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Dr K K Aggarwal

Two hardest words for a doctor to say: “I’m sorry.” Most defence lawyers counsel doctors to not apologize to patients. Their view is that if you say you’re sorry for something, you are implicitly taking some degree of responsibility for whatever has happened. In other words, you are pleading guilty. The complainant’s lawyers may use a doctor’s apology to the maximum extent possible to show the doctor knew what they did was wrong. The usual approach is deny and defend. But,

  • Apologizing after a medical error is the humane thing to do.
  • Patients often sue simply because it’s the only way to find out what went wrong.
  • Erecting a wall of silence is “enough to make someone very angry. And it’s awfully easy for an angry person to find a lawyer who will listen to them. At that point, it’s too late to say sorry.
  • Over 35 states in the USA have passed laws prohibiting doctors’ apologies from being used against them in court (apology laws).
  • By promptly disclosing medical errors and offering earnest apologies and fair compensation, one can hope to restore integrity to dealings with patients, make it easier to learn from mistakes and dilute anger that often fuels lawsuits.

Apology, the spiritual answer

  • The word ‘sorry’ is synonymous with apology.
  • To err is human, to admit one’s error is superhuman.
  • Sorry should be heart-felt and not ego-felt. You should not only say sorry but also appear as being genuinely sorry.
  • Tremendous courage is entailed to face the victim of our wrong doing and apologize.
  • It is generally seen that those who are in harmony with their life and consequently with themselves, find it easier to say ‘I’m sorry’. They are the positive, conscientious ones who are at peace only after making amends for their misdeeds.
  • The word ‘sorry’ in itself is imbued with so much potential and power. Within a fraction of a second, grave mistakes are diluted, tepid and estranged relations are brought alive, animosity and rancour are dissolved, misunderstandings resolved and tense situations ease out resulting in harmony and rapprochement.
  • To forgive and forget is a common spiritual saying.
  • Remember, we all make mistakes and seek forgiveness form GOD every day.

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.

One of my industrialist friends was once ordered to go to Tihar Jail on a Friday night. He tried his level best and wanted to get admitted in the hospital for the weekend so that he could secure bail on Monday morning. I told him that whether he was in jail or in hospital, it would make no difference as far as his status was concerned. In both the situations, he would be listed as being in the jail on paper. So, I told him to go to the jail and enjoy those 48 hours as a holiday. When he came back from the jail, he was a different person and learnt the principle of life which he otherwise could not have learnt.

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.

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.

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

Never hurt the ego of a person

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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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.

Should there be a mourning room in the hospital?

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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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.

Signs of Spiritual Awakening

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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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.

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 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.

Negative Thoughts are Absence of Positive Thoughts

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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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. That may be the reason 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.

Don’t ignore women’s health

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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Women are not diagnosed or treated as aggressively as men. Even though more women than men die of heart disease each year, women receive only 33% of all angioplasties, stents and bypass surgeries; 28% of implantable defibrillators and 36% of open-heart surgeries, according to the National Coalition for Women with Heart Disease. Although the traditional risk factors for coronary artery disease — such as high cholesterol, high blood pressure and obesity — have a detrimental impact in men and women, certain factors play a bigger role in the development of heart disease in women.

  • Metabolic syndrome — a combination of increased blood pressure, high blood glucose and triglycerides — has a greater impact on women than men.
  • Mental stress and depression affect womens hearts more than they do mens.
  • Smoking is much worse for women than men.
  • Low estrogen level before menopause is a significant risk factor for developing microvascular disease.
  • Though women will often have some chest pain or discomfort, it may not be the most prominent symptom. Diffuse plaque build-up and diseased smaller arteries are two reasons why symptoms can be different in women.
  • In addition to chest pain, pressure or discomfort, signs and symptoms of heart attack in women include: Neck, shoulder, upper back or abdominal discomfort; shortness of breath; nausea or vomiting; sweating; light-headedness or dizziness and unusual fatigue.
  • Endothelial dysfunction is more common in women. In this, the lining of the artery does not expand (dilate) properly to boost blood flow during activity, which increases the risk of coronary artery spasm and sudden death.
  • WISE study results suggest that the commonly used treatments for coronary artery disease — angioplasty and stenting — are not the best options for women with more diffuse plaques.
  • Typical tests for coronary artery disease — angiogram, treadmill testing and others — are not reliable in women.
  • The WISE study showed that in some women, plaques accumulate as an evenly spread layer along artery walls, which is not visible using traditional testing methods.

Is it necessary to take a dip in Ganga to remove your sins?

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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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.

Relieve Stress by Changing the Interpretation

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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Stress is the reaction of the body or the mind to the interpretation of a known situation. Stress management, therefore, involves either changing the situation, changing the interpretation or taming the body the yogic way in such a way that stress does not affect the body.

Every situation has two sides. Change of interpretation means looking at the other side of the situation. It is something like half glass of water, which can be interpreted as half empty or half full.

Studies have shown that anger, hostility and aggression are the new risk factors for heart disease. It has been shown that even recall of anger can precipitate a heart attack.

Many studies have shown that when doctors talk positive before unconscious patients in ICU, their outcome is better than those in whose presence if doctors talk negative.

The best way to practice spiritual medicine is to experience silence in the thoughts, speech and action. Simply walking in the nature with silence in the mind and experiencing the sounds of nature can be as effective as 20 minutes of meditation. He said that 20 minutes of meditation provides the same physiological parameters as that of 7 hours of deep sleep.

Sattchittaananda: The soul characteristics, (Absolute Existence -Absolute Knowledge)

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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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.

Man Vachan Kaya

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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Man vachan kaya are the three fundamental principles used to define non-violence (ahimsa) and truthfulness (satya). Being truthful means whatever you are thinking, speaking and doing, it is the same.

You should be one in whatever you think, do or speak. Ahimsa is the fundamental principle of Jainism, which means you should be non-violent not only in your actions but also in your speech and thoughts. Being truthful makes you Satyugi.

Only in certain circumstances, you may differ in your thinking, speech and actions. For example, you cannot tell a patient he is going to die in the next week. Here your mind may be saying something, your speech and actions will be something else.

Any discordance in Man Vachan and Kaya ends up with guilt and suppression of emotions, which later on can cause blood pressure, diabetes and heart disease.