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Dr K K Aggarwal

Why do We Worship the Tulsi Plant?

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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Yanmule sarvatirhaani
Yannagre sarvadevataa
Yanmadhye sarvavedaascha
Tulasi taam namaamyaham

“I bow to the Tulsi, At whose base are all the holy places, At whose top reside all the deities and In whose middle are all the Vedas.”

The Tulsi or Sacred Basil is one of the most sacred plants. There is a Sanskrit: “Tulanaa naasti athaiva tulsi” that which is incomparable in its qualities is the tulsi. It is the only pooja samagri which can be washed and reused.

Satyabhama once weighed Lord Krishna against all her legendary wealth. The scales did not balance until a last single tulsi leaf was placed along with the wealth on the scale by Rukmini with devotion. Thus, tulsi played the vital role of demonstrating that even a small object offered with devotion is of greater value than all the wealth in the world.

The Tulsi leaf has great medicinal value and is used to cure various ailments, including the common cold. Tulsi seeds are good for male infertility and increase the viscosity of semen and sperm counts. It has detoxifying properties and is used in fasts including the Satynarayana Katha where a thousand tulsi leaves are added to the water for pooja, and which is consumed later by everybody.

Tulsi also symbolizes Goddess Lakshmi. Those who wish to be righteous and have a happy family life worship the tulsi. Tulsi is ‘married’ to Lord Vishnu with pomp and show like any other wedding. This ‘marriage’ is solemnised because according to a legend, the Lord blessed her to be His consort. Tulsi is worshipped in the months of Magh and Kartik. Tulsi vivah is observed in the month of Kartik and is the symbolic marriage of Lord Vishnu in the form of a shaligram (sacred stone) and Tulsi. It indicates the importance of Tulsi for fertility. Tulsi pooja is an important component of any marriage. (Suggestion: give the English equivalent months for magh and kartik)

Skin care

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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  1. Clean with soap and water.
  2. Moisturizers can make the skin dirty.
  3. Dryness is better than being dirty.
  4. No soap is a better soap.
  5. Glycerin is the safest moisturizer.
  6. One should rub hard but should not cause bruises.
  7. Soap emulsifies, therefore, one should remove 100% of surface part.
  8. Killing the normal flora of the skin is a bad idea. Therefore, do not use antiseptic soaps.
  9. Remember, Dettol does not kill pseudomonas infection.

Can creams and oils penetrate skin?

  1. The answer is no.
  2. Oil cannot be absorbed.
  3. Nutrition cannot be absorbed from the skin.
  4. Almond cannot be absorbed from the skin.
  5. Unless the skin is damaged, nothing can be absorbed.
  6. For absorption, an occlusive dressing has to be used over a patch with a bandage, only then the drug can be absorbed. The bandage damages the skin because of preparation of moisturizer and heat. Any agent, which is irritating, can cause inflammation, erosion and then only a drug can be absorbed.
  7. If the skin is damaged, it can cause inflammation and can cause dermal pigmentation.
  8. Ultrasound techniques can be used to increase absorption.
  9. Newer drugs are getting absorbed through nano techniques.

How to Remove Negative Thoughts

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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Darkness is absence of light and similarly negative thoughts are absence of positive thoughts. The answer to negative thoughts is to bring back positive thoughts. An ideal mind is a devil’s workshop and will always think negative.

Here are some ways by which you can remove negative thoughts.

• Think differently as taught by Adi Shankaracharya. Once Menaka approached Arjuna with lust and said that she wanted to have a son like him with him. Arjuna said that why wait for 25 years consider me as you son from today.

• Think opposite as taught by Patanjali. For example if you are having a though to steal, silently start thinking of charity.

• Think positive as taught by Buddha. Make a list of positive actions to be done today as the first thing in the morning and concentrate on that list. Divert your mind to the pending works. It’s a type of behavioral therapy.

What type of a vegetarian are you?

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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There are 4 main types of vegetarian diets

  1. Lacto–ovo–vegetarian consumes dairy products and eggs but no meat, poultry, or seafood
  2. Lacto–vegetarian eats dairy products but not eggs, meat, poultry, or seafood
  3. Ovo–vegetarian eats eggs but no dairy products, meat, poultry, or seafood
  4. Vegan does not eat any animal products, including meat, fish, poultry, eggs, and dairy products; many vegans will also avoid honey.

Vegetarian and plant–based diets are associated with a reduced risk of obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and some types of cancer as well as increased longevity. Vegetarian diets are typically lower in fat, particularly saturated fat, and higher in dietary fiber. They are also likely to include more whole grains, legumes, nuts, and soy protein, and together with the absence of red meat, this type of eating plan may provide many benefits for the prevention and treatment of obesity and chronic health problems, including diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

You Are the Temple of God and the Spirit of the God Dwells in You

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

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

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

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

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

Give BP drugs at night

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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Blood pressure drugs should be taken at night.

