Fasting, known as Vrat or Vratam, is an integral part of Hindu religion. Each day of a week is dedicated to a particular deity in the Hindu pantheon and depending on personal choice a devotee can fast on any day. Apart from this there are Ekadasi and Shasti in a month, which are fasting days. Fasting is also associated with important festivals like Navratri, Teej etc. The main aim of all fasting days associated with Hinduism is to rise above the mundane materialistic nature and understand the all encompassing and blissful nature of Brahman.
Some Benefits of Fasting on Spiritual Level
- Fasting purifies the mind.
- It controls passion.
- Checks emotions.
- Controls the senses.
- For many it is also a sort of penance as it provides a window to escape from sins.
- Fasting controls the tongue, which when let loose is the greatest enemy of man.
Benefits of Fasting to the Physical Body
- Fasting overhauls the respiratory, circulatory, digestive and urinary systems.
- Impurities and poisons from the body are removed as a fast performs the much needed cleansing.
- Adequate rest to internal organs and time for cleansing.
While fasting, utilize the time for contemplation and reading scriptures and lead a life of solitude. When breaking a fast, never opt for a heavy food. It is ideal to start with fruits or milk.
Lord Krishna says in the Bhagavad Gita, Yoga of meditation is not possible, O Arjuna, for the one who eats too much, or who does not eat at all; who sleeps too much, or who keeps awake. (6.16)
It means that in the name of Vrata or fasting, one should not torture the body. Don’t ever think that by starving, God will be pleased and will shower wealth and happiness. Fasting is purely meant to make a person mentally and spiritually strong.