Why Your Vrata Is Not Delivering Full Results
We have various kind of varats in hinduism.We have fasts that range from a days, weeks, fortnight, a month and to 4 month long fasts. It is so rich that we have a wide gamut of everything from without water fasting,with only water, milk, to with fruit Or just abstinence from grains.
Many of us have long forgotten the real purpose of fast. Fast is called ‘Upavasa’ in Hindi & Sanskrit. In Hindi, Up= Near, Vasa=To reside; So ‘Upavas’ essentially means to ‘reside with the God, of course not literally but at least with mind, intellect and with faith & devotion..
The best fast is the one without any kind of food.Bute lately , one of the most popular fasts are the one with eating fruits and refraining from any kind of grains on the day of Vrata. Many people prefer this because the it seems easier follow. Although this kind of fast was originally meant for children, Old or sick people with fragile health who cannot cope with total abstinence from food fasting. But largely it is practised now a days by many Hindus.
Though we have significant number of Hindus who still fast without any food and in some cases without water. One such famous fast is of ‘Chhath Pooja vrata’ of Bihar where the fasting is for 3 days without water or food straight. This is certainly not an easy one to observe for many but it is widely celebrated in northern parts of India, adjacent to Bihar and it is now catching up fast in other parts of the country too.
Other popular fasts include Ekdashi Vrata, Pradosh Vrata, Purnima, Amavasya Fasts and yearly fast like Shiva Ratri, Janmashtami, Ramnavami or Navaratri vratas.
In Padma Purana when Ekadashi Devi killed Mur demon Lord Vishnu told her to ask for a boon. Then Devi Ekadashi said, ”
“Lord if you are pleased with me then give me the boon that if whoever does my fast, all his sins will be destroyed and he should attain the salvation(Moksha). By your grace I should be more important than all the pilgrimages and should be able to grant the wishes of all my devotees. If anyone who eats food only once either in day of night on my day, he would be full of riches and wealth, by the virtue of this fast. People eating at night should get half the merit of full fast and those eating once in daytime should get half merit of the eating at night. The person who does not eat even once in my fast and does fast with full with devotional worship, he should receives high merits in religion, great wealth and liberation.”
Ekadashi is one of the most popular fast in India. It is clearly said in Padma Purana, that the people who remain hungry throughout the day and eat(fruit) only once at night they get half of the merit of vrata. Those who eat once in daytime get even half of the merits of eating at night, which is actually eating 1/4th merit of fasting full day and night.
Now compare this with a typical fast by newbie starters who just keep on eating fruits , juices, milk, snacks of potato etc throughout the day of vrata. In essence their whole focus is on how to cope up with hunger rather than staying focussed on God and carrying out the ‘Upavasa’ in its true sense. This could have been your start of getting used to habit of fasting but ecratainy one should try to do more meaningful vrata gradually.
Apart from this on the day of the fast one should not indulge in deceitful acts and sinful activities and thoughts. We should we be pious and remain holy throughout the vrata. One should also do virtuous acts and do a lot of charity, Pooja, visit holy places to make Vrata more effective.
If you stay hungry the body get more attuned towards receiving the universal flow of energy. Fasting is one of the ways to rely more on universal energy provided by God. Varta is meant to hone up your mind and body towards God consciousness. If we eat too much, then the entire purpose of fast is defeated.
In a nutshell::
- We should try to remain without food on a vrata day from the Sunrise of vrat start day to the sunrise of the next day.
- If this is not possible then stay without food throughout the day and eat fruits once at night, though in this case you will get only half of the merit.
- If this is not possible and if the person is sick,old he can take fruits etc in daytime once although in this case they get one fourth of the merit only.
- In any case one should not keep on chomping fruits etc during entire period of fasting. This seriously decreases the merits of vrata.
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