Fasting – Is it for the religion / God or for ourselves?

Fine, I thought it was about passing on the traditions to the next generation! I am talking about fasting as per the religious dictum!

Though the atheist inside me(Atheism is a big topic which I need to dwell much deeper some time) keeps throwing questions about fasting in the name of GOD and RELIGION, the rational mind keeps calming those questions by the benefits of skipping one meal a week, letting the next generation understand the importance of some self inflicted discipline – yeah, skipping a meal every week on the same day, same time is indeed more of a discipline in the first place.

So, it was that day of the week, where I skip one meal and then I realize that I need to skip the next two meals also……….as the next day happens to be a religious day, happening once a year – so, it boils down to skipping three meals in a row!!!…………almost 24 hours of fasting!! I was wondering how to handle this, with the day-to-day demands on my physical fitness to fulfill the needs of various roles I play everyday -at home, at work!

Being like what I am, I just decide to go ahead and take it as it comes …….. So work continues as usual at office and at home… but the fuel for the body is in demand……Slowly, the fatigue sets in……can feel the pangs of hunger………I can sense the transformation……the irritability index raises …….:(

I know that the fast is just for another half day and I have food to gobble after that, but still the mind is not taking the control…….it is the physical status of the body, the hunger which is taking over the control.Trying to keep it to myself, the irritation – but it is so challenging to keep the cool……I am starting to consciously control my irritation, but indeed the hunger is fuelling my irritability!!……

I remember the times when we were kids, on festival days, the time we wait in front of our plates, our father instructing us to close our eyes and chant the name of god, till the food was served….it was extremely challenging, especially smelling the goodies that are getting prepared in the kitchen!
There is no such disciplining done by anyone today, it was a self inflicted discipline, but still it was tough….

It hits on the face… Here I am getting irritable at the fag end of just a 24 hr fast, with a confidence that at the end of 24 hrs, I have good food to gobble upon. Imagine the metal state of the poor and the unfortunate of the society in the down trodden countries – who do not know when and how they will get their food for the day.

The actions of the “don’t have” section of the society – their involvement in violence, their belief in values, etc., suddenly seem to come in different perspective – yes, when the so called ‘idealistic, savvy’ class struggle to get the control of mind over a physical state, how is that feasible for the poorest of the poor to withhold their values and feel determined to reach their goal – we have multiple examples from the modern day AMBANIS to the mythical HARICHANDRA to learn from!!

I wanted to understand more about fasting and started reading further on why almost every religion suggests fasting – I feel that fasting should have much more intention behind than what I know….though I went through multiple reasons on fasting, the one which sounded more apt to the current situation is

The more you indulge in 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 and guide us reach where we want to

I know at least my fasting has got me thinking, though I will have to go a long way before I feel guided to reach where i am suppose to reach!!

The journey is on!!

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Posted on April 5, 2009, in Thoughts and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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