I have been hearing and many have tried analyzing how God will know about a Monday or a Tuesday.
Atheists might totally reject the concept of fasting.
I spent some time to understand the effects of fasting.
I will write in a gist on scientific, spiritual, and psychological aspects of fasting.
Observing fast was never restricted to a particular religion: Most religions in the world observe this. Hinduism, Sikhism, Taoism, Jainism, Buddhism, Judaism, Islam, Christianity to name new a few , practice fasting.
Why Observe Fast?
When people observe fast what we notice more often is that they refrain from eating ‘xyz’, drinking liquor (something common to most religions ), restricting on certain food items, taking meals before sunrise/sunset/after moonrise.
These days’ nutritionists have coined a new term ‘detox’. Liberals like to use that and find fasting for Divine very regressive.
So the question ‘why fast’ hounds us.
Fast is observed for myriad reasons:
- Give stomach ‘CL’
Happens after festivals and weddings.
- Revisit food habits.
Specially caters to people who eat with no control, whatsoever. Fasting for a day helps to keep digestive system up and running. Especially after bouts of diarrhoea.
Remember that day’s ‘thelevala’ pani puri and you heard thunderstorm inside.
According to Ayurveda, all objects in the universe including human body are composed of five basic elements (Panchamahabhutas) namely, Akash (Ether), Vayu (Air), Agni (Fire), Jala (Water) and Prithvi (Earth). There is a balanced condensation of these elements in different proportions to suit the needs and requirements of different structures. By knowing one’s own prakruti (true nature), one can plan and practice an appropriate daily and seasonal dietetic and behavioral regime. With this simple effort, the body will maintain balance of the doshas (vata, pitta and kapha). From an Ayurvedic perspective, this balance is considered the “healthy” state of humans. And fasting is one of those activities that can help .
- What follows fast?
Fasting is often clubbed with chanting, prayers, people coming together and serving.
It is seen as a part of a bigger celebration. Some take to spirituality, give up bad habits, and give up on things not suitable to their body.
- Anna Hazare, or so that your mom prepares your favourite dish.
Why only on Monday, Tuesday etc?
Will Shiva be pleased and descend from Kailash and perform tandava?
Will Ganesha be gleeful and give you more delicious food and knowledge?
Answer to above is a ‘NO’.
No(,) God will be pleased. Your dining table or utensils also won’t be lured into this drama.
Let me state an example:
Let’s say you are a smoker and want to quit but are finding it hard to do so. Your resolve seems weak.
Your best friend, whom you really care and who cares about you, is upset and would like to help you. Best friend is worried about your health.
You promise your best friend that you won’t smoke for the next 21 days.
each time your hand reaches out to the cigarette packet that is in your pockets, you remember the promise and might stop yourself. Cheating is out of scope because you can’t belittle the trust your best friend has in you.
This is one of the reasons why people observe fast remembering Shiva, Ganesha, their guru.
This way they can have a control over their eating habits on that day or few days because God has come into play. Some assume that their God will be upset.
It served the purpose. If one wants to learn to have control over taste buds, give stomach a break and the nutritionist based reasons, pleasing God works.
Incidentally, these days only menu changes on the day people observe fast (:-D).
Rajgira puris, shrikhand, sabudana vades, farhali items replace plain daal chawal.
However, we tend to see that these fasts have become merely ritual; the spiritual aspect has been lost in many cases. People observe fast because they’ve done it for years, or because their parents did it, or because they were instructed to do so.
Understand your body prakriti, your body nature and accordingly check if you find any idea convincing- health or spiritually health.
To me observing fast would be NO (internet, cell phone, junk food, tea, coffee) and above all my mind SHUT! 😀
i will be sharing the other aspects soon in the next part. 🙂
i do not want to go wrong on the scientific basis and might as well rope in an experienced doctor for this 🙂