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Dr K K Aggarwal

First aid for poisonous bites and stings

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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People often panic if they have been bitten or stung. You should tell the patient that many snakes, spiders, insects and sea creatures are harmless and that even the bites and stings of dangerous animals often do not cause poisoning.

Keep the patient calm and still. Moving the bitten or stung limb speeds up the spread of venom to the rest of the body. Fear and excitement also make the patient worse. The patient should be told not to use the limb and to keep it still and below the level of the heart. The limb may swell after a while, so take off the patient’s rings, watch, bracelets, anklets and shoes as soon as possible. A splint and a sling may help to keep the limb still. Consider the following:

  • Do not cut into the wound or cut it out.
  • Do not suck venom out of the wound.
  • Do not use a tourniquet or tight bandage.
  • Do not put chemicals or medicines in the wound or inject them into the wound (for e.g., potassium permanganate crystals).
  • Do not put ice packs on the wound.
  • Do not use proprietary snake bite kits.
  • The patient should lie on one side in the recovery position so that the airway is clear, in case of vomiting or fainting.
  • Do not give the patient anything by mouth – no food, alcohol, medicines or drinks. However, if it is likely to be a long time before the patient gets medical care, give the patient water to drink to stop dehydration.
  • Try to identify the animal, but do not try to catch it or keep it if this will put you, the patient or others at risk. If the animal is dead, take it to hospital with the patient, but handle it very carefully, because even dead animals can sometimes inject venom.
  • As soon as possible, take the patient to a hospital, medical dispensary, or clinic where medical care can be given. The patient should not walk but should keep as still as possible. If there is no ambulance or car, carry the patient on a stretcher or trestle, or on the crossbar of a bicycle.
  • Antivenom should only be given in a hospital or medical center where resuscitation can be given, because the patient may have an allergic reaction. If available, antivenom should be used if there is evidence of severe poisoning. It should not be used when there are no signs of poisoning.

Plate Your Food Now

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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A ‘Food Plate’ symbol has replaced the traditionally recommended ‘Food Pyramid’ of the USDA. These guidelines break down a healthy diet into 4 main quadrants on a plate: red for fruits, green for vegetables, orange for grains and purple for protein. A small blue circle attached to the plate signifies dairy products.

Fruits and vegetables occupy half of the plate space, with the vegetable portion being a little bigger than the fruit section. Eating more fruits and vegetables means consumption of fewer calories on the whole, which helps to maintain a healthy body weight. Fruits and vegetables are also a rich source of fiber along with vitamins and minerals.

The other half is divided between grains and proteins. Grains, with emphasis on whole grains make up one quarter of the plate. Protein is a smaller quarter of the plate. The recommendation is to aim to eat different kinds of protein in every meal.

In a major shift from the food pyramid, the Plate does not mention the number of servings for any food group or portion size. Nor does it mention fats and oils.

Remember the following tips for a healthy meal:

  1. Eat less and enjoy your food by eating slowly
  2. Fill half your plate with fruit and vegetables.
  3. Avoid oversized portions, which can cause weight gain.
  4. At least half of your grains should be whole grains.
  5. Reduce intake of foods high in solid fats and/or added sugar.
  6. Use fat–free or low fat milk and/or dairy products.
  7. Drink plenty of water. Avoid sugary drinks.
  8. Avoid foods that have high sodium levels such as snacks, processed foods.
  9. Above all, balance your food choices with your activity level.

The Seven Dhatus in Ayurveda

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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As per Ayurveda physiology, food is Brahman and contains the same consciousness as in us and this consciousness is the essence of any food.

Any food digested is converted into three portions, the gross undigested food is converted into waste (feces); the middle one is converted in one of the Dhatus and the subtlest form gets converted into ojas or the immunity.

As per standard Ayurveda, food once eaten is converted into the first Dhatu i.e. Rasa. Once the formation of Rasa is complete, the remaining is converted into Rakta (blood).The left over essence of food makes Mamsa (muscles), the leftover of which makes (Medha (adipose tissue) and so on to form Asthi (Bone), Majja (bone marrow) and Shukra (sperm/ova).

As per this physiology, the second Dhatu will only form once the first Dhatu is of good quality and so on and at any step in Dhatu, if not formed properly, subsequent Dhatu will also show defective formation.

For example, defective Dhatu at the stage of Asthi (bone) will have normal plasma (blood), muscle and adipose tissue but may have an impaired immunity/sperm/bone marrow. Similarly, defective Dhatu at the level of bone marrow may have only impaired immunity with no impairment of other Dhatus. On the other hand, impairment of Dhatus at the level of plasma or blood will involve all other Dhatus in sickness. Isolated disorders of Shukra may have no involvement of other Dhatus at all.

