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Dr K K Aggarwal

Navratri is the detoxification of body, mind and soul. Body detoxification involves Navratri diet containing eating less devoid of cereals.  In Navratri diet flour is replaced with Kuttu or Singhara flour; pulses with amaranth or Rajgiri and Rice with Samak rice. Mental and soul detoxification involves practicing Yoga Sadhna as described in nine forms of respective Durga.

1. Chadraghanta is worshipped on the third day of Navratri

2. SHE is shown with golden skin and riding a tiger. She is depicted with ten hands and 3 eyes with a crescent moon on the head.

3. Eight of HER hands display weapons. The rest two are in the mudras or gestures of boon giving and stopping harm (Varada and abhay mudra) indicating protection.

4. Out of eight hands five contains Bow and arrow (to bend, focus, one point determination,  The bow and arrows also represent energy. Holding both the bow and arrows in one hand indicates control over both potential and kinetic energies); Trishul (balance), sword (sharp intelligence) and mace (power to destroy the evil). Rest three hands contains rosary (tapas); lotus (detached attachment) and Kamandalu (acceptance).

5.  In Ayurveda SHE represents the control over the fire element.

6. In Yogashstra SHE represents the solar or Manipura Chakra with the Bija sound RAM.

7. Sound of her bell terrifies demons as well as all enemies.

8. SHE represents protector and bravery.

Spiritual message on the 3rd Navratri: One should continuously (beaded rosary) control the fire (solar plexus) within by using our sharp intelligence (sword) and balancing the mind (Trishul) by focusing on one point (arrow and bow), practicing detached attachment (lotus), accepting things as they are (Kamandalu) and killing the negative energies by using gada (power) when needed.

Science behind 2nd Navratri or Mata Brahmacharini (Sati) Worship (let go your impure thoughts)

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Navratri is the detoxification of body, mind and soul. Body detoxification involves Navratri diet containing eating less devoid of cereals.  In Navratri diet flour is replaced with Kuttu or Singhara flour; pulses with amaranth or Rajgiri and Rice with Samak rice. Mental and soul detoxification involves practicing Yoga Sadhna as described in nine forms of respective Durga.

Brahmacharini (Uma or Tapacharini) is worshipped on second day of Navratri as the goddess who performed ‘Tapa’ (penance or continuous efforts) (Brahma – Tapa, Charini – Performer ). SHE personifies love and loyalty and provides knowledge and wisdom. Those who worship her, attain, Tap (Religious Austerity), Tyagi (Sacrifice), and Vairagya (Asceticism).

She is shown to hold Japa mala (rosary beads) in her right hand and Kamandal in left hand.  This form of Shakti as per Yoga Shastras is present in second gonad chakra (in Allopathy gonad plexus) called Svadhisthana Chakra.  The bija sound for the chakras is VAM which removes attachments. In Ayurveda the 2nd Chakra represents the water element.

In mythology ‘white’ represents purity of mind; beaded rosary or japa mala represents continuous efforts (meditation and concentration) and Kamandal represents acceptance and water in it represents pure thoughts.

Kamandalu also means living an egoless state of mind. Kamandalu is a water pot made from a dry pumpkin contains nectar and is shown on the ground next to Shiva. The process of making Kamandalu has deep spiritual significance. A ripe pumpkin is plucked from a plant, its fruit is removed and the shell is cleaned for containing the nectar. In the same way, an individual must break away from attachment to the physical world and clean his inner self of egoistic desires in order to experience the bliss of the Self, symbolized by the nectar in the Kamandalu.

Spiritual message on the 2nd Navratri: Purify the mind (white cloths) with continuous efforts (japa mala) by accepting the things and situations as they are (kamalandu) and building humility in the mind (egoless state).

In Navratri diet Samak Chaval is a good replacement for rice eaters. It is not a cereal but a fruit. It is the seed of a grass (Echinochloa Colonum) which frequently grows amongst the rice paddy. In fact it can be eaten in every spiritual fast.  It is also called as Samo rice, Samak rice, Varyacha tandul, Vari TandulBhagaror Kodri, jungle rice. It provides the nourishment and energy that rice does.

It contains 169 Calories per 174 g. it is high in digestible fiber. It is similar to rice in taste and texture. It has a rich source of minerals and vitamins, providing essential ingredients.

