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Dr K K Aggarwal

Spiritual Prescriptions: Satsang

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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Satsang is a common household word and is often organized in residential colonies. Traditionally, Satsang means the regular meeting of a group of elderly or women of an area with a common intention of attaining inner happiness or peace through Bhajans or devotional songs for a particular God or Gods. In Satsang, people realize that it is the Self, communing with Self.

The Sanskrit word ‘Satsang’ literally means gathering together for guidance, mutual support or in search of truth. It may involve talking together, eating together, working together, listening together or praying together.

Most scriptures describe Sat and Asat. They discriminate that this world is Maya (Asat) and God is Divine. Furthermore, they state that Maya is not yours; Divine is yours.

Sang means to join, not just coming close, but to join. And how do you join? Only with love, which acts as glue. So Satsang is: Sat—Divine. Sang—loving association. In non-traditional Satsang, people verbally express themselves to others in an uninhibited way. Here, each participant talks free of judgment of others, and self. In this way, each person is able to see many viewpoints, which may serve to diminish the rigidity of their own.

Satsang is one way of acquiring spiritual well-being. Many scientific studies have shown that when mediation or chanting is done in groups, it has more benefits than when done individually. Maharishi Mahesh Yogi once said that if 1% of the population meditates or chants together, it will have a positive influence on the entire society.

Satsang also helps in creating a network of people with different unique talents. Satsangi groups are often considered in a very deep-rooted friendship.

Adi Shankaracharya, in his book Bhaja Govindam, also talks about Satsang in combination with Sewa and Simran and says that together the three enable one to attain spiritual well-being. Nirankaris and Sikhs also give importance to Satsang and in fact every true Sikh is supposed to regularly participate in the Gurudwara.

Chanting of mantras or listening to discourses in a Satsang helps to understand spirituality through Gyan Marga. Group chanting continued on a regular basis is one of the ways of meditation mentioned in the Shastras. It shifts consciousness from sympathetic to the parasympathetic mode.

Satsang also inculcates in us, one of the laws of Ganesha, the law of big ears, which teaches everyone to have the patience to listen to others.

In Satsang, nobody is small or big, everybody has a right to discuss or give his or her views. Over a period of time, most people who regularly attend Satsang, start working from the level of their spirit and not the ego.The medical educational programs of doctors of today can be called Medical Satsangs as whatever is discussed is for the welfare of the society.

Types of smokers

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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  • Light: < 10 cigarettes per day
  • Heavy: > 25 cigarettes a day
  • Chippers: Very light smokers (< 5 cigarettes a day) who regularly use tobacco without developing dependence
  • Light and intermittent smokers: 1-39 cigarettes per week, or an average of 10 cigarettes per day or 1-4 grams of tobacco per day and have never smoked daily.
  • Low-level smokers: < 20 cigarettes per day and < 1 pack per week
  • Low-rate smokers: < 5 cigarettes per day and never more than 10 cigarettes per day
  • Non-daily smokers: smoke < 7 days per week and may smoke < 3 packs per week
  • Occasional smokers: < 5 cigarettes per day and smoke < 3 times per week, usually dependent on circumstances such as partying or drinking or after meals
  • Social smokers: < 5 cigarettes per day and < 7 days per week in last two years and have never exceeded that limit.

Types of smokers

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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  • Light: < 10 cigarettes per day
  • Heavy: > 25 cigarettes a day
  • Chippers: Very light smokers (< 5 cigarettes a day) who regularly use tobacco without developing dependence
  • Light and intermittent smokers: 1-39 cigarettes per week, or an average of 10 cigarettes per day or 1-4 grams of tobacco per day and have never smoked daily.
  • Low-level smokers: < 20 cigarettes per day and < 1 pack per week
  • Low-rate smokers: < 5 cigarettes per day and never more than 10 cigarettes per day
  • Non-daily smokers: smoke < 7 days per week and may smoke < 3 packs per week
  • Occasional smokers: < 5 cigarettes per day and smoke < 3 times per week, usually dependent on circumstances such as partying or drinking or after meals
  • Social smokers: < 5 cigarettes per day and < 7 days per week in last two years and have never exceeded that limit.

Why do we Ring the Bell in a Temple?

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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The vibrations of the ringing bell 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.”

