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Dr K K Aggarwal

The Science behind Training and Development

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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Training in any field requires gaining knowledge, skills and positive mental attitude towards the object of learning.

Knowledge is everything about what and why. In Yoga, it correlates with the Gyan (Gnana) Marg. Skill is all about how to do it and correlates with Karma Marg.

The positive mental attitude is linked to willingness to do any work or in other words one’s Astha in that action. In Yoga, it is synonymous with Bhakti Marg.

In Bhagwad Gita, Lord Krishna talks about all the principles of management including how to train and develop an individual.

Development teaches and increases one’s intelligence quotient (IQ), physical quotient (PQ), emotional quotient (EQ) and moral quotient (MQ).

Do Your Duty with Discipline and Devotion

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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“Vasudhaiva kutumbakam” (the whole world is one family) and “Ekam Sat Viprah Bahudavanti” (truth is one but the wise call it by various names) are two basic statements, which come from the ancient Rig Veda and form the fundamentals of Vedic philosophy.

One should do one’s duty with devotion and discipline. This principle can be remembered as the principle of three Ds.

In daily routine ‘one should remember the purpose for which one is born, which is to fulfil Dharma (duty), Artha (wealth), Kama (desire) and Moksha (liberation). To achieve them, one needs to follow the four Fs: (i) Follow the teacher; (ii) Face the negative devils of the mind; (iii) Fight till the end; and (iv) Finish at the goal.

The essence of Bhagwad Gita can be summarized in one shloka (Chapter 2.48) where Krishna says to Arjuna “yogastha kuru karmani”, which means ‘concentrate on actions’ (do all actions while remaining in yoga). He further says that one should take success and failure in the same stride. (yogastha = steadfast in yoga, kuru = perform, karmani = duties or action).

To acquire spiritual health, one should follow three Ss which are: (i) Satsang (company of good people) (ii) Sadhana (hard work), and (iii) Sanskar (good deeds). Adi Shankaracharya in Bhaj Govindam describes them as Satnam or Simran (bhakti, or reciting the name of their God), Satsang (company of good people) and Seva (good karmas).

Before doing any work, one should follow the principles of three Hs: (i) listen with the Head; (ii) follow the Heart to choose one of the choices; and (iii) order the Hands to take an action.

The ABCs of a good professional are Availability, Behavior and Competence. Competence comes last; the first is the availability of the professional.

An action should be based on Truth; it should be coming from consciousness and should end in internal bliss. Various Vedic literatures have termed this triad by different names like satha, chitha, ananda, and satyam, shivam, sundaram.

Dealing with Stress

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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Stress may be broadly defined as comprising of three components, namely a “known situation,interpretation of a situation and the physical and mental reaction to that interpretation of the situation”

.Stress is a situation: There cannot be a stress without a situation. One cannot be stressed aboutsome event occurring in USA without knowing the person or the situation. The situationrequires familiarity with the particular sensory object (known situation).

Stress is an interpretation of a situation: Without interpretation, stress is not possible. The samesituation can be interpreted differently by different people. A stimulus may be stressful to onebut not to another.

Stress is a physical and mental response to the interpretation of the situation: Stress manifestsbecause of a chemical imbalance resulting due to sympathetic overactivity, which manifests asmental and or physical symptoms.

Stress, therefore, is the body’s physical and mental response to the interpretation of a situation.Management of stress, therefore, involves either changing the situation, changing theinterpretation of the situation or making the body resistant to physical and mental changes in the situation.

Practicing Patanjali’s eight limbs of yoga via living a yogic lifestyle, adhering to the various Dosand Dont’s in life as taught in various religious teachings, and learning to meditate help our bodyto resist these sympathetic–activating changes and handle the stressful situation. These involveproper diet, exercise, meditation and relaxation exercises.

Changing the interpretation of a situation involves counseling. Cognitive behavior therapy usedin counseling is one such example. Change in interpretation requires deeper understanding of theproblem and removal of the obstacles. This can be done by using Ganesha’s principles of stressmanagement, Rosenburg’s Principle of Non–Violent Communication, or the principles of counseling from Bhagwad Gita.