In classical India fast it is prohibited to eat rice and hence it becomes the healthy replacement of rice.

India is going through an epidemic of metabolic syndrome, a disease due to eating a lot of refined carbohydrates and manifests as insulin over production, insulin resistance, pot belly obesity, hypertension and diabetes.

Wheat and rice are rich in refined carbohydrates. It is said that one should observe cereal fast 80 days in a year and on that day one should not eat wheat flour, rice and sugar. In traditional fast diet one can replace wheat flour with kuttu and singhara flour; pulses or dal with rajgiri or cholai and rice with Samak chaval. All are fruits in origin and good for heart.

Even diabetic patients can eat Samak Chaval. One will loose the benefits if it is cooked in hydrogenated Vanaspati oil.

Navratri is the detoxification of body, mind and soul. Body detoxification involves Navratri diet containing eating less devoid of cereals. In Navratri diet flour is replaced with Kuttu or Singhara flour; pulses with amaranth or Rajgiri and Rice with Samak rice. Mental and soul detoxification involves practicing Yoga Sadhna as described in nine forms of Durga.
1. In mythology Mata Shailputri is a daughter of mountain king – Himalaya. She is the first among nine avatars of Durga and worshiped on the First day of Navratri.
2. In yogic language it represents the lowest chakra, Muladhara chakra. And the bija sound to chant is LAM in the sacral root area. In allopathic language it represents activation of sacral plexus.
3. The Mother Goddess has a half moon in her forehead & she is holding a trident (trishul) in her right hand & lotus flower in her left hand. She rides on mount Nandi a bull.
4. Bull in mythology represents ‘desires’. On the first day we must let go our desires.
5. Trishul in mythology represents balancing Tamas, Rajas and Satwa
6. Lotus in mythology indicates practicing detached attachment.
7. Moon in mythology means thinking with a cool mind.
8. Shailputri represents the shakti or power of the root chakra, who, upon awakening, begins Her journey upwards in search for the last crown chakra (Shiva).
9. In Navratri pooja on the first day Yogi keep their mind concentrated on Muladhara chakra as the starting point of spiritual discipline or Yoga Sadhna.

What to do on first day
1. Let go your desires
2. Keep the mind cool
3. Practice detached attachment
4. Balance Tamas and Rajas guna with Satwa. or to stay in balance.
5. Concentrate on Muladhara chakra (sacral root)
6. Chant LAM reducing the respiratory rate to 2-4 per minute.
7. In Ayurveda Muladhara chakra represents the earth element.
Gist: On the first day we control (riding), our desires (bull) by balancing (Trishul) the mind with cool thoughts (moon) and practicing detachment (lotus). This can be assisted by chanting LAM focusing on sacral chakra.

Eating beetroot before any workout helps. Baked beetle root in one of the study at St. Louis University Chicago gave runners a modest edge in speed during a 5K run when they were close to the finish line. With the beetroot, they were 41 seconds faster at the finish.

A study from the U.K also had shown that exercisers could work out longer if they drank beetroot juice. Other research has found that beetroot juice can help reduce blood pressure. Beetle root is rich in nitrates. Nitrates are converted into nitric oxide by the body. The nitric oxide dilates blood vessels. That results in improved oxygen delivery.

The study included whole vegetable rather than the juice. In the study of 11 men and women, average age 25, each ate 200 grams of beetroot (500 milligrams of nitrates). After the beetroot, exercisers had overall times that were 3% faster compared to their times after eating cranberry relish, and 5% faster during the last mile, she found.

In the study 200 grams of beetle nut was baked at 350 degrees for 90 minutes. The skin was peeled and rest added with a tablespoon of lemon juice, 1/8 teaspoon of cinnamon, and 1/8 teaspoon of nutmeg to make it more palatable. It was consumed about 45 minutes before they jogged or can be eaten two and a half hours before an event.

One day someone asked me why Muslims and Hindus fight with each other when they worship each other’s GODS. Hindu worship ALI in DIWALI and Muslims worship RAMA in RAMAZAN.

Diwali and Ramadan both have one thing in common and that is one month of spiritual Yagna.

In Hindu spiritual Yagna, the process starts from first day of Navratri on Amavasya and ends up on Diwali, again on Amavasya. The first 10 days involve intense spiritual practice and the rest 20 days entails receiving its benefits.

