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Dr K K Aggarwal

This sutra from the Bible reflects the union between the spirit and the soul. The ‘Spirit’ represents the Parmatama or the Brahman and ‘You’ represents the individualized spirit or the Soul (Jivatama).

A temple is a place of worship and also the place where God resides. Every human being represents a temple (place of worship) where God exists (one’s soul) and this soul is nothing but the essence of God (the spirit).

One should treat every individual in the same manner as the same spirit dwells in every human being. The soul is also the reflection of individual’s past and present karmic expressions. Most people are in the habit of looking and searching for God in artificial temples, gurudwaras and churches, not realizing that the same God is present within us, provided we undertake the internal journey to look for Him.

He is present in between thoughts in the silent zone and can be approached by adopting any of the three pathways: Karma Yoga, Bhakti Yoga and Gyana (Gnana) Yoga.

Doing selfless work with detachment to its results; working with the principles of duty, devotion and discipline and/or regularly doing Primordial Sound Meditation or other types of meditations can help one reach the stage of self-realization or meeting one’s true self. Once there, one can have all the happiness in life.

  • This involves principles of time management and some Vedic principles.
  • The first thing to do is to make a checklist of all the pending work by writing it down and re-categorizing them depending upon the urgency and importance.
  • Pending work can be classified under following four sections:

o Urgent and important: Should be done immediately

o Important but not urgent: Should be scheduled as per the time available

o Not important and not urgent: Learn to say no and dump it

o Urgent but not important: This work should be delegated to others.

  • Urgency of the work is decided by the deadlines available.
  • The importance of the work is decided by directing the result of the work to the mind, body or the soul. One should see whether the result of the work gives pleasure to the body, mind or the soul. The one which is giving pleasure to the soul will be free of fear or guilt.
  • When choosing between simple or difficult, choose the difficult jobs first so that you do not carry them back home in the mind. In terms of importance, difficult files are more important than simple files.
  • When choosing right versus convenient action, give priority to the right action and not the convenient action.
  • Delegation of work and team work is very important.
  • When deadlines are available, it is always better not to keep the work just near the deadlines.
  • Anticipate delay and keep time for unforeseen movements.
  • Work is work and not something personal.
  • Always remember the spiritual principle that you get what you deserve and not what you desire. So never get attached to the results of your actions.
  • Yoga, pranayama, afternoon naps and meditation help to prioritize your work.
  • Follow the principles of creativity and learn to give breaks in between jobs so that the mind is relaxed and can take soul boosting decisions.
  • Remember, Yudhishthir never kept anything pending for tomorrow. In this way, you can have a fearless, undisturbed sleep.
  • Organizing your pending list always helps.
  • Do not waste time on learning material on which you are already an expert.
  • Take advantage of down time. If you find free time in your routine, then convert it into a creative time so that you can plan strategies or do something new.
  • Always get up at the same time and never disturb your sleep time.

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

The Deeper Meaning of Lord Shiva

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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Many of us are devout followers of Shiva. But, we worship Him without understanding the deeper meaning of Shiva.

In Hindu mythology, Shiva is one of the three forms (trimurtis) of God, Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh, the Hindu Triumvirate.

The Parmatama or spirit or what is called as God can be classified as a mixture of three forces representing Generator (creator or Brahma), Organizer, (maintainer or Vishnu) and Destroyer (completing or Mahesh or Shiva). These three similar forces come into play in our body to perform any work. They can be denoted as: Idea generation or creation, maintaining or organizing the contents of the idea, and then destroying or completing, so that new work can be undertaken through Ganesha, the Lord of new beginnings.

One must understand and implement the principles of Lord Shiva in day-to-day life. This can be done by understanding the meaning of the form of Shiva.

Classically, Shiva is worshipped in a sitting meditating pose, sitting on a deer’s skin with a background of white Himalayas and blue sky (akash). Shiva is also depicted with ashes from graveyard smeared on his body, a snake around his neck, Ganga flowing out of his hair, three eyes, blue neck, trishul in one hand and damru in his other hand.

All these symbolic representations have a deep spiritual meaning and tell us about Shiva’s principles of success.

