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Dr K K Aggarwal

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 is that to acquire mind-body union, one needs to practice yoga which helps in establishing one with the pure consciousness. Once that is established, then only 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 ‘established one with pure consciousness’ and troubles with ‘sickness’.Yoga sutras of Patanjali also describe the first sutra as “yoga chitta uritti nirodhe” or in other words “yoga is the cessation of fluctuations in the mind”.

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 represents 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 are gradually 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.

Darkness cannot be removed physically; it can only be removed by switching on the light or going into sunlight or lighting a fire. Similarly, negative thoughts are absence of positive thoughts.

In Bhagavad Gita, it has been said that in the period of Uttarayana with longer days, the first half at full moon, in the presence of light or agni, more positive thoughts are acquired compared to in Dakshinayana, before Amavasya or no moon or in absence of light.

Bhagavad Gita also says that whatever you think the whole life, you think at the time of death and if at the time of death you have positive thoughts, you are likely to get Moksha. This could possibly explain why in Hindu mythology it is said that just before the death, we should light a diya or chant in front of agni (fire) so that dying person’s thoughts become positive.

In computer language, it is explained that when you open a file repeatedly, it becomes a priority file and appears in the search engine on priority as compared to other files.

Ganga, Jamuna and Saraswati, the trio Sangam in Allahabad, is believed to be the holiest place in the country where taking a dip can wash away all past sins. After death, ashes are also submerged in Ganga water with an assumption that the past sins will be removed.

In Vedic era, what was the intention of the rishis and munis while making this ritual?

In mythology, moon represents cool mind and Ganga represents the positive flow of thoughts. And sea turmoil indicates the disturbed state of mind. Hanuman ki samudra yatra indicates the meditative journey through the flow of thoughts. Samudra manthan represents the journey of the mind during meditation.

Taking a dip can be equated to shifting your mind towards your consciousness, which can happen when you introspect in a relaxed state of mind or when you practice meditation. Meditation is defined as a journey from sympathetic and parasympathetic state of mind or a journey from disturbed state of consciousness to undisturbed state of consciousness. Every time you meditate, you dip into your consciousness and clean your guilt and negative thoughts. It is something like reformatting your hard disk and removing the bad sectors and viruses in your software. It is, therefore, possible for you to do Ganga snan (bath) at your house in the morning while meditating or during pooja by drifting away from disturbed state of mind to non-disturbed relaxed state of mind, clearing your guilt and negative thoughts.

Satt means ‘truth or knowingness’

Chitta means ‘consciousness-based’

Ananda means ‘bliss or inner happiness’

The soul in Vedic description is described as Sattchittaananda. People in touch with their soul speak the truth, take consciousness-based decisions and experience inner happiness.

The great rishis of India have described a formula of how to be in touch with your soul and get inner happiness. The formula is based on three questions, which you should ask yourself before performing any action.

  1. Is it the truth?
  2. Is it consciousness-based?
  3. Will it give happiness?

If the answer to all three is ‘yes’, go ahead. In other words, if the answer to any of the three is ‘no’, do not perform that action.

Later on, many dharma groups modified this formula for their own use.

1. Buddha’s Law of Action summarizes these questions as:

  • Is it the truth?
  • Is it necessary?
  • Will it bring happiness to me?
  • Will it bring happiness to others?

If the answer to any of the question is ‘no’, then do not do that action.

2. Buddha’s Law of Speech summarizes the questions as:

  • Is it the truth?
  • Is it necessary?
  • Is it kind?

If the answer to any of the question is ‘no’, do not speak.

3. The Rotary four-way test comprises of:

  • Is it the truth?
  • Is it fair to all concerned?
  • Will it build goodwill and better friendship?
  • Will it be beneficial to all concerned?

If the answer to any of the question is ‘no’, do not perform that deed.

4. Formula of three H: Head, Heart and Hand

Before doing any action, ask your head for the choices. Then listen to the heart to give you the best consciousness-based advice and finally order the hand to do the action.

5. The formula Satyam Shivam Sundaram is based again on three questions: Is it the truth; is it God (consciousness-based); and is it going to build my inner beauty (happiness).

6. ‘May I help you?’ is another formula given in Srimad Bhagwad where once you agree to help, you end up with truth, tapa of hard work, purity of mind and daan or charity.

Vedic Fasting

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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Fasting and starvation are two different terms commonly confused with each other.

Starvation means not eating or drinking altogether, while fasting means control and restrain of five sensory and five motor senses.

During fasting, one may continue eating or drinking but under discipline. Vedic fasting or spiritual fasting is mentioned in Karam Kanda in Yajurveda. Every fast in our mythology has a scientific basis and rituals are added so that the common man can follow it.

Why do people suffer?

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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As per Garud Puran and Hindu mythology, one of the reasons for suffering is the debts of your past birth. Your purpose of life is to face sufferings to pay these debts. The second reason is your present deeds till today starting from birth. If your sum total of bad deeds is more than good deeds, they get added to your previous birth’s debts.

The third reason for suffering is the form of struggle, which you entertain to attain future success. Some people do not call it as suffering.

The last reason for suffering is that some people acquire yogic powers to take on the sufferings of others. The classical examples are Shirdi Sai Baba and Jesus Christ who were known to cure others by adding their suffering to their own account. Most Gods or holy people had suffered in their last time, be it Jesus Christ, Krishna, Buddha or Sai Baba. Only Rishi Munis can remain alive and die at will even after they have paid for all their debts.

