Meaning of Fast (Upavaasa) – People consider fasting as a physical discipline only but it is more than that. Fasting is a spiritual feast. In Sanskrit, fast is also known as Upavaasa.
Upa means “near”
Vaasa means “to stay”
Upavaasa thus refers to staying near the Lord. Through fasting, we can attain a close mental relationship with the Lord. The main goal of keeping a fast is inner unity. As our body needs food, our soul needs fasting. Fast is not about a diet of food, instead, it is a mental diet to burn ego, pride, and sins.
How is fasting connected to food?
A human being does work all day and night just to earn living so that he can survive by having good food. People spend their full time and energy procuring food. They go and buy food from outside, some grow food in-house. Then they cook food, eat food, and digest food. The whole day just revolves around food and food.
Therefore, on some days humans decide to stay away from food and stay near the Lord. They can save their time and energy by eating either simple food or having meals less frequently. Some people do not eat at all depending on their health and energy levels.
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How fast feeds our soul?
Fasting of the body is food for the soul. It makes our minds and soul more pure and alert. The mind which was earlier occupied with the thought of food is now connected with positive vibes and noble thoughts which can stay near the Lord.
It is rightly said by William Secker –
“By fasting, the body learns to obey the soul; by praying, the soul learns to command the body.”
We need to have command over our body, in which our soul helps us by controlling all the senses through fasting. It not only helps us to be away from food and drinks, but it also helps us to be away from evil thoughts, lying, and falsehood.
Everybody has negative thoughts but fast doesn’t let those thoughts overtake them. So, what is in your mind controls your life. The more we indulge our senses, the more demands they make. Fasting is the key to guiding our minds to be stable and to be at peace. It surely helps us to redirect our desires and to have complete control over our senses.
Fasting can be viewed as:
F – Forgiveness
A – Acceptance
S – Self-Control
T – Truth
I – Integrity
N – Nourishment
G – Grace
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Is fasting healthy?
Fasting is a healthy habit. Many people wonder if keeping fast is indeed healthy for our bodies. Yes, it is an extremely healthy habit. Be it any system or machine on this Earth, it needs a break and a service to work at its best efficiency again. Fast overhauls and prepares our body for the same. It gives our digestive system rest to work more efficiently.
It is a self-imposed form of discipline, which should not make us weak. Neither it should create an urge to indulge later on, nor it should make us irritable. It should be followed by happiness and peace of mind.
The Holy Bhagavad Gita teaches us to eat appropriately –’yukta-aahaara‘, which refers to neither too less nor too much. The holy book says that we should consume a sattvic diet even when we are not keeping a fast, that is, to eat healthy, pure, and simple food.
Healthy habits keep us healthy and happy. If we develop healthy habits at an early age, they become good choices for life.
Please share your experience with us in the comments section below.
Wish you a very Happy Fast and Parenting!