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Dr K K Aggarwal

On 5th Navratri, Learn Detached Attachment and to Control Ones Ego

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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Skanda Mata is worshipped on the fifth Day of Navratri. SHE is holding her son ‘Skandaa or Kartikeya’ on her lap.

SHE has three eyes and four hands. Two hands hold lotuses while the other two hands respectively display defending and granting gestures. SHE is the ocean of knowledge. SHE rides on a lion.

In Yoga Shastra, SHE represents the Vishuddha chakra and HAM bija mantra. SHE also dignifies motherhood, fertility and mother child relationship.

Skandaa means the one with six heads corresponding to the five senses and the mind. Or the one who has control over the six demonic vices: krodha (anger), lobha (greed), kaama (lust), moha (passion), mada (ego) and matsarya (jealousy).

Kartikeya carries a spear in one hand and his other hand is always blessing devotees. His vehicle is a peacock, a pious bird that grips with its feet a serpent, which symbolizes the ego and desires of people. The peacock represents the destroyer of harmful habits and the conqueror of sensual desires. Spiritual mantra on the 5th Navratri: One should learn detached attachment as the main principle of spirituality.

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

Should doctors be detached?

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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In dealing with patients, the traditional Doctor-Patient relationship model has been that doctor should remain cool, calm and collected at all times. Doctor’s approach needs to be strictly scientific, logical, objective, methodical precise and dispassionate. This model has been since the era of William Osler, the father of modern medicine. The term used is imperturbability which means coolness and presence of mind under all circumstances. Osler said a rare and precious gift to doctor is right of detachment. The right of detachment insulates the doctors and protects them from the powerful emotions that patients display in their presence like anger, frustration, grief, rage and bewilderment. It also insulates patients from the rolling emotions that doctors may at times feel towards them. However, a detached attitude also insulates doctors from empathizing with patients. A detached doctor may talk in a language that is over patient’s head. Detachment is not like a light switch that you can turn on and off to suit the situation. Detachment as a practice cannot be in isolation if it becomes your personal style of distracting from the world, it may not be just for the patients but also from your colleague, family friends and even yourself. I recall when I joined by hospital the first lesson given to me by my boss was not to get unduly attached with patients. As etiquette, we were taught not to socialize with patients. Even today the new American Guidelines talk that doctors should not socialize with their patients on social media including Facebook. Even doctors are human beings and their personal lives should not be known to patients. As far as lawsuits are concerned, it is equally true that known close patients file a law suit much more than unknown people because over a period of time they know your weakness. One should learn to empathize with the patients and yet be detached from its results. Doctors who follow Bhagwad Gita understand this concept very well.

Should doctors be detached in dealing with their patients?

By Dr K K Aggarwal
Filed Under Spirituality - Science Behind Rituals | Tagged With: , , , | | Comments Off on Should doctors be detached in dealing with their patients?

In dealing with patients, the traditional Patient–Doctor relationship model has been that doctor should remain cool, calm and collected at all times.


The doctor’s approach needs to be strictly scientific, logical, objective, methodical precise and dispassionate. This has been the model since the era of William Osler, the father of modern medicine. The term used is imperturbability, which means coolness and presence of mind under all circumstances.

Osler said a rare and precious gift to doctor is right of detachment. The right of detachment insulates the doctors and protects them from powerful emotions that patients display in their presence like anger, frustration, grief, rage and bewilderment. It also insulates patients from the rolling emotions that doctors may at times feel towards them.

However, a detached attitude also insulates doctors from empathizing with patients. A detached doctor may talk in a language that is over patient’s head.

Detachment is not like a light switch that you can turn on and off to suit the situation. Detachment as a practice cannot be in isolation if it becomes your personal style of distracting from the world, it may not be just for the patients but also from your colleague, family friends and even yourself.

I recall when I joined by hospital, the first lesson given to me by my boss was not to get unduly attached with patients. As part of etiquettes, we were taught not to socialize with patients. Even today the new American Guidelines talk that doctors should not socialize with their patients on social media including Facebook. Even doctors are human beings and their personal life should not be known to the patients. As far as lawsuits are concerned, it is equally true that known patients file a lawsuit much more than unknown people because over a period of time they know your weakness. One should learn to empathize with the patients and yet be detached from its results. Doctors who follow Bhagawad Gita understand this concept very well.