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Dr K K Aggarwal

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 either 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 in front of unconscious patients in ICU, their outcome is better than those 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. Twenty minutes of meditation provides the same physiological parameters as that of 7 hours of deep sleep.

Prayer for Inner Happiness

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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Stress is defined as the physical and mental reaction to the interpretation of a known situation. In the absence of a known situation, there cannot be stress. One cannot be stressful for a person who has just died in New York in an accident unless he or she is a known person.

There has to be a right, conscience-based interpretation of the situation as the same situation can bring happiness to one and stress to the other.

The most important consequence of stress, physical or mental, therefore, depends on the right interpretation of the situation.

The interpretation or judgment in the body is governed by chemical reactions and is controlled by the balance of autonomic balance system, which in turn is governed by the interaction of parasympathetic and sympathetic nervous systems.

During the phase of acute stress, when the sympathetic system is predominant, the heart rate and blood pressure increase and a person cannot take correct and decisive decision.

He/she is likely to make mistakes, which can often be detrimental to living. Sympathetic mode is basically the mode of flight or fight reactions of the body.

Right conscience-based decisions can only be taken in a state of relaxed mind when the intention is inserted in the field of consciousness. The relaxed state of the body is the parasympathetic mode, which is healing and is evident by reduction in heart rate, blood pressure and increase in the skin resistance. Most conscience-based decisions will be based on truthfulness, will be necessary and will bring happiness to both the persons and the surroundings.

The yogic lifestyle by which a person learns the dos and don’ts of living, does regular practice of correct postures, daily pranayama and practices regular withdrawal from the outer atmosphere, helps in preparing a state of physical and mental body which is more receptive for conscience-based decisions.

Prayers have no value when the mind is not at rest. All of us have participated in hundreds of mourning prayers with two minutes of silence. This prayer has no value if the two minutes of silence is not observed. If prayer is done without it, the mind will remain restless and we will keep on thinking these two minutes are not over yet.

The process of silence does shift our awareness towards parasympathetic state and temporarily we get to be in contact with the memories of the departed soul and we pay homage to him or her. Today, a large number of organizations are teaching the process of meditation but the same cannot be taught unless a person practices procedures by which the mind gets relaxed.

The eight limbs of Patanjali focus in detail on premeditation preparations and once that is learned, one can go to the other three limbs which are Dharna, Dhyana and Samadhi.

Yoga asanas are different from exercises. They stimulate and stretch all or one of the seven charkas, autonomic plexuses, and ganglion and ductless endocrine glands. Also during a yogasana, the mind is in the exercise and not wandering here and there.

Yogic exercises at rest are termed yoga asanas and the same yogic meditative exercises with activity are called traditional Indian dances. Western exercises and dances do not follow the principles of yoga. Many international studies have shown that over one-third of the people during their lifetime pray either for their own illness or for somebody else.

All hospitals should have spirituals areas. The prayer and meditation rooms in a hospital setting invariably will provide an arena which will improve patient-doctor relationship and will reduce the rising disputes amongst them in the country.

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 can remove 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 stands for the 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 they are lit by spiritual knowledge, vasanas slowly exhaust and the ego too 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.

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.

Spiritual prescriptions learnt from patients

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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As doctors, we are witnesses to human suffering. When we were young in medical college, we were quite disturbed seeing the sufferings of the people. But, in our practice, we have learnt many spiritual prescriptions from our patients. These have not only helped us to heal our patients but also changed our perception to health and sickness.

I recall, Swami Bodhanand, a disciple of Swami Chinmayananda, was once hospitalized under our care. When I asked him to give me a spiritual message, he said only two words “Detached Attachment”. He said, “As a doctor you should behave like a lotus leaf. It is wet as long as there is a drop of water on it, but once the drop is out, the leaf is as dry as if the water was never there.” The message was that “we should be attached to our patients as long as they are with us. The day they die, we should be completely detached from them or else we will not be able to treat other patients”.

I saw another spiritual guru through our Chief Anesthetist. The fee he paid me was a spiritual message “Suno Samjho Jano Karo – Hear Understand Wisdom and Do”. He said that hearing is different from listening, listening is different from wisdom and wisdom is different from doing. Unless you hear, understand what you have heard and implement, the learning has no value.

One of my Buddhist patients gave me a spiritual learning, which has helped me a lot in my routine clinical practice. He taught me the basic Buddhist message that there is suffering all over, there is a reason for every suffering and it is possible to maintain sufferings. This message fits into the main message of Hinduism and also the main teaching from Garud Purana.

In Hinduism, we know that the very fact that we are born in this life means that in our last life, we could not get liberation, as Hinduism believes that after liberation you are not reborn. Not getting liberated in the last birth means that some sufferings were left in our life. The basic purpose of this birth, therefore, is to face sufferings. When the basic purpose of our birth is to face sufferings, then why suffer from these sufferings. Every time we suffer, we should thank God that he has reduced one more. The period in between two sufferings is called a happy period (Sukh). In fact that period is nothing but a period of rest given by God to us to prepare the body for next suffering. This, as a concept of counseling, helps my patients in managing most of their mental disturbances.