The first nine days, called Navratri are devoted to a process of purification and detoxification of mind, body and soul. During this period a person is required to lead a Satwik spiritual life devoting first three days into activities, which reduces negativity in the mind and the body; the next three days he is supposed to indulge in positive behavior and happenings and in the last three days he is supposed to read and learn about spiritual positive things in life.

Respectively, these three phases of purification are symbolized as worshiping the Goddesses, Kali, Laxmi and Saraswati. The spiritual purification process involves eating only Satwik food, one which is offered to God, and following the principles of Satwik lifestyle which are Satwik Ahaar, Satwik Vichar, Satwik Vyavahaar and Satwik Achaar. There is a custom of worshiping wheat and barley grass during this period. They are detoxifying grasses when consumed in the form of juices. The Satwik fast observed during this period helps in cleansing the internal body.

Once the nine days purification process is complete, on 10th day one gets the first benefits symbolized with Vijaydashmi as one conquers on that days a victory over Tamas (Kumbhakaran), Rajas (Meghnad) and Ego (Ravana). The victory over the Ego entails the ruling of Satwa (Vibshishan) and reunion of Mind (Lakshamana), Body (Sita) and Soul (Rama).

As per the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali when one attains an ego free mind one is likely to get benefits over a period of time.

The first benefit is seen on the fourth day after Vijaydashmi, on Sharad Purnima, a day known for health benefits. People on this day gather in the night and eat kheer rich in moon rays.

Again after four days on the day of karvachauth one gets benefit of the longevity of the spouse which gives safety to the family. On this day all married women fast and prey for their husbands.

Four days later on “hoi ashtami” one prays for the longevity of their children. This ensures old age protection for the family.

Four days later again on “dhanteras” one gets the benefit of wealth. On this days people worships silver items. On this day no dealings are done and people spend only to invest of silver and gold items for future needs of the family.

By this time the person, who has indulged in the process of purification, learns the true purpose of his or her existence. The inner ignorance and darkness goes away and one gets the true meaning of wealth and that is inner happiness. The day it happens it is called Diwali where on the day of Amavasya (darkness) one gets internal lighting (Diwali).

Diwali, therefore, is a one-month long spiritual Yagna with nine days of purification and 21 days of acquiring spiritual benefits out of it.

Ramadan similarly involves a deep intense purification process of mind, body and soul. In Christians the similar spiritual purification process is celebrated as Easter.

Tagore’s “Kabuliwala” the archetypal nut seller has never been as significant as in this modern era, when plethora of information is available that nuts are good for the heart.

Walnuts, are rich in polyunsaturated fatty acids, and have beneficial effect on serum cholesterol.

Replacing 35% of the energy obtained from monounsaturated fats [1] or 20% of calories [2] of total diet with walnuts have shown to reduce 4 -12 percent reductions in serum total cholesterol and 6-12 percent reduction in serum bad LDL cholesterol levels.

Walnuts also improve endothelial function in patients with elevated cholesterol [3]

In one study when almonds were given replacing 20% of energy (68g) in healthy adults and in adults with mildly elevated cholesterol levels, the diet led to marked improvements in lipids within four weeks [4].

Prospective Adventist Health Study results have shown that individuals who consume nuts more than four times per week have significant reductions in mortality from coronary heart disease and in nonfatal heart attacks compared to those who consumed nuts less than once per week [5]

Results of Physicians’ Health Study also showed that men who consumed nuts two or more times per week had significant reductions in total coronary deaths and sudden cardiac deaths. [6]

Almonds, peanuts and walnuts contain Vitamin E and are good for the heart. People who take nuts 5 days a week have 20 per cent less chances of having a heart attack. Patients may also consume nuts and seeds in moderate amounts.

Being plant in origin nuts contains zero cholesterol.

1. Ann Intern Med 2000; 132:538.
2. N Engl J Med 1993; 328:603
3. Circulation 2004; 109:1609.
4. Circulation 2004; 109:1609
5. Am J Clin Nutr 2003; 77:1379.
6. Arch Intern Med 1992; 152:1416

In Navratre fast one need to omit wheat flour from the diet and substitute it with buckwheat flour (kuttu flour) or water chestnut (Singhara flour). Singhara is not a cereal but a fruit and hence a good substitute for a Navratre fasts where cereals are not to be eaten.

