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Questions about fasting

Discussion in 'Hinduism DIR' started by Ashoka, Feb 22, 2021.

  1. Ashoka

    Ashoka Om Namah Shivaya

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    What days do Hindus normally fast? I have heard that Mondays are for Shiva and Wednesdays for Ganesha when fasting. Is this true? Also, what should I fast from?

    Thanks!
     
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  2. JustGeorge

    JustGeorge Well-Known Member
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    This really varies!

    Ekadashi is often kept by Vaishnavas, and Pradosh is kept by some Saivites. Some keep a fast on the Purnima or the Amavasya, and then there are some who fast for the whole of Navaratri. There are monthly fasts held for certain deities, too. Some of them are held very differently, with some things being allowed, while others allow nothing(foodwise).

    If you are considering fasting, I would first figure out why. Is it to bring about a certain advantage? To appeal to a certain God/dess? Once you've figured that out, do more research into how that fast is done. It can be confusing at first glance, though, as sometimes information conflicts! Its often most helpful to find someone to talk about it with(and its seems you've began to do that, here! :) )
     
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  3. Vinayaka

    Vinayaka devotee
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    There is no standard rule, as it all varies by sect, and personal preference. Many traditional Hindus ignore the western calendar and fast according to the Hindu calendar. It's common for Vaisnavites to fast on Ekadashi days, and Saivites on Pradosha days. If you google 'Hindu panchang' you'll discover the accurate times fro where you live. Personally, I use the calendar from my local temple, as it's specific to where I live.

    Fasting means different things to different people. The most extreme is nothing at all, and the least extreme is 'fasting' from meat. In between would be juice fasts, or fruit only fasts. It will also vary for how long. Some folks will go 24 hours while others will go sunrise to sunset.

    Best wishes.

    Calendar link ... http://www.mahaganapathytemple.com/Calendar_2021_Eng.pdf
     
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  4. SalixIncendium

    SalixIncendium अहम् ब्रह्मास्मि
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    @JustGeorge makes a good point. If you are fasting, understand the purpose. Don't just fast because that's what other Hindus do.

    An interesting side-note. Ramakrisha had an obsession with food. But it wasn't cause by gluttony. It's what kept him tethered to vyavaharika. A new Sadhguru video uploaded yesterday explains this...

     
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  5. Ashoka

    Ashoka Om Namah Shivaya

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    A great video! I love Sri Ramakrishna. <3
     
  6. Ashoka

    Ashoka Om Namah Shivaya

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    Sounds like I need to check it out! I love reading, and I am always learning more (the more I learn about Sanatana Dharma, the less I seem to know!)
     
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  7. Vinayaka

    Vinayaka devotee
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    Most folks figure out that at some point, it's helpful to narrow things down. There might be a lot more to learn, but do we need to? Since the end goal is moksha, and the path, if chosen, could be a straight one, what really is there to know?
     
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  8. Vinayaka

    Vinayaka devotee
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    For those here who suggested there be a purpose for fasting, just what is that purpose, according to you? Perhaps there is more than one purpose?
     
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  9. Ashoka

    Ashoka Om Namah Shivaya

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    I think when I started, it was, "I should do this because this is expected" moreso than anything. But, maybe fasting's purpose could rise from Bhakti? Trying to connect with God and teach yourself patience and self-control, perhaps.
     
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  10. Vinayaka

    Vinayaka devotee
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    I used to fast every Friday, and once I fasted for Skanda Shasthi, 6 days. From my slight addiction to coffee, I'd get a migraine, and ever since then (like 30 years ago) I haven't actually tried it for more than until noon. Migraines aren't fun.

    But there are plenty of reasons ... for those that do.
    - development of will power
    - it's healthy, a body cleanse
    - a sacrifice to God, and to humanity, act of bhakti
    - it can give you a temporary natural high, which increases the ability to feel darshan, or shakti

    I've never felt it was expected, an optional practice, yes.
     
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  11. JustGeorge

    JustGeorge Well-Known Member
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    For myself, there are multiple benefits. The most obvious one is the health benefits. I just feel better after a fast. And, besides, my doctor told me to!

    Another is a break of routine. On fasting days, I typically give my son a break from his school work, and try to focus more on spiritual activities, whichever ones are possible at the time(mediation may not be possible while caring for 3 kids, but there's no reason we can't listen to bhajans or read stories).

    It builds a relationship between me and the deity I'm fasting in honor of. My husband, who at the time had little interest in Hinduism, found his way here by means of a fast. I one year decided to do the nine day Navaratri fast(which is a partial fast, for most). He decided (in somewhat of a manner of defiance) he was going to do it, too. And, out of the two of us, he had the more profound experiences. He had a lot of personal experiences with Durga during that time that changed him deeply.
     
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  12. SalixIncendium

    SalixIncendium अहम् ब्रह्मास्मि
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    I don't personally have a purpose for fasting, so I don't do it, but for those who practice bhakti yoga, it can be done out of devotion or worship, or in raja yoga to bring to mystical experience.

    I just think there should be a personal reason other than monkey see...monkey do.
     
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  13. Vinayaka

    Vinayaka devotee
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    I think that for a great many people, it is a personal reason, and not monkey see, monkey do. But that brings up an interesting question for people of all faiths. Are you monkey see, monkey do, or are you only in it for personal experience.

    Or ... perhaps more practically, (and easier to observe) do you need people around to see you doing religious practice, or can you do it alone?
     
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  14. SalixIncendium

    SalixIncendium अहम् ब्रह्मास्मि
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    I had the same exact thought when I typed this. That's a great idea for a thread in the main forum. Would you like to do the honors, or would you like me to?
     
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  15. Vinayaka

    Vinayaka devotee
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    I did it.
     
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  16. SalixIncendium

    SalixIncendium अहम् ब्रह्मास्मि
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    Awesome!! You probably worded it better than I could have.
     
  17. Vinayaka

    Vinayaka devotee
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    I always think your wording is excellent.
     
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  18. Vinayaka

    Vinayaka devotee
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    But getting back to fasting as prayascitta, I've always enjoyed alternative forms of that. Repeated prostrations is probably my favourite, although kavadi would definitely be if I lived where that is possible. Not enough experts in the field here for that. Over the years I've found it works best if the first half is thanking, and the second half is asking. It most definitely strengthens the will, on a daily basis.

    Prāyaścitta - Wikipedia
     
  19. Aupmanyav

    Aupmanyav Be your own guru

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    Well, gentlemen, I have been allowed to come back to the forum after some 'prayascitta'. Glad to be here among friends again.
    Vinayaka, I got shadowbanned at Reddit, did not take long. :D
     
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