Fasting in Sanatan Dharma is a moral and spiritual practice that aims to clean body, mind, and attain divine grace. There is a lot of science indulged in Vedic scriptures of Sanatan dharma. Fasting has greater significance rather than some cultural beliefs.
India is said to be a country with many cultural beliefs. Customs practiced throughout the nation hold greater meaning in life. Fasting is one of such rituals. It is a practice of Santana Dharma that can range from little restrictions to heavy customs. The choice of days and methods of fasting depends on the community or the individual.
Types of Fasting in Sanatan Dharma
The Upanishads of Rig Veda describes various kinds of fasting, mentioned below:
Vachika (to purify speech)
Vachika is a way of fasting practiced to clean the conduct of speech in an individual. It holds virtue like speaking the truth, being pure, controlling our sense, restricting anger, and avoiding criticism and ill-mannered speaking. The person devotes itself to the pathways of the almighty and his role of conduct. Anyone disobeying this mode invites sin.
Kayika (to purify mind)
Kayika is determined to purify our mind with the means of fast. This practice enhances the intellectual ability of our mind to restrain calmness in different situations of our daily lives. It helps our brain to attain spiritual prospects like self-control, discipline, and deprivation.
Manasa (To purify body)
Manasa deals with the purification of our mind. In today’s world, there are loads of disturbing practices related to our body which, increases the level of toxins in our body. It helps in detoxifying our body by forming a calm and stress-free digestive system.
Fasting Vs. Starvation
Fast has often misinterpreted as starvation. However, both are different terms for having different meanings. Starving is a condition in which a person does not consume food or drinks. While fasting refers to restrain and control our body to enhance our senses.
Vedic or spiritual fasting mentioned in the Yajurveda has a scientific base infused with the rituals. According to the Hindu epic Bhagavadgita, there are various kinds of practices known as Satwa, Tamas, and Rajas (thinking, food, and lifestyle).
A person with a Rajasic mind is full of greed and desires, while a Tamasic person is full of negativity and destruction. On the other hand, a Satwik person is more of a creative and restful mind. In fasting, we try to control our possession and attain a state of sattva for a while.
In Vedic culture, eternal conscience offered to god exists in the Satwik state. We offer our body to the lord on the day of Vedic fast. Fruits, milk, ghee, leaves offered to the god helps in attaining Satwa state.
The epic book of Bhagavadgita describes salty, sour, frozen food as a promoter of Tamasic and Rajasic state of mind. Thus, these types of food, not be consumed on the day of fasting. On the day of the fast, we should meditate and practice yoga to attain positive vibrations for the intellectual growth of the mind. One should avoid negative thinking and practices on this particular day.
Also Read: Lord Shiva: Offering milk to Shiva linga?
Fast is a self-restriction on food and behavior to enlighten our inner being. No priest or person is required to practice fasting. We should fast regularly to keep our mind and body free of toxins that are growing in our lives every day. Some fastings are related to festivals and other religious ceremonies. It revives a person’s mind and body along with helping the body to fight against diseases related to digestion.