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Dr K K Aggarwal

Do unto yourselves 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 Dvaita or Advaita philosophy.
  2. People who believe in Dvaita philosophy, 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 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.

Why do we not offer onions to God?

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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Anything that grows under the ground is not offered to God. According to Vedic science, anything which is grown under the ground is Tamasik in nature and produces sluggishness, heaviness and extreme aggressiveness. Not only onion, all food products grown under the ground are not offered to God and are not supposed to be eaten during spiritual fasts. People who are spiritually-oriented like monks, rishis, munis, avoid underground food altogether. Some people try to convert Tamasik food into Satvik food by slow heating them or by sprouting them or by soaking them in water. This is one reason why boiled potato is eaten during Vrat.

Facts about Soul and the Spirit

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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  • Energy is the raw material of the universe.
  • Information is the organization of energy into reproducible patterns.
  • Consciousness is living information and energy (living energized information).
  • Consciousness is, therefore, intelligence.
  • Intelligence is information and energy that has self–referral or the ability to learn through experiences and the ability to reinterpret and influence one’s own information and energy states.
  • Consciousness is live, advanced, software–driven energized information.

Nearest example: Advanced computer software which can type, correct, interpret, edit and store spoken or read information.

Spiritual Prescription: Yoga, the Greatest Healer

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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The Sanskrit word for ‘healthy’ is ‘Svastha’ – Sav-Stha – means being established in one’s own true self. This is only possible when the body is in union with the mind and the consciousness.

The Bhagavad Gita (Ch. IV shloka 36), says Api chedasi papebhya sarvebhya pap kritama or in other words “even if thou are the sinner of all sinners, you shall cross over all sin by the raft of knowledge”. Here sin can be equated with physical or mental sickness.

Again, in shloka 37, Krishna says “Gyanagni sarva karmani bhasmasat kurute tatha”. In other words, “as fire reduces fuel to ashes, the fire of knowledge reduces all karma to ashes”.

In shloka 38, Krishna said “Na hi gyanena sa drisham pavitram ih vidyate” or in other words “there is no greater purifier than knowledge. One realizes it in his own heart in time, as he practices yoga”.

The medical interpretation of these are that to acquire mind-body union, one needs to practice yoga which helps to establish pure consciousness. Once that is established, only then one can be called as healthy. This is further clarified in Ch II verse 65, where Krishna said “prasade sarva dukhanam hanirasya upjayte” or in other words “in peace all the troubles are destroyed”. Here ‘peace’ can be equated with one with pure consciousness and troubles with ‘sickness’.

Yoga sutras of Patanjali also describe the first sutras as “yoga chitta uritti nirodhe” or in other words “yoga is the cessation of fluctuations in the mind”.

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

Why do we not touch papers, books and people with our feet?

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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In every traditional Gurukul, no studies start without chanting the following

Saraswati namasthubhyam

Varade kaama roopini

Vidyaarambham karishyaami

Sidhirbhavatu me sadaa

“O Goddess Saraswati, the giver of Boons and fulfiller of wishes, I prostrate to You before starting my studies. May you always fulfil me”

Indian Vedas consider knowledge about self as the supreme knowledge and all tools for the same are considered sacred and divine and must be given respect. The traditional custom is not to step on any sacred educational tool.

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

Debts in Mythology

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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It is said that there are three debts, which everybody has to pay in his or her lifetime. In Vedic language, they are called Dev Rin, Pitra Rin and Rishi Rin.

In medical language, the body consists of soul, physical body, mind, intellect and ego. The soul is given to us by God or Devtas (Dev Rin), the physical body by our parents (Pitra Rin) and the mind, intellect and ego by our Gurus (Rishi Rin).

In terms of computer language, if I see my body as a computer, then my body as a computer is made by my parents; operating software and my inner internet represent the soul or consciousness given by the Devtas and the application softwares, i.e. Word, Excel and Power point, which we learn over a period of time are given to us by our Gurus. Therefore, we have to pay all these three debts while we are still alive.

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

What is the importance of silence?

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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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. On all such days, he used to communicate with others only by writing on paper.

Hindu principles also talk about a correlation between mauna (silence) and shanti (harmony). Mauna Ekadashi is a ritual followed traditionally in our country. On this day, the person is not supposed to speak at all and observe complete silence throughout day and 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 “The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success” talks in great detail about the importance of observing silence in day-to-day life. He recommends everyone should observe silence for 20 minutes every day. Silence helps redirecting our imagination towards self from the outer atmosphere. Even Swami Sivananda, in his teachings, recommended observing mauna daily for 2 hours for Ekadashi. Take milk and fruits every day, study one chapter of Bhagwad Gita every day, 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 a great sage of our country who is known for the bhoodaan movement. He was a great advocator and practical preacher of mauna vrata.

Mauna means “silence” and vrata means “vow”. Mauna vrata, therefore, means vow 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 conscience dwells. There is no religious tradition which does not talk about silence. It removes worldly communication and forces a dialogue towards inner communication. That is 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 benefit 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 my own).

Why do We Burn Camphor in Any Pooja?

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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No Aarti is performed without camphor. Camphor, when lit, burns itself out completely without leaving a trace.

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.

Am I a spiritual seeker?

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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Every one cannot be a spiritual seeker. In fact, majority is not interested in seeking spiritual knowledge and they keep themselves busy in the worldly desires. To become a good seeker, one needs to acquire many qualities.