Change of the situation is the final resort for solving the problem, even though this may not bealways possible. For example, in a dispute between husband and wife, divorce should be the last choice, after all counseling efforts have failed to resolve the issue.

Dealing with Stress

By Dr K K Aggarwal
Filed Under Spirituality - Science Behind Rituals | Tagged With: , | | Comments Off on Dealing with Stress

Stress may be broadly defined as comprising of three components, namely a “known situation,interpretation of a situation and the physical and mental reaction to that interpretation of the situation”

.Stress is a situation: There cannot be a stress without a situation. One cannot be stressed aboutsome event occurring in USA without knowing the person or the situation. The situationrequires familiarity with the particular sensory object (known situation).

Stress is an interpretation of a situation: Without interpretation, stress is not possible. The samesituation can be interpreted differently by different people. A stimulus may be stressful to onebut not to another.

Stress is a physical and mental response to the interpretation of the situation: Stress manifestsbecause of a chemical imbalance resulting due to sympathetic overactivity, which manifests asmental and or physical symptoms.

Stress, therefore, is the body’s physical and mental response to the interpretation of a situation.Management of stress, therefore, involves either changing the situation, changing theinterpretation of the situation or making the body resistant to physical and mental changes in the situation.

Practicing Patanjali’s eight limbs of yoga via living a yogic lifestyle, adhering to the various Dosand Dont’s in life as taught in various religious teachings, and learning to meditate help our bodyto resist these sympathetic–activating changes and handle the stressful situation. These involveproper diet, exercise, meditation and relaxation exercises.

Changing the interpretation of a situation involves counseling. Cognitive behavior therapy usedin counseling is one such example. Change in interpretation requires deeper understanding of theproblem and removal of the obstacles. This can be done by using Ganesha’s principles of stressmanagement, Rosenburg’s Principle of Non–Violent Communication, or the principles of counseling from Bhagwad Gita.

Change of the situation is the final resort for solving the problem, even though this may not bealways possible. For example, in a dispute between husband and wife, divorce should be the lastchoice, after all counseling efforts have failed to resolve the issue.

Understanding the Gunas

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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The mental state of a person in Vedic language is described in terms of gunas. The present state of mind of any person is a result of mixing of three gunas of nature called tamas, rajas and satoguna. In terms of states of mind, they are called tamas, rajas and satva and the nature of a person is described as tamsik, rajsik and satwik.

Whether it is Vedas, Upanishads, Bhagwad Gita or the text of Ayurveda, all talk about these gunas. The sankhya philosophy also says that a mixture of the three makes the cosmic mind as well as the human mind. Bhagwad Gita talks in great detail about the nature, yagna as well as diet depending upon these gunas.

A satwik diet enhances satoguna in a person and makes him/her with a predominant satwik nature. The same is true for the other two gunas. According to Ayurvedic texts and in Atharvaveda. any food that comes from the roots or underground part of the tree, is tamsik in nature. Tamsik foods should not be eaten raw. They should either be slow cooked or soaked in water for hours before consumption.

Foods which are from the top part of the tree like coconut, fruits, leaves and flowers are satwik in nature and can be consumed fresh, as they are. Food which comes from the middle part of the tree is often rajsik in nature.

Fresh, soaked, sprouted, natural food are often satwik, while left over foods are tamsik in nature. Most satwik foods are naturally white.

Ramayana also has characters with different nature. Kumbhakaran represents a person with tamsik nature, Meghnad and Ravana with rajsik nature and Vibhishan with satwik nature. One can see that the diet of Kumbhakaran was left over foods, onions, radish, carrots and non vegetarian food, all are tamas producing.

Shastras also teach us about satwik food. In Vedic knowledge, God is represented by the consciousness and whatever is offered to God is the one, which is offered to consciousness and hence all offerings to God are soul healing and soul nurturing food items. Only satwik foods are offered to God as one can live on satwik food forever. Examples are dry fruits, fruits and milk. One cannot live on rajsik or tamsik food hence, they have to be taken in moderation only.

