Fasting in my religion

The Ahmadiyya Muslim Association Australia had organized an Interfaith Event “Fasting in My Religion” on 25th May at Merrylands. The event was attended and addressed by various community members Sathya Kishore Babu Koodala – South Indian Religious Community, Nicholas Cherniakoff – Russian School, Murtaza Poonawala – Dawoodi Bohra Muslim Community, Imam Imtiaz Ahmed Naveed Sahib – Ahmadiyya Muslim Association, Clr Reena Jethi – Hills Shire Council shared their views on fasting, . Hindu Council of Australia was represented by Ashwani Jain (Secretary NSW) and shared following views.
Fasting in Hinduism
As in many religions, fasting is also practiced in Hinduism. In the Hindu religion, fasting is not an obligation, but a moral and spiritual act where the aim is to purify the body and mind and acquire divine grace. There are different forms of fasting which are more or less strict, more or less difficult to follow and which vary depending on personal, family and community beliefs.
In some cases, fasting involves abstaining from one meal in the day. However, fasting does not necessarily mean the body has to go without or suffer. Sometimes, it is sufficient to eliminate certain types of food and replace them by others, without restricting the quantity. A non-vegetarian may settle for a strictly vegetarian diet. Vegetarians, often replace rice, wheat, barley and lentils with potatoes.
Methods of fasting also vary widely and cover a broad spectrum. If followed strictly, the person fasting does not partake any food or water from the previous day’s sunset until 48 minutes after the following day’s sunrise. Fasting can also mean limiting oneself to one meal during the day, abstaining from eating certain food types or eating only certain food types. According to Hindu religion , the fasting person is not supposed to eat or even touch any animal products (i.e., meat, eggs) except dairy products.
The fasting can also be a way of varying the daily diet and trying new food.
Fasting periods in Hinduism
The fasting is a very integral part of the Hindu religion and is marked by several periods during the year. Individuals observe different kinds of fasts based on personal beliefs and local customs.

• Some Hindus fast on certain days of the month such as Ekadasi, Pradosha, or Purnima.
• Devotees of lord Shiva tend to fast on Mondays, while devotees of lord Vishnu tend to fast on Thursdays and devotees of lord Ayyappa tend to fast on Saturdays.
• In North India, Tuesday is dedicated to Lord Hanuman and devotees are allowed only to consume milk and fruit between sunrise and sunset.
• On Thursday, fasting is common among the Hindus of northern India. Some devotees listen to a Pauranic Katha / scripture before opening their fast.
• Fasting during religious festivals is also very common. Common examples are Maha Shivaratri (Most people conduct a strict fast on Maha Shivratri, not even consuming a drop of water ), or the nine days of Navratri (which occurs twice a year in the months of April and October/November during Vijayadashami just before Deepavali, as per the Hindu calendar).
Karwa Chauth is another form of fasting practised in some parts of India where married women undertake a fast for the well-being, prosperity, and long life of their husbands. The fast is broken after the wife views the moon through a sieve.
Fasting for Health and Longevity: Nobel Prize Winning Research on Cell Aging
Japanese cell biologist Yoshinori Ohsumi won the Nobel Prize in Medicine in 2016 for his research on how cells recycle and renew their content, a process called autophagy. Fasting activates autophagy, which helps slow down the aging process and has a positive impact on cell renewal.
Spiritual Benefits of Fasting
Our faith and our goals direct our practice. As a result, the spiritual benefits of fasting are also personal. Some universal spiritual benefits of fasting are as followed:
• Self control
• Self discipline
• Spiritual clarity
• Cleansing of our soul
• Renewed faith
• More energy
• Better attuned to the world around us
• Transcendent Empowerment
The event was concluded with a Vote of Thanks by Dr Abdul Noor Aftab Sahib and concluding remarks from Mr Mohammad Khalil Sheikh Sahib.

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