Of the three eyes of Shiva, the left eye indicates love; the right eye signifies justice and the third eye, wisdom or intelligence. To work effectively, one must use both eyes, i.e. doing every work with love and justice. Any work done with love and without justice will lead to pampering, and justice without love will lead to rudeness. The third eye should be used in times of difficulty. The message here is: whenever you are in difficulty, use your intelligence and wisdom. The opening of the third eye means the disappearance of ignorance (darkness or pralaya).

The half open-eye meditating pose teaches us that in daily life, one should be as calm as if you are in the meditation pose. Being calm or practicing calmness helps in achieving better results.

The snake around the neck represents ego. And, the downward posture of the head of the snake indicates that ego should be directed towards the consciousness and not outwards. The ego should be kept under control and not let it overpower you.

The blue color symbolizes sin or negative thoughts. Shiva as neelkanth (blue neck) teaches us that the negative emotions should never be expressed nor suppressed; instead they should be altered or modified. This indicates that the poison is neither to be drunk nor to be spitted out but to be kept in the throat by making it a part of the life. For example, an episode of anger should neither be expressed nor suppressed. Suppressed anger releases chemicals in the body causing acidity, asthma, angina, diarrhea, etc. Expressed anger creates an unhealthy social environment. The only way is to alter or modify the anger by wilful cultivation of opposite positive thoughts in the mind. Therefore, the process of silently passing on love to any individual can take away the angry thoughts from the mind (love is opposite of anger).

The ash on the body of Shiva reminds that everything in the universe is perishable and nothing is going to remain. The message here is that ‘you have come in this world without anything and will go back without anything, then why worry’.

The trishul in one hand represents control of three factors, i.e. mind, intellect and ego. It also represents controlling the three mental gunas, i.e. sattva, rajas and tamas.

The damru, the hollow structure, represents ‘taking all your ego and desires out of the body’.

The blue Akash represents vastness and openness; the white mountains represent purity and truthfulness.

It is customary to fast on Shivaratri. Fasting does not simply mean missing a meal or not eating that day; it also means fasting or abstaining from all negativities “see no evil, hear no evil and speak no evil”. Fasting also indicates controlling the desires for eating foods (like fermented, sweet, sour and salt) and controlling the negative thoughts both in the mind as well as in action.

By adopting these principles, one will attain a free flow of knowledge, which is represented by the Ganga coming out of the hairs of the Lord Shiva. The matted hairs of Shiva represent tapas and signify that nothing in the universe is impossible without contemplation and repeated practice.

If one follows Shiva’s principles in everyday life, one will find no obstacles in routine life as well as in the spiritual journey.

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

How long can one fast?

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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As per Allopathy, one cannot live without air or oxygen for more than 3 minutes, without water for more than three days and without food for more than 3 weeks.

According to the Chandogya Upanishad, food is responsible for the making of motor organs (Karmaindriyas), sensory organs, Manas (mind, intellect, memory and ego) and Prana.

The fiery foods are responsible for making the motor indriyas, earthy foods for sensory indriyas and manas and water for making Prana Vayu.

Therefore, it is possible for a person to live on water for up to few weeks because he will keep making Prana and keep breathing but absence of food from 14th day onward will start affecting his Gnanaindriyas and Manas. The person will start losing power of hearing, touching and sensing and will start showing impairment in mental status, memory, intellect functions and egoistic behavior.

Definition of Health

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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Health is not mere absence of disease; it is a state of physical, mental, social, spiritual, environmental and financial well-being. Allopathy does not define all aspects of health.

During MBBS, medical students are taught more about the physical health. Social and mental health are covered only in few lectures. Community health is a separate subject but never given its due importance. Spiritual health is not defined at all and financial health is hardly covered.

Yet, in day-to-day practice, it is the social, financial, spiritual and community health, which is the most important during patient-doctor communication. It is incorporated in the four basic purposes: dharma, artha, kama and moksha.

Dharma and artha together form the basis of karma which is righteous earning. You are what your deep-rooted desires are. Most of the diseases today can be traced to a particular emotion, positive or negative. Anger and jealousy are related with heart attack, fear with blood pressure, greed and possessiveness with heart failure. Unless the mind is healthy, one cannot be free of diseases.

The best description of health comes from Ayurveda. In Sanskrit, health means swasthya, which means establishment in the self. One is established in the self when there is a union of mind, body and soul. Most symbols of health are established around a shaft with two snakes and two wings. The shaft represents the body, two snakes represent the duality of mind and the two wings represent the freedom of soul.