The offerings to God include honey, milk, curd, fruits and vegetables, etc. Panchamrit, offered in Puja, a mixture of milk, curd, ghee, honey and sugar, is a classic example.

Yogashastra also talks about the role of satwik diet in great detail. It says people who eat less are yogis, people who eat in moderation are bhogis and people who eat a lot are rogis. The synonymous are tamsik for rogis, rajsik for bhogis and satwik for yogis.

In terms of proper diet, one should eat dinner lighter than lunch, eat only natural food in the night and follow the principles of moderation and variety.

(Disclaimer: The views expressed in this write up are my own).

Why do we Offer Food to God in Every Pooja?

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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We follow a ritual of offering ‘bhog’ to the deity we worship. The ritual also involves sprinkling water all around the place where we sit down to eat food. Many people have advocated that the sprinkling of water is related to preventing ants and insects from approaching the food. But in spiritual language there is a deeper meaning of these rituals.

Bhagwad Gita and Yoga Shastras categorize food into three types corresponding to their properties termed as gunas. Depending upon satoguna, rajoguna and tamoguna, the food items are categorized as satwik, rajsik or tamsik.

Satwik food provides calmness, purity and promotes longevity, intelligence, strength, health, happiness and delight. The examples of satwik food items are fruits, vegetables, leaves, grains, cereals, milk, honey, etc. These items can be consumed as they are. One can also live on satwik food for life.

Rajsik food items possess attributes of negativity, passion and restlessness. Hot, spicy and salty food items with pungent, sour and salt taste promote rajas qualities.

Tamsik food has attributes of inducing sleep, ignorance, dullness and inertia. The examples of tamsik food are meat, onions, garlic, leftover food, etc.

Only satwik food is offered to God. Rajsik and tamsik food is never offered as Bhog. The only persons who were offered tamsik and rajsik food in Ramayana are Ahi Ravana and Kumbhkaran. Both had an evil nature. Kumbhkaran signifies tamas and Ahi Ravana, rajas or aggression. Tamsik and rajsik food can be converted into satwik by slow heating, sprouting or keeping them in water overnight. The examples are sprouted wheat and chana (chickpeas), etc.

A mixture of honey, milk, ghee, curd and sugar is called panchamrit and is a routine offering to God. All the five components have satwik properties and their consumption promotes health.

In Ayurveda, there is a saying that any food item, which grows under the ground, is tamsik in nature and one, which comes from the top of the tree or plant like leaves, flower and fruits are satwik in nature. Satwik food is usually fresh, seasonal and locally grown.

Human beings are made up of body, mind and soul and soul is equated to consciousness or God. Whatever offered to external God if offered to the internal God or consciousness leads to inner happiness. The ritual, therefore, of offering food to God before eating forces us to either eat only satwik food or to include a substantial portion of satwik food in our meals. It helps a person convert his meal into a pure satwik one or at least adding satwik items.

Sprinkling water around the plate is considered an act of purification.

Many people confuse bhog with chadhava or offerings to the deity. While bhog is shared with God, chadhava is the offering of your illness or negative thoughts to the God and you go back with prasada of inner happiness. Many people counter the above argument by saying that alcohol is offered to Bhairon, viewed as a demon God, which means alcohol, is good for health. I personally feel that alcohol is offered to Bhairon not as a bhog but as an offering which means that people who are addicted to alcohol go to Bhairon and give their share of alcohol to him so they can de–addict themselves.

What is the importance of silence?

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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True silence is the silence between the thoughts and represents the true self, consciousness or the soul. It is a web of energized information ready to take all provided there is a right intent. Meditation is the process of achieving silence. Observing silence is another way of deriving benefits of meditation. Many yogis in the past have recommended and observed silence now and then. Mahatma Gandhi spent one day in silence every week. He believed that abstaining from speaking brought him inner peace and happiness. On all such days he communicated with others only by writing on paper.

Hindu principles also talk about a correlation between mauna (silence) and shanti (harmony). Mauna Ekadashi is a ritual followed traditionally in our country. On this day the person is not supposed to speak at all and observes complete silence all through the day and night. It gives immense peace to the mind and strength to the body. In Jainism, this ritual has a lot of importance. Nimith was a great saint in Jainism who long ago asked all Jains to observe this vrata. Some people recommend that on every ekadashi one should observe silence for few hours, if not the whole day.

