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For Optimal Health IV

Date: Mon, 02 Feb 2009 23:58:16 +0530 To: From: Subject: For Optimal Health IV Baba "Toma'y khunje khunje priyo, din je ket'e ja'y..." (P.S. 3982) Purport: Baba, my most adorable One, with deep longing in search of You my days are passing in vain. In the absence of getting You my whole life is gradually getting wasted. O' my dearmost, where have I not looked for You. I have wandered around and searched in the seven oceans, on the mountain peaks, as well as on the earth, and also in the caves-- in every nook and corner of this world, but alas I could not get You. Baba, day and night, secretly I also searched You in the flower garden and in various holy lands and tiirthas-- all done in hopes of getting a glance at You. Baba I searched everywhere with the hope that one day I will find You. But, in the end, all my efforts were for naught. Baba, with deep longing in my heart, I have also searched You in the galaxies, meteors, nebulae, and in the stars-- all around & everywhere. Also I searched for You in the dark, black coloured clouds on the rainy days, in the scorching heat of the summer season, as well as in the shade of the tree in springtime. Baba, I have searched for You with a deep yearning and longing in my heart; I have looked for You everywhere. Baba, by Your grace on one colourful golden dawn saturated in the effulgence & aroma of a newly blossoming flower, You advented in my heart. Your grand arrival came after a long, deep, dark, & painful night of searching for You. But in the end You graced me and advented in my mind. Baba, You are so gracious...
Namaskar, Each and every Ananda Margii understands that Baba has blessed us with all the gifts for a fruitful life. He has graciously bestowed upon us the needed tools, guidelines, and "know-how" for a pristine and sweet existence. And while so many of His teachings lead us in this direction, certainly His divine guidelines about fasting are also an essential ingredient. For it is by this wonderful process of regular fasting that our whole entire being gets cleansed and purified-- in all the realms of life: physical, mental, and spiritual. And that propels us forward towards our cherished Goal.
On the physical plane, fasting plays a direct and significant role. Because the whole health and balance of the physical body revolves around the stomach. Non-sadhakas may raise their eyebrows about such a statement, but those with just a little inner understanding about their bodily systems and functions recognise that the stomach is the nucleus and the most integral organ for maintaining human health on a day to day basis. Because only in the case of the stomach does something from the external environment actually enter inside the body. And that "something" which enters is of course food which gets deposited directly into the stomach; and then in turn the various nutritional (and not-so-nutritional) components get distributed throughout the body via the bloodstream. But the stomach is the starting point. So if the stomach is not in good working order and if it cannot do its job properly, then the immediate effect is that the limbs and the various body parts and organs get adversely affected and diseased. And what results are problems like: Acidity, gout, rheumatism, obesity, skin diseases, and ultimately cancer, heart disease, and more. All of this starts with the initial onset of difficulties in the stomach. And in numerous chapter of Yogic Treatment book, Baba clearly describes this. Yet, as we may have experienced, the practice of regular fasting naturally controls all these problems. Because before any real difficulty develops the health of the human body is restored. That is why most sadhakas do not suffer from the aforementioned physical ailments and diseases. Instead we enjoy a strong state of health. And if per chance any problem does arise, then in numerous chapters of His Yogic Treatment book, Baba prescribes fasting as a cure. Hence fasting is an excellent resource and remedy for various physical ailments and diseases as it helps purify the entire body. Baba says, "Fasting is also included in the scope of Pramitaha'r, because it gives rest to the digestive organs and frees the body from so many ailments." (AV-14) Baba says, "During fasting the body's organs get a good rest, and the healing process is more rapid." (YT, p.95) Thus those who fast regularly maintain a healthy and vibrant existence and find that the body becomes completely habituated and adjusted to this cycle of fasting. Such that the body is anxious and ready for the next fasting as the day approaches. This is the common experience of many sadhakas. And by this way the body keeps itself neat and clean.
In addition, on the mental plane also fasting has a tremendous effect. Because we have all experienced that after a big meal we tend to feel sleepy, tired, and even a bit dull. This is the common problem and the reason behind this is that when we ingest food then that blood has to race to the stomach to help in digestion. And in that way less fresh oxygenated blood goes to the brain. So during fasting none of the body's crucial resources get diverted towards the stomach. In which case the body can better support one's mental functioning. That is why on fasting day sadhakas experience a distinct clarity of thought and mental freshness. The mind is flexible and sharp as it is not dragged down by the comparatively crude bodily functions such as digestion. Another everyday example of this phenomenon is that just before an exam or important meeting or debate, then no student or professional person will eat a large meal. Otherwise their mental faculties will be significantly hampered. That is why in numerous traditions people proclaim that a light stomach equals a light mind. And fasting is an exceptional method for enhancing mental concentration and energy.
And of course the benefits of fasting in spiritual life are well known to all. No doubt initially