As per the Hindu Calendar there are 4 types of Navratris in a year. Two of them being most popular are celebrated with great religious and spiritual fervour. One of these Navratris is round the corner starting from the 21st of March 2023. This Navratri is called Chaitra Navratri. It also marks the beginning of Hindu New Year and one famous spring festival known by several names as Gudhi Padwa, Ugadi, Chitri Chander.
Many people look forward to celebrating Navratri with devotion and spirituality. Observing fast for a few days of Navratri or fasting for all the nine days of Navratri is one of the most common and popular rituals of this celebration. Our Rishi-Munis and our sages and ancestors have always stressed on the benefits of fasting every now and then, and the modern science has also acknowledged and accepted its health benefits.
Fasting when done properly, helps us remove toxins from the body and reduces lethargy from our body and mind, making us more invigorated and active in our daily lives. First and foremost, we have to understand one concept; that Hindu festival fasting can range anywhere from vigorous only “water’ fast to being able to eat only a few types of foods like fruits and nuts, some dairy products, and other gluten free millets like buckwheat etc.
Whether you fast with the help of only fluids like water, juices, tea, buttermilk or whether you include solids like fruit, nuts, and some vegetables like cucumbers, sweet potatoes, potatoes and some millets like buckwheat and barnyard millets, one thing is sure that you will be having a completely vegetarian and gluten-free diet for 9 days. Your food will eliminate the use of heat generating vegetables, (known as ‘Tamasik’ vegetables in Ayurveda) such as onions and garlic. Hence your digestive system will get a much deserved break that will eventually improve your gut health. We often don’t recognize the importance of letting our system cool down, letting our system calm down, and taking break from continuous exposure to spices, hard to digest food grains and heavy food.
Not only you get physical benefits from fasting but our mind also get advantage from it. It helps us cleanse our thoughts. The restlessness of our mind significantly decreases with fasting, helping our mind to focus better, calm down and helps us take a few steps forward towards meditation. Hindi, Gujarati or Marathi word for fasting is ‘upwaas’ which can be broken into ‘uparwaalwe ke sath waas’ karna , means to be able to connect with the Higher Power or connecting our Soul to Oversoul. The whole purpose of ‘upwaas’ is to spend less time cooking and more time in meditation and self-improvement.
Hence dear friends, please understand the significance of fasting, and plunge into this health ameliorating experience. Just remember to keep yourself hydrated with fluids like water and buttermilk, if taking solids give more importance to fruits and veggies like cucumbers.
Happy Fasting and Shubh Navratri.