This Ayurveda principle can help us to answer many yet unanswered questions in modern allopathy. Like – why in typhoid fever all the organs are involved and why in azoospermia no other organ is involved.

Upanishads talk about formation of Dhatus in much more detail. According to them, different types of foods make different types of Dhatus. Fiery foods like oil and ghee are responsible for formation of Karmendriyan (part of shukra), bone and bone marrow (Dhatu).

The earthy foods are responsible for formation of Gnanandriyan and Manas (shukra) and muscle (flesh) and water in food is responsible for formation of Rasa and Rakta (plasma and blood) and Pran (Shukra).

This means that every different type of food would make different types of Dhatus and a balanced food with a combination of fire, water and earth will only be responsible for formation of shukra, immunity or the essence.

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

Tips for getting vitamin D from food

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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The following foods are good sources of vitamin D.

  1. Cod liver oil: This oil comes from the liver of the cod fish and is considered extremely healthy. It helps ease joint pains and can be taken in capsule form or oil form.
  2. Mushrooms: If you love mushrooms, you are covered. Dried shitake mushrooms are a brilliant source of Vitamin D3 as well as Vitamin B. It is low in calorie and can be consumed daily.
  3. Salmon: This is another good source of D3, omega 3 and protein.
  4. Sunflowers seeds: They not only have vitamin D3 but also contain monounsaturated fats and protein

Low heat cooking may reduce insulin resistance

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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Traditional Ayurveda cooking recommends low heat cooking and now a western study endorses it.

Low–temperature cooking reduces insulin resistance among overweight women as per a 4–week study published in the journal Diabetes Care by Alicja B. Mark, PhD, from the department of nutrition, exercise and sports, faculty of science, University of Copenhagen, Denmark, and colleagues.

Cooking at high temperature such as with baking, roasting and frying — induces formation of advanced glycation end products (AGEs), which are associated with inflammation and believed to impair glucose metabolism in patients with type 2 diabetes. Common high–AGE foods include bakery products, cooked meat and roasted coffee.

In the study patients randomized to a high–AGE diet were instructed to fry, bake, roast, or grill their food, eat bread with the crust and choose other high–AGE foods from a list. The low–AGE group was told to boil or steam their food, eat bread without the crust, and choose lower–AGE foods from a list. They were also randomized to supplements of either fructose or glucose.

At 4 weeks, no effect was seen from the fructose or glucose on insulin resistance, as assessed by the homeostasis model assessment of insulin resistance (HOMA–IR) and the calculated insulin sensitivity index (ISI) or on any secondary measures. But the AGE content of the diet did make a difference. Weight, BMI, and waist circumference all decreased in both the high– and low–AGE groups, but to a greater degree among those in the low–AGE group compared with the high–AGE group. Overall, the low–AGE group consumed about 15% more protein, 10% more carbohydrates, and 22% less fat than did the high–AGE group

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 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 .

Tips on Water Hygiene

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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  1. Travelers should avoid consuming tap water.
  2. Avoid ice made from tap water.
  3. Avoid any food rinsed in tap water.
  4. Chlorination kills most bacterial and viral pathogens.
  5. Chlorination does not kill Giardia cysts.
  6. Chlorination does not kill amoeba cysts.
  7. Chlorination does not kill Cryptosporidium.
  8. Boiled/treated water is safe.
  9. Carbonated drinks, wine and drinks made with boiled water are safe.
  10. Freezing does not kill the organisms that cause diarrhea. Ice in drinks is not safe unless it has been made from adequately boiled or filtered water.
  11. Alcohol does not sterilize water or the ice. Mixed drinks may still be contaminated.
  12. Hot tea and coffee are the best alternates to boiled water.
  13. Bottled drinks should be requested without ice and should be drunk from the bottle with a straw rather than with a glass.
  14. Boiling water for 3 minutes followed by cooling to room temperature will kill bacterial parasites.
  15. Adding two drops of 5% sodium hydrochloride (bleach) to quarter of water (1 liter) will kill most bacteria in 30 minutes.
  16. Adding 5 drops of tincture of iodine to 1 liter of water will kill bacteria within 30 minutes.

What do you mean by ‘food is Brahman’?

