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Dr K K Aggarwal

Padma Shri and Dr B C Roy National Awardee

  • Men have a greater chance of dying than women, and smoking increases any adult’s risk of death just as if five years were suddenly added to their age.
  • For men who have never smoked, heart disease presents their greatest risk for death at any age, exceeding the odds of dying from lung, colon and prostate cancer combined.
  • Male smokers face a lung cancer risk that is greater than the odds of heart disease taking their lives after age 60, and is tenfold higher than the chance of dying from prostate and colon cancer combined.
  • The chances of dying from heart disease and breast cancer are similar for nonsmoking women until age 60, when heart disease becomes a greater risk.
  • For female smokers, dying from lung cancer or heart disease is more likely than dying from breast cancer after age 40.

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.

  • Get vaccinated with the flu and pneumococcal vaccines
  • Practice respiratory and cough hygiene to protect yourself against respiratory infections that may lead to pneumonia.
  • Respiratory hygiene: Keep a distance of minimum 3-6 ft, from a person who is coughing, sneezing or singing to prevent cross infection, specifically, from flu. Most respiratory particles are more than 5 microns in size (except tuberculosis droplet nuclei) and do not travel a distance of more than 3 ft.
  • Cough hygiene: Cough on your sleeves or tissue paper (and discard it immediately) and not in hands and handkerchief. Wash hands with soap and water after coughing or sneezing or use an alcohol-based hand rub
  • Dont smoke as it can damage the natural defense of the lungs against respiratory infections.
  • Keep the immune system strong by getting enough sleep, exercising regularly, and eating a healthy diet.

Dharma, Artha, Kama and Moksha are the four fundamental principles of our very existence which means earning righteously with a desire to fulfill the inner happiness.

Righteous earning is called ‘Artha’ and mistakenly it has been linked to materialistic money. In mythology, Artha is synonymous with Lakshmi, Saraswati and Kali where Lakshmi represents righteously earned materialistic wealth, Saraswati represents wealth of knowledge and Kali represents wealth of wisdom to fight the bad in you and in the society.

In any country, it is the wealth of knowledge, which is more important. India was ruled initially by warriors (Kali), later by money (Lakshmi) and in future will be ruled by knowledge (Saraswati).

It is the human resources, which today decide the growth of a company and the amount of money invested. If you have good human resources, your company is going to succeed.

  • Skip carbohydrates once in a week.
  • Combine a sweet food with bitter food (for instance choose to cook aloo methi over aloo matar).
  • Consume bitter green items in foods such as karela, methi, palak, bhindi, etc.
  • Do not eat trans fats.
  • Do not consume more than 80 ml of soft drink in a day.
  • Do not consume sweets with more than 30% sugar.
  • Avoid maida, rice, and white sugar.
  • Walk, walk and walk…

To be in a state of happiness, bliss and ananda is what the ultimate goal of life is. Everybody is born with certain inherent powers, which if cultivated in the right direction will lead to inner happiness.

The ancient Shiva Sutra text talks about the concept of Shiva and Shakti. Shiva is silence, Shakti is power; Shiva is creativity, Shakti is creation; Shiva is love, Shakti is loving.

In computer terminology, Shiva is the knowledge or the information and Shakti is the operational software. Shiva and Shakti together form the consciousness, in other words, the soul. The Shiva sutra – teaching about Shiva – describes five inherent powers of Shakti which everybody is born with. These are ”Chitta Shakti”, “Ananda Shakti”, “Gyan (Gnana) Shakti”, “Ichha Shakti” and “Kriya Shakti”. Kriya Shakti is the one which is most visible. Kriya is not same as karma. Karma is action born of cause and effect. Kriya Shakti is at the level of body and mind.

Ichha Shakti is the inherent desire, which controls the mind. Gyan Shakti is the inherent desire to learn and is at the level of intellect. Both Ananda and Chitta Shakti are at the level of consciousness and represent the desires or aim to be blissful.

These five powers also decide the needs of a person, which can be at the level of physical body, mind, intellect, ego or the soul. The needs activate the Shakti, which in turn leads to action. The purpose of life should be to direct the needs and the Shaktis towards the soul and not towards the ego. The power of Kriya Shakti should have all the actions directed towards the soul; Gyan Shakti should be directed towards the knowledge of the true self; Ichha Shakti towards the desire or intention to unite with the self; Anand Shakti and Chitta Shakti towards the awareness of God and to experience the bliss of God.

All thoughts, speech or actions in life should be directed on two basic goals: providing happiness to others and achieving self-happiness. Every action and relationship in life should involve these five powers to attain inner happiness. Most computers in the body require a key to get activated and the key in the case of Shakti is “intention or intent”. Intentions are something, which are under the control of a person, or one can practice control over them.

“Intention” always requires the association of its buddy “attention” with it. Attention is the focus of action on that particular intention. The combination of intention and attention can change perceptions of life and ultimately change the reality. It has been an old Upanishad saying that you are what your thoughts are. Right intention leads to the right thought; the right thought to right action; the right action to the right habit; the right habit to the right character and the right character leads you to what you are.