1. Singhara flour is prepared from Singhara or Water Chestnut.
2. Singhara is floating annual aquatic plants, growing in slow-moving water up to 5 meters deep. The plant bear ornately shaped fruits containing a single very large starchy seed.
3. The seeds or nuts are boiled and sold as street side snack or eaten raw.
4. The flour is made from dried, ground water chestnuts. The nuts are boiled, peeled, dried then ground into flour. The flour is bright white fine powder; it is actually a starch rather than flour.
5. The flour is primarily use as a thickener.
6. The flour is used as a food in Navratre and consumed as a falahaar (fruit) diet.
7. It is an excellent source of energy and provides 115 kcals per 100g.
8. The glycemic Index for chestnut is 60. Low GI foods have a GI value less than 55; medium GI foods have a GI value between 55 and 69 and high GI foods have GI value greater than 70.
9. Chestnuts are relatively low in net carbs (total carbohydrate minus dietary fiber). It is included in many low carb diets.
10. A gluten free product, chestnut flour is a cooking option for people with celiac disease or other gluten intolerances or allergies.
11. Chestnuts do not contain the fat that regular nuts have.
12. It contains less carbohydrate than white flour.
13. People with tree nut allergies should take care to avoid chestnut flour. It may cause an allergic reaction.
14. Flour made from chestnuts is typically more difficult to locate in many areas as well as more expensive than white flour.
15. One should not eat deep fried chestnut flour pooris of parantha
16. One should not use transfats vegetables oils to cook chestnut flour made bread
17. One should buy only branded flour as left over flour of last year can lead to food poisoning
18. As per Ayurveda chestnut flour has cool and buckwheat flour has hot properties.
19. Both chestnut flour and buckwheat flours can be combined
20. One should eat falahaar once a week and atleast 80 days in a year.

Its Navratre time and people start eating Vrata flours like kuttu and singhara. The same can cause food poisoning if the last years left over flour is eaten.

Food poisoning is common. One in five episodes of diarrhea is likely to be due to a food poisoning. Each person on average has diarrhea once or twice per year. An average person will have a food poisoning once every three to four years.

Always consider a food borne illness when a patient presents with a mixture of gastrointestinal symptoms: nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, diarrhea and fever.

Botulism and some types of shellfish poisoning can present with paralysis, ciguatera fish poisoning or scombroid with headaches and tingling, amnesic shellfish poisoning with amnesia, hepatitis A or E with hepatitis and Listeria monocytogenes with meningitis or spontaneous abortion.

More than 200 known agents are capable of food poisoning (microbial causes, chemicals and other agents). Five organisms account for 90 percent of the deaths, most notably Salmonella spp.

1.2% persons have complications such as intestinal perforation or invasive illness.  Listeriosis, Shiga toxin producing E. coli and non typhoidal Salmonella are particularly associated with severe morbidity.

Noni juice (Morinda citrifolia) is an increasingly popular wellness drink claimed to be beneficial for many illnesses. The herb is classified as a liver toxic herb and therefore requires doctor’s supervision.

Doctors at the Clinical Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Medical University of Innsbruck, Austria, have reported a 45-year-old patient with highly elevated transaminases (liver enzymes SGOT, SGPT) and elevated lactate dehydrogenase. There was no evidence for viral hepatitis, Epstein-Barr virus or Cytomegalovirus, autoimmune hepatitis, Budd-Chiari syndrome, Hemochromatosis or Wilson’s disease. He has been drinking juice of Noni during the preceding 3 weeks. The herbal toxicity was confirmed by a liver biopsy. After ceasing the ingestion of Noni, transaminase levels normalized quickly and were within normal ranges one month after the first presentation. (1-2)

Doctors at the Department of Internal Medicine, Medical University Graz, Austria have described two cases of liver toxicity with NONI juice. The first patient, 29-year-old man with previous toxic hepatitis associated with small doses of paracetamol developed sub-acute hepatic failure following consumption of 1.5 L NONI juice over 3 wk necessitating urgent liver transplantation. Second was a 62-year-old woman without evidence of previous liver disease who developed an episode of self-limited acute hepatitis following consumption of 2 L NONI juice for over 3 months.