Sushrut Samhita, in Chapter 15 shloka 10, defines the ayurvedic person as under:

Samadosha, samagnischa,

Samadhatumalkriyah,

Prasannatmendriyamanah,

Swastha iti abhidhiyate.

From the Ayurvedic point of view, for a person to be healthy, he must have balanced doshas, balanced agni, balanced dhatus, normal functioning of malkriyas and mind, body, spirit and indriyas full of bliss and happiness.

Human body is made up of structures (Kapha) that perform two basic functions: metabolism (pitta) and movement (vata). Vata, pitta and kapha are called doshas in Ayurveda. Samana dosha means balance of structures, metabolism and movement functions in the body. Agni in Ayurveda is said to be in balance when a person has normal tejas and a good appetite.

Ayurveda describes seven dhatus: rasa, rakta, mamsa, medha, asthi, majja, shukra and they are required to be in balance. They are equivalent to various tissues in the human body.

Ayurveda necessitates proper functioning of natural urges like urination, stool, sweating and breathing and that is what balance in malakriya means.

Ayurveda says, for a person to be healthy, he has to be mentally and spiritually healthy which will only happen when his or her indriyas are cheerful, full of bliss and devoid of any negativities. For indriyas to be in balance, one has to learn to control the lust cum desires, greed and ego. This can be done by learning regular pranayama, learning the do’s and don’ts in life, living in a disciplined atmosphere and learn to live in the present.

Regular pranayama shifts one from sympathetic to parasympathetic mode, balances the mind and thoughts and helps in removing negative thoughts from the mind. Living in the present means conscious or meditative living. This involves either learning meditation 20 minutes twice a day or learning subtle mental exercises like mind-body relaxation, yogic shavasana, self-hypnotic exercises, etc.

According to Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, a person who eats thrice a day is a rogi, twice a day is a bhogi and once a day is yogi. The take home message is: to live more, eat less.

Swar yoga defines the importance of respiration and longevity. According to this yoga shastra, everybody has a fixed number of breaths to be taken during the life span.

Lesser the number a person takes in a minute, more is the life. It also forms the basis of pranayama which is nothing but longer and deeper breathing with reduced respiratory rate. To be healthy, one can remember to follow the principle of moderation and variety in diet and exercise, regular pranayama and meditation and positive thinking.

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

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 is the reason for this ritual in the 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.

What is the difference between smile, hug and laugh?

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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Smile is a sign of joy, while hug is a sign of love. Laughter on the other hand is a sign of inner happiness. None of them are at the level of mind or intellect. All come from within the heart. They are only the gradations of your expressions of your happiness.

It is said you are incomplete in your dress if you are not wearing a smile on your face. Hug comes next and laughter the last. Laughter is like an internal jogging and has benefits like that of doing meditation.

But be careful; we must know when not to laugh. The most difficult is to laugh on oneself.

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

Weekend ‘Social Jetlag’ can be heart unfriendly

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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Switching to late nights and late mornings on the weekend is associated with cardiometabolic risk. Termed “social jetlag”, it is associated with poorer lipid profiles, worse glycemic control, and increased adiposity in healthy adults, as per a report published in Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism. These metabolic changes can contribute to the development of obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

A total of 111 study participants had a social jetlag of more than 60 minutes. Compared to the other study participants, these individuals had:

  • Higher mean triglycerides: 107 mg/dL versus 91 mg/dL (P=0.009)
  • Lower mean HDL-cholesterol: 54 mg/dL versus 57 mg/dL (P=0.014)
  • Higher mean fasting insulin levels: 13.5 µU/mL versus 12 µU/mL (P=0.03)
  • More insulin resistance as measured by homeostatic model assessment: 4.0 versus 3.7 (p=0.028)
  • Greater mean waist circumference: 94 cm versus 89 cm (P=0.001)
  • Higher mean BMI: 28 versus 26 (P=0.004)

It has been shown that regulating sleep times can help treat insomnia, and this emerging evidence along with others suggests that perhaps doing so will have benefits in treatment and prevention of other diseases.

Science behind Shiva, the Neelkanth

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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The blue neck Shiva, called Neelkanth, symbolizes that one should neither take out the vices or negative emotions nor suppress them. Instead one should alter or modify them.

