Loving Sai Ram from Prasanthi Nilayam
12 July 2016
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How and why should we fast? What are the limits we must respect, when we observe vows, vigils and fasts? Bhagawan clears some misconceptions today.  

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Upa-vasa (Upa-near; vasa-living) means ‘living in the proximity of God’. Periodical fasting is prescribed to help your digestive system overhaul itself and get much needed rest. Vows, vigils, fasts, and all kinds of voluntarily imposed or involuntarily suffered hardships are to be looked upon as promoting spiritual strength, not weakening your physical stamina. Gardeners dig around the roots, and clip the wayward twigs only to make the plant grow fast into a trim and tall tree. Some people, however, fast on Monday for Shiva, Thursday for Me!, Friday for Lakshmi, on Saturday to propitiate Shani and so on! These misdirected aspirants spoil their health and well-being by overdoing the vow of fasting. When thoughts of food bother you, and pangs of hunger disturb you, then, it is much better to eat than fast. Remember the purpose of fast is to spend time in the contemplation of God and not to punish the body by cutting a meal or a series of meals.

- Sathya Sai Speaks, Vol 6, Ch 2, Mar 1966.

Sathya Sai Baba
The body is given to you to do karma and realize God. By subjecting body to pain by overdoing fasting, etc., you will not gain anything. - Baba