In his book, The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success, Deepak Chopra talks in great detail about the importance of observing silence in day to day life. He recommends that everyone should observe silence for 20 minutes every day. Silence helps to redirect our imagination towards self. Even Swami Sivananda in his teachings recommends observation of mauna daily for 2 hours. For ekadashi, take milk and fruits every day, study one chapter of Bhagwad Gita daily, do regular charity and donate one-tenth of your income in the welfare of the society. Ekadashi is the 11th day of Hindu lunar fortnight. It is the day of celebration, occurring twice a month, meant for meditation and increasing soul consciousness.

Vinoba Bhave was a great sage of our country known for his Bhoodaan movement. He was a great advocator and practical preacher of mauna vrata.

Mauna means silence and vrata means vow; hence, mauna vrata means a vow of silence. Mauna was practiced by saints to end enmity and recoup their enmity. Prolonged silence as the form of silence is observed by the rishi munis involved for prolonged periods of silence. Silence is a source of all that exists. Silence is where consciousness dwells. There is no religious tradition that does not talk about silence. It breaks the outward communication and forces a dialogue towards inner communication. This is one reason why all prayers, meditation and worship or any other practice whether we attune our mind to the spiritual consciousness within are done in silence.  After the death of a person it is a practice to observe silence for two minutes. The immediate benefit is that it saves a tremendous amount of energy.

Silence is cessation of both sensory and mental activity. It is like having a still mind and listening to the inner mind. Behind this screen of our internal dialogue is the silence of spirit. Meditation is the combination of observing silence and the art of observation.

(Disclaimer: The views expressed in this write up are my own).

Why do we Offer Food to God in Every Pooja?

By Dr K K Aggarwal
Filed Under Spirituality - Science Behind Rituals | Tagged With: , , , , , , , , | | Comments Off on Why do we Offer Food to God in Every Pooja?

We follow a ritual of offering bhog to the deity we worship. The ritual also involves sprinkling water all around the place where we sit down to eat food. Many people have advocated that the sprinkling of water is related to preventing ants and insects from approaching the food. But in spiritual language there is a deeper meaning of these rituals. Bhagwad Gita and Yoga Shastras categorize food into three types corresponding to their properties termed as gunas. Depending upon satoguna rajoguna and tamoguna the food items are categorized as satwik rajsik or tamsik. Satwik food provides calmness purity and promotes longevity intelligence strength health happiness and delight. The examples of satwik food items are fruits vegetables leaves grains cereals milk honey etc. These items can be consumed as they are. One can also live on satwik food for life. Rajsik food items possess attributes of negativity passion and restlessness. Hot spicy and salty food items with pungent sour and salt taste promote rajas qualities. Tamsik food has attributes of inducing sleep ignorance dullness and inertia. The examples of tamsik food are meat onions garlic leftover food etc. Only satwik food is offered to God. Rajsik and tamsik food is never offered as Bhog. The only persons who were offered tamsik and rajsik food in Ramayana are Ahi Ravana and Kumbhkaran. Both had an evil nature. Kumbhkaran signified tamas and Ahi Ravana rajas or aggression. Tamsik and rajsik food can be converted into satwik by slow heating sprouting or keeping them in water overnight. The examples are sprouted wheat and chana chickpeas etc. A mixture of honey milk ghee curd and sugar is called panchamrut and is a routine offering to the God. All the five components have satwik properties and their consumption promotes health. In Ayurveda there is a saying that any food item which grows under the ground is tamsik in nature and one which comes from the top of the tree or plant like leaves flower and fruits are satwik in nature. Satwik food is usually fresh seasonal and locally grown. Human beings are made up of body mind and soul and soul is equated to consciousness or God. Whatever offered to external God if offered to the internal God or consciousness leads to inner happiness. The ritual therefore of offering food to God before eating forces us to either eat only satwik food or to include a substantial portion of satwik food in our meals. It helps a person convert his meal into a pure satwik one or at least adding satwik items. Sprinkling water around the plate is considered an act of purification. Many people confuse bhog with chadhava or offerings to the deity. While bhog is shared with God chadhava is the offering of your illness or negative thoughts to the God and you go back with prasada of inner happiness. Many people counter the above argument by saying that alcohol is offered to Bhairon viewed as a demon God which means alcohol is good for health. I personally feel that alcohol is offered to Bhairon not as a bhog but as an offering which means that people who are addicted to alcohol go to Bhairon and give their share of alcohol to him so they can de addict themselves. Disclaimer The views expressed in this write up are my own .