5 steps to lower Alzheimer’s risk

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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  1. Maintain a healthy weight.
  2. Check your waistline.
  3. Eat mindfully. Emphasize colorful, vitamin-packed vegetables and fruits; whole grains; fish, lean poultry, tofu, and beans and other legumes as protein sources; plus healthy fats. Cut down on unnecessary calories from sweets, sodas, refined grains like white bread or white rice, unhealthy fats, fried and fast foods, and mindless snacking. Keep a close eye on portion sizes, too.
  4. Exercise regularly. Aim for 2½ to 5 hours weekly of brisk walking (at 4 mph). Or try a vigorous exercise like jogging (at 6 mph) for half that time.
  5. Keep an eye on important health numbers. In addition to watching your weight and waistline, keep a watch on your cholesterol, triglycerides, blood pressure and blood sugar numbers.

(HealthBeat)

Sangat and smoking

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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Sewa, Simran and Sangat are the three principles of life as per the Vedic literature. Even Adi Shankaracharya described Sangat as the main force for living a spiritual life.

Sangat is the company of people you live with. Living in the company of good people makes one good and the reverse is also true.

The same is now being proved in the allopathic context. A research published in the New England Journal of Medicine has shown that when one person quits smoking, then others are likely to follow. One person quitting can cause a ripple effect, making others more likely to kick the habit.

  1. If your spouse stops smoking, youre 67% less likely to continue smoking.
  2. If your friend kicks the habit, its about 36% less likely that youll be smoking.
  3. When a sibling gives up cigarettes, your risk of smoking decreases by 25%.
  4. Your risk of smoking drops by 34% if a co-worker in a small office quits smoking. Its sort of like watching dominoes. If one falls, it very quickly causes others to fall.

People should be treated in groups, rather than as individuals. Friends and family need to be involved. If you want to quit, try to get close friends and family to quit as well.

Quitting smoking may have the side benefit of improving social well-being, just as it improves physical health.

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 effects and convert intent into reality through the concept of spontaneous fulfilment 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.

A mix of exercise protocol is better

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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A combination of weight training and aerobic exercise is the best prescription for overweight patients at risk for diabetes and heart disease.

Only aerobic exercise is also good as it reduces weight and inches off the waistlines. Just weight lifting alone has very little benefit.

According to a study published in the American Journal of Cardiology, people in the weight-training group gained about 1.5 pounds and those in the aerobic group lost an average of 3 pounds and half an inch from their waists.

Those who did both weight and aerobic training dropped about 4 pounds and 1 waistline inch. This group also saw a decrease in diastolic blood pressure and in metabolic syndrome score.

Both the aerobic-only group and the combined-exercise group also lowered their levels of triglycerides.

Ganesha, the Stress Management Guru

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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If Lord Krishna was the first counselor who taught the principles of counseling, Lord Ganesha taught us the principles of stress management.

We should worship Lord Ganesha and become like him whenever we face any difficulty or are stressed out.

The elephant head of Lord Ganesha symbolizes that when in difficulty, use your wisdom, intelligence and think differently. It can be equated to the Third Eye of Lord Shiva. Elephant is supposed to be the most intelligent animal in the kingdom. Here, wisdom means to think before speaking. Lord Buddha also said that don’t speak unless it is necessary and is truthful and kind.

The big elephant ears of Lord Ganesha signify listening to everybody when in difficulty. Elephant ears are known to hear long distances. Elephant eyes see a long distance and in terms of mythology, it denotes acquiring the quality of foreseeing when in difficulty. The mouth of Lord Ganesha represents speaking less and hearing and listening more.

The big tummy of Lord Ganesha represents digesting any information gathered by listening to people in difficulty. The trunk denotes using the power of discrimination to decide from the retained information. It also indicates doing both smaller and bigger things by yourself. The elephant trunk can pick up a needle as well as a tree.

The teeth, broken and unbroken, signify to be in a state of balance in loss and gain. This implies that one should not get upset if the task is not accomplished and also not get excited if the task is accomplished. In times of difficulty, Ganesha also teaches us not to lose strength and control one’s attachments, desires and greed.

The four arms of Lord Ganesha represent strength. Ropes in two hands indicate attachment; Laddoo or sweet in one hand represents desires and mouse represents greed. Riding over the mouse indicates controlling one’s greed.

Lord Ganesha is worshipped either when a new work is initiated or when one finds it difficult to complete a job or work. In these two situations, these principles of Lord Ganesha need to be inculcated in one’s habits.

