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Dr K K Aggarwal

Cultivating Positive Thoughts

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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Darkness present in a room cannot be removed physically. It can only be removed by switching on the light. Darkness, therefore, can be defined as absence of light. Similarly, negative thoughts can be defined as absence of positive thoughts. It is very difficult to remove negative thoughts but it is very easy to cultivate positive thoughts. Persistent negative thoughts creates sympathetic overactivity and leads to lifestyle disorders like blood pressure, acidity, depression, diabetes and heart blockages.

Many Vedic scriptures have talked about modalities of living a positive life and cultivating positive thoughts. Navratras observed twice in a year involve three phases of three days each, the first phase where one tries to avoid doing negative things wilfully (worshipping the Kali), the second phase of three days where one wilfully performs positive activities (worshipping the Laxmi) and finally the last three days where one reads about positive lifestyle (worshipping the Saraswati).

One of the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali talks about removal of negativity by cultivating opposite thoughts. For example, the thoughts of theft can be removed by bringing the thoughts of charity in mind. Patanjali wrote (2.32, 2.33) “that to counteract destructive attitudes one should cultivate thoughts of the opposite kind. These destructive attitudes, as for example thoughts of violence, whether they are done, caused to be done, or merely approved of; whether motivated by greed, anger, or preceded by ignorance; and whether mild, moderate, or extreme, will result in infinite suffering and ignorance. Therefore one should cultivate thoughts of the opposite kind.”

Lord Buddha, in his teachings, has given another formula by which one does not have to cultivate opposite thought to cultivate any positive thought. Buddha said that hatred couldn’t be removed by hatred; it can only be removed by bringing the love back. It is a fact that one cannot hate an unknown individual. One can hate only a person whom he or she has loved once. Generalized positive behavior involves promoting smile, appreciating and passing on compliments to others.

Adi Shankaracharya, in his teachings, propagated the third way of negating the negative thoughts. He said that every thought has multiple perspectives and one should think differently for every situation.

Cultivation of positive thoughts, opposite thoughts or changing the perception of the thoughts, can be all in the mind, may remain silent or end up with an action. Even giving a silent blessing to someone without his or her knowledge is considered as a positive thought.

Satwik thoughts come from satwik mind and satwik mind in turn comes from satwik food. The best way to remember a satwik food is whatever is offered to God is satwik in nature. The food is fresh, seasonal, locally grown, with cooking done on Ayurvedic principles, usually naturally white and in most instances contained in the top part of the tree or the plant.

The frame and state of mind also has to do with death and rebirth. Both Buddha and Bhagwad Gita describe it in great details. The state of mind at the time of death, determines the rebirth. If the mind is calm and peaceful and imbued with positive thoughts at the time of death, this will augur well for a happy rebirth. However, if the mind is in a state of anger or has strong desire or is fearful, etc., this will predispose to an unhappy or lower type of rebirth.

The mind that arises at the time of death is usually the one that the person is most habituated to. People tend to die in character. So Buddha wrote that the time to prepare for death is “now”, because if we gain control over our mind now and create positive aura, we will have a calm and controlled mind at the time of death and be free of fear.

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 salty 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 were 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, 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.

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 .