Episode # 246 – Key benefits of “FASTING” – Lessons from the “Ambareesha-Charitra”!!!

Little Krishna

In the previous episode, we had witnessed a key portion of the “Ambareesha-Charitra”, wherein King Ambareesha received Sage Durvaasa on the “Dvaadashi” day. It is to be remembered that King Ambareesha had fasted on the previous “Ekaadashi” day and is now ready to break his fast, by performing the rituals and by serving food to a guest (here, the guest is none other than Sage Dhurvaasa). Accordingly, Sage Durvaasa was also very happy to be King Ambareesha’s noble guest on an auspicious day. However, since he had travelled for a long distance, he wanted to take a shower. Thus, Sage Durvaasa goes to the river bank for his shower, but never returns back! King Ambareesha is waiting and waiting, but there’s no sign of Sage Durvaasa coming back! Worried as he was, King Ambareesha was caught in a “Catch-22” situation or an “Ethical Dilemma” or a “Dharma-Sankata” here. On one hand, if he doesn’t break his fast by 9 AM, it is going to be a fault on his part, with respect to the austerities. On the other hand, if he consumes food without serving the guest, it is again going to be a huge mistake! All of us know how short-tempered is Sage Durvaasa and if he gives a curse, it is going to be extremely severe. King Ambareesha knows this very well too, and is fearing the dire consequences if he doesn’t conduct himself to the likes of Sage Durvaasa.

As time passes by, Sage Durvaasa doesn’t return back at all! It’s already going to be 9 AM and time is clearly running out for the fast to be completed. Hence, King Ambareesha comes to a conclusion here – He would atleast consume a glass of water, which can signify the breaking of the fast. In other words, consuming water here, signifies that something has gone into his mouth. This would imply that his fast is officially broken. At the same time, water cannot be equated to food. Hence, it also implies that he hasn’t taken any food until his guest is served. Thus, King Ambareesha decides that when Sage Durvaasa arrives, the food can be served to Sage Durvaasa first, and then can be consumed by him.

From this decision of King Ambareesha, we can learn one important thing here – If we’re undertaking a fasting on the “Ekaadashi” day, we should not even drink water. This is called “Nirjala Ekaadashi Vratha”. If King Ambareesha is drinking water to break the fast, it automatically implies that he doesn’t even consume water during the whole of the “Ekaadashi” day. In the present day, many of us ask this question – “Oh! Today is Ekaadashi day and it’s a rule that we’ve to fast. So please let me know, which all food items can be consumed and which food items have to be avoided!” 😊 Look at the way in which we ask questions in the present day! The entire discussion here is that, we should not consume anything, including water during the “Ekaadashi” fast. But, we start the question by asking which all food items can be consumed! This is where all of us are today! We are not going to die if we’re fasting completely for a single day without taking any sort of food or water.

We should understand here that, this is a methodology formatted by our ancestors to maintain our physical health in a good shape. If we fast for a day completely, it has been scientifically proved that our digestive system recoups very nicely. If we happen to visit any big industrial area, almost every factory that employs heavy machinery, would shut down atleast once or twice in a month for “maintenance purpose”, isn’t it? During that time, the machine is oiled, repaired, etc. so that it is up and running again for the next 15-20 days. Just like how any machine in this world would need a break in between continuous operation, our physical body is also a machine designed by Bhagawan, and this machine also requires a break in the middle. This is why we have this practice of fasting once every fifteen days. By doing so, our body would rejuvenate and we would become extremely fresh in nature. We would be devoid of unnecessary diseases that happen because of improper digestion. For instance, we often keep complaining of indigestion, acidity, diarrhea, dysentery, etc. isn’t it? Why do we get all such types of problems? It is only because of our improper food habits. Also, we do not give the digestive system, a proper overhaul. There is a rule in which we should consume food too – Our food that we take every day should be comprised of 65% of solid food, 25% of water and the remaining 10% of air. We should never consume food to our full stomach level! This would create lot of digestive issues. Moreover, if we consume food till our throat, our body would become tired and lazy (“Thaamasa Guna”). We should thus be very careful with our food intake. Thus, if we maintain our food habits according to the prescribed level, along with the fasting practice once every fifteen days (On the “Ekaadashi” day), we would be totally devoid of any sort of acidity or indigestion problems. Today we take lot of medicines for all these problems as well. However, if we’re following this procedure correctly, why do we need to go to the medical shop at all? Hence, let us practice this from this moment itself!

Coming back to the event thus, King Ambareesha “breaks” his fast by drinking a glass of water and the moment King Ambareesha finishes his glass of water, Sage Durvaasa enters in! Upon entering, he straightaway casts a look at King Ambareesha and finds out that he had consumed something before he had come! Upon understanding thus, Sage Durvaasa gets extremely angry! Upon seeing Sage Durvaasa boiling with anger, King Ambareesha starts shaking with fear! What is going to happen next? Let’s wait till the next episode to find out! Stay tuned! 😊

 

Published by Dr. Jeayaram

Holds a PhD in Management Psychology from Universite Paris Saclay, Paris, France. Also an Asst. Professor of Human Resources management at Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham in Kerala, India. A professional South Indian classical musician (singer) performing concerts. Through this blog, I'm trying to bring out the richness of Indian culture & values and I request your support and feedbacks in making this humble effort a success!!

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