Hindu Shastr describes three aspects of Karm, to obtain favour, or for mitigation of our pain, namely Upvas (Fasting), Daan, Jap. Fasting is one form of Puja being done in devotion to God. Fasting is performed on Prathama, Ekadashi, Poornima and other relevant Hindu festivals. Many “progressive” despise fasting, or any religious act for that matter. Fasting is a type of Tapasya offered to get blessing from God. Sacrifice of something is involved in Tapasya and that is why God loves Tapasya. In fasting, a meal is sacrificed and hence it is type of Tapasya. Gautam Buddh sacrificed, in stages, food, fruits, leaves, water and finaly survived only on air on his pathway to Nirvan.
A form of Tapasya named fasting has ‘recognition’ from science in 2016 when researcher Prof. Yoshinori Ohsumi awarded Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 2016 “for the discoveries of mechanism for autophagy“. Autophagy is a mechanism prevailing at cellular level in which harmful matter inside body are processed and converted in to useful matter (refer link here). I hope you fasted on Mahashivratri. This fasting ritual has scientific significance; Tapasya offered through fasting is returned with blessing in the form of recycling of unwanted body chemicals in to useful proteins. The three aspects are:
- Religious: Fasting is religious act performed to obtain favour from God.
- Spiritual: Atma is purified through Tapasya by connecting with God.
- Scientific: Cells and body purified through mechanism named autophagy.
Unlike other religions, where fasting occasion occurs once in a year, in Hinduism it commences every month e.g. Prathama, Ekadashi, Poornima etc. It is more relevant because intermittent fasting also activates autophagy.
ઝબકારો: Fasting is religious act which signifies spirituality that Atma purified through Tapasya by connecting with God. This act of fasting has scientific significance that cells, and body, purified through mechanism named autophagy. Hinduism by every inch is scientific. Celebrate science via celebrating Hindu festivals and rituals!