The punch-line, therefore, is to have right intention which should be directed towards one of the five Shaktis to acquire spiritual well-being. Health is not mere absence of disease but a state of physical, mental, social, environmental and spiritual well-being. Spiritual well-being now has been added as the fifth dimension of the health. It has been said that the body is the largest pharmaceutical armamentarium in the world and has the capacity to produce each and every drug available in the universe. This is based on the fact that no drug can go into the body without a receptor. The very fact the body has a receptor for every drug means it has the capacity to produce that drug.

All yogic paths to liberation are also directed towards these Shakti. One adopts the path of karma by activating Kriya Shakti, Gyan Marg by activating Gyan Shakti and Bhakti Marg by activating Ichha Shakti. Faulty lifestyle also involves distractions of three of these powers: Ichha, Gyan or Kriya Shakti.

Correct lifestyle involves the correct use of Kriya Shakti in doing actions, correct use of Gyan Shakti by acquiring knowledge about self and healthy behavior and correct use of Ichha Shakti by learning the dos and don’ts of life and controlling the mind towards various addictions of life, which can be addition of food, sex, drugs, alcohol, smoking, sleeping, not walking and or eating faulty Rajsik cum Tamsik high refined carbohydrate diet

  • Diet should be low in sodium and no person should consume more than 6 gm of sodium chloride in a day.
  • Consumption of trans fats, which is found in hydrogenated oils or vanaspati ghee, should be minimal as they are bad for the heart and reduce the good HDL cholesterol and increase the bad LDL cholesterol.
  • A person should avoid eating out as much as possible since the food in most restaurants and hotels has high amounts of trans fats and is generally bad for the heart
  • Refined carbohydrates like white bread, white flour, white rice and refined sweetened cereals and white sugar should be avoided and replaced with options like whole grain flour, healthy green cereals and oat meal.
  • Any sweet item containing more than 10% sugar should be limited. On an average the sugar content in soft drinks is 10%, Indian sweets contain 30-50% sugar.

It is a well-known Vedic fact that if you hurt the ego of a person, he will never forgive you, especially, if you have insulted or implicated him in character assassination, or have cast implications about financial embezzlement or you call a woman as old or a man as impotent in public. For example, if I hurt the ego of a chowkidaar, next time if a patient comes to the hospital gate and asks where Dr. KK Aggarwal is, he only has to whisper, “Which Aggarwal? The one whose cases never survive?”

Also never hurt the ego of a person who is drunk. Under the influence of alcohol, a person loses his capacity to judge persons and situations. If you provoke him, he can be destructive and aggressive.

  • Malaria is transmitted by the bite of a female anopheles mosquito.
  • The mosquito bite occurs mainly between dusk and dawn.
  • Malaria can also be transmitted through blood transfusion, or via sharing of contaminated needles.
  • Bed nets are good against malaria as the major malarial vectors bite during the night.
  • The behavior of the mosquitoes may differ. Some may prefer to rest indoors and feed indoors in the night. Some may prefer to rest and feed outdoors earlier in the day.
  • Preventive therapy of malaria can be instituted during pregnancy in high risk areas.
  • The malarial mosquito feeds every third day compared to the dengue mosquito, which feeds three times in a day.
  • Unlike the malaria mosquito, the dengue mosquito bites during the day.
  • Malarial fever presents with chills, especially during afternoon.
  • Spraying of the indoor residential walls and ceiling is effective against mosquitoes.
  • DDT is widely used as indoor residential spraying.
  • DDT should not be applied more than once or twice in a year on the walls.
  • Mosquito contact with DDT surface would generally save from lethal exposure outside the house.
  • Public must know that spray may require rearrangement of the furniture. Walls may become streaked with chemical treatment and residual odor from DDT.
  • The other alternative is malathion spray.

In a survey conducted by Heart Care Foundation of India of 400 people from all walks of life, 90% of the people said that wishes of the dying person and dead body should be respected in the hospital setting. They said that doctors should be more compassionate and emphatic at the time of declaring a patient dead.

Unless people are expecting a death, death usually comes as a shock to the family members. It is expected that the relations may be in agony, pain and even anger. Every hospital should have a mourning room where the relatives should be made to sit, counseled and death declared.

After the death is declared, the treating doctors, nurses and hospital staff must sit with the patient’s relatives, counsel them, tell them about the sequence of events before death and also counsel them about how to handle the dead body. People also want to know the cause of death so that similar thing may not happen to another person in the family.

They also want to know if the body is infectious or not and what rituals should be avoided if the body is infectious. They also like to know about how to preserve the dead body till cremation.

They may also like to know whether a postmortem is required to know exact cause of death, which can help future family members of the family.

