Fasting is the process where we do not eat anything for half day, one day or more. Fasting is observed in all the religions. Fasting is used as a treatment in Naturopathy as well as Ayurveda. Modern science has also started taking it seriously. Fasting done in scientific way can be beneficial.
Fasting is a very important aspect of Hinduism. Hindus observe fast in the name of God every once, twice, or more times a week.
Following are the days and deities associated with that particular day. Fast on that particular day is believed to be beneficial for pleasing that deity.
Monday – Lord Shiva
Tuesday – Goddess
Thursday – Lord Dattatreya
Friday – Santoshi Mata
Saturday – Lord Hanuman
Sunday – Khandoba
Other than these days, there are monthly and yearly fasts also.
Chaturthi – Lord Ganesha
Ekadashi – Goddess
Mahashivratri – Lord Shiva
Gokulashtami – Lord Krishna
Vat Pournima – this fast is done only by married women to increase the lifespan of their husbands.
Ganesh Jayanti – Lord Ganesha
Guru Pournima – Lord Dattatreya
Ideal way of fasting in Hinduism:
According to ancient Hinduism tradition, one should fast once in a week with remaining empty stomach until afternoon. One is allowed to drink water until that time. In the afternoon one should have fruit juice or one or two fruits (This privilege is given because remaining empty stomach for long time can increase acidity and lower blood sugar and blood pressure. In addition to that some people need to do hard labor throughout the day. In such situation, it is very hard to remain empty stomach for the whole day. Some people even fall sick and faint at times if they do not eat anything throughout the day). One should break the fast in the evening after sunset. Timing for fast is from sunrise to sunset or else 12 a.m. to 12 a.m. next night i.e. 24 hours.
While breaking the fast, you should eat some rice first. Eating nonvegetarian food is not allowed on the day of fasting (Nonveg food is hard to digest. If you eat nonveg on the day of fasting, it is useless to fast. Plus, killing someone on the day when you are doing fast for God is bad).
Spiritual reasons behind fasting:
It is believed that if your body undergoes sufferings, your sins would lessen. It is like punishing yourself. So, instead of God punishing you, you punish yourself. This would lessen some of your sins and you would have more good times in your life.
It is also believed that if you fast on a particular day that particular deity becomes happy with you and lessens your sufferings. So, if you are in trouble and you go to an astrologer, he would also advise you to do fasting on a particular day depending upon the nature of your problem.