and increase the viscosity of semen and sperm counts. It has detoxifying properties and is used in fasts including the Satynarayana Katha where a thousand tulsi leaves are added to the water for pooja, and which is consumed later by everybody.

Tulsi also symbolizes Goddess Lakshmi. Those who wish to be righteous and have a happy family life worship the tulsi. Tulsi is ‘married’ to Lord Vishnu with pomp and show like any other wedding. This ‘marriage’ is solemnised because according to a legend, the Lord blessed her to be His consort. Tulsi is worshipped in the months of Magh and Kartik. Tulsi vivah is observed in the month of Kartik and is the symbolic marriage of Lord Vishnu in the form of a shaligram (sacred stone) and Tulsi. It indicates the importance of Tulsi for fertility. Tulsi pooja is an important component of any marriage. (Suggestion: give the English equivalent months for magh and kartik)