Scientific Aspects of Fasting
Dr.Lalit V Vithalani, Dr.Bhagyashri Sakharkar.
As a matter of fact, there is no need to establish the ayurvedic basics once again on the modern methodology of scientific exploration, since these are in practice and in action since centuries. But to attract the modern generation to its fold it is quiet desirable to a certain extend to try out Ayurveda on modern methodology, which can only further strengthen the system in the long run. There has been much contention in the scientific field about whether or not fasting is beneficial to one’s health. Fasting is an integral part of many major religions and one of the methods of Ayurvedic treatment. In Ayurveda. Agnimandya is considered as root cause of many diseases and Langhan (proper fasting) is the Gold standard remedy in its treatment.
Paracelsus described as “Fasting is the greatest remedy; the physician within”.
Fasting has been called the "miracle cure" because the list of physical conditions improved by fasting is long and varied such as allergies, arthritis, digestive disorders of all kinds, skin conditions, cardiovascular disease, and asthma. Fasting initiates the body's own healing mechanisms. Fasting is a wonderful antidote for our usual over-indulgences. There's nothing wrong with enjoying our food, but excess food on a continuous basis does create a burden for the body.
Imagine, at work how you feel when you're handed a huge work load--more than you can handle in your 8-10 hour /day, more than is comfortable and appropriate for your job title salary. You're under distress, but you will cope. You must make decisions, attend to the most important and urgent of matters and set aside those that can wait for another day. This is what our bodies do when they're overworked; they tuck things away for another day (Ajirna). Whatever tasks can be postponed will be (Agnimandya). And more work is dumped on them at every meal- or snack-time (Adhyashana), whether they're ready or not. This is why fasting is a beautiful gifting you give to yourself, a vacation for your weary, overworked, under-appreciated body.
As told earlier, fasting is an integral part of many major religions all over the world in one form or other. Hinduism:-
Fasting is a very integral part of the Hindu religion performed as a Vrata. Individuals undergo different kinds of fasts based on personal beliefs and local customs. Some are listed below. • Some Hindus fast on certain days of the month such as Ekadasi, Pradosha, or Pournima. • Certain days of the week are also set aside for fasting depending on personal belief and favorite deity. For example, devotees of Shiva tend to fast on Mondays, while devotees of Vishnu tend to fast on Thursdays. • Fasting during religious festivals is also very common. Examples are Maha Shivaratri (Most people conduct a strict fast on Maha Shivaratri, not even consuming a drop of water ), or the nine days of Navaratri (which occurs twice a year in the months of April and October/November during Vijayadashami just before Diwali, as per the Hindu calendar). • Karwa Chauth is a form of fasting practiced in some parts of India where married women undertake a fast for the well-being, prosperity, and longevity of their husband. The fast is broken after the wife views the moon through a sieve.
Methods of fasting also vary widely and cover a broad spectrum. Fasting can also mean limiting oneself to one meal during the day and/or abstaining from eating certain food types and/or eating only certain food types such as fruit (Falahar). In any case, even if the fasting Hindu is non-vegetarian, he/she is not supposed to eat or even touch any animal products (i.e., meat, eggs) on a day of fasting. (Milk is an exception for animal products). Amongst Hindus in Maharashtra during fasting, starchy items such as potatoes and Sago are allowed.
Mahatma Gandhi employed...
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