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Fasting for Healing

If a human understands the real purpose behind 'fasting' he will comprehend whether he needs to carry on, or drop out of this method.

india Updated: Jan 15, 2004 17:38 IST

In India we seem to have any number of 'fasting practices' to be observed in veneration of the various deities and Gods, for practically every day of the week. A number of my friends have asked me whether it is necessary that they should carry on 'fasting' as a regular practice, along with their New Age Meditations.

As New Age Spirituality does not adhere to any specific rituals, but is a practice of genuine upliftment of the soul through meditation, there are several ways of looking at this question.

If a human understands the real purpose behind 'fasting' he will automatically comprehend whether he needs to carry on, or drop out of this method. What is it that the human wishes to gain out of this ritual of abstaining from food? Does it really help him in self-realization, or is the austerity merely a formal observance of a custom handed down to him by his family, or priests?

The benefits of 'fasting' will accrue to those who do so as an aid to healing the body, and strengthening the will power of the individual by consciously refusing meals that have become a daily habit.

We are so used to eating our meals at fixed times that the body clock wakes us up to this expectation of food as the time approaches. If we can make our mind subservient to our will, and refuse the food in that spirit, we have certainly gained in training our minds. This practice can be further expanded to refuse to indulge in our whims and fancies of other material desires.

A weekly 'fast' observed by breaking up our routine mealtimes gives our digestive system some much needed rest, from its daily grind of separating the nutrients from our food and throwing out the wastes.

But the most beneficial, long term gift that we gain, by 'fasting' is a 'cleaning' up of our digestive system of all the toxins that we have been pouring in the rest of the time. 'Fasting' need not denote a complete abstinence from food. Our bodies need water, and the cleansing power of fruit and fruit juices to sanitize the cells.

The power of orange juice to clean out the cells of its toxins is well documented. Again, pure clean water also flushes out all undesirable elements that have been retained in the body. In my own experience the juice of 'lauki' or bottle gourd has the double effect of cleansing, as well as keeping the stomach and intestines free from acidity.

In fact, I always recommend a glass of fresh 'lauki juice', first thing in the morning, to all who complain of acidity. Incidentally, it is also one of the best anti-oxidants, keeping our complexions youthful and glowing.

Think again, if you feel that your 'fasting' is only a ritual, then you may refrain from doing it. Recognizing its health-giving advantages, takes it into the realm of spirituality, for as I always maintain, it is a healthy body that can evolve spiritually as well!

First Published: Jan 15, 2004 16:42 IST