Most Indians fast on different days of the week to worship different gods and goddesses or on some special occasions like festivals or Ekadashi. Ekadashi fasting is common for all the Hindus. Ekadashi means the 11th day. It comes twice a month: 11th day from the new moon and 11th day from the full moon.
During fasting, they do not eat at all or eat once or may eat fruits or make special dishes of simple food. Some call fasting a spiritual discipline. Some call it an effortless way to lose inches. Some believe that starving assists to repent for sins. One word with infinite connotations. Fasting means differently from different walks of life. However, often associated with the religious aspects, fasting is one of the practices that is wholeheartedly followed by Hindus. There are rituals, prayers with healthy eatables to stir up its zeal. It is an utmost dedication to commit to their gods and goddesses that enable them to overcome deeply embedded habits.
The tradition of fasting is integral to the Vedic Tradition. In the Vedic period, householders practised fasting on various occasions as a part of their ritual practices. However, Sanyasis who gave up worldly life practised it as a way of life and as apart of their effort to give up their bodies.
Fasting in Hinduism means a declaration of faith and a way to build character, strength, and purity as a part of one’s preparation for salvation. It also helps in restraining the mind and the senses and practice detachment, austerity, and self-control. People also consider fasting as a meritorious deed or good karma.ImageSource
As per Ayurveda, the underlying truth behind fasting is that our body needs to get rid of the toxins that get accumulated within over time. The digestive system gets to rest and the body gets an opportunity to cleanse itself. Fasting is one of the best ways to cleanse the body.
However, fasting is not only a part of worship but also a great instrument for self-discipline. It is a training of the mind and the body to endure and harden up against all hardships, to persevere under difficulties, and not succumb. It is said that when the stomach is full, the intellect begins to sleep. Wisdom becomes mute and the parts of the body restrain from the acts of righteousness.