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Dr K K Aggarwal

Why do we put on Tilak on the forehead?

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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The Tilak is a mark of auspiciousness and invokes a feeling of respect in the wearer and others. It is recognized as a religious mark. Its form and color vary according to one’s caste, religious sect or the form of worship of the person in question.

Tilak is applied on the forehead with sandal paste, sacred ash or kumkum, a red turmeric powder. In a wedding, a Kumkum tilak is applied on the forehead of both the bride and groom.

In earlier times, the four castes (based on varna or color) – Brahmana, Kshatriya, Vaishya and Shudra – applied marks differently. The Brahmin applied a white chandan mark signifying purity, as his profession was of a priestly or academic nature. The Kshatriya applied a red kumkum mark signifying valor as he belonged to the warrior race. The Vaishya wore a yellow kesar or turmeric mark signifying prosperity as he was a businessman or trader devoted to creation of wealth. The Shudra applied a black bhasma, kasturi or charcoal mark signifying service as he supported the work of the other three castes.

The devotees of Shiva apply sacred ashes (Bhasma) on the forehead as a Tripundra (three parallel horizontal lines); the devotees of Vishnu apply sandal paste (Chandan) in the shape of “U” and the worshippers of Devi or Shakti apply Kumkum.

The tilak is applied in the spot between the eyebrows, which is the seat of memory and thought. It is known as the Aajna Chakra in the language of Yoga. The Tilak is applied with the prayer – “May I remember the Lord. May this pious feeling pervade all my activities. May I be righteous in my deeds.” Even when we temporarily forget this prayerful attitude, the mark on another reminds us of our resolve. The tilak is thus a blessing of the Lord and a protection against wrong tendencies and forces. The entire body emanates energy in the form of electromagnetic waves – the forehead and the spot between the eyebrows especially so. That is why worry generates heat and causes a headache. The tilak cools the forehead, protects the wearer and prevents energy loss. Sometimes the entire forehead is covered with chandan or bhasma.

Using plastic reusable “stick bindis” is not very beneficial, even though it serves the purpose of decoration.

Signals of heart failure

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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One of the commonest presentations is breathlessness on exertion, which is often confused as a part of aging or being obese. Not being able to climb stairs may be the earliest sign of hypertensive diastolic heart failure. Other signals are:

• Feeling extra tired even after a good night’s sleep. People with heart failure may limit activities they like to do or take naps to avoid feeling tired.
• Weight gain: Call your doctor if you gain weight for more than 2 days in a row or if you gain 2 or more pounds.
• Shortness of breath: Heart failure makes breathing harder, especially during exercise. Lying position may make it worse.
• Swollen ankles, legs, belly, and/or lower back, the swelling is often worse at the end of the day.
• Going to the bathroom more at night.

Why do we Ring the Bell in a Temple?

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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The vibrations of the ringing bell also produce the auspicious primordial sound ‘Om’, thus creating a connection between the deity and the mind. As we start the daily ritualistic worship (pooja), we ring the bell, chanting:

Aagamaarthamtu devaanaam
gamanaarthamtu rakshasaam
Kurve ghantaaravam tatra
devataahvaahna lakshanam

“I ring this bell indicating the invocation of divinity, So that virtuous and noble forces enter (my home and heart); And the demonic and evil forces from within and without, depart.”

Guidelines on Health

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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• Keep your blood cholesterol less than 160 mg%. Even 1% reduction in cholesterol reduces the chances of heart attack by 2%.

• Uncontrolled diabetes and blood pressure can precipitate a heart attack. Keep these under check.

• Eat less, walk more.
• Regular exercise is good for health. The best exercise is ‘walking’, which is a brisker than brisk walking.
• Soya products are good for health. These should form an essential ingredient of the diet.
• Fruits are better than juices.
• Brown rice is better than polished rice and jaggery is better than white sugar.
• Eat high fiber diet.
• Driving and drinking do not go together.
• Pregnant women must not drink. It harms the baby in the womb.
• Get your health check-up done at least once in a year.
• Salt intake should be restricted.
• Avoid APC where A stands for achar, P for papad and C for chutney.

