Why we do fasting?
“The best of all medicines is resting and fasting”
– Benjamin Franklin.
Fasting is regarded as an act of willingly refraining from food, drink, or both, for an era of time. Normally it is for a day (24 hours), but in some cases it can extends to several days.
Fasting gives rest to digestive system, it create a break in eating patterns and increases energy level to maintain an inner serenity. During fasting, our body undergoes through various chemical reactions which gives youthful spirit. It is also advantageous to develop resistance against high blood pressure, asthma, mental illness and other chronic diseases. It also provides mental clarity and calmness which leads to joy in our body.
Fasting plays an important role in Hinduism. It is also known as “Vrat” or “Upvaas”. The word “Upvaas” comes from Sanskrit word “upa” which means ‘near’ and “vaas” means ‘stay’ hence it means ‘to stay near God’. According to Hindu tradition each day in a week has special importance and is devoted to a particular deity such as ‘ Monday for Lord Shiva’, ‘Tuesday for Goddess Durga and Lord Hanuman’, ‘Wednesday for Lord Ganesha and Krishna’, ‘Thursday for Hindu Gurus and Lord Vishnu’, ‘Friday for Goddess Lakshmi’ ,and ‘Saturday for Lord Shani’.
In India, people do fasting on different occasions to show their faith in religion, god or person. During fasting people usually avoid intake of alcohol and prefer juice or water.
According to Mahatma Gandhi, “fasting is a potent weapon in the Satyagraha armoury. It cannot be taken by everyone. Mere physical capacity to take it is no qualification for it. It is of no use without a living faith in God. It should never be a mechanical effort or a mere limitation. It must come from the depth of one’s soul. It is, therefore, always rare. The essence of Satyagraha is that it seeks to eliminate antagonisms without harming the antagonists themselves and seeks to transform or “purify” it to a higher level. Gandhi stated that the most important battle to fight was overcoming his own demons, fears, and insecurities.”( THE MIND OF MAHATMA GANDHI)