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Dr K K Aggarwal

Maharishi Mahesh Yogi in his teachings said “Pragyapradh or ‘mistake of the intellect’ occurs when the intellect, drawn towards and influenced by material consciousness, loses connection with the wholeness of consciousness. And this happens when we stop being centered within ourselves.”

Dr Deepak Chopra in Perfect Health wrote: “Aging is ‘a mistake of the intellect’. This mistake consists of identifying oneself solely with the physical body.”

Dr Ram Kant Mishra wrote: “The Ayurveda texts define the source of all disease and suffering as Pragyapradh. This occurs when individuals (or even single cells) ‘forget’ their connection with the wholeness of life and believe themselves to be isolated entities. Creating, and then eating, genetically engineered foods expose us to Pragyapradh”.

 In Ayurveda, the origin of all disease is traced to “Pragyapradh”, a term which means “mistake of the intellect”. This term comprises of two words i.e. “Pragya” meaning intellect and “parade” meaning crime, thus giving the complete meaning as ‘doing wrong things in spite of knowing about their negative side effects or consequences that will lead to a disease’.

In Ayurveda, it is said that Pragyapradh is the main cause of a disease, especially janpadodhwans (epidemic diseases).

 The various mistakes performed by the intellect can be classified into three groups:

  • Dhi (intellectual) or ‘due to lack of intellect or ignorance’. It refers to diseases occurring due to ignorance. For example a person not knowing the bad effects of alcohol indulges in it.
  • Dhriti (awareness) or ‘when one does wrong things in spite of the awareness’. For example, when a person knows that smoking is bad for health but is still addicted to it and is unable to leave it due to his craving or weak will power.
  • Smriti (memory) or ‘smrutivibhrast, which refers to the onset of ailment due to loss of memory. For example, a person who is aware of the bad effects of refined carbohydrates decides not to eat them in future but eats them forgetting his resolution not to eat.

 In all these situations, the body is controlled by the intellect and the ego and not by the soul and one is not taking decisions from the level of consciousness.

Mistake of the intellect involves disobeying the laws of nature. There are three common mistakes listed in the Vedantic literature, namely attachment (or addiction), desires (weak will power) and show off (ego).

The basic description of above comes from the Epic Ramayana where attachment is represented by Kaikeyi, desires or greed by the golden deer Marich, and the ego by Ravana. If any one of them would have been absent, Ramayana could not have taken place.

Today we know that addictions to refined carbohydrates, tobacco, drugs and alcohol are responsible for most lifestyle disorders. Desires and greed are responsible for our nibbling habit at functions. And showing-off in parties and marriage gatherings makes us choose costlier fruits and vegetables which are non-seasonal and not grown locally and, hence, unnatural.

1.   According to study in Oct. 24 in the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology, taking blood pressure drugs at bedtime is the best.

2.   The study involved 661 patients with chronic kidney disease and hypertension.

3.   Half of them took the prescribed drugs at bedtime and half took the drug first thing in the morning.

4.   At 5.4 years, patients who took at least one blood pressure-lowering drug at bedtime had better control of their blood pressure and were about one-third as likely to suffer a heart-related event such as heart attack, heart failure or stroke.

1. Chhath puja is mainly observed in Bihar and Nepal. Bihar has a number of Sun temples, flanked by a surajkund or sacred pool of the Sun.

2. It is a ritual bathing festival that follows a period of abstinence and ritual segregation of the worshiper (parvaitin) from the main household for four days. The parvaitin observes ritual purity, and sleeps on the floor on a single blanket.

3. This is the only festival which has no involvement of any priest.

4. The devotees offer their prayers to the setting sun, and then the rising sun.

5. It is the most glorious form of Sun worship.

6. The main worshipers (parvaitin) are women.

7. The parvaitin pray for the well-being of their family, for prosperity and for offspring.

8. The prasad offerings include sweets (Thekua) and fruit offered in small bamboo winnows.

9. The food is strictly vegetarian and it is cooked without salt, onions or garlic.

10. Day 1: Nahay khay (bathe and eat): The parvaitin take a dip in river. The house is cleaned. Only one meal is eaten and contains “kaddu-bhat” or channa dal, and arwa chawal (rice).