The blue color, in mythology, symbolizes slow poison that includes attachments, anger, greed, desires and ego. Blue neck means to hold on to the negative emotions temporarily so that they can be neutralized at appropriate time.

Suppressed anger releases chemicals, which can lead to acidity, asthma, angina, future heart attacks, diarrhea, etc. Similarly, expressed anger can cause social unhealthiness and acute heart disease.

The only way to manage anger is to take the right and not the convenient action. One should neutralize anger by wilful cultivation of opposite, positive or different thoughts.

Anger is a known risk factor for heart blockages. Anger can evoke physiological responses that are potentially life-threatening in the setting of underlying heart blockages. It has a dominant influence on the severity, frequency and treatment of angina.

This Vedic message of Shiva is being validated by many western scientists.

Anger has many phases –

  1. Anger Expression Inventory
  2. Assesses anger frequency (trait anger)
  3. Anger intensity
  4. Anger expression (anger-out)
  5. Anger suppression (anger-in)
  6. Anger recall.

Both anger-in and anger-out are associated with heart blockages.

  • Dr. C. Noel Bairey Merz, from Women’s Health at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center has shown women who outwardly express anger (anger-out) are at increased risk especially if they also have other risk factors like age, diabetes and high cholesterol levels. The findings are a part of Women’s Ischemia Syndrome Evaluation Study, a multi-center, long-term investigation sponsored by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute.
  • Anger-in is also related to severity of blockages. Dr TM Dembroski in 1985 has shown that potential for hostility and Anger-In are significantly and positively associated with severity of heart blockages, including angina symptoms and number of heart attacks. Suppressed anger is also associated with increased carotid arterial stiffness in older adults, a condition making them prone to future heart attacks and paralysis.
  • A univariate correlational analysis by Anderson DE from National Institute on Aging, Baltimore, Maryland in 2006 has shown a significant positive association of anger-in with artery stiffness.
  • Suppressed anger has also been shown to increase blood pressure by Thomas and group from University of Tennessee.
  • Recall of suppressed anger has been shown by Dr D Jain in 2001 from Yale University to be associated with angina, LV dysfunction and rise in upper blood pressure.
  • G Ironson and colleagues from Department of Psychology, University of Miami in 1992 have shown that anger recall produces more stress than the actual stress in a treadmill. Intensity of anger was associated with severity of angina. In the study, vasoconstriction only occurred with high levels of anger. They also showed that there was no narrowing of non-narrowed arteries indicating that anger recall produces coronary vasoconstriction in previously narrowed coronary arteries.

Panchamrit body wash

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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Panchamrit is taken as a Prasadam and is also used to wash the deity. In Vedic language, anything which is offered to God can also be done to the human body. Panchamrit bath, therefore, is the original, and traditionally, full bath prescribed in Vedic literature. It consists of the following:

  • Washing the body with milk and water, where milk acts like a soothing agent.
  • Next is washing the body with curd, which is a substitute for soap and washes away the dirt from the skin.
  • The third step is washing the body with desi ghee, which is like an oil massage.
  • Fourth is washing the body with honey, which works like a moisturizer.
  • Last step is to rub the skin with sugar or khand. Sugar works as a scrubber.

Panchamrit bath is much more scientific, cheaper and health friendly.

Positive Attitudes

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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All those out there who feel you are at your wits’ end wondering how things don’t ever work out for you, can now relax and dwell on all those failures that life has taken you through and turn failure into success.

  1. Failure doesn’t mean you are a failure. But it does mean you haven’t succeeded yet.
  2. Failure doesn’t mean you have accomplished nothing. It does mean you have learned something.
  3. Failure doesn’t mean you have been foolish. It does mean you had a lot of faith.
  4. Failure doesn’t mean you’ve been discouraged. It does mean you were willing to try.
  5. Failure doesn’t mean you don’t know how to do it. It does mean you have to do it in a different way.
  6. Failure doesn’t mean you are inferior. It does mean you are not perfect.
  7. Failure doesn’t mean you have wasted your life. It does mean you have a reason to start afresh.
  8. Failure doesn’t mean you should give up. It does mean you must try harder.
  9. Failure doesn’t mean you’ll never make it. It does mean it will take a little longer.
  10. Failure doesn’t mean God has abandoned you. It does mean God has a better idea.

