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Dr K K Aggarwal

What is charity?

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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Some time back after returning from a free health check–up camp, I met a processor of Cardiology from Lucknow and started boasting that I saw 100 patients free today. He said do not get excited. Charity is a positive, but still not the absolute positive, unless it is done without any motive or done secretly. He said that you were honored on the stage; you got blessings from the patients and people talked about you in positive sense. It was an investment in the long run and not an absolute charity. When you serve, never be honored on the stage by the people to whom you are serving. If you get that then it is like give and take. The purpose of life should be to help others without any expectations.

Understanding helping others

When you help others, it should not end up in harming somebody else even though your help is unconditional. If you end up in promoting no.2 by superseding another deserving senior person, this is not a help as the person to whom you are helping will give you one blessing but the person to whom you have harmed will give you 10 curses. Ultimately you end up with minus 8 points. Helping other means that it should give happiness to you, to the persons you have helped and also to others to whom you have not helped.

Helping always pays

The difference between American and Indian models is that Indians always think of now and do not invest in future. Americans always plans for the future. When we help somebody, we want that the same person should expect you by helping you when you are in need in a shorter run. But charity does not believe in that. Your job is to help others and negate your negative past karmas. You never know, may be decades later you get a help from a person to whom you helped decades earlier. Help should never be linked to returns.

Understanding who we are…………..

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The classical description of ‘who we are comes’ from Adi Shankaracharya’s Bhaja Govindam, where he says that even the wife refuses to touch the same physical body after death, with which she has been fondling all these years and if she touches it, a ritual bath has to be taken. This means physical body is not what we are.

If we weigh physical body before and after death there will be no difference. The life force also called consciousness or atman has no weight, shape or dimensions.

In Bhagavad Gita,Krishnain Chapter 2 describes its characteristics as “fire cannot burn it, air cannot dry it, weapons cannot cut it, and water cannot wet it. It is omnipotent, omnipresence and omniscient”.

Though modern medicine may not talk about soul but it does differentiate life and death based on certain parameters.

Vedic description describes five different movement forces in the body: apana vayu expulses urine, stool, baby and menses; samana vayu controls the intestinal movements; vyana vayu controls the circulatory system; udana vayu controls the neurological impulses and the connection between soul and spirit; and prana vayu controls the brain stem reflexes.

Soul or consciousness is linked to udana vayu and prana vayu. The best description of these five forces apart from Ayurveda text comes from prasannopanishad.

A patient with brain stem death can be kept on ventilator for months together, as the body has normal vyana vayu, sana vayu and apana vayus. The patient will therefore, maintain blood pressure, GI functions, urinary functions and reproductive functions. These three vayus are controlled by the atmospheric oxygen and not by the life force.

Can anyone remember the weight, height, abdominal circumference or size of collar, waist or shoes of Lord Krishna? He is only known only from his actions and the soul profile.

All of us have physical, mental, intellectual, ego and soul characteristics. Soul characteristics in all are same & are positive. The examples are love, compassion, care, humility, etc. These soul characteristics are influenced by the subtle mind, intellect and ego characteristics.

While introducing ourselves, most of the times we talk about define our intellectual or ego profile and not the soul profile. When we describe our status, house, car or money, we are describing our ego profile and not the soul profile. Our aim in life should be to understand our soul profile, as without the soul nobody will come near us. The same very people will dispose off our body at the earliest opportunity they get.

Most of us co-relate life span with the life span of the physical body, which has to perish sooner or later. When we ask people how long they want to live their usual  answers are 60 yrs, 70 yrs, 80 yrs or 90 yrs. Nobody thinks beyond physical death. People like Mahatma Gandhi, Indira Gandhi, Mother Teresa are not dead. Though their physical body does not exist, their good karmas, work, memories and the soul profiles are still alive.

The purpose of life should be to create an atmosphere or an aura in such a way that the society remembers us after the death of our physical body. This is only possible when we shift our thinking from the ego profile to the soul profile.

Soul is nothing but an energized field of information and can be equated to the live information fed in any computer or mobile phone. Both computer and mobile phones with and without information weigh the same. Similarly, weight of radio does not change weather the radio is on or off. The live data information in the TV, radio or mobile phone can be termed as their soul. A computer without this soul is useless, so are the mobile and radio sets.

The information is always static and still without any movements. This information in a computer requires a software to run. The static soul in our body also requires a software called life force.

Soul, thus van be described as a combination of the life force and the static information. In Hindu mythology this is called shiva and shakti. Some people describe them as prana and chitta. In vedic philosophy by controlling prana one can control chitta and vice versa.

For a computer to operate one requires two softwares: operational software and application software. Operational software makes the computer do basic work and application software helps one to manipulate the data the way one wants.

All of us our born with the operational software or the life force. We develop and create our own application software over a period of time by using the triad of action, memory and desires.

To understand oneself, therefore, one needs to control our own application software and do not let them go beyond its desired scope of work.

Upanishads, Yogasutra of Patanjali and Gautam Buddha teachings all talk about “the right speech”. As per Gautam Buddha, it has three components:

i.   It should be based on truthfulness.

ii.  It should be necessary.

iii. It should be kind

All three have to be in the same sequence with truthfulness being on the top. For example, if a patient asks a doctor, “Am I going to die in the next few weeks or will I survive longer?”; the truth may be that he is serious enough and may not survive but it is not necessary to speak the truth and  also it is not kind. Therefore, that truth should not be spoken.

Lord Krishna in Mahabharata explained when not to speak the truth and when to speak a lie. The truth which is going to harm the society may not be spoken and a lie which can save the life of a person without harming others may be spoken.

i.    A truth which is necessary and kind may be spoken.

ii.   A truth which is not necessary but kind may not be spoken.

iii. A truth which is necessary but not kind may not be spoken.

iv. A truth which is neither necessary and nor kind may not be spoken.