All about Fits or Epilepsy

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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  • Seizure is a sudden change in behavior that is the consequence of brain dysfunction.
  • Approximately 0.5-1% of the population has epilepsy.
  • Some seizures are provoked, i.e., that occur in the metabolic derangement, drug or alcohol withdrawal and in situations like acute paralysis or acute encephalitis. Such patients are not considered to have epilepsy because these seizures would not recur in the absence of the provocation.
  • Less than 50% of epilepsy cases will have an identifiable cause such as head trauma, brain tumor, paralysis, infection, brain malformation, etc.
  • Having one seizure does not always mean that the patient would always get a seizure.
  • One episode of seizure may not require treatment.
  • Hospitalization is required in the first seizure only if it is associated with prolonged post-seizure altered level of consciousness.
  • Patients with unprovoked seizure may not be allowed to drive for some time.
  • In children, seizure can occur with high grade fever.
  • In adults, the first episode of seizure may be due to worms in the brain. In such a situation, it may be necessary to do an MRI test.
  • A patient with seizure can get married, live a normal life and produce children.
  • It is a misnomer that during a fit, you need to make the person smell a shoe.
  • During a seizure, use a spoon instead to prevent tongue bite. Never put the fingers inside the mouth of the patient as you could be bitten.
  • A patient with epilepsy fall will have stiffness in the body; on the contrary, a patient with cardiac loss of consciousness will fall loose.
  • A seizure that lasts for more than 5-10 minutes requires specialized attention.

The Five Interior Powers

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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To be in a state of happiness, bliss and ananda is what the ultimate goal of life is. Everybody is born with certain inherent powers, which if cultivated in the right direction will lead to inner happiness.

The ancient Shiva Sutra text talks about the concept of Shiva and Shakti. Shiva is silence, Shakti is power; Shiva is creativity, Shakti is creation; Shiva is love, Shakti is loving.

In computer terminology, Shiva is the knowledge or the information and Shakti is the operational software. Shiva and Shakti both together form consciousness, in other words, the soul.

Shiva sutra – teaching about Shiva – describes five inherent powers of Shakti which everybody is born with. These are ”Chitta Shakti”, “Ananda Shakti”, “Gyan (Gnana) Shakti”, “Ichha Shakti” and “Kriya Shakti”.

Kriya Shakti is the one which is most visible. Kriya is not same as karma. Karma is action born of cause and effect. Kriya Shakti is at the level of body and mind.

Ichha Shakti is the inherent desires, which control the mind. Gyan Shakti is the inherent desire to learn and is at the level of intellect. Both Ananda and Chitta Shakti are at the level of consciousness and represent the desires or aim to be blissful.

These five powers also decide the needs of a person, which can be at the level of physical body, mind, intellect, ego or the soul. The needs activate the Shakti, which in turn leads to action. The purpose of life should be to direct the needs and the Shaktis towards the soul and not towards the ego. The power of Kriya Shakti should have all the actions directed towards the soul; Gyan Shakti should be directed towards the knowledge of the true self; Ichha Shakti towards the desire or intention to unite with the self; Anand Shakti and Chitta Shakti towards the awareness of God and to experience the bliss of God.

All thoughts, speech or actions in life should be directed on two basic goals: providing happiness to others and achieving self-happiness. Every action and relationship in life should involve these five powers to attain inner happiness.

Most computers in the body require a key to get activated and the key in the case of Shakti is “intention or intent”. Intentions are something which are under the control of a person, or one can practice control over them.

“Intention” always requires the association of its buddy “attention” with it. Attention is the focus of action on that particular intention. The combination of intention and attention can change perceptions of life and ultimately change the reality. It has been an old Upanishad saying that you are what your thoughts are. Right intention leads to the right thought; the right thought to right action; the right action to the right habit; the right habit to the right character and the right character leads you to what you are. The punch-line, therefore, is to have right intention which should be directed towards one of the five Shaktis to acquire spiritual well-being.

Health is not mere absence of disease but a state of physical, mental, social, environmental and spiritual well-being. Spiritual well-being now has been added as the fifth dimension of health. It has been said that the body is the largest pharmaceutical armamentarium in the world and has the capacity to produce each and every drug available in the universe. This is based on the fact that no drug can go into the body without a receptor. The very fact the body has a receptor for every drug means it has the capacity to produce that drug.

All yogic paths to liberation are also directed towards these Shaktis. One adopts the path of karma by activating Kriya Shakti, Gyan Marg by activating Gyan Shakti and Bhakti Marg by activating Ichha Shakti.