Uncontrolled blood pressure can lead to heart attacks, paralysis and heart failure. Most such attacks occur in the early morning hours. Pulse, blood pressure and thickening of platelets are all higher in the early morning hours.

Controlling early morning blood pressure can reduce cardiovascular mortality.

According to a study published in the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology, among patients with chronic kidney disease and high blood pressure, taking at least one antihypertensive drug at bedtime significantly improves blood pressure control, with an associated decrease in risk for cardiovascular events.

The study included 661 patients with chronic kidney disease who were randomly assigned either to take all prescribed anti BP drugs on awakening or to take at least one of them at bedtime. Patients were followed for a median of 5.4 years; during that time, patients who took at least 1 BP–lowering drug at bedtime had approximately one third of the cardiac risk compared with those who took all medications on awakening.

A similar significant reduction in cardiac deaths, heart attacks and paralysis was noted with bedtime dosing. Patients taking their medications at bedtime also had a significantly lower mean BP while sleeping.

For each 5 mmHg decrease in mean sleep–time systolic upper BP, there was a 14% reduction in the risk for cardiovascular events during follow–up.

Potential explanation for the benefit of night time treatment may be associated with the effect of night time treatment on urinary albumin excretion levels. Urinary albumin excretion is significantly reduced after bedtime, but not morning, treatment.

Music as a Drug

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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Our body is the largest pharmaceutical group in the world and has the capacity to heal each and every disease. The very fact that there is a receptor for every drug in the body means that the body has the capacity to produce that drug. Music is one such modality, which can heal by initiating various chains of chemical reactions in the body.

• Chanting vowels produces interleukin 2 in the body, which works like a painkiller.
• Chanting nasal consonants produces tranquilizers in the body.
• Sounds like LUM are associated with fear, VUM with attachments, RUM with doubt, YUM with love, HUM with truthfulness and AUM with non–judgmental.
• Various chemicals can be produced in the body by chanting of various vowels and consonants.
• Nasal consonants are vibrant sounds and produce vibrations of the autonomic plexus causing balance between sympathetic and parasympathetic states. More the nasal consonants in music, the more will be its relaxing healing power.
• Listening to overtone chanting in music can also heal people in the vicinity of the music.
• Recitation of music can also increase or decrease the respiratory rate of the singer. Lyrics which reduce respiratory rate will lead to parasympathetic healing activity. The respiratory rate of a listener too can increase and decrease if he is absorbed in the song.
• Listening to a song word by word and by understanding its meaning can also change the biochemistry of the listener. A song can create an excitement or a feeling of depression.
• A song can also work like intent by speaking in the form of prayers. Group prayers can have powerful affects and convert intent into reality through the concept of spontaneous fulfillment of desire.
• Music is often linked with dance, both classical and western, which provides additional healing.
• Gestures, mudras, bhavs and emotions associated with songs produce parasympathetic state in both the singer and the listener.

Food poisoning with rice dishes

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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Staph and Bacillus cereus can cause acute food poisoning within 6 hours of ingestion of food. B. cereus is likely when rice is the culprit

  • B. cereus is able to persist in food processing environments due to its ability to survive at extreme temperatures as well as its ability to form biofilms and spores.
  • B. cereus has been recovered from a wide range of foods, including rice, dairy products, spices, bean sprouts and other vegetables.
  • Fried rice is an important cause of emetic–type food poisoning associated with B. cereus
  • The organism is frequently present in uncooked rice, and heat–resistant spores may survive cooking.
  • Cooked rice subsequently at room temperature can allow vegetative forms to multiply, and the heat–stable toxin that is produced can survive brief heating such as stir frying
  • Two distinct types of toxin–mediated food poisoning are caused by B. cereus, characterized by either diarrhea or vomiting, depending on which toxin is involved. The diarrheal toxin is produced by vegetative cells in the small intestine after ingestion of either bacilli or spores. The emetic toxin is ingested directly from contaminated food. Both toxins cause disease within 24 hours of ingestion.
  • The emetic syndrome is caused by direct ingestion of the toxin.
  • The number of viable spores and vegetative bacteria that produce diarrheal toxin is reduced by heating, although spores associated with emetic toxin are capable of surviving heat processing.
  • Cereulide is heat stable and resistant to gastric conditions.
  • The ingested toxin itself may therefore cause disease despite sufficient heating to kill B cereus.
  • The emetic syndrome is characterized by abdominal cramps, nausea, and vomiting. Diarrhea also occurs in about one–third of individuals. Symptom onset is usually within one to five hours of ingestion, but it can also occur within half an hour and up to six hours after ingestion of contaminated food.
  • Symptoms usually resolve in 6 to 24 hours.
  • Rice-based dishes in particular have been implicated in emetic toxin mediated disease, usually as a result of cooling fried rice dishes overnight at room temperature followed by reheating the next day.
  • The infective dose of cereulide required to cause symptoms is 8 to 10 micrograms per kilogram of body weight.

