Fasting in Hinduism

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.


12 thoughts on “Fasting in Hinduism

  1. There has been? scientific proof that eat meaters are more likely to have a Vit. B12 deficiency than vegetarians or vegans. This is because of the bad quality of meat, and because the body has to use all the vitamine which are already in the body present, to digest the meat. By the way, execpt for the B12, all proteins are available in algeas like spirulina and chlorella, and wheatgrass!!! Hey Brad, just so you know, you argue like Sarah Palin. 🙂 Anyway, great article. Thanks to the author.

  2. A really nice article. I fast regularly every tuesday and I’m surprised when people from my own religion taunt me when I have a fruit for lunch,saying that hindu fasting is like eating twice the regular food. I hope people start respecting the religion and what others do to keep the religion alive in this time.

  3. I accept each and everyone’s belief but after reading this article I cannot abstain from giving my point of view : This is not a spiritual reason it is only a religious belief or I may call it blackmailing God. According to me the reason behind fasting is to help you concentrate better. to give you an opportunity to empower yourself mentally and spiritually. allowing you to discriminate between good and evil and hence becoming a better human being.
    Fasting for this purpose is something between you and God only; It’s not necessary that everyone should know about it.
    I apologize if I’ve hurt anybody.

    • That is your opinion and it is fine. But there are scientific as well as spiritual reasons behind fasting. Moreover, your feelings is the most important thing.

    • hahaha.. blackmailing God. Funny. But you are true. At times, we human beings needs to get out of comfort zone (eating and having plenty of energy puts you in a comfort zone of wasting energy for unnecessary activities). Through fasting, you control yourself physically, mentally and emotionally. Knowing how to dispense energy proportionately & accordingly – eventually leading to the control of senses and time in a much efficient manner.

      • Its not true.everything need not be weighed in human terms.fasting is holy. Dont underestimate the holiness of it.If ur fasting for weight or medical reasons its human.but for spiritual reasons it is holy.Additionally a person who is fasting should not goabout making a hoo ha abt it but Shud keep it as private as possible.Because if u make a nog deal out of it,youare attracting attention to urself which is against the intenrion of fasting. Intention of fasting is focus on God only and not attract attention to urself.Else the point is lost

  4. Is it spiritually bad to continue Tuesday fast (in respect of Hanumanji) for more than a year without break.. I have been doing it on and off since my college days, but for the last 3 years I have been doing it without a break. My mother n one of my friend adviced me that it can have spiritual set backs if you do it for more than a year without break. Is it TRUE?

  5. Fasting is nothing but resting your digestive system, do you guys even know how digestive system works, how complicated it is. It is a simple way to give some rest , from sunrise to sunset, enough time to rest and get rid of toxins buildup in stomach,liver and intestines. This comes from the only oldest medical systems that understands human body – Ayurveda.

    when u eat u burn energy of the food and use it for day to day purposes, the excess in stored in form of fat to be used for emergency purposes.
    But when u keep on eating from the day you are born till u die 3 times a day. when will you ever give chance for that system to kickin and burn from fat and use it for your energy… This also comes from ayurveda delivered to common people in the name of god, so that you blindly follow this concept begining 5000 years ago.

    Now everyone wants to understand through science, if you have a machinery that runs 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, wont you do routine maintenance on it, by shutting it down apply oil to moving parts, change pads etc….that is essentialy what you are doing to human digestive machine.

    Fast until that systems kicks in, for people new to fasting, do it only twice a month, there is one time where people fast for 9 days, but that is advanced users.

    Fasting is for your to understand who you are and what you need and what is your destiny or dharma

    Vegetarian and fasting is the first step towards to world peace

    • okay first of all the things u said are true u should give some rest to your stomach…but stomach and intestines have involuntary muscles(the muscles that works on its own without u knowing it at all) plus its not about the stomach its about the brain and spirituality and manners and well being…do u ever give rest to your lungs or heart!!!….ofcourse not….u would die….plus even they work on their own…similarly we r not giving it rest we are simply doing it so we can get better health and improve our mentality our mental strength will power n all so that gradually we would abstain from the worldy desires which leads us to sins n bad karmas…for example eating tamasic foods(foods of TAMAS GUNAS in simple language high energy consuming n producing foods)…will take long time to digest and can even cause indigestion…leading to bad mood which indeed leads u towards comitting sin..or speaking ill of anything…SO BAD MOOD BAD HEALTH BAD MANNERS SIN SIN SINSSSS….in other case if u r only eating good sattvic foods(foods with Satvic Guna..or foods that r pure and light for u)foods which are easily digested and gives u good energy will not only lead u to good health it will also improve your cognitive process and will power also good mood and many other good things…leading u towards politeness good manners good speech and good thoughts..that means GOOD KARMAS…ultimately u r doing good and u will be definetly blessed by the LORD…never forget the quote U R WHAT U EAT….for more info u can leave a comment..i hope now u deeply understood it….GOD BLESS U AND YOUR FAMILY AND ALL YOUR FRIENDS….MAY U PROSPER THROUGHOUT YOUR LIFETIME….

  6. Fasting makes your body cleaner & gives your digestive system a rest, and at the same time, creates an increased awareness in your brain.
    After a day of fasting, your energy & general well being dramatically increase along with your energy.
    Food tastes amazing after fasting & it is also beneficial to sleep patterns.
    In fact, fasting is an ancient wonder !
    It is only in this western culture of plenty that so much each is eaten every day as a matter of habit.
    No living thing needs that much feeding.
    No wonder the West has a weight problem….

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