Wahans (Vehicles) In Mythology

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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In mythological world, the negative tendency of an individual is symbolized with animal nature. Gods in Indian mythology have been symbolized as living a positive behavior. Every God has a vehicle or Wahan. Both God and the Wahan symbolize how to live a positive life and how to control the animal tendencies.

A few examples:

  • Lord Ganesha’s vehicle is a Mouse. Mouse in mythology symbolizes greed and Ganesha is the one who removes obstacles. The spiritual meaning behind the two is “one should learn to control greed to tackle obstacles in life”.
  • Lord Shiva rides Nandi, the Bull. Bull symbolizes uncontrolled sexual desires. The duo signifies that to learn meditation, one needs to control sexual desires first.
  • Saraswati is the Goddesses of knowledge. She is depicted sitting on a Swan, which symbolizes that to acquire knowledge, one must learn to control the power of discrimination or Vivek. A swan can drink milk and leave water from a mixture of milk and water.
  • Indra has complete control over the intellect. He is shown riding on the elephant Airavat. This symbolizes that intellect (Indra) can be developed by controlling Masti and madness (elephant).
  • Durga symbolizes the perfect woman. Ma Durga rides a lion. This symbolizes that to become a perfect woman, one must learn to control agitation or aggression (lion).
  • Lakshmi symbolizes wealth. Lakshmi riding an owl symbolizes that to earn righteously, one must learn to control the owl-like properties within us, which is not to get befooled.
  • Lord Vishnu (the doer) rides eagle or Garuda. Eagles are opportunistic predators. They eat almost anything they can find. This means controlling desires to eat unbalanced meals.
  • Krishna riding five horses means one needs to control the five senses.
  • Kartikeya rides on Peacock. This symbolizes that one should learn to control one’s pride (vanity) or ego.
  • Goddess Kali rides a black goat, Agni rides Mesha – a ram, Kubera, the God of wealth, also rides a ram. A ram is an uncastrated adult male sheep. Goat also signifies uncontrolled sexual desires but lesser than the bull.
  • Yamraj rides a buffalo, which is known for its rampant destruction. Lord Yama or Yamraja is referred to as the God of death, lord of justice, Dharma Raja. One can do justice only if one knows how to control anger and aggressive behavior.

The message of Rakshabandhan is that of love and purity

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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India is a land of diverse faith and myriad cultures. The festival of Rakhi, though rooted in mythology and ancient Indian history, has not really been understood for what it actually represents.

Rakhi traditionally celebrates the bond of love between a brother and a sister. Tying of rakhi, exchanging of sweets, a gift from the brother to his sister/s –this is the common perception and this is how most of us celebrate this festival.

But how many of us have given a thought to what this bond actually denotes?

First and foremost, Rakhi is synonymous with purity of the relationship and purity of the self and therefore of the soul. It is not just a thread tied by the sister on her brother’s wrist whereby the brother pledges to protect her from any worldly harm. In a broader spectrum, it is a chance to free oneself from one’s internal enemies, the vices. A man is pulled down by his negative energies and the festival of Rakhi gives him a chance to retrospect and pull out of that dark side.

This colored thread with multiple decorations and motifs is tied not necessarily only by one’s sister, but can be tied by any woman who shares a platonic relationship with a man. There is a complete absence of a physical relationship and has no age or space barriers between the two connected by this sacred thread. Simultaneously, it is absurd to think that a mere child or one who stays miles away would be able to offer protection to his “rakhi” sister. The issue which is of prime importance here is the bond of spiritual love established between two individuals of the opposite gender.

The message of Rakshabandhan is that of love and purity. It can be viewed as a thread tied on behalf of God to set us on the right path.

The initial representation of Rakhi as a pledge to protect the sister and her right to be protected by the brother has gained wide propagation due to the fact that in Indian history and mythology there have been instances when this aspect of the festival has been highlighted. Rani Karnavati sent a rakhi to the Mughal Emperor Humayun to ask for help when she was besieged by enemies. In the realm of the Gods, we have Indrani tying a rakhi on Lord Indra. There is also the tradition of tying rakhi by a Brahmin to a Yajman.

The science behind observing Shradhs

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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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 the scientific point of view, devtas represent people with Daivik qualities; teachers 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.

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. 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 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).

The very purpose of life is to face sufferings

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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According to Hinduism, the very fact we are born means that in our last life, we did not get liberation or Moksha. It also means that some sufferings in our last birth still remained. Therefore, the purpose of this birth is to face those sufferings.

When the purpose of our life is to face sufferings, why suffer from them?

This should be considered as ‘sukh’ and not ‘dukh’. As per Vedic literature, every adversity is an opportunity to learn or to do something different. The notable principles of Buddhism also talk about the same. The first is that suffering exists, second that there is a reason for every suffering and third that it is possible to neutralize the suffering by understanding the 8 paths of cessation of suffering.

Also remember that in every ‘dukh’ you think of ‘sukh’ and in every ‘sukh’ you think of a ‘dukh’. Next time you have a problem, think differently and learn to enjoy them.

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

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 is 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.

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 is a symbol of knowledge, and darkness, of ignorance. Knowledge removes ignorance the way 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 an enduring inner wealth which is a means to accomplish all outer achievement. 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). Lit by spiritual knowledge, the vasanas slowly exhaust and the ego perishes. The flame of a lamp always burns upwards signifying that only that knowledge should be acquired that takes us towards higher ideals.

The spiritual meaning of the word ‘Artha’

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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Dharma, Artha, Kama and Moksha are the four fundamental principles of our very existence which means earning righteously with a desire to fulfil 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.