Do Your Duty with Discipline and Devotion

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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Vasudhaiva kutumbakam the whole world is one family and Ekam Sat Viprah Bahudavanti truth is one but the wise call it by various names are two basic statements which come from the ancient Rig Veda and form the fundamentals of Vedic philosophy. One should do one s duty with devotion and discipline. This principle can be remembered as the principle of three Ds. In daily routine one should remember the purpose for which one is born which to fulfill Dharma duty Artha wealth Kama desire and Moksha liberation . To achieve them one needs to follow the four Fs i Follow the teacher ii Face the negative devils of the mind iii Fight till the end and iv Finish at the goal. The essence of Bhagwad Gita can be summarized in one shloka Chapter 2.48 where Krishna says to Arjuna yogastha kuru karmani which means concentrate on actions do all actions while remaining in yoga . He further says that one should take success and failure in the same stride. yogastha steadfast in yoga kuru perform karmani duties or action . To acquire spiritual health one should follow three Ss which are i Satsang company of good people ii Sadhana hard work and iii Sanskar good deeds . Adi Shankaracharya in Bhaj Govindam describes them as Satnam or Simran bhakti or reciting the name of their God Satsang company of good people and Seva good karmas . Before doing any work one should follow the principles of three Hs i listen with the Head ii follow the Heart to choose one of the choices and iii order the Hands to take an action. The ABCs of a good professional are Availability Behavior and Competence. Competence comes last the first is the availability of the professional. An action should be based on Truth it should be coming from consciousness and should end in internal bliss. Various Vedic literatures have termed this triad by different names like satha chitha ananda and satyam shivam sundaram. Disclaimer The views expressed in this write up are my own .

What Is The Importance Of Silence?

By Dr K K Aggarwal
Filed Under Spirituality - Science Behind Rituals | Tagged With: , , , , , , , | | Comments Off on What Is The Importance Of Silence?

The true silence is the silence between the thoughts and represents the true self, consciousness or the soul. It is a web of energized information ready to take all provided there is a right intent. The process of achieving silence is what meditation is. Observing silence is another way of getting benefits of meditation. Many yogis in the past have recommended and observed silence now and then. Mahatma Gandhi used to spend one day of each week in silence. He believed that abstaining from speaking brought him inner peace and happiness. All such days he used to communicated with others only by writing on paper. Hindu principles also talks about a correlation between mauna (silence) and shanty (harmony). Mauna Ekadashi is a ritual followed traditionally in our country. On this day the person is not supposed to speak at all and keep complete silence throughout day & night. It gives immense peace to the mind and strength to the body. In Jainism this ritual has a lot of importance. Nimith was a great saint in Jainism who long ago asked all Jains to observe this vrata. Some people recommend that on every ekadashi one should observe silence if not the whole day but for few hours in a day. Deepak Chopra in his book 7 Laws of Spiritual Success talks in great detail about the importance of observing silence in day today life. He recommends everyone should observe silence for 20 minutes everyday. Silence helps redirecting our imagination towards self from the outer atmosphere. Even Swami Sivananda in his teaches recommend to observe mauna daily for 2 hours for ekadashi, take milk and fruits everyday, study daily one chapter of Bhagwad Gita, do regular charity and donate one-tenth of the income in the welfare of the society. Ekadashi is the 11th day of Hindu lunar fortnight. Ekadashi is the day of celebration occurring twice a month, meant for meditation and increasing soul consciousness. Vinoba Bhave was the great sage of our country who is known for this bhoodaan movement. He was a great advocator and practical preacher of mauna vrata. Mauna means silence and vrata means bow hence mauna vrata means bow of silence. Mauna was practiced by saints to end enmity and recoup their enmity. Prolonged silence as the form of silence is observed by the rishi munis involved for prolonged periods of silence. Silence is a source of all that exists. Silence is where conscious dwells. There is no religious tradition which does not talk about silence. It removes worldly communication and forces a dialogue towards inner communication that one reason why all prayer, meditation and worship or any other practice whether we attune our mains to the spiritual consciousness within are done in silence. After the death of a person it is a practice to observe silence for two minutes. The immediate benefits is that it saves a tremendous amount of energy. Silence is cessation of both sensory and mental activity. It is like having a still mind and listening to the inner mind. Behind this screen of our internal dialogue is the silence of spirit. Meditation is the combination of observing silence and the art of observation. Disclaimer: The views expressed in this write up are entirely my own