What is the importance of life force?

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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A physical body becomes useless once the life force is gone. The same body, which was lovable to everyone, becomes a liability after death. Everyone wants to dispose it as early as possible as keeping a dead body at home is considered a bad omen.

During the transfer of dead body from one place to another nobody wants to keep the body in a vehicle other than a hearse van, meant to transport dead bodies. No family would be willing to carry the dead body of a person in a car in which the deceased person had been traveling or driving for years.

May be for any reason, health or rituals, once you touch a dead body you are required to take a bath before you commence your daily routine.

Within a matter of hours in absence of life force, the physical body starts disintegrating and in a matter of days, it shows signs of self–destruction and putrefaction.

This vital force is nothing but the soul, aatma, brahma, spirit or consciousness described in different Vedic texts.

Aadi Shankaracharya in his book Bhaja Govindam shloka 6 says:

yávat–pavano nivasati dehe
távat–pøcchati kuùalam gehe,
gatavati váyau dehápáye
bháryá bibhyati tasmin káye.(6)

“Till the life force remains in the body, people come and enquire about your welfare. But, the moment the life force goes out, even your wife is afraid of coming anywhere near your body”.

Life force can be equated to the network of information in computer, radio, television or mobile phone. All these gazettes without a data are useless and are thrown away. This silent data retrievable by operational and application software represent the life force or soul of these electronic gadgets.

Shankara says that as one does not give importance to a computer without data one should not give importance to the physical body. It is the life force within the body which is respected and cared for and that is what real “I” or “We” are. All glories of the body are only until the life force remains in it. In Bhagavad–Gita, Lord Krishna in Chapter 2 (2.23) says about this life force or ataman “fire cannot burn it, weapon cannot cut it, water cannot wet it, air cannot dry it, it is immortal”.

The most defined relationship in Vedic text is between husband and wife. The very fact even a wife after death does not want to touch the husband signifies the importance of life force.

The life force has no dimensions: height, weight, color or image. It is immortal, omnipotent, omniscient and omnipresent. The weight of a live and a dead body immediately after the death is the same.

It is the same life force, which dwells in everybody and during life is modified by the action, memory and desire cycle. If one gets attached to any of the three, then one starts getting detached from the soul or the life force. People who are in touch with their life force all the time attain peace and happiness and die young in old age.

Most Vedic mahavakyas talk about, that it is the same spirit, which dwells in everybody and hence every person in the society should be welcomed and treated with equal importance. Ahambrahmasami, tatwamasi, vasudeva kutumbakam, etc. are a few of the examples.

According to Aadi Shankara, one can achieve non-duality only by seeing God in everyone. Athithi–devo–bhava is also based on the same principle.

Malaria, Dengue, Chikungunya and Filaria are diseases spread by mosquitoes and are totally preventable. Here are a few tips to prevent them.

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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  • Both malaria and dengue mosquitoes bite during day time.
  • It is the female mosquito which bites.
  • Dengue mosquito takes three meals in a day while malaria mosquito takes one meal in three days.
  • Malaria may infect only one person in the family but dengue will invariably infect multiple members in the family in the same day.
  • Malaria fever often presents with chills and rigors. If the fever presents together with joint and muscle pains, one should suspect Chikungunya.
  • Both dengue and malaria mosquitoes grow in fresh water collected in the house.
  • The filaria mosquito grows in dirty water.
  • There should be no collections of water inside the house for more than a week.
  • Mosquito cycle takes 7–12 days to complete. So, if any utensils or containers that store water are cleaned properly once in a week, there are no chances of mosquito breeding.
  • Mosquitoes can lay eggs in money plant pots or in water tanks on the terrace if they are not properly covered.
  • If the water pots for birds kept on terraces are not cleaned every week, then mosquitoes can lay eggs in them.
  • Some mosquitoes can lay eggs in broken tires, broken glasses or any container where water can stay for a week.
  • Using mosquito nets/repellents in the night may not prevent malaria and dengue because these mosquitoes bite during the day time.
  • Both malaria and dengue mosquitoes do not make a sound. Therefore, mosquitoes that do not produce a sound do not cause diseases.
  • Wearing full sleeves shirt and trousers can prevent mosquito bites.
  • Mosquito repellent can be helpful during the day.
  • If you suspect that you have a fever, which can be malaria or dengue, immediately report to the doctor.
  • There are no vaccines for malaria and dengue.

Why are most temples located in faraway places?

