Fasting or Starving?

This thought was born on a busy afternoon, while working with one of my team mates. We had gone far beyond a normal lunch time and seeing her lunchbox which she got from home, I really found it a good alternative rather than torturing myself with cafeteria food. And her being a good colleague of mine I obviously expected her to share food. But my dreams of getting delicious ‘mom-made’ food were killed when she declared that she can’t share lunch as she was on fast 😦

Later that evening, me and my roommates were having fun at shopping and ended up eating sandwich at a roadside sandwich counter. One street kid came to us asking for food or money, and Tanu asked if he’ll have sandwich. He agreed and we ordered one sandwich for him. I was really touched by this gesture. Now the other street kids saw this kid eating sandwich and we were under impression that they all will come to us asking for more. Instead they went to that kid and he happily shared each part of the sandwich! And  then this thought struck me – these kids do fasting almost daily, and yet they do share their food without any hesitation!!

Why people fast? These days it can be due to two reasons – one, they want to have an indirect way for dieting or second they do this for some religious purpose.

Now if it is just for dieting, then one should follow a well prescribed healthy diet. I don’t think food people take while they are on fast is healthy at all.

Say in case it is for religious purpose, then I have a serious question here – why any religion would demand fasts? Most of the time fasting is done to fulfill one’s wishes, but indirectly isn’t it a kind of emotional blackmail to God that please do ‘this-this’ for me coz I m not taking food for ‘these’ many days!! Now to my opinion for any religion God is believed to be a divine soul or a divine entity. And any divine entity will not want someone to get hurt for achieving his/her wishes. And if at all one gets something he/she wants by fasting then why do those street kids still starve? Why are they still on the streets although they do fasts daily!!

My intension is not to hurt anybody’s sentiments here or not to force somebody to stop fasting, but just to convey that – God does not want you to hurt yourself to do something good for you. Hurting oneself makes nothing good for anybody either. Instead if someone at all wants to do fasting, then it should be done in a beneficial way. A suggestion here is: Why don’t you give your one day’s meals (which are not taken by you) to any starving kid who really needs some food?

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Posted on September 25, 2007, in Food and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

  1. Hi,

    I liked your post since it is questions the same practices that i used to deride, till some time back.

    However, as much as i applaud your intent of sharing food not consumed while fasting with the hungry, I must point out that religions and rituals are all man made and not defined by Gods. God is a culmination of our thoughts for the noblest of deeds so that we may be able to visualize virutuosity and morality and respect its existence. In the same line of thought, ‘fasting’ as a way of religion is again deep-rooted with an intent to invoke the ethics of ‘God’ness.
    One of the noblest gestures man may conceive is ‘Sacrifice’. Fasting is a form of sacrifice. You may perceive it as a trivial manifestation of the gesture, but subconsciously, you abstain from what you crave for. This practice shall then take form in other facets of your life, in matter relating to family, friends, strangers or the downtrodden, as mentioned in your experience.

    I for one, can tell you,that being a hardcore, diehard ‘non-faster’, I do face a lot of resistence is refraining from what I desire.
    Actions like fasting make us stronger mentally rather than physically, even literally!

    I appreciate your thoughts on a construcive and philanthropic fasting, however, as a concept, fasting does hold water.

    People following any ritual or custom blindly, however, need to be enlightened. The same applies for idol worship, religious fanticism, gender bias, caste bias, racism and the like.

    –best regards,
    Lins

  2. Interesting thoughts and observations, yours as well as those of the anonymous person who left a comment.

    I totally agree with you that it’s pointless to fast in the name of God and eat unhealthy food in the process. I, however, like the idea of strict fasting (minus religion) because A) it is good for health B) it helps you learn to keep your desires in check (as mentioned by “anonymous”) C) You can give that unused food/money to a needy person/family (I appreciate the last line of your article the most).

    — Pulz

  3. hey lins, pulkit thanks for ur comments. Agreed with the point that fasting done properly ( i would rather call it a strict diet) can to some extent help u to some extent.

  4. Hey you kept your point very nicely.
    You talked about religious fasting and you said its point less and kind of blackmailing to God but I don’t agree with that. I believe that different people have different ways to show their faith in God, its not like if you do fast then your wish will come true or people stop fasting if their wish don’t full filled. So I would say religious fasting is matter of choice.

    I completely agree with what Lins said in his comment, people should not follow any rituals or customs blindly…..

  5. well Mr. Anonymous, It would have been very nice of you if you write your name along with the comments 🙂

  6. Nice thought. I agree with ur blog and comments by Lins.

    Regards,
    gau0007

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