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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‘Food is Brahman’ is a saying from the Vedic Upanishad and Bhagavad Gita. Brahma is consciousness, therefore, food is consciousness. Though the traditional Vedic teaching has been that consciousness is present in everything and yet only food is considered Brahman. We never say that stone is Brahman nor dog is Brahman. As per Chandogya Upanishad (6.15.1) at the time of death, our Vak Vritti (motor senses) merges into Karm Indriyas or manovritti (sensory senses, mind, intellect, ego and memory) and that now merges with Prana (Udana Vayu) and finally this merges into Tejas which leaves the body to merge into the Sat. Vak Vritti, Manovritti and Prana Vritti, in the form of vibrations in the atmosphere, come back through rain and are taken by the plants to become plant consciousness. Therefore, as per Chandogya Upanishad, the consciousness of the Brahman moves from human to plants and plants to human. The plant food once eaten and absorbed enters into the human body and ultimately makes Prana, Tejas, Ojas, Sperms and Ova. Through Sperm and Ova, it enters into the next life. If this theory is correct, then food makes the consciousness and consciousness makes food. This also further proves that vegetarian food, as it is full of Brahman creating a satvik mind and takes one towards spirituality. The Tamsik food which is dead and devoid of consciousness does not lead to a healthy mind as it may produce Mal (waste) or make flesh but will not make essence. As per Chandogya Upanishad, fiery food makes Karma Indriyas, earthy food makes Gnan Indriyas and Water in food makes Prana. It further emphasizes on the fact that one should eat freshly cut fruits and vegetables as far as possible as life or consciousness in them can only stay for some time (as per Jainism up to 48 minutes).

Eating junk food: It’s in the brain

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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When it comes to eating junk food one may blame the brain. Addiction is a disease and the same has been proved by a study. 

Two areas of the brain have to work together to give the self–control to reject unhealthy foods. California Institute of Technology researchers used MRI to scan the brains of volunteers as they looked at photos of dozens of types of foods and decided which ones they’d like to eat. They found significant differences in the brain activity between people who had self–control in terms of making food choices and those with no self–control. 

An area of the brain called the ventromedial prefrontal cortex is involved in all value–based decisions. When ventromedial prefrontal cortex activity decreases, a person will probably reject an item, whereas increased activity means they’ll probably choose it. 

The study published in the journal Science found that in people with no self–control, the ventromedial prefrontal cortex seemed to take into consideration only the taste of a food. 

In people with good self–control, another area of the brain called dorsolateral prefrontal cortex becomes active and modulates the basic value signals so that the self–controllers also incorporate health considerations into their decisions. 

The study showed that ventromedial prefrontal cortex is active during every decision and that the DLPFC is more active when a person is using self–control.

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. 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, 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.

The Seven Dhatus in Ayurveda

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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As per Ayurveda physiology, food is Brahman and contains the same consciousness as in us and this consciousness is the essence of any food.

Any food digested is converted into three portions, the gross undigested food is converted into waste (feces); the middle one is converted in one of the Dhatus and the subtlest form gets converted into ojas or the immunity.

As per standard Ayurveda, food once eaten is converted into the first Dhatu i.e. Rasa. Once the formation of Rasa is complete, the remaining is converted into Rakta (blood).The left over essence of food makes Mamsa (muscles), left over of which makes (Medha (adipose tissue) and so on to form Asthi (Bone), Majja (bone marrow) and Shukra (sperm/ova).

As per this physiology, the second Dhatu will only form once the first Dhatu is of good quality and so on and at any step in Dhatu, if not formed properly, subsequent Dhatu will also show defective formation.

For example, defective Dhatu at the stage of Asthi (bone) will have normal plasma (blood), muscle and adipose tissue but may have an impaired immunity/sperm/bone marrow. Similarly, defective Dhatu at the level of bone marrow may have only impaired immunity with no impairment of other Dhatus. On the other hand, impairment of Dhatus at the level of plasma or blood will involve all other Dhatus in sickness. Isolated disorders of Shukra may have no involvement of other Dhatus at all.

This Ayurveda principle can help us in answering many unanswered questions in modern allopathy. Like – why in typhoid fever all the organs are involved and why in azoospermia no other organ is involved.

Upanishads talk about formation of Dhatus in much more detail. According to them, different types of food make different types of Dhatus. The fiery foods like oil and ghee are responsible for formation of Karamendriyan (part of shukra), bone and bone marrow (Dhatu).

The earthy foods are responsible for formation of Gnanandriyan and Manas (shukra) and muscle (flesh) and water in food is responsible for formation of Rasa and Rakta (plasma and blood) and Pran (Shukra).

That means every different type of food would make different types of Dhatus and a balanced food with a combination of fire, water and earth will only be responsible for formation of shukra, immunity or the essence.

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.

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, it is a reminder to you to 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.

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.

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, 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 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.