Fasting involves denying your body the basic sustenance of food and water for a specific period of time. According to our Hindu scriptures, fasting sets a harmonious relationship between the body and soul and aligns you with the Absolute.
Fasting brings discipline
Fasting is not simply a part of worship, but a great instrument for self-discipline. With fasting you can train your mind and the body to endure every hardship, to persevere in the face of difficulty and not give up. In Hindu philosophy, food is gratification of the senses and by starving the senses, you can elevate them to achieve self-control. A wise man once said: “When the stomach is full, the intellect begins to sleep. Wisdom becomes mute and the parts of the body restrain from acts of righteousness.”
Fasting is healthy
Fasting is highly praised in Ayurveda, the ancient Indian medical system. The accumulation of toxic substances in the digestive system gives rise to diseases. By fasting, the digestive organs get a much deserved rest and the toxic materials can be expelled from the body, correcting imbalances in the system. A complete fast with intake of only water or fruit juice cleanses the system and flushes out all toxins.
Common Fasting days
Hindus fast on certain days of the month such as Purnima (full moon) and Ekadasi (the 11th day of the fortnight). Certain days of the week are earmarked for fasting, depending on your favourite deity. On Saturdays, you may fast to appease the planet ruling that day, Shani or Saturn. On Tuesdays the auspicious day of Lord Hanuman, the monkey God you may fast for Him. On Fridays devotees of Santoshi Ma fast for Her blessings.
Hindus all over India observe fast on festivals like Navaratri, Shivratri, Chatth puja and Karwa Chauth. On Navaratri people fast for nine days to propitiate the nine forms of Goddess Durga.
Popular Fasting rules
You need not give up food entirely for fasting. You may abstain from certain things, such as salt or cereals. Excess salt and sodium cause hypertension and elevate blood pressure, so this fast may actually be good for you.
The most popular fasting method involves foregoing all cereals and grains, in favour of fruits and milk. This fast is known as phalahar. You may eat some starchy foods such as Potato, Sweet potato, Sago and Peanuts. Instead of salt only rock salt is used.
Benefits of Fasting
I believe that energy from the planets enters the body through food you eat. Every planet shows its effect through a different grain, as each imparts its frequency to that grain. Through fasting, you may avoid eating that particular grain. Planets show their effects on particular days, such as Monday for Moon, Tuesday for Mars, Wednesday for Mercury, Thursday for Jupiter, Friday for Venus, Saturday for Saturn and Sunday for Sun.
A person who fasts on the day of His malefic planet can avoid the malefic effects of that planet to great extent. Thus, you may fast on days of planets that are malefic for you or those whose dashas are difficult for you. Here are the Grains for different planets.
|Tur Dal (Red Gram), Oats||Mars|
|Moong (Green gram), millet||Mercury|
|Kabuli Chana (Bengal Gram), Rye||Jupiter|
|Lobhiya (Cow peas), Barley||Venus|
|Black Til (Sesame), Corn||Saturn|
|Urad (Black gram)||Rahu|
Donation for Planets
If you who have a specific malefic planet you may donate the grain of that planet by traditionally holding the grain between your and pouring it into a vessel for donation. This signifies releasing the negative energy through your palms to the grain and away from yourself.