11. Day 2: Kharna (the day before Chhath): On Panchami, the parvaitins observe a fast till evening a little after sunset. Just after the worship of earth, the offerings of Rasiao-kheer (rice delicacy), puris (puffs of wheat flour) and bananas, are distributed. From time onwards, for the next 36 hours, the parvaitin goes on a fast without water.

12. Day 3: Chhath: Sanjhiya Arghya (evening offerings): The day is spent preparing the Prasad (offerings) at home. Offerings (Argh) are made in the evening to the setting sun. In the night a colorful event of Kosi is held. Here, lighted earthen lamps are kept under a canopy of five sugarcane sticks. The five sticks signify the human body made of five elements.

13. Day 4: Parna (day after Chhath): Bihaniya Aragh (next morning offerings): On this final day the parvaitin with family go to the riverbank before sunrise and offer (Aragh) to the rising sun. The festival ends with the breaking of the fast.

Science behind the pooja

1.Sun worship in Kartik month is related to absorption of vitamin D

2. Vitamin comes from UVB rays

3. These rays are predominant at sun set and sun rise

4. Vitamin D deficiency today is running like an epidemic in the society

5. Vitamin D is sued for absorbing calcium from the food.

6. All the food items used in this pooja are high in calcium.

7. Kartik is also high fertility months. Vitamin D deficiency is linked to infertility.

8. In fasting state natural calcium is better absorbed.

9. Patients with compromised kidneys should not do this fast.

10. Fast is never broken with feast. This fast is usually broken with ginger and jaggery.

There is no link between long-term use of mobiles and brain tumors finds new research published online in the British Medical Journal. In this largest study on the subject to date, Danish researchers found no evidence that the risk of brain tumors was raised among 358,403 mobile phone subscribers over an 18-year period.

The International Agency for Research on Cancer recently classified radio frequency electromagnetic fields, as emitted by mobile phones, as possibly carcinogenic to humans.

The only cohort study investigating mobile phone use and cancer to date is a Danish nationwide study comparing cancer risk of all 420,095 Danish mobile phone subscribers from 1982 until 1995, with the corresponding risk in the rest of the adult population with follow-up to 1996 and then 2002. This study found no evidence of any increased risk of brain or nervous system tumors or any cancer among mobile phone subscribers. The researchers, led by the Institute of Cancer Epidemiology in Copenhagen, continued this study up to 2007. Overall, 10,729 central nervous system tumors occurred in the study period 1990-2007. When the figures were restricted to people with the longest mobile phone use — 13 years or more — cancer rates were almost the same in both long-term users and non-subscribers of mobile phones.

Dr KK comments:  In India the implications would be different as passive mobile radiation rate is very high.  The study also did not take into account the number of hours use per day and the same will be much higher in Indians. Most people are studying the effect of mobiles on brain cancer but what about all types of cancers. We are seeing a substantial increase in the number and types of cancers in India.  Apart from mobile radiations one must also study the additional effects of microwave radiations, X- ray radiations, active and passive smoking etc in explain the high occurrence of cancers.

When I joined my medical college at Sevagram, my first encounter with ‘silence’ was with Acharya Vinoba Bhave who was observing one year silence. During this period, he was participating in all activities but not speaking.

My second encounter was when I heard about Vipasana meditation where people are made to observe silence for ten days with no communication with the outer world. Same times of retreats I came across being organized by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi and Dr. Deepak Chopra across the world.

Maharishi Mahesh Yogi also used to go into silence for one month before his birthday. Now we have seen Anna Hazare going the Vinoba Bhave way and observing silence over a period of time for self purification.

In his Seven Spiritual Laws of Success, Dr. Deepak Chopra also recommends observing a silence for ½ an hour every day.