Not telling a patient that he is suffering from terminal cancer sometimes works. One of my patient’s father aged 83 years was found to have extensive cancer of the prostate. Medically, we all gave him three months to live. My patient did not have the courage to tell his father or the family members that he (the father) had extensive cancer. He took me into confidence and played a game with the family. We gathered all the family members and told them that with surgery, his cancer had been cured. A party was organized in the evening to celebrate the cure. The magic happened; he lived almost a symptom-free life for the next 9 years. I have tried this on many of my patients thereafter and it works. The probable explanation was loss of fear of death, a confidence in his doctor and faith in himself.

The way to live up to the age of hundred is to go on working in life. My great grand-father-in-law was 75 years old, when I got married. That year, he gathered all family members from across the world and said that his purpose of life was over and he would like a collective family photograph and like to quit the world. Nothing happened for a year and he did this again next year. The entire family from across the world gathered but he remained alive for another year. This went on for three years. Suddenly, we played a spiritual trick on him and told everyone to convince him that he is going to live for 100 years as he has many more works of the family to be done. Every year, we gave him law students from within the family to be taught (he was a lawyer himself), or gave him the responsibility of finding a boy for some eligible girl in the family. We made him teach and search for suitable bride/bridegrooms for years together and he actually died at the age of 100 years. This is the beauty of positive attitude in life.

Spirituality – The Key To Health

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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To stay healthy, one needs to eat right, get plenty of exercise and rest, and avoid harmful habits such as smoking. But, now it is said that “what you believe in” can largely affect your health and longevity. Several studies show that patients with strong spirituality can improve their health from several chronic conditions, like hypertension, heart disease, recover from surgery, and more.

Research indicates that there are substantial health benefits from spirituality:

  1. People with religious beliefs or spirituality have lower cortisol responses, a hormone released in the in response to stress.
  2. Positive thinking produces nearly a 30% drop in perception of pain.
  3. Spirituality and the practice of religion are linked with a slower progression of Alzheimer’s disease.
  4. Those who regularly attend organized religious activities may live longer as compared to those who dont. Regular participation decreases mortality rate by about 12% a year.
  5. People undergoing cardiac rehabilitation are more confident and see greater improvements in their physical abilities if they have a strong faith.
  6. Increased levels of spirituality and religious faith may help substance abusers get rid of their habit.
  7. Spirituality stimulates the relaxation response. When the body is relaxed, the heart rate, blood pressure and breathing rate decrease, thus decreasing the bodys stress response.
  8. Spirituality can affect immune system function. Spirituality and faith improve the immune function in ways that can be measured, like an increase in white blood cells.
  9. Prayer heals the heart.
  10. Positive talking and thinking in the ICU produces better results.

Spirituality brings you peace and safety. It can be achieved through God or Goddess, nature, a beautiful sunset, a meditation, Pranayama, religious meeting, chanting, mind body relaxation, etc. Spirituality is something that can promote wellness and help with recovery.

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 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.
  • A loss of interest in judging 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.

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.

Five Types of People – from Nastik to Astik

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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Following are the five types of people:

  1. Nastik: Those who do not believe in God.
  2. Astik: For whom God exists.
  3. Those who believe that God also exists in them (I and the God are the same)
  4. Those who believe in Tat Tvam Asi (God not only exists in me but also in you)
  5. Those who believe that God is in everybody

People who believe that God exists are fearful people and they always fear God. People who see God in themselves, live a disciplined Satvik life and do not indulge in activities that are not God-friendly.

People who believe that God is not only in them but also in you, treat every person the same way as they treat themselves. People for whom God is everywhere always work for the welfare of the society.

(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 of it.

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.

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 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, twin brother, lord of justice, Dharma Raja. One can do justice only if one knows how to control anger and aggressive behavior.

Collective Consciousness

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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Consciousness is an energized field of information with powers to do everything in the universe. Collective consciousness is the internet of the collective souls of many people in a group.

Collective consciousness is the strongest super power ever available in the universe. As per the Vedic texts, whatever is the intent of collective consciousness will become a reality. Scientifically, collective consciousness is based on the principle of critical mass. Vedic literature has shown it to be 1% of the defined population under study.

The origin of the critical mass comes from 100th monkey phenomenon. The story goes as under: long ago in Japan a monkey called Emo used to eat dirty apples picked up from the ground every day. One day by accident the apple fell down in a river, the dirt got washed off and he ate the washed apple. Obviously it tasted delicious. He started washing the apples thereafter every day before eating. His fellow monkeys started following the same. The process of following went on. A time came when the 100th monkey washed the apple and ate it. A strange phenomenon was noticed. All monkeys in and around that state started washing the apple before eating. The no. 100 was the critical mass.

Once this mass is crossed, the information will spread like a wild fire and the intent becomes a universal reality. Vedic literature has also shown that if 1% of the public of any area meditates together, the crime rate of that area goes down. It also talks about the role of critical mass in prayers in achieving miracles.

Thus principle of critical mass is often used in designing and organizing an event. In a movie hall of 1000 people, if 10 people clap sitting in different areas everybody will clap. The same is true for hooting at a particular scene. Most politicians use this principle when they organize election rallies. For a gathering of 10000 they need 100 and for a gathering of 1000 people they only need 10 supporters who are supposed to sit in different areas and shout or clap on given directions. The Mexican way of hooting or clapping in cricket grounds also follows the same principle. For a ground like Eden Gardens with a capacity of 75,000 people you only require 750 people to control the mood of the people. Most successful leaders used this technology to lead.

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, 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. 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.