Don’t start if you do not drink; if you cannot stop, limit your intake

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  • The definition of a standard drink differs in countries: US = 14-15 gm alcohol equivalent to 12 oz beer, 5 oz wine and 1.5 oz 80 proof liquor; UK 8 gm alcohol, Japan 19.75 gm alcohol and India 10 gm alcohol.
  • A standard drink usually means a US drink.
  • Alcohol contents: Beer 5%; Malt liquor 7%; Table wine 12%; Fortified wine (sherry, port) 17%; Cordial liquor (aperitif) 24%; Brandy (single jigger) 40% and 80 proof gin, Vodka, whisky 40%.
  • 10 ml of alcohol (hard liquor) = 0.8 gm of alcohol; 1 oz = 30 ml; 12 oz of beer = 360 ml of beer (360×5% = 18 ml of alcohol = 14.4 gm of alcohol); 18 oz of beer = 8 to 9 oz of malt liquor = 5 oz of table wine = 3-4 oz of 45 wine = 2-3 oz of cordial liquor = 1.5 oz of brandy = 1.5 oz hard liquor.
  • Binge drinking means 4 or more drinks at one time (women) or 5 or more at one time (men).
  • Heavy drinking means more than 7 drinks per week or 3 drinks per occasion (women) or more than 14 drinks per week or 4 drinks per occasion (men).
  • Moderate drinking means less than 2 drinks per day (women) and less than 3 drinks per day (men) and for people aged more than 65, less than two drinks per day.
  • Safe limits: No level of alcohol compensation can be 100% safe for some people.
  • Contraindications: Pregnancy, present or strong family history of alcoholism, previous paralysis because of brain hemorrhage, liver disease, pancreas disease, running potentially dangerous equipment or machinery.
  • Limit alcohol in acute gastritis, esophagitis, strong family history of breast cancer and pre-cancerous GI lesions.
  • Ideal dose of alcohol = 6 gm per day.
  • 10-15gm of ethanol is found in one glass of wine, one can or bottle of beer or one mixed drink.
  • One should not take more than two drinks (men) and one drink daily (women).
  • Men under the age of 45 may experience more harm than benefit from alcohol consumption.
  • Alcohol benefits for the heart are only in 45+ people.

Signs of Spiritual Awakening

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  • More experiences of telepathy.
  • More experiences of reverse telepathy.
  • More spontaneous fulfilment of desires.
  • Increased tendency to let things happen rather than make them happen. Work done with the least effort.
  • Change in the nature, more smiling, laughter and thankful nature.
  • Feelings of being connected with others and nature.
  • Frequent overwhelming episodes of appreciation.
  • Tendency to think and act spontaneously rather than from fears based on past experience.
  • Ability to enjoy each moment.
  • Living in the present.
  • Loss of worry.
  • A loss of interest in conflict.
  • A loss of interest in interpreting the actions of others.
  • A loss of interest in judging others and self.
  • Gaining the ability to love without expecting anything in return.
  • Quality of converting an adversity into opportunity.
  • Dislike for drugs, smoke and excess of alcohol.
  • Happiness in doing random acts of kindness.
  • Looking for good in every one.

Nine modifiable risk factors for heart attack

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The majority of known risk factors for heart attack are modifiable by specific preventive measures.

The nine potentially modifiable factors include smoking, dyslipidemia, hypertension, diabetes, abdominal obesity, psychosocial factors, regular alcohol consumption, daily consumption of fruits and vegetables and regular physical activity. These account for over 90 percent of the population attributable risk of a first heart attack.

In addition, aspirin is recommended for primary prevention of heart disease for men and women whose 10-year risk of a first heart attack event is 6 percent or greater.

Smoking cessation reduces the risk of both heart attack and stroke. One year after quitting, the risk of heart attack and death from heart disease is reduced by one-half, and after several years begins to approach that of nonsmokers.

A number of observational studies have shown a strong inverse relationship between leisure time activity and decreased risks of CVD. Walking 80 minutes in a day and whenever possible with a speed of 80 steps per minute are the current recommendations.

Significance of Lighting a Lamp in Any Worship

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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.

Do not heat leafy vegetables twice

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Nitrates in foods such as spinach, beet root and lettuce stimulate the production of nitric oxide in the body. Nitric oxide relaxes blood vessels. Ingested nitrate is reduced by oral, commensal, bacteria to nitrite, which can further be reduced to nitric oxide.

Vegetables are a major source of dietary nitrate. Green leafy and root vegetables, such as spinach and carrots, provide more than 85% of dietary nitrate. Foods in which nitrite are present are bacon, fermented sausage, hot dogs, bologna, salami, corned beef, ham and other products such as smoked or cured meat, fish and poultry. The conversion of dietary nitrate to nitrite has antimicrobial benefits in the mouth and stomach. Some epidemiological studies show a reduced rate of gastric and intestinal cancer in groups with a high vegetable-based nitrate intake.

Nitrate is totally harmless; however, it can be converted to nitrite and some portion of nitrite to nitrosamines, some of which are known to be carcinogenic. Heating increases the conversion rate. The longer the heat treatment, the more nitrosamines will be formed. Hence, the recommendation not to heat leafy vegetables twice.

Adding lemon juice to vegetables will reduce the formation of nitrosamines. It contains vitamin C, which also reacts with nitrite, thereby preventing the nitrosamine formation.