Understanding the Gunas

By Dr K K Aggarwal
Filed Under Spirituality - Science Behind Rituals | Tagged With: , , , , , | | Comments Off on Understanding the Gunas

The mental state of a person in Vedic language is described in terms of gunas. The present state of mind of any person is a result of mixing of three gunas of nature called tamas, rajas and satoguna. In terms of states of mind they are called tamas, rajas and sattva and the nature of a person is called tamsik, rajsik and satwik. Whether it is Vedas, Upanishads, Bhagwad Gita or the text of Ayurveda, all talk about these gunas. The Sankhya philosophy also says that a mixture of the three makes the cosmic mind as well as the human mind. Bhagwad Gita talks in great detail about the nature, yagna as well as diet depending upon these gunas. A satwik diet is one, which makes a person full of satoguna and makes him or her with predominant satwik nature. The same is true for other two gunas. According to Ayurvedic text and in Atharvaveda, any food, which comes from the roots or underground part of the tree, is tamsik in nature. Tamsik foods should not be eaten raw. They should either be slow cooked or soaked in water for hours before consumption. Foods from the top part of the tree like coconut, fruits, leaves and flowers are satwik in nature and can be consumed fresh, as they are. Food which comes from the middle part of the tree is often rajsik in nature. Fresh, soaked, sprouted, natural food are often satwik, while old, leftover foods are tamsik in nature. Most satwik foods are naturally white. Ramayana also has characters with different nature. Kumbhakaran represents a person with tamsik nature, Meghnad & Ravana with rajsik nature and Vibhishan with satwik nature. One can see that the diet of Kumbhakaran was left over foods, onions, radish, carrots and non vegetarian food, all are tamasik. Shastras also teaches us about satwik food. In Vedic knowledge, God is represented by the consciousness and whatever is offered to God is the one, which is offered to consciousness and hence all offerings to God are soul healing and soul nurturing food items. Only satwik foods are offered to God as one can live on satwik food forever. Examples are dry fruits, fruits and milk. One cannot live on rajsik or tamsik food; hence, they have to be taken in moderation only. The offerings to God include honey, milk, curd, fruits and vegetables, etc. Panchamrit offered in Puja is a mixture of milk, curd, ghee, honey and sugar is a classical example. Yogashastra also talks about the role of satwik diet in great detail. It says people who eat less are yogis, people who eat in moderation are bhogis and people who eat a lot are rogis. The synonymous are tamsik for rogis, rajsik for bhogis and satwik for yogis. In terms of proper diet one should eat dinner lighter than lunch, eat only natural food in the night and follow the principles of moderation and variety.

Why do we offer food to God in every pooja?

