Namaste – The long awaited Shravan Maas is here!
Shravan Maas starts today July 4th, 2023, and will conclude on August 30th, 2023. This sacred month holds great significance for devotees of Lord Mahadev (Lord Shiva), who engage in various activities to express their devotion. These activities range from constructing Kanwars (specially decorated structures) for the Shravan Maas Yaatra (pilgrimage) to participating in the Pooja (prayers) organized by the Shravan Maas Yaatra Committee Mauritius.
Among the many rituals observed during Shravan Maas, fasting plays a vital role. Fasting is a practice that holds great importance to devotees during this holy month, and we are here to provide you with guidance on how to observe it effectively.
Why fast!? Here are a few reasons, amongst many for the reasons and benefits of fasting.
1. Discipline and Control: Fasting is considered a practice of self-discipline and self-control. It helps in developing restraint, willpower, and the ability to overcome physical desires. By exercising control over the body, Hindus believe they can cultivate discipline in other aspects of life as well.
2. Detoxification: Fasting is thought to have physical benefits by detoxifying the body. It allows the digestive system to rest and eliminates toxins from the body, leading to a sense of rejuvenation and well-being.
3. Devotion and Worship: Fasting is often associated with religious observances and acts of devotion. Hindus may fast on specific days or during religious festivals to express their dedication and surrender to a particular deity. Fasting is seen as a form of sacrifice and offering to the divine.
Here’s a general guide to observing a Hindu fast:
1. Choose a Fasting Day: Decide on the day you want to observe the fast. Fasting days can vary based on personal preference, regional customs, and religious occasions. Some common fasting days in Hinduism include Ekadashi (11th day of the lunar month), Purnima (full moon day), and any specific days like Mondays, and/or or Tuesdays.
2. Intention and Preparation: Set your intention for the fast. Reflect on why you are observing the fast, whether it’s for spiritual purification, devotion, or any other specific purpose. Mentally prepare yourself for the fast, and inform your family or close ones about your fasting plans.
3. Types of Fasting: Hindu fasts can be observed in different ways. Some options include:
a. Nirjala Fast: Complete fasting without consuming food or water for the entire day.
b. Phalahar Vrat: Consuming only fruits, nuts, and dairy products while abstaining from grains, lentils, and non-vegetarian food.
c. Ekadashi Fast: Fasting from grains and beans while allowing fruits, vegetables, milk, nuts, and non-grain flours.
Choose the type of fast that aligns with your preferences and any specific guidelines or traditions you follow.
4. Dietary Restrictions: Depending on the type of fast you choose, certain foods may be prohibited. Common restrictions include avoiding meat, eggs, onion, garlic, alcohol, and grains. Instead, focus on consuming fruits, vegetables, dairy products, nuts, and specific fasting-friendly ingredients like rock salt (sendha namak) or fasting flours (like rajgira or singhare ka atta).
5. Prayer and Meditation: Use the day of fasting for spiritual practices such as prayer, meditation, and reading religious texts. Engage in activities that promote self-reflection and introspection. Attend religious services or visit a temple, if possible.
6. Hydration: Even if you are observing a strict fast, it is essential to stay hydrated. Drink water or fruit juices to maintain hydration levels throughout the day.
7. Breaking the Fast: At the designated time for breaking the fast (often after sunset or the next morning), offer prayers and gratitude. Break your fast with light, easily digestible food. Many Hindus break their fast with water, fruits, or a special dish associated with the particular fast day.
8. Remember, fasting should be done with a positive mindset and respect for the purpose behind it. It is always advisable to consult with a religious leader or a knowledgeable person within your community for specific guidelines or variations that may exist within your particular tradition or region.
The Shravan Maas Yaatra Committee has scheduled prayer sessions at Ganga Talao on Friday, August 25th, Saturday, August 26th, and Sunday, August 27th, 2023. All are cordially invited to join this significant gathering at Ganga Talao, which is considered the second most important assembly of the year at Ganga Talao. For more updates please follow the Shravan Maas Yaatra Mauritius’ page on Facebook.
Embrace the blessings of this Holy Month and may Lord Mahadev bestow upon you good health, prosperity, and wisdom! Har Har Mahadev.
Author : Manish , Hindu Youth Council