There is a ritual and tradition of offering food to God before eating

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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This is a Vedic reminder to oneself that one should eat only those foods that are offered to God. Each time you offer food to God, this reminder makes you change your decision and choices. For example, alcohol, tobacco, onion, garlic, radish, etc. are not offered to God. If they are part of your food, there are chances that you will not consume these food items, if you observe this ritual. Cheating is permitted out of 21 meals in a week. Over a period of time people have stopped following this ritual and now eat some foods, which cannot be offered to God in all their 21 meals. This is the reason why the incidence of lifestyle diseases is increasing in the community

Gaining weight losing strength versus losing weight gaining strength

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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When we gain weight, we must acquire more strength and when we lose weight, we must lose the strength. This is a fundamental principle. If we gain weight and feel weak, it is a disease and when we lose weight and gain strength, we are recovering from the disease. One should not gain more than 5kg of weight after the age of 20 years. Any weight gain after that will only be due to accumulation of fat, which leads to insulin resistance. Insulin resistance does not allow food to convert into energy. In the state of insulin resistance, whatever you eat is converted into fat. As it is not converted into energy, you feel weak. When you reduce insulin resistance by drugs or walking, the metabolism becomes normal and whatever you eat gets converted into energy and you start gaining strength.When we gain weight, we must acquire more strength and when we lose weight, we must lose the strength. This is a fundamental principle. If we gain weight and feel weak, it is a disease and when we lose weight and gain strength, we are recovering from the disease. One should not gain more than 5kg of weight after the age of 20 years. Any weight gain after that will only be due to accumulation of fat, which leads to insulin resistance. Insulin resistance does not allow food to convert into energy. In the state of insulin resistance, whatever you eat is converted into fat. As it is not converted into energy, you feel weak. When you reduce insulin resistance by drugs or walking, the metabolism becomes normal and whatever you eat gets converted into energy and you start gaining strength.

The 3 C’s: Don’t Criticize, Condemn, or Complain!

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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• Don’t Criticize, always look for positive in a person or a situation. There is always something positive in every situation.

• Don’t Condemn a situation (and a person) howsoever small it may be.

• Don’t Complain, unless it is a must.

You will not do any of the 3 Cs, if you are laughing. By avoiding the 3Cs, we avoid a lot of arguments that would usually naturally occur when you criticize, condemn or complain. If we criticize, condemn, complain, show resentment, or gossip about others, it comes back to “us.” If we praise, support, encourage and forgive others, this too comes back to us.

Smoking makes you 5 years older

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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Men have a greater chance of dying then women, and smoking increases any adult’s risk of death just as if five years were suddenly added to their age.

• For men who have never smoked, heart disease presents their greatest risk for death at any age, exceeding the odds of dying from lung, colon and prostate cancer combined.

• Male smokers face a lung cancer risk that is greater than the odds of heart disease taking their lives after age 60, and is tenfold higher than the chance of dying from prostate and colon cancer combined.

• The chances of dying from heart disease and breast cancer are similar for nonsmoking women until age 60, when heart disease becomes a greater risk.

• For female smokers, dying from lung cancer or heart disease is more likely than dying from breast cancer after age 40.

The science behind Bhai Dooj

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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Bhai Dooj is celebrated two days after Diwali. Like Raksha Bandhan, it is a day dedicated to the sacred love between a brother and sister. Both Raksha Bandhan and Bhai Dooj fall 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. The festival is known as “Bhav-Bij” in Marathi and “Bhai-Tika” in Nepal.

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 ‘Arti’. The brother offers gifts as an expression of love. Some sister observe 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. 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.

Annakoot emphasizes the importance of eating mixed vegetables

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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Annakoot festival is observed on the day of Govardhan Pooja after Diwali. There are many mythological scientific descriptions for this pooja.

• 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.

• 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.

• 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 green vegetables that are bitter in taste help undo the imbalance caused by heavy sugary food items during Diwali.

• 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.

What is the importance of Govardhan Pooja?

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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Mistakes of the Intellect are 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 and Moha are the causative factors.

In mythology, Krishna won over the intellect– symbolized by King Indra, the one who controls the indriyas and the senses. Govardhan 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 one finger (one point determination) to save people from heavy rains (turmoil of thoughts). This denotes 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 Navratri to Diwali), can one use his/her intellect to tale one point decisions.

Govardhan pooja can also be understood by the following story.

Once a disciple asked his Guru about the difference between a girlfriend and wife. The Guru asked him to go to the tomato field and pick up the largest and most colored tomato but put a condition that once he had crossed one line he could not 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 would have still larger tomatoes 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 this is the example of search for a girlfriend.

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 for a wife.

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