There is a difference between observing silence and Vipasana Meditation. When you are observing silence but doing your usual activities like reading and watching TV, communicating in written language, you are not in meditation phase but still you follow the principles of Buddha’s laws of speech that is to speak only if it is necessary based on truthfulness and kindness.

There are two types of communications “Violent” and “Non-violent”. In meditative silence, you are in a phase of non-violence in your communication with the outer world. In non-meditative silence, you can still have violence in your facial expressions but when you communicate in writing, you invariably go from a violent to non-violent mode of communication. Your turmoil of thoughts is less; you shift from sympathetic mode to parasympathetic mode. It also shifts your stress levels.

In a normal conversation, the speech is from the mind but when you are communicating in writing, you think before you speak.

When you are not speaking but expressing through your emotions, your communication is violent; your respiratory rate will increase.

In both, when you observing silence over a period of time or when you are doing meditative silence, you go into the yogic state of Ritam Bhara and Pragya where you are in connection with the macrocosm. This increases your creativity and spiritual powers.

By observing silence, you have an appointment with your body in parasympathetic state and are able to take more conscious based decisions than impulsive ego based decisions.

In silence, you may be communicating to others but in meditative silence, your communication is with self.

Today (Oct 29) is World Stroke Day and all doctors should revise their ABCs of stroke.

ABC for stroke prevention is

1.     Aspirin for people at risk

2.     Blood Pressure control

3.     Cholesterol management.

Most people are not taking the precautions

a. Less than 50% of those who should be taking daily aspirin take it

b. Less than 50% of those with high blood pressure have it under control.

c. Less than 33% of those with high cholesterol are on effective treatment

d. Less than 25% of those who smoke get help to quit when they see their doctor.

World Stroke Day is part of the Million Hearts campaign. The goal of the campaign is to cut the rate of heart attacks and stroke by one million over the next five years.

Someone in the U.S. alone has a stroke every 40 seconds. Stroke is one of the country’s leading causes of death.

1. Bhai Dooj is celebrated two days after Diwali.

2. Like Raksha Bandhan it’s a day dedicated to the sacred love between a brother and sister.

3. Both Raksha Bandhan and Bhai Dooj festival falls in Chaturmas one at the start and the other at the end of this four months of negative state of mind. The Jagannath Yatra (another festival of love between brother and sister where Krishna is worshipped with his sister Subhadra) is also held in Chaturmas. All three festivals also signifies purification of mind, getting it lust free and reminding the people a sacred relationship between men and women

4.The festival is known as “Bhav-Bij” in Marathi and “Bhai-Tika” in Nepal.

5.   On Bhai Dooj sisters pray for the wellbeing and prosperity of their brothers by putting tika/tilak (vermilion spot) on their forehead and offer sweets (healthy) and perform a ritual of taking their ‘AArti’. The brother offers gifts as an expression of love. Some sister may fast on this day; gifts often involve rice, new grass, aab’ (a length of flax, knotted into a circular shape and dotted with sugar batashas) etc. In Bihar the ritual starts with cursing her brother, before asking for his forgiveness.

6.   Rice in mythology symbolizes with fulfilled desires and again this ritual on this day signifies a non lust based sacred relationship between a man and a woman.

  1. Bottle gourd belongs to the cucumber or cucurbitaceae family. Lauki or bottle gourd (Lagenaria siceraria) fruit juice is advocated as a part of complementary and alternative medicine. If the bottle gourd juice becomes bitter it is considered toxic. The Indian Journal of Gastroenterology has reported 15 patients, who developed toxicity due to drinking bitter bottle gourd juice. Patients presented with abdominal pain, vomiting, blood in vomit, diarrhea and hypotension within 15 min to 6 hours after ingestion of the bottle gourd juice. (Indian J Gastroenterol 2011 Oct 11. Epub ahead of print)
  2. First, slice a piece from bottle gourd, taste if it’s bitter. If it’s bitter, discard it immediately, as per ICMR.
  3. Dr S K Sharma, Head, Dept. of Medicine at AIIMS: Lauki juice should not be mixed with any other juice.
  4. Like other members of the gourd family, the bottle gourd contains the tetracyclic triterpenoid cucurbitacins compound, which is responsible for the bitter taste that can cause serious side-effects and even death.
  5. Boiled and cooked bottle gourd has no risk.