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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Most temples represent God or the spirit or the deity located in the temple or mandir situated in an area at the outskirts of the city. A spiritual atmosphere is one that is devoid of pollution and which promotes rajasik or tamasik behavior. The silence of the spiritual atmosphere reduces the internal noise and helps us onward in our inner journey. The inner journey of being in touch with one’s consciousness requires detachment from worldly pleasures and the withdrawal of the five senses of the body

To be in touch with one’s consciousness one needs to bypass the disturbed state of consciousness controlled by emotion, memories and desires, through mind, intellect and ego. This bypass usually requires a prolonged period of persistence and undertaking the inward journey devoid of external stimuli. The parikrama, which means “the path surrounding something”, incorporating many long walks helps to detoxify the mind and thus shifts the consciousness from a disturbed state to an undisturbed, calm state.

A long walk not only offers physical benefits but one also gets the benefits of nature as one’s inner stimuli are exposed to the outer stimuli during the parikrama. The person is often required to walk bare foot on natural ground, inhale pure air and concentrate and listen to the sounds of the nature, birds and trees. This proximity to nature helps in the inward spiritual journey and shifts one from the sympathetic to parasympathetic mode described by lowering of blood pressure and pulse rate. The final happiness invariably comes from within us at the time of final darshan when a person invariably closes his eyes and experiences God within his heart.

Most temples today are being constructed in residential colonies and provide a holy atmosphere to people right at their doorstep. However, they do not have the same spiritual significance and benefits as a temple located at the outskirts of a city.

There is no way a person can go to a temple in the vicinity of his house and detoxify his mind as this can hardly be achieved in minutes unless you are a siddha yogi, and if you are one, you need not go to a temple as the temple is within you.

In Vedic texts, it has been clearly mentioned that to acquire powers and inner happiness, rishi, munis were also required to do tapasya for months and years together. This tells us that spiritual well–being is acquired over an extended period of time as the process of detoxification is a long drawn process. Cars and other vehicles should not be allowed near temples as the basic motive is to have a pollution–free atmosphere and to give time and space for the mind to detoxify.

Hepatitis A, E and Typhoid are the hygiene markers of a city

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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It is diseases such as jaundice with hepatitis A in children and E in adults, typhoid, cholera and gastroenteritis that reflect the hygiene status of a city and not the occurrence of dengue and malaria.

Food and water–borne diseases can be eradicated by the following public awareness formula: When in doubt follow the principle, “heat it, boil it, cook it, peel it or forget it”. This means that in an unhygienic environment, one can eat an orange or a banana but not tomato or apple. Other steps are:

  • Do not eat salad that has been left open for more than 2 hours even if it is washed properly.
  • Do not eat cooked food that has been left on the table for more than two hours.
  • Vegetables grown under the ground or over the surface of the ground should be washed properly before eating them raw. They may be the biggest source of worm infection in the brain, a condition called neurocysticercosis.
  • Boiled water is the safest water to drink.
  • Ice made from unhygienic water can be the source of most water–borne diseases.
  • It is our duty to keep our home and city as clean as possible. We must regard our city as our extended home, a garden as our farmhouse and roads as are our personal walking tracks.

Most food and water–borne diseases are self–inflicted and can be managed by a simple step of washing the hands before and after using the toilet and before and after consuming any food.

Meditation can change the genes

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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The cave of Amarnath was chosen by Lord Shiva to narrate the secrets of meditation, immortality and creation of Universe to Parvati.

A spiritual journey requires a spiritual frame of mind and a commitment of 7–10 days for self purification. Most spiritual destinations are located at up into mountains to provide a pollution free environment and involve a difficult travel so that nobody can reach the destination before 7–10 days.

This duration helps in controlling the mind, intellect, ego and getting rid of the desires, attachments and greed.

On the path of spiritual journey as one is travelling alone without carrying the worldly attachments, one invariably reaches the destination in a positive state of mind and in a meditative phase to experience the truth of life and answers to unanswered questions.

Ten ways to ease neck pain

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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  1. Don’t stay in one position for too long.
  2. Position your computer monitor at eye level.
  3. Use the hands–free function on your phone or wear a headset.
  4. Prop your touch–screen tablet on a pillow so that it sits at a 45° angle, instead of lying flat on your lap.
  5. Keep your glass prescription up to date otherwise you tend to lean your head back to see better.
  6. Don’t use too many pillows as they can stifle your neck’s range of motion.
  7. Before you move a big armoire across the room, consider what it might do to your neck and back, and ask for help.
  8. Get a good night’s sleep.

Mindfulness meditation

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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Sit on a straight–backed chair or cross-legged on the floor.

Focus on an aspect of your breathing, such as the sensation of air flowing into your nostrils and out of your mouth, or your belly rising and falling as you inhale and exhale.

Once you’ve narrowed your concentration in this way, begin to widen your focus. Become aware of sounds, sensations, and ideas.

Embrace and consider each thought or sensation without judging it good or bad. If your mind starts to race, return your focus to your breathing. Then expand your awareness again.