In Bhagavad Gita, Arjuna, in a state of disturbed mind, sought guidance from Lord Krishna. In Katha Upanishad, Nachiketa, as a healthy seeker, learned the knowledge of life after death from Yama.

Katha Upanishad described in detail the qualities of a seeker in Nachiketa.

The story goes as under: Vajashrava sage performed a sacrifice in which he was required to give away all his worldly possessions. His son Nachiketa saw that the cows given in the donations were all old. Such charity was not going to give his father any merits. Feeling disturbed by the inappropriateness of his fathers observance of the sacrifice, Nachiketa asked to whom was he given. The sage ignored him twice, but on third asking, the irritated sage said in anger, “Unto Yama, I give thee.” Whereupon Nachiketa went to the abode of Yama, and, finding him absent, waited there for three days and nights. Yama on his return offered to grant him three wishes.

Nachiketa wished the following:

  1. To be allowed to return to his father alive, and that his father not be angry with him
  2. To be instructed about fire sacrifice
  3. To be given knowledge about life after death.

Yama granted the first wish immediately. In answer to Nachiketas second question, Yama named performance of a special fire-sacrifice after Nachiketa. Before answering the third question, Yama tested Nachiketa, offering him all sorts of worldly pleasures instead, but Nachiketa insisted. And then Yama taught him about life after death.

The properties of true seeker therefore are:

  1. Righteousness and truthfulness: Nachiketa did not agree with his father as his (father’s) act was not based on Dharma.
  2. Persistence: He waited for three days to meet Yama.
  3. Compassion and forgiveness: The first boon he asked was to have his father forgiven.
  4. Intellectual understanding: The fire of knowledge means intellectual understanding.
  5. Let go of the desires: He let go all his desires and did not get attracted to the worldly offers given by the Yama.

Only after that he qualified to receive the knowledge of soul and become a true seeker.

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

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, of the Devtas (Dev Rin), secondly of Guru and teachers (Rishi Rin) and, thirdly, of Ancestors (Pitra Rin). From a scientific point of view, devtas represent people with Daivik qualities; teachers are 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.

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 highlight 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 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).

An empty mind is the devil’s house

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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It is an old saying that “Khali dimag shaitan ka ghar”.

Empty mind means when you are doing nothing and Shaitan means negative thoughts. In terms of Vedic science, negative thoughts mean absence of positive thoughts and they are often equated to darkness, which is absence of light.

Positive thoughts always need efforts and exertions, while negative thoughts are spontaneous and without exertion. It is recommended that one should think differently and positive otherwise there will be spontaneous appearance of negative thoughts.

Darkness is spontaneous and naturally present and to bring light one has to make efforts by switching on the light or the nature has to ask the Sun to come and give the light.

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

Tips for preventing back and spine problems

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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  • Get moving. Physical activity helps in keeping the joints fluid. A person who is not physically active is more susceptible to back problems.
  • Eat healthy. If you maintain good eating habits, you not only will maintain a healthy weight, but you also will not put unnecessary stress on your body.
  • Sleep sideways. The best position for sleeping is on your side. If you are sleeping on your stomach, put a pillow under your lower abdomen to help take stress off your back.
  • Correct your posture and avoid stress. The importance of good posture cannot be overlooked in preventing back problems. Additionally, stress can tense your muscles, and constant tension of this kind can cause back pain. Thus, it is important to find ways to reduce stress.

Who is a Good Teacher?

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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A good teacher is the one who follows the principles of listening first, teaching in detail till confusion arises and then teaching with reasoning while going into the minutest details and finally summarizing the ‘take home’ messages.

This is how Lord Krishna discoursed to Arjuna in Bhagavad Gita. In the first chapter, he only listens, in the second, he gives detailed counseling and from chapters 2 to 17, he gives reasoning and in 18th chapter, he revises.

Importance of silence

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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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. Meditation is the process of achieving silence. Observing silence is another way of deriving benefits of meditation. Many yogis in the past have recommended and observed silence now and then. Mahatma Gandhi spent one day in silence every week. He believed that abstaining from speaking brought him inner peace and happiness. On all such days, he communicated with others only by writing on paper.

Hindu principles also talk about a correlation between mauna (silence) and shanti (harmony). Mauna Ekadashi is a ritual followed traditionally in our country. On this day the person is not supposed to speak at all and observes complete silence all through the day and 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 for few hours, if not the whole day.

In his book, The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success, Deepak Chopra talks in great detail about the importance of observing silence in day to day life. He recommends that everyone should observe silence for 20 minutes every day. Silence helps to redirect our imagination towards self. Even Swami Sivananda, in his teachings, recommends observation of mauna daily for 2 hours. For ekadashi, take milk and fruits every day, study one chapter of Bhagwad Gita daily, do regular charity and donate one-tenth of your income in the welfare of the society. Ekadashi is the 11th day of Hindu lunar fortnight. It is the day of celebration, occurring twice a month, meant for meditation and increasing soul consciousness.

Vinoba Bhave was a great sage of our country known for his Bhoodaan movement. He was a great advocator and practical preacher of mauna vrata.

Mauna means silence and vrata means vow; hence, mauna vrata means a vow 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 consciousness dwells. There is no religious tradition that does not talk about silence. It breaks the outward communication and forces a dialogue towards inner communication. This is one reason why all prayers, meditation and worship or any other practice whether we attune our mind 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 benefit 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.