Faulty lifestyle also involves distractions of three of these powers: Ichha, Gyan or Kriya Shakti.

Correct lifestyle involves the correct use of Kriya Shakti in doing actions, correct use of Gyan Shakti by acquiring knowledge about self and healthy behavior and correct use of Ichha Shakti by learning the dos and don’ts of life and controlling the mind towards various addictions of life, which can be addiction of food, sex, drugs, alcohol, smoking, sleeping, not walking and/or eating faulty Rajsik cum Tamsik high refined carbohydrate diet.

How to answer and make calls on mobile phones

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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  • Say ‘hello’ and not “yes” when calling or answering calls. It’s hard and rude.
  • Always put the phone gently if you need to put the telephone down during the conversation. Also hang up gently. Never slam the phone. The person at the other end may still be on the phone and sudden bang can be hurtful as well as rude.
  • Make sure the number is correct so as not to risk disturbing strangers.
  • Make your call as brief as possible, especially with busy people.
  • When calling people who do not recognize your voice, introduce yourself.
  • Time your calls. Do not interfere with the work schedule of others.
  • Make business calls well before the close of the office hours.
  • After dialing a wrong number, apologize.
  • When the number you are calling is not answered quickly, wait long enough for someone to put aside what he or she is doing. It is very annoying to have been disturbed just to pick up the telephone and find the caller has hung up.
  • Never take a personal mobile call during a business meeting.
  • Never talk in public places.
  • Dont talk emotionally in public.
  • Dont use loud and annoying ring tones.
  • Never make calls while shopping, banking or waiting in line.
  • Keep all talks brief and to the point.
  • Use an earpiece in high-traffic or noisy locations.
  • Demand “quiet zones” and “phone-free areas” at work and in public venues.
  • Never call people at odd hours. If you sleep at 2am does not mean, others also follow the same.
  • When calling on mobile, always ask if the other person is free to talk.
  • Learn to text if it is not an emergency.

The Buddhist Description of a Disease: Desire, Hatred and Ignoranc

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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According to Buddhism, three negative emotions cause a disease and they are “ignorance, hatred and desire”. According to the Buddhism philosophy, physical sicknesses are classified into three main types –

  • Disorders of the desire (Ayurvedic equivalent Vata imbalance): These are due to disharmony of the wind or energy. The seed of these disorders is located in the lower part of the body. It has cold preferences and is affected by mental desires. A person suffers from the disorders of movement functions.
  • Disorders of the hatred (Ayurveda equivalent Pitta imbalance): It is due to disharmony of the bile. The seed of these disorders is centered in the middle and upper part of the body and is caused by the mental emotion hatred. In Ayurveda text, it is equivalent to “Pitta” disorder. The person suffers from metabolic and digestive abnormalities.
  • Disorders of the ignorance (Ayurveda equivalent Kapha imbalance): It is due to the disharmony of phlegm, which is generally centered in the chest or in the head and is cold in nature. It is caused by the mental emotion ignorance.

Desire, hatred and ignorance are the main negativities mentioned in Buddhism philosophy. They are all produced in the mind. Once produced, they behave like a slow poison. The Udanavarga once said, “From iron appears rust, and rust eats the iron”, “Likewise, the careless actions (karma) that we perform, lead us to hellish lives.

According to other scriptures, six afflictions are most troublesome – ignorance, hatred, desire, miserliness, jealousy and arrogance. Patience is the most potent virtue a person can acquire. According to the Shanti Deva, “There is no evil like hatred, and there is no marriage like patience. Therefore, dedicate your life to the practice of patience.”

Bhagvad Gita mentions the enemies as Kama, Krodha, Lobh, Moh and Ahankar and out of these, Kama, Lobh and Ahankar as the three gateways to hell.

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. Keep the computer monitor at eye level.
  3. Use the hands–free function of the phone or wear a headset.
  4. Prop your touch–screen tablet or the ipad on a pillow so that it sits at a 45° angle, instead of lying flat on your lap.
  5. Keep your prescription up to date, if you wear glasses to prevent leaning your head back to see better.
  6. Don’t use too many pillows as it can stifle your neck’s range of motion.
  7. Before you move a big wardrobe across the room, consider what it might do to your neck and back, and ask for help.
  8. Sleep well.
  9. Call your doctor if neck pain is associated with radiating pain, weakness, or numbness of an arm or leg.
  10. Also call the doctor if you have fever or weight loss associated with your neck pain, or severe pain.

Mindful 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.