Spiritual Prescriptions – Controlling the Inner Noise

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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Yoga Sutras of Patanjali define yoga as restraint of the mental states (Chapter 1.2). In the state of total restraint, the mind is devoid of any external object and is in its true self or the consciousness. To control the mind, many Vedic scholars have given their own formulae. Being in touch with one’s own consciousness requires restraining of the mind, intellect and ego on one hand and the triad of rajas, tamas and satwa on the other hand. Every action leads to a memory, which in turn leads to a desire and with this a vicious cycle starts. The mental turmoil of thoughts can be equated to the internal noise and the external desires and objects to an external noise.

The process of withdrawing from the external noise with an aim to start a journey inwards the silent field of awareness bypassing the internal noise is called pratihara by Yoga Sutras of Patanjali. It involves living in a satwik atmosphere based on the dos and don’ts learnt over a period of time or as told by the scriptures.

To control the inner noise, we either need to neutralize negative thoughts by cultivating opposite thoughts or kill the origin of negative thoughts. Not allowing thoughts to occur has been one of the strategies mentioned by the scholars. One of them has been neti–neti by Yagnayakya.

The other method is to pass through these inner thoughts and not get disturbed by it and that is what the process of meditation is. This can be equated to a situation where two people are talking in an atmosphere of loud external noise. For proper communication, one will have to concentrate on each other’s voice for long till the external noise ceases to disturb. In meditation, one concentrates on the object of concentration to such an extent that the noisy thoughts cease to bother or exist.

One of the ways mentioned by Adi Shankaracharya in Bhaja Govindam and by Yoga Sutras of Patanjali (Chapter 2.35) is that whenever one is surrounded by evil or negative thoughts, one should think contrary thoughts. For example, if one is feeling greedy, one can think of donating something to somebody. Deepak Chopra in his book Seven Laws of Spiritual Success talks in detail about the importance of giving and sharing. He says you should never visit friends or relations empty handed. You should always carry some gift of nature, which if nothing is available can be a simple smile, compliment or a flower. By repeatedly indulging into positive behavior and thoughts, you can reduce the internal noise, which helps in making the process of meditation or conscious living a simpler one.

Washing out negative thoughts is another way mentioned by many Vedic scholars. Three minutes writing is one such exercise which anybody can do. Before going to bed, take three minutes to write down all your emotions and then discard the paper. Another exercise is to reward or punish oneself at bed time for the activities done during the day by either patting or slapping yourself.

Spiritual Prescriptions: Satsang

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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Satsang is a common household word and is often held in many residential colonies. Traditionally, Satsang means the regular meeting of a group of elderly or women of an area with a common intention of attaining inner happiness or peace through Bhajans or devotional songs for a particular God or Gods. In Satsang, people realize that it is the Self, communing with Self.

The Sanskrit word ‘Satsang’ literally means gathering together for guidance, mutual support or in search of truth. It may involve talking together, eating together, working together, listening together or praying together.

Most scriptures describe Sat and asat. They discriminate that this world is maya (asat) and God is Divine. Furthermore, they state that maya is not yours; Divine is yours.

Sang means to join, not just coming close, but to join. And how do you join? Only with love, which acts as glue. So Satsang is: Sat—Divine, Sang—loving association. In non-traditional Satsang, people verbally express themselves to others in an uninhibited way. Here, each participant talks free of judgment of others, and self. In this way, each person is able to see many viewpoints, which may serve to diminish the rigidity of their own.

Satsang is one way of acquiring spiritual well-being. Many scientific studies have shown that when mediation or chanting is done in groups, it has more benefits than when done individually. Maharishi Mahesh Yogi once said that if 1% of the population meditates or chants together, it will have a positive influence on the entire society.

Satsang also helps in creating a network of people with different unique talents. Satsangi groups are often considered in a very deep-rooted friendship.

Adi Shankaracharya, in his book Bhaja Govindam, also talks about satsang in combination with sewa and simran and says that together the three can make one acquire spiritual well-being. Nirankaris and Sikhs also give importance to satsang and in fact, every true Sikh is supposed to participate in the Gurudwara on a regular basis.

Chanting of mantra or listening to discourses in a satsang helps to understand spirituality through gyan marga. Group chanting continued on a regular basis is one of the ways of meditation mentioned in the shastras. It shifts consciousness from sympathetic to the parasympathetic mode.

