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Dr K K Aggarwal

Padma Shri and Dr B C Roy National Awardee

No Aarti is performed without camphor. Camphor, when lit, burns itself out completely without leaving a trace of it.

Camphor represents our inherent tendencies or vasanas. When lit by the fire of knowledge about the self, the vasanas burn themselves out completely, not leaving a trace of ego.

Ego is responsible for a sense of individuality that keeps us separate from the Lord or consciousness.

Camphor when burns, emits a pleasant perfume. This signifies that as we burn our ego we can only spread love and nothing else.

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

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  1. Avoid walking, jogging or exercising outdoors when the air is hazy.
  2. Stay indoors in air-conditioned rooms, use air purifiers if available.
  3. People with already diagnosed respiratory problems should use N95 masks when stepping out.
  4. While travelling in cars, roll up the windows.
  5. Avoid places with high-vehicular density.
  6. People with asthma or COPD must take their medicines regularly, even in summer.
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If Lord Krishna was the first counselor who taught the principles of counseling, Lord Ganesha taught us the principles of stress management.

We should worship Lord Ganesha and become like him whenever we face any difficulty or are stressed out.

The elephant head of Lord Ganesha symbolizes that when in difficulty, use your wisdom, intelligence and think differently. It can be equated to the Third Eye of Lord Shiva. Elephant is supposed to be the most intelligent animal in the kingdom. Here, wisdom means to think before speaking. Lord Buddha also said that don’t speak unless it is necessary and is truthful and kind.

The big elephant ears of Lord Ganesha signify listening to everybody when in difficulty. Elephant ears are known to hear long distances. Elephant eye see a long distance and in terms of mythology, it represents acquiring the quality of foreseeing when in difficulty. The mouth of Lord Ganesha represents speaking less and hearing and listening more.

The big tummy of Lord Ganesha represents digesting any information gathered by listening to people in difficulty. The trunk denotes using the power of discrimination to decide from the retained information. It also indicates doing both smaller and bigger things by yourself. The elephant trunk can pick up a needle as well as a tree.

The teeth, broken and unbroken, signify to be in a state of balance in loss and gain. This implies that one should not get upset if the task is not accomplished and also not get excited if the task is accomplished. In times of difficulty, Ganesha also teaches us not to lose strength and control one’s attachments, desires and greed.

The four arms of Lord Ganesha represent strength. Ropes in two hands indicate attachment; Laddoo or Sweet in one hand represent desires and mouse represents greed. Riding over the mouse indicates controlling one’s greed.

Lord Ganesha is worshipped either when a new work is initiated or when one finds it difficult to complete a job or work. In these two situations, these principles of Lord Ganesha need to be inculcated in one’s habits.

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

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  1. Do not think you are old. Age = 100 minus years old or age 40 = age 20 plus 20 years of experience.
  2. Quit smoking This is the first and foremost critical step that you can take in order to improve your health and combat age related health complications. If you were a smoker in your younger years and still are, it is not too late to quit this fatal habit.
  3. Stay active Make it a daily routine to undertake something that keep you fit and active. Let it be something that promotes strength, balance and flexibility and most importantly, something that you enjoy.
  4. Prevent accidental falls Elderly people are especially vulnerable to accidental falls. They can be prevented by making small changes around your house like removing loose rugs and carpets, keeping walking paths free of cords and clutters and using night lights for hallways. Wearing good friction supporting shoes has been observed to significantly prevent falls.
  5. Stay updated with immunizations and screenings Get a preventive screening done before various age-related disease strike. Get regular checkups for dental, vision and hearing health: Your teeth, gums, vision and hearing have the potential to last a lifetime, if cared for properly.
  6. Eat well A well-balanced healthy diet when combined with moderate physical activity can be the key to healthy aging. Calcium and vitamin D supplements can help women.
  7. Stay mentally active Maintain a good amount of mental activity in old age to counter dementia and cognitive impairment that come with aging.
  8. Sleep well Many elderly people face problems with maintaining a healthy sleep cycle. Insomnia and daytime sleepiness in excess are common complaints, talk to your healthcare provider about such issues.
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  1. Eid-ul Fitr: The feast marking end of Ramadan.
  2. Zakat-ul Fitr: A prescribed amount of money obligatory on every Muslim, calculated to feed one poor person in his region for one day.
  3. Eid activities include:

a. Eid prayer in the early morning.

b. Visiting family, friends, neighbors, the sick, elderly etc.

c. Enjoying festive meals.

d. Modest gift-giving especially to children.

e. Greeting on the day: Eid Mubarak

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

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  1. Eat a variety of foods from each food category, like fruits, vegetables, and lean meats. If you think you need vitamin supplements, check with your doctor first.
  2. Keep your weight in the healthy range for your age and height with exercise and a good diet.
  3. Increase fiber in diet with foods like broccoli, peas, apples, cooked split peas and beans, whole-grain breads, cereals and pasta.
  4. Cut down on sugar, salt, and saturated fats from meat and dairy and cholesterol.
  5. Hydrate yourself well by drinking sufficient water throughout the day.
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The true silence is the silence between the thoughts and represents the true self, consciousness or the soul. It is a web of energized information ready to take all provided there is a right intent. The process of achieving silence is what meditation is.

Observing silence is another way of getting benefits of meditation. Many yogis in the past have recommended and observed silence now and then. Mahatma Gandhi used to spend one day of each week in silence. He believed that abstaining from speaking brought him inner peace and happiness. All such days he used to communicated with others only by writing on paper.

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

Deepak Chopra in his book 7 Laws of Spiritual Success talks in great detail about the importance of observing silence in day today life. He recommends everyone should observe silence for 20 minutes everyday. Silence helps redirecting our imagination towards self from the outer atmosphere. Even Swami Sivananda in his teaches recommend to observe mauna daily for 2 hours for ekadashi, take milk and fruits everyday, study daily one chapter of Bhagwad Gita, do regular charity and donate one-tenth of the income in the welfare of the society. Ekadashi is the 11th day of Hindu lunar fortnight. Ekadashi is the day of celebration occurring twice a month, meant for meditation and increasing soul consciousness. Vinoba Bhave was the great sage of our country who is known for this bhoodaan movement. He was a great advocator and practical preacher of mauna vrata.

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

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

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

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  1. I will not burn agarbatti incense sticks and dhoopbatti at my home or workplace till pollution levels drop. I will not burn flame producing candles. I will not use kerosene oil for any purpose.
  2. I will avoid using polythene bags or plastic. I will use products which can be recycled as much as possible.
  3. I will not use wood and coal for any purpose be it cooking or heating. If any unfortunate death occurs in my family I will bravely opt for electric cremation. I will not smoke cigarettes, beedis nor allow anyone else too.
  4. I will resort to wet mopping the floors in my house and workplace.
  5. Wherever possible I will practice carpooling. I will opt for public transportation as much as possible. I will regularly get my vehicle checked for pollution standards and serviced so that it is in good condition. I will walk or cycle for short distance commutes.
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