The mistake of the Intellect is responsible for the disturbed state of mind. Even if the mind is under control the intellect can disturb the mind. It is the discriminative faculty of the mind and can be very destructive. It is the main cause of ignorance. External desires and the uncontrolled five senses are responsible for it. Kama Krodha Lobha Moha are the causative factors.

In mythology Krishna won over the intellect- symbolized by the King Indra, the one who controls the indriyas and the senses.  Goverdhan pooja is the example of winning over the intellect. The same can only be done by one point concentration on the object of concentration. Krishna raised the mountain (the problem) on his one finger (one point determination) to save the people from heavy rains (turmoil of thoughts).

It means taking one point decision (one finger) whenever the mind is indecisive (Mountain) with multiple possibilities (rain).

Only when the mind body and soul are purified after one month Yagna (first Navratre to Diwali) one can use his or her intellect to tale one point decisions.

Goverdhan pooja can also be understood by the following story.

Once a disciple asked his Guru the difference between girl friend and wife. The Guru asked him to go to the tomato field and pick up the largest and most coloured tomato but put a condition that once he has crossed one line he cannot return back.

The disciple went and saw a large tomato in the first row. He went ahead and found a larger tomato in the next row. Thinking that the subsequent rows will have still larger tomato he went on further and further. In the seventh row he found a very large red tomato but in search of finding a still larger tomato he left it and went to next row only to find smaller and smaller tomatoes in the subsequent rows and ultimately came empty handed. The GURU said it is the example of search for a girl friend.

Four days later the Guru asked the disciple to do the same exercise again. This time in the fifth row the disciple found a very large red tomato, got satisfied, plucked it and came back. When the guru asked why he did not search further, he said that that once he decided on that tomato his mental turmoil to search further stopped. It did not bother him anymore that a still larger tomato may have been ahead. The Guru said this is an example of the search if a wife.

Goverdhan pooja means stopping your search at some point and getting satisfied with what you get or learning to make a stop to all your desires at some point in your life.

Annakoot festival is observed on the day of Goverdhan Pooja after Diwali. There are many mythological scientific descriptions for this pooja.

1.  On this day, there is a change in the season so is change in the availability of fruits and vegetables in the market. On the day of Annakoot, people cook all types of outgoing and incoming vegetables and eat them. It reminds people that this is the last day for eating these outgoing vegetables for health reasons.

2.  Annakoot emphasizes the importance of eating mixed vegetables. It is traditionally said that one should eat all seven colours and six tastes. Mixed vegetables provide all vitamins.

3.   Annakoot is observed after Diwali. During Diwali people eat a lot of heavy food with predominant sweet taste. On the day of Annakoot eating a diet predominant in vegetables (bitter and green taste) help in balancing the imbalance caused by heavy sugary food items during Diwali.

4.  In mythology it is also said that on this day, a mountain heap is created of all the cooked vegetables, eaten and distributed. It also indicates that from now onwards, one should eat only light food and distribute the leftovers.

Diwali is celebrated on the day of Amavasya but the festival is symbolized by inner happiness, lighting or Purnima.

Moon in mythology is symbolized by cool positive thoughts. Normally on the day of Amavasya one encounters negatives thoughts and on the day of Purnima positive thoughts.

Diwali is the only day in a year where one experiences positive thoughts on the day of Amavasya, hence some people believes Diwali symbolizes Diwali with inner Purnima and out Amavasya.

Diwali celebrations also coincide with the terminal phase of Chaturmas, the four months of negative state of mind.

The purification process in Chaturmas starts with 1st Navratre falling on Amavasya. During these nine days one undergoes mind, body and soul detoxification by not thinking negative, doing positive things and acquiring soul based knowledge.

The mind, body detoxification during Navratre ends with killing of Tamas (Kumbhakarna), Rajas (Meghnath) and ego (Ravan) and of consciousness (Rama) over the evil.

