Fasting, denying the body to help the soul.

Today been Ekadasi, a fasting day observed especially within the Vaisnava circle I decided to share some insights on deeper truths about fasting. Across various religious groups many adherents have various days that a fast is kept, sometimes to commemorate an event, sometimes to honour a saint, sometimes to seek higher spiritual guidance and direction, or even for the simple reason of reducing the pleasures of the body so as to dedicate more time to spiritual activities.
There are various types of fasts that various spiritual practitioners engage in, from reducing the amount of food intake a day, to total dry fast, however irrespective of the type involved there is a principle in mind, and that is, the practitioner knows that this action that I am about to or currently undertaking is for something higher. Sometimes we see people observe fasts to try to resolve a material problem, or to gain some mystic powers and one might ask but how is this a higher process if the end result is for self aggrandizement?
Well the answer is simply because the act itself has the ability to bestow certain results if done properly, thus the practitioner needs to be fully aware of the process and endeavor to do so under proper guide. For example in Vaisnava tradition, grains are to be avoided on every fortnight for the purpose of attracting the mercy of the Lord. The process involves increasing the recitation of the Lord’s name, avoiding grains and legumes, and engaging in more spiritual activities and even sometimes keeping awake. The end result being to please the Lord, even though the fast offers many other material results like promotion to heavenly abodes the sincere devotee of the Lord is not attracted to the fast for this purpose.
In the same vein some esoteric practices have fasts whereby the practitioner has the goal of overcoming the fear of death and following strict guidelines he is asked to remain awake in a cemetery in the dead of night all by himself. These esoteric paths are way more radical in their approach to observing fasts as the result and goal intended is for personal motives. This however doesn’t negate the fact that the practitioner involved does get some psychic boost and could even acquire powers from he process involved.
When the physical body is denied a particular pleasure or “enjoyment”, the sense involved in acquiring this pleasure becomes tamed with time and by correct practice it could be subdued. Now this in turn awards the practitioner involved with more psychic abilities drawn from energy developed as a result of less use of this particular sense. In this case of fasting, the tongue which is aligned with the belly (stomach) and genitals, also become less troubled and thus also reducing sexual agitation. When this energy is properly channeled a lot of fine psychic attributes can be obtained, all starting from the seemingly simple process of restraining the tongue by fasting.
Today science even prescribes moderate fasts as a way to detox, boost immune system and sometimes combat certain types of diseases, if all these can happen on the physical platform imagine how much more can happen subtly.
With proper aim and intention in mind, following due process under a bonafide guide and above all observing the fast with the intention to harness higher spiritual values is one way to get more benefits from fasting.
Hoping to hear from u all soon. May our fasts give pleasure to the Supreme Lord.


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