Doctors at the department of Internal Medicine II, Ludwig Maximilians University of Munich, Germany reported a 24-year-old female with mild elevations of serum liver enzymes and bilirubin levels. Because of multiple sclerosis, she was treated with interferon beta-1a for 6 weeks. After exclusion of viral hepatitis due to hepatitis A-E, interferon beta-1a was withdrawn under the suspicion of drug-induced hepatitis. One week later, she was admitted again to her community hospital with severe jaundice. The liver enzymess and bilirubin levels were highly elevated, and a beginning impairment of the liver synthesis was expressed by a reduced prothrombin time. She developed fulminant hepatitis and acute liver failure. There was no evidence for hepatitis due to potentially liver toxic viruses, alcoholic hepatitis, Budd-Chiari syndrome, hemochromatosis, and Wilson’s disease. Fine-needle aspiration biopsy of the liver ruled out an autoimmune hepatitis but showed signs of drug-induced toxicity. During the interview, she admitted that for ‘general immune system stimulation’ she had been drinking Noni juice, during the past 4 weeks. After cessation of the Noni juice ingestion, her liver enzyme levels normalized quickly and were in the normal range within 1 month.(3-5)

1. Millonig G; Stadlmann S; Vogel W: Herbal hepatotoxicity: acute hepatitis caused by a Noni preparation (Morinda citrifolia). Eur J Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2005 Apr;17(4):445-7.
2. Stadlbauer V, Weiss S, Payer F, Stauber RE. Herbal does not at all mean innocuous: the sixth case of hepatotoxicity associated with morinda citrifolia (noni). Am J Gastroenterol. 2008 Sep;103(9):2406-7.
3. Stadlbauer V, Fickert P, Lackner C, Schmerlaib J, Krisper P, Trauner M, Stauber RE. Hepatotoxicity of NONI juice: report of two cases World J Gastroenterol. 2005 Aug 14;11(30):4758-60.
4. Hepatotoxicity caused by a Noni (Morinda citrifolia) preparation: López-Cepero Andrada JM, Lerma Castilla S, Fernández Olvera MD, Amaya Vidal A. Rev Esp Enferm Dig. 2007 Mar;99(3):179-81.
5. Hepatitis induced by Noni juice from Morinda citrifolia: a rare cause of hepatotoxicity or the tip of the iceberg : Yuce B, Gulberg V, Diebold J, Gerbes AL. Digestion. 2006; 74(1):47-8.

Navratre is the time to omit wheat flour from the diet and substitute it with buckwheat flour or kuttu ka aata. It’s not a cereal but a classified under a fruit and hence a good substitute for a Navratre fasts where cereals are prohibited.

1. The flour is extremely high in protein and is a wonderful substitute for those who are allergic to gluten (found in wheat).
2. It’s good for patients with celiac disease as it is gluten free.
3. It contains phytonutrient rutin, which lowers cholesterol and blood pressure.
4. It is rich in magnesium, vitamin B, iron, calcium, folate, zinc, copper, manganese and phosphorus.
5. As the buckwheat hulls are hard to chew, traditionally they are soaked for about six hours and then cooked so as to make them softer and easily digestible.
6. It also contains Alpha Linolenic Acid which is helpful in promoting HDL cholesterol (“good” cholesterol) and controlling LDL cholesterol (“bad” cholesterol).
7. It is a good source of insoluble fibre and prevents occurrences of gall-bladder stones. According to the American Journal of Gastroenterology, a 5% increase in the insoluble fiber intake results in a 10% reduced risk of gall-bladder stones.
8. Kuttu is 75% of complex carbohydrates and 25% of high quality protein which makes it an ideal food for weight loss.
9. The flour is gluten-free and hence potato is used to bind the flour together.
10. The flour has a different taste
11. Pooris made of this flour are crunchier than the normal wheat flour pooris.
12. One should not make pooris with hydrogenated oils or vanaspati as it will take away all the medical benefits of buckwheat flour.
13. Buckwheat flour however is subjected to adulteration.
14. Mixtures of rye flour, Indian corn flour, wheat flour, and other ground cereals are often used as a substitute for buckwheat.
15. Being high in fiber and with low glycemic index it is good substitute for diabetic patients. The glycemic Index for buck wheat is 47. Low GI foods have a GI value less than 55; medium GI foods have a GI value between 55 and 69 and high GI foods have GI value greater than 70.
16. The chiro-inositol present in the buck wheat has been identified as responsible for the diabetes preventing component.
17. Asthma symptoms can occur in sensitized children when food allergens such as buckwheat are cooked in a confined area. Both acute and late-phase respiratory symptoms are seen.
18. In the place of puri or pakodas (fried items) made from kuttu atta (buckwheat flour), one must go for kuttu ki roti.
19. One can also prepare some idli from the kuttu atta (buckwheat flour) and dosa from the samak rice. (a type of fruit)
20. Left over flour of last year can cause food poisoning.

