Friday, June 18, 2010

Why do we fast?



Radhekrishna Dear Readers,

We started with the question “Why do we fast?” in our previous post.
We left you with an unanswered question which was that “How is the concept of ‘upavasa’ related to food?

The answer is as follows:

A lot of our time and energy is spent in procuring food items, preparing, cooking, eating and digesting food. Certain food types make our minds dull and agitated. Hence on certain days man decides to save time and conserve his energy by eating either simple, light food or totally abstaining from eating so that his mind becomes alert and pure. The mind, otherwise pre-occupied by the thought of food, now entertains noble thoughts and stays with the Lord.
Since it is a self-imposed form of discipline it is usually adhered to with joy

Our body consists of various systems. Every system needs a break and an overhaul to work at its best. Rest and a change of diet during fasting are very good for the digestive system and the entire body. The more you indulge the senses, the more they make their demands. Fasting helps us to cultivate control over our senses, sublimate our desires and guide our minds to be poised and at peace.

Fasting should not make us weak, irritable or create an urge to indulge later. This happens when there is no noble goal behind fasting.

The Bhagavad-Gita urges us to eat appropriately - neither too less nor too much – yuktaaahaara and to eat simple, pure and healthy food (a saatvik diet) even when not fasting.


Section II: Information about Indian herbs

In this post let us know about the herb known as ‘Akh’ i.e. Gigantic Swallow Wort in English and Calotropis Gigantea in Latin.

1. It is a plant commonly growing in the wilds.
2. It flourishes in hot climates where other plants have a tendency to wither away due to hot wind.
3. The sap of Akh is a specific cure for ringworm.
4. It is also found useful in congested nose and sinuses.
5. Leaves of the plant coated with warmed up sesame oil and wrapped over swollen joints in rheumatism provide relief.

That’s all for this fortnight dear readers. Till the next post on 6th July, Radhekrishna to all!

Sarvam Guruvaarpanam

Saturday, June 05, 2010

Why do we fast?


Radhekrishna to our Readers!

We completed the question “Why do we offer food to the Lord before eating it? in our previous post. In this post, let us begin with a new question. It is based on one of the commonly observed practices amongst the Hindus and the question is, “Why do we fast? Most devout Indians fast regularly or on special occasions like festivals. Observing a fast is of various types:

1. Some of us drink only water for an entire day and do not consume any food.
2. Some others drink tea/ coffee and eat fruits or drink fruit juice during the entire day and do not consume any other food.
3. There are some people who believe in eating a special diet of simple food only on a fasting day such as sweet potato, potato, banana etc and not any other food.
4. Some do not eat or drink anything at all.
5. Some eat only once in the entire day.

What is the reason for observing a fast? Let us know more about it.

Fasting in Sanskrit is called upavaasa. Upa means "near" + vaasa means "to stay". Upavaasa therefore means staying near (the Lord), meaning the attainment of close mental proximity with the Lord. Then what has upavaasa to do with food?

To know the answer wait till our next posting. Radhekrishna

….to be continued

Section II: Information about Indian herbs

In this post let us know about the fruit called as Amla or Emblic Myrobalan in English and Emblica Officinalis in Latin.

1. It is one of the three myrobalans
2. It is the cheapest source of Vitamin C which is not destroyed by boiling or other processes
3. It is a panacea for many ills of the body and mind such as anxiety and melancholia, falling hair and premature graying of hair.
4. This fruit taken over a period of time can lead to rejuvenation of the body.

That concludes our post for this fortnight. Till the next posting, Radhekrishna!

Sarvam Guruvaarpanam

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