The medical educational programs of doctors of today can be called medical satsang as whatever is discussed is for the welfare of the society.

Satsang also inculcates in us, one of the laws of Ganesha, the law of big ears, which teaches everyone to have the patience to listen to others.

In satsang, nobody is small or big, everybody has a right to discuss or give his or her views. Over a period of time, most people who regularly attend satsang, start working from the level of their spirit and not the ego.

The Spiritual Meaning of Lord Shiva

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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Most of us worship Lord Shiva without understanding the deeper meaning behind him. In Hindu mythology, Shiva is one of the three forms of God (Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh).

The Parmatma or spirit or GOD can be equated to a mixture of three forces representing Generator (Creator or Brahma); Organizer (Maintainer or Vishnu); Destroyer (Winding up or Mahesh or Shiva).The same three forces are also present inside our body to perform any work, which can be linked to create or generate an idea, maintain or organize the contents of the idea, and then destroy or wind up so that new work can be undertaken through Ganesha – the Lord of new happenings.

For day-to-day life, one has to understand and implement the principles of Lord Shiva which can be known by understanding the meaning of Shiva.

Shiva is worshipped in a meditating pose, sitting on a deer’s skin in the white Himalayas in the background of blue sky. Shiva is also depicted as smeared with the ash of graveyard, having a snake around neck, Ganga emerging out of his matted hair, three eyes, blue neck, trishul in one hand and damru in his other hand.

All these symbolic representations have a deep spiritual meaning and tell us about Shiva’s principles of success.

Shiva’s third eye means thinking differently or using the eyes of our mind and the soul. The message is, whenever you are in difficulty, use your intelligence and wisdom or think differently for getting different options. The third eye opening also represents the vanishing of ignorance (darkness or pralaya).

Shiva sitting in an open-eye meditating pose indicates that in day-to-day life, one should be calm as if you are in the meditation pose. Calmness in day-to-day practice helps in achieving better results. In allopathic language, it is equivalent to mindfulness living.

The snake around the neck represents one’s ego. One should keep the ego out and control it and not let it overpower you. The downward posture of the head of the snake represents that ego should be directed towards the consciousness and not outwards.

The blue neck (Neelkanth) represents that one should neither take the negative emotions out nor suppress them but alter or modify them. The blue color indicates negative thoughts.

The same in the neck indicates that negative slow emotions akin to negative emotions are neither to be drunk nor to be spitted out but to be held temporarily and with continuous efforts (matted hairs) with cool mind (moon) and with positive thoughts (Ganga), should be directed towards the consciousness, keeping the ego directed towards it (sheshnag).

Suppressed anger or any other negative emotions will release chemicals in the body causing acidity, asthma, angina and diarrhea. Expressed anger, on the other hand, will end up into social unhealthiness.

The ash on the skin of the body of Shiva reminds that everything in the universe is perishable and nothing is going to remain with the person.  The message is that ‘you have come in this world without anything and will go back without anything, then why worry’.

The Trishul in one hand represents control of three factors, i.e. mind, intellect and ego. It also represents controlling your three mental gunas, i.e. Sattva, Rajas and Tamas.  The damru, the hollow structure, represents taking all your ego and desires out of the body.

The blue sky represents vastness and openness and the White Mountain represents purity and truthfulness.

If one adapts to Shiva’s principles in day-to-day life, one will find no obstacles, both in his routine life as well as to one’s spiritual journey.

On the Shivratri day, it is customary to fast. The fast does not just indicate not eating on that day, but its deeper meaning signifies fasting of all bad things in life like – “seeing no evil, hearing no evil and speaking no evil”. Fasting also indicates controlling the desires for eating foods (like fermented, sweet, sour and salt) and control the negative thoughts both in the mind, deed as well as actions

The Science Behind Addiction

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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The three main reasons for any addiction are ignorance, ego and dependence. If you ask people why they smoke, some would say that they were ignorant about its side effects (ignorance), while others would say that it gave them a status in the society (ego). And the rest would say that once they started, they could not quit and are now dependent on it (dependence).

The treatment of ignorance is based on education – the principle of hearing (suno), listening (samjho), understanding (jaano) and action full of wisdom (karo).

Ego can only be treated by proper counseling. The principles of counseling are well described in Bhagavad Gita and involve 18 sessions over a period of time.

Dependence treatment involves early detoxification followed by counseling and education.