 “If you can solve your problem then what is the need of worrying?
And if you cannot solve it then what is the use of worrying?”……………Shanti Deva

One does not experience worries or suffer from anxieties during deep sleep or anesthesia. The consciousness, which is our true self, is also free of worries. Worries are therefore, a mental creation. They represent a privately-created establishment where one prefers to live with one’s own choice and does not want to get out of it.

Shanti Deva has rightly said that, in both the situations, whether one can solve a problem and not, worrying has no place. It is often said that you worry either because you don’t get what you want or because you get what you wanted. Worry is a byproduct of ego and ego is brought about by ignorance.

Human nature primarily has only two emotions. First is love and second is fear. Love is the basic nature of every human being and represents the true heaven. All other negativities are privately created hell.

There is nothing like hatred. It is absence of love, which causes hatred. By changing the perception, one can remove the hatred and start loving again. Remember nobody can hate anybody unless one has loved him/her.

The hair of a man turns gray if he worries (Sivananda). Worries impair digestion, bring exertion, and reduce vitality and vigour from the mind. Worries, when combined with fear and anger can kill a person in no time. Worry weakens the will. A worrying habit is generated in the mind and these thoughts recur again and again like a cycle.

According to the Bhagvad Gita and Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, the treatment for any negativity is to think opposite. Opposite of worry is cheerfulness. According to the Vedic philosophy, one is not completely dressed unless one is wearing a smile on the face.

Smiling and loving are the keys to internal happiness and peace. Developing this as a habit keeps one cool even in difficult situations. The simplest way is to start smiling as a habit, and later on, it will get incorporated as part of one’s consciousness. The attitude in life should be “even this bad time will pass away”.

According to the law of karma, one has to pay one’s debts. It is better to pay it now in the form of a temporary sickness than to accumulate it and get permanent disabling sicknesses later, making one bedridden during one’s last days of life.

Every action, good or bad, should be taken as an opportunity to learn and should be analyzed in terms that it is still better than the worst which could have happened.

One has to learn to live in the present and not regret about the past and worry about the future. Worry is not for the past or present but for an imaginary future. By worrying for the future, one spoil the present, and it is the present which shapes the future. Instead of asking yourself, “What I want to do?” one should ask, “What is right for me to do?”

There’s a proverb in Hindi – ek anaar sau bimaar: one pomegranate (anaar) [cures] one hundred illnesses or one pomegranate can serve one hundred sick people. It is a good antioxidant, enriches blood (red blood cells count, hemoglobin), good for heart and blood circulation.

Resveratrol, a compound found in grapes, red wine, pomegranates and certain other foods protects the heart and slow the effects of aging.

Tests in mice have shown that that low doses of resveratrol mimic the effects of caloric restriction. Diets with 20 percent to 30 percent fewer calories have been shown to extend life span. These findings are reported in Public Library of Science One. Earlier studies have shown that high doses of resveratrol prevent early death in mice fed a high-fat diet.

About the author: Dr K K Aggarwal is Padmashri and Dr B C Roy National Awardee, President Heart Care Foundation of India, Dean Board of Medical Education Moolchand Medcity, Sr. Physician & Cardiologist, Chairman Ethics Committee Delhi Medical Council, Visiting professor Clinical Research DIPSAR, Past President Delhi Medical Association and Past Academic and Research Wing Heads IMA.

Today the only thing observed in Navratre is food-fast for nine days and most of us either do not eat anything or eat only limited food during these days.

Fast does not mean ‘not eating’. Rather it basically means controlling the desires and simultaneously cultivating positive mental attitudes. Desires can be of many types. Desires to eat tasty food, desires to smell, desire to listen to a particular music, desire to watch beautiful things, etc.

Fast therefore can be of many types. Food fast means controlling the desires for food items which you otherwise may not resist to eat. Eye fast means, not watching things which are Rajsic in nature. Ear fast means avoiding listening to Rajsic (stimulating) music. Action fast means not indulging into activities which stimulates and creates Rajsic thoughts in the mind, and speech fast means not speaking anything evil, etc.

