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Dr K K Aggarwal

Vedic Fasting

By Dr K K Aggarwal
Filed Under Spirituality - Science Behind Rituals | Tagged With: , | | Comments Off on Vedic Fasting

Fasting and starvation are two different terms commonly confused with each other.

Starvation means not eating or drinking altogether, while fasting means control and restrain of five sensory and five motor senses.

During fasting one may continue eating or drinking but under discipline. Vedic fasting or spiritual fasting is mentioned in Karam Kanda in Yajurveda. Every fast in our mythology has a scientific basis and rituals are added so that the common man can follow it.

 

Vedic Fasting

By
Filed Under Spirituality - Science Behind Rituals | Tagged With: , | | Comments Off on Vedic Fasting

Fasting and starvation are two different terms commonly confused with each other. Starvation means not eating or drinking altogether while fasting means control and restrain of five sensory and five motor senses. During fasting one may continue eating or drinking but under a discipline. Vedic fasting or spiritual fasting is mentioned in karam kanda in Yajurveda. Every fasting in our mythology has a scientific basis and rituals are added so that common man even without understanding can follow it.

According to Bhagwad Gita there are three different types of behaviour, thinking, food and lifestyle and they are satwa, tamas and rajas. A person with a satwik mind is restful and creative. A person with rajsic mind is full of desires and greed; and a tamsic person is full of negative thoughts and destruction. Each one of us faces all three states of mind almost everyday. A person who is satwik all the time is a yogi or a rishi. Most of us waiver in between. We need to learn to be in balance so that we are not shifting towards rajsic and tamsic mind all the time.

A vedic fast is a process in which we try to maintain our mind and body in a state of satwa for 24 hours. It, therefore, involves under devotion and discipline, willfully living a life full of satwa. It also involves avoidance of rajsic and tamsic things with willful effort.

In our vedic rituals consciousness or soul is symbolized with God. All the offerings to God, therefore, can only be satwik in nature. Whether God is considered as an idol, a picture or a feeling whatever we offer to him we offer our body on the day of the vedic fasting.

Milk, ghee, fruits, leaves, dry fruits, etc. are offered to God and the same, therefore, becomes our food on the day of vedic fasting. These natural fruits and food items promotes satwa in our body.

According to Bhagwad Gita anything which is sour, salty, punget, fried, frozen, animal meat, eggs, etc. promotes either rajas or tamas in the body and hence should not be taken on the day of vedic fasting. Vedic fast can be water fast, milk fast, fruit fast, etc.

On the day of fasting ones needs to meditate in the morning and evening to bring positive vibrations in the mind. One needs to avoid negative thinking and behavior on that particular day. The typical description comes from Ramzaan where Muslims are prohibited from fighting or abusing a person. Most Muslims may be heard saying that you are lucky that you are hurting me during Ramzaan because you know I cannot hit back.

Many rituals of vedic fasting incorporate short bodily detoxification process. Physical detoxification may involve drinking tulsi water (Satyanarayan ki katha), ginger water (mini panchkarma) or only eating grapes which helps detoxification.

Mental detoxification involves japa meditation, satsang, communication, offering daan or attending religious meetings. On the day of fasting it is a ritual not to watch serials which are full of violence, sex and stimulating music. It is customary during a vedic fasting not to indulge in sexual thoughts or actions. One can consider a vedic fasting as a household process of physical, mental and soul detoxification which removes physical and mental ‘ama’ from the body.

A fast done on purnima is said to be an important fast as on that day due to vibrations in the nature the mind is difficult to get controlled. If one can control and do a fast on that day one can control the mind on any other day.

Some spiritual fasts are done for days together for example on Navratras in Hinduism, Ramzaan in Islam and Easter in Christianity. 10 to 40 days fast done every few months helps in retarding the ageing process. It is like recharging your depleting batteries in the body. It is a misnomer that fasting is to be done only by the women. It has to be done by everyone irrespective of age.

During fasts some rituals have been added so that a particular aspect of health can be taken care off. The example is Santoshi maa ka vrat on every Friday where married women are supposed to observe a fasting and take gur and chana. Gur is iron and chana is protein and the two are the most common deficiencies known to occur in women in the fertile age group. Even scientifically today, WHO recommends that every women once in a week should take iron folic acid supplement, natural or through drugs, and take a high protein diet.