These benefits do not lead to inner Moksha or happiness until 20 days, the day of Diwali. In order to continue getting benefits of Navratre one needs to fast with positive state of mind every fourth day till Diwali.

On Sharad Purnima, the fast involves thinking positive with a cool mind to get health benefits. Four days later, on Karvachauth again, one fasts and worships the Moon with positive thoughts and acquires longevity benefits. Four days later on Ahoi Ashtami again, one worships the moon and the stars with positive thoughts and acquires fertility benefits. On the day of Dhanteras one acquires a win over the fear of death (Yama). On this day, the fast involves deeper meditation (Samudra manthan) to get all the benefits of Samadhi.

At the end of the meditation in the state of Samadhi, one gets in touch with the consciousness or the God, the insight gets illuminated and a person experiences bliss, a state of ecstasy of inner happiness and that is what is called experiencing inner Purnima on the day of outer Amavasya and the festival is celebrated as Diwali.

Let us all worship this Diwali as a state of positive mental state. This one month of purification of thoughts helps one in combating the depression phase seen in winter.

Diwali is the only Amavasya where one does not do Shraadh pooja.  On Diwali Amavasya (falling in Chaturmas) one is allowed to start any new project. Even deaths on this Amavasya are considered auspicious (unlike on other Amavasya days).

1.  Gambling is mentioned on Diwali celebrations in the story of Mahabharata. It teaches us about taking calculated risk in life

2.  In Mahabharata it teaches that excess of everything is bad. If Yudhishtira had not risked Draupadi on that day while plying dice Mahabharata could not have been there. The same divine dice game became a vice for that moment.

3.   Even if you lose while gambling one should not lose the heart and take conscious based decisions. Krishna (consciousness) saving Draupadi (material things in life) means the same.

4.   On Diwali day one starts with new projects in life and taking calculated risks makes sense.

5.  Gambling on Diwali can be a symbolic game but should not become a vice.

6.   According to mythology Goddess Parvati enjoyed playing dice with Lord Shiva on this day.  It’s a popular saying that those who cling to virtue at this festival time, refusing to gamble, will be reborn as donkeys. Mean its foolishness not to take calculated risks in business.

7.   Loosing and winning is part of life and one must learn to balance the two states of mind.

Many people indulge in drinking alcohol on Diwali and gamble. It is the duty of the host to see that alcohol is not served to people who are going to drive back home themselves. They should take away their car keys and get them dropped by an arranged driver or by car poling.

After consumption of 30ml of alcohol (whiskey), one should not drive for the next one hour. For every subsequent 30 ml of alcohol, one should add one hour of not driving.

Alcohol takes away the power of judgment and one may end up with accidents.

Drunken driving and using a mobile while driving work like a Sone Pe Suhaga.

1.     The Air pollution during Diwali day can worsen Asthma or COPD in susceptible individuals.

2.     Asthmatics are advised to avoid smoky atmosphere and consult their doctor to take increased dose of regular medicines.

3.     The air pollution during Diwali does not by itself cause asthma in non-susceptible individuals.-

1.   Mithai or Sweets are usually made in transfats (Vanaspati) which lower the good cholesterol and increase bad cholesterol. Sweets are bad for patients with high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity or heart disease.

2.  Diwali sweets have very high content of white sugar and cause metabolic syndrome, insulin resistance and resultant rise in blood pressure, blood sugar and weight.

3.      The sweets may have non-permissible colours which may cause allergy (skin or lung). These colours may also be carcinogenic in the long run.

4. Most sweets are recycled from one family to another. The sweet packets are often left in the car for hours together and sometimes even overnight before getting distributed the next day. Any food items kept in the room temperature for more than two hours may not be good for the health.

5.  There may be adulteration in the ingredients used and may have harmful effects on the health depending upon the adulterant used.

6.  Most sweets are overeaten till they are finished. On the day Annakoot therefore it’s a tradition to neutralize the sweet taste by bitter vegetables taste but often the same is not followed.