In Navratre during the first, three days, a person is required to indulge into activities which reduce the negativity in the body. The physical purification involves regular bath (of the external body as well as various orifices); mental bath which involve self-confession exercises, and willful attempts not to think negative. During these three days, a person tries to restrain himself from thinking, speaking or doing any activity which can harm the other person. The five obstacles to internal happiness are attachment, anger, desire, greed and ego. A person tries to restrain from all these negativities. These negative thoughts should also not be suppressed or repressed as otherwise they will manifest into some internal diseases.

The next three days, after the negativity in the mind has been reduced, involves building positivity in the mind by way of various positive mental exercises. These involve mixing up with people, sharing, giving, donating, socializing, reception, etc. Cultivating an opposite thought to a negative thought in the mind is the easiest way of tackling the negative thought. Calling all the people you know during these three days helps in creating social health.

The same was taught by Gandhi Ji as “ do not see evil, do not hear evil and do not speak evil”

The last three days involves reading and understanding good scriptures and learning from the sins of others.

Once you have concurred the negativity in the first three days (representing Kali) and have built up happiness and positivity in the mind (representing Lakshmi) the only thing left is to acquire spiritual knowledge (representing Saraswati). During these last three days a person is purified enough to understand and grasp the knowledge of ‘Self’ and to understands and discriminate between good and bad. One also learns to stay cool irrespective of the face of life being joyful or disturbing. One learns to continue his actions while detaching it with the results.

After the nine days of self-discipline is complete, the person acquires inner happiness which is nothing but one’s exposure or appointment with the true self or the consciousness ( Rama). That is what Dusshera is with killing of Tamas ( Kumbhakarana), Rajas ( Meghnath) and ego (Ravana).

And the birth of consciousness is equivalent to being in touch with birth of Lord Rama which is called “Ramnavmi”. Hence we should celebrate Ramnavmi as a disciplined way of acquiring internal happiness and not as a forced nine days of fasting.

The same interpretation lies in the Navratre ending up with Dusshera the win over the ego and attaining inner happiness.

About the author: Dr K K Aggarwal is Padmashri and Dr B C Roy National Awardee, President Heart Care Foundation of India, Dean Board of Medical Education Moolchand Medcity, Sr. Physician & Cardiologist, Chairman Ethics Committee Delhi Medical Council, Visiting professor Clinical Research DIPSAR, Past President Delhi Medical Association and Past Academic and Research Wing Heads IMA.

A Harvard study published in the The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition by Dr. Luc Djousse has shown that consuming more than six eggs a week seems to raise the risk of dying from all causes and diabetics seem to face an even higher mortality risk. Diabetics might somehow convert dietary cholesterol more readily into blood cholesterol than people without diabetes.

They studied more than 21,000 men ranging 40-86 years for twenty years who had participated in a Physician’s Health Study and found that more eggs diabetic men consumed, the more they increased their risk for death.

In the study eating seven or more eggs a week among healthy study participants was linked to a 23 percent higher risk of death.  The mortality risk was much higher among those doctors with diabetes. Consuming seven or more eggs a week doubled their risk of death from all causes, compared with diabetic doctors who ate just one egg each week.

Advocators of eggs say that eggs are a source of minerals, folate, B vitamins, protein and monounsaturated fats — all of which have the potential to lower overall risk. Also the small adverse effect of an egg on “bad” cholesterol is counterbalanced by potential beneficial effects on “good” cholesterol, and by other nutrients including antioxidants, folate, and unsaturated fat. Good, or high-density, cholesterol protects blood vessels against plaque deposits. They also speculate that eating eggs instead of carbohydrate-rich foods may decrease harmful blood sugar and insulin responses.

American Heart Association and the American Dietetic Association advise most people to avoid more than an egg or two a week. However one can consume the white of an egg on a daily basis as it is a good source of first class proteins.

About the author: Dr K K Aggarwal is Padmashri and Dr B C Roy National Awardee, President Heart Care Foundation of India, Dean Board of Medical Education Moolchand Medcity, Sr. Physician & Cardiologist, Chairman Ethics Committee Delhi Medical Council, Visiting professor Clinical Research DIPSAR, Past President Delhi Medical Association and Past Academic and Research Wing Heads IMA.