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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We follow a ritual of offering ‘bhog’ to the deity we worship. The ritual also involves sprinkling water all around the place where we sit down to eat food. Many people have advocated that the sprinkling of water is related to preventing ants and insects from approaching the food. But in spiritual language there is a deeper meaning to these rituals. Bhagwad Gita and Yoga Shastras categorize food into three types corresponding to their properties termed as gunas. Depending upon satoguna, rajoguna and tamoguna, the food items are categorized as satwik, rajsik or tamsik. Satwik foods provide calmness, purity and promote longevity, intelligence, strength, health, happiness and delight. Fruits, vegetables, leaves, grains, cereals, milk, honey, etc. are examples of satwik food. These items can be consumed as they are. One can also live on satwik food for life. Rajsik food items possess attributes of negativity, passion and restlessness. Hot, spicy and salty food items with pungent, sour and salt taste promote rajas qualities. Tamsik foods have attributes of inducing sleep, ignorance, dullness and inertia. The examples of tamsik food are meat, onions, garlic, left–over food, etc. Only satwik food is offered to God. Rajsik and tamsik food is never offered as Bhog. The only persons who were offered tamsik and rajsik food in Ramayana are Ahi Ravana and Kumbhkaran. Both of them were of an evil nature. Kumbhkaran signified tamas and Ahi Ravana, rajas or aggression. Tamsik and rajsik food can be converted into satwik by slow heating, sprouting or keeping them in water overnight. The examples are sprouted wheat and chana (chickpeas), etc. A mixture of honey, milk, ghee, curd and sugar is called panchamrut and is a routine offering to the God. All the five components have satwik properties and their consumption promotes health. In Ayurveda, there is a saying that any food item, which grows under the ground, is tamsik in nature and one, which comes from the top of the tree or plant like leaves, flower and fruits are satwik in nature. Satwik food is usually fresh, seasonal and locally grown. Human beings are made up of body, mind and soul and soul is equated to consciousness or God. Whatever offered to external God if is offered to the internal God or consciousness leads to inner happiness. The ritual, therefore, of offering food to God before eating forces us to either eat only satwik food or to include a substantial portion of satwik food in our meals. It helps a person convert his meal into a pure satwik one or at least adding satwik items. Sprinkling water around the plate is considered an act of purification. Many people confuse bhog with chadhava or offerings to the deity. While bhog is shared with God, chadhava is the offering of your illness or negative thoughts to the God and you go back with prasada of inner happiness. Many people counter the above argument by saying that alcohol is offered to Bhairon, viewed as a demon God, which means alcohol, is good for health. I personally feel that alcohol is offered to Bhairon not as a bhog but as an offering which means that people who are addicted to alcohol go to Bhairon and give their share of alcohol to him so they can de–addict themselves.

‘Dharmasaya Dharata’ which means religion is what we practice. Hence, whatever the wise thought was good for health and hygiene has been enforced in the garb of religion. Several religious practices are in reality linked with health and the use of kush grass is no exception. No traditional Hindu Indian pooja ritual is complete without the use of Durva (Doob) and Kush grasses. Durva grass is used for Ganesh pooja and signifies the removal of obstacles from life. The peculiarity of Durva grass is that if you plant it in one area it will proliferate by itself and spread out in a wide area. This implies that a human family should be like the Durva grass, having spontaneous, effortless and obstacle-less growth. The second herb, which is used in pooja, is the kush grass, known for its purity. In Ramayana, Valmiki named Sita’s two sons Luv and Kush. At the time of birth, Valmiki took a blade of kush grass and broke it into two and he named Sita’s first son Kush and other Luv. Kush is a benevolent grass, a symbol of progress and alertness. It is a satvik plant and stands for intelligence. The term ‘kushal buddhi’ originates from the word kush meaning alert, pure and bright mind. In Bhagwad Gita (shloka 6.10), Lord Krishna says that for meditation one should sit on his or her own firm seat that is neither too high nor too low; covered with sacred Kush grass; deer skin and a cloth, one over the other, in a clean area. Kush grass is used to make asanas (a mat for sitting) for worshipping and during yagnas. It is also used in the making of vedi during marriages. The Garuda Purana has described rituals for a Panchak death. It says when the death of a close relative takes place during the period of Panchak, within one year, five family members may die if proper post–death rituals are not observed. These involve the placement of four small ‘dolls’ made of Kush grass (described as the hair of Lord Vishnu) on shoulders and knees of the dead body before cremation. This is accompanied by the chanting of mantras. Garuda Purana also talks about the cremation of a person whose body has not been found as in natural calamities, bomb blasts, drowning, etc. It prescribes that under such circumstances, an effigy of Kush grass should be made to represent the physical body of the deceased and the usual rituals of cremation should be followed. Medically too, this representative cremation is therapeutic as it helps to alleviate sorrow and reduce post traumatic stress disorders in the concerned family members. Sankalp, a firm intent to do something, is a routine ritual in one’s life. When one takes a sankalp to do something, it becomes obligatory for him or her to do it. It is like taking a vow. Kush grass is often held in the hands before taking a sankalp. In Ayurveda, the Kush grass is called Desmostactya bipinnata. It is a clean, pure and brittle grass that grows in abundance in the plains and hills of India. It is acrid, cooling, oleaginous, aphrodisiac, and diuretic and has been known for its use in the treatment of blood disorders, asthma, thirst, jaundice, stone in the urinary bladder, disease of skin, uterus, etc. Traditional Chattisgarh, known for herbal medicines, uses the medicinal properties of Kush grass in many herbal ingredients. Kush sharbat, made from Kush roots, is a routine drink in that area. The traditional healers of Chattisgarh use this preparation for women patients for gynecological disorders. A mala or garland made from the roots of Kush grass is also used for sacred and virtuous activities. Most Hindu believes that Lord Vishnu resides in stone (Shaligram), tulsi plant, peepal tree and kush grass. Every ritual has a significance for health. Whatever is offered to God can be taken in the body for the well–being of the soul. Kush grass root/leaf juice should be consumed by everybody as a health drink. At least it should be offered in the form of a charnamrut whenever a ritual is being performed. The Kush grass has medicinal effects and helps to increase the alertness in the body and in detoxification of the body.

