Monday, 21 July 2014

Angarika - its meaning and concept of Fasting

 Dear All,

I am sharing with you what I was told and what I took effort to find out about "UPWAS" or Fasting concept. Incidentally it all started with Angarika - so giving origin of that as well. Please note, this is what I have learnt and with due respect to religion I do not have any copyright on the subject ;)

Angarak is the son of  Dharini and Bharadwaj and was great devotee of Ganapati. With kathor parishram he won boon from Ganapati. He said his only wish was to be associated with Ganesha’s name for forever. His wish was granted on Magh Krishna Chaturthi (the day was Tuesday). So Sankasthi on Tuesdays is referred to as  Angarika Chaturthi (after his name) and those who pray and fast on this day will be granted all that he/ she prays for. People normally fast from morning till evening. Post chandroday, Ganapati puja/stotra is recited and naivaidya offered and all can have the meal. Modak being his fav, they are typically made.

Now coming to ideology behind fasting:
I was told by my grandmothers that fasting is done so that one can focus well on dev-bhakti. Women folks would be toiling everyday to make food right from scratch. Today's times we have so many gadgets and facilities available which were not there in olden days. Hence to at least relieve customary food preparations they designed the fast and depended on making simpler single dish like sabudana khichdi, fruits, kand-mula, vari et al. These items give you the necessary energy to keep you going for the day. Also too much eating and tiring would not keep alert mind for praying. Hence all the fasts that were derived were with these intentions.

Now about the scientific approach - fast as all know is form of detox. It gives respite to your system and enhances cleaning and circulation process. There are certain rules while on fasts. Things like Limbu sarbat is allowed on fast as Lemon acts as acid barrier and clears flatulence. (Sabudana), underground roots (Potato, sweet potato). cucumber, fruits are permitted as it has essential satva yet easy to digest. But having said that, you cant have 2-3 plates of khichdi since you are fasting. Many times you hear people say I do not do upwas as it causes acidity eating peanuts. If had in proper portion, peanuts are very healthy source of protein and HDL.

This is what I know of and if there are more views, please add. 

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