The Science behind Training and Development

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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Training in any field requires gaining knowledge, skills and positive mental attitude towards the object of learning.

Knowledge is everything about what and why. In Yoga, it correlates with the Gyan (Gnana) Marg. Skill is all about how to do it and correlates with Karma Marg.

The positive mental attitude is linked to willingness to do any work or in other words one’s Astha in that action. In Yoga, it is synonymous with Bhakti Marg.

In Bhagwad Gita, Lord Krishna talks about all the principles of management including how to train and develop an individual.

The development teaches and increases one’s intelligence quotient (IQ), physical quotient (PQ), emotional quotient (EQ) and moral quotient (MQ).

Dealing with Stress

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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Stress may be broadly defined as comprising of 3 components, namely a “known situation, interpretation of a situation and the physical and mental reaction to that interpretation of the situation”.

Stress is a situation: There cannot be a stress without a situation. One cannot be stressed about some event occurring in USA without knowing the person or the situation. The situation requires familiarity with the particular sensory object (known situation).

Stress is an interpretation of a situation: Without interpretation, stress is not possible. The same situation can be interpreted differently by different people. A stimulus may be stressful to one but not to another.

Stress is a physical and mental response to the interpretation of the situation: Stress manifests because of a chemical imbalance resulting due to sympathetic overactivity, which manifests as mental and or physical symptoms.

Stress, therefore, is the body’s physical and mental response to the interpretation of a situation. Management of stress, therefore, involves either changing the situation, changing the interpretation of the situation or making the body resistant to physical and mental changes in the situation.

Practicing Patanjali’s eight limbs of yoga via living a yogic lifestyle, adhering to the various Dos and Dont’s in life as taught in various religious teachings, and learning to meditate help our body to resist these sympathetic–activating changes and handle the stressful situation. These involve proper diet, exercise, meditation and relaxation exercises.

Changing the interpretation of a situation involves counseling. Cognitive behavior therapy used in counseling is one such example. Change in interpretation requires deeper understanding of the problem and removal of the obstacles. This can be done by using Ganesha’s principles of stress management, Rosenburg’s Principle of Non–Violent Communication, or the principles of counseling from Bhagwad Gita.

Change of the situation is the final resort for solving the problem, even though this may not be always possible. For example, in a dispute between husband and wife, divorce should be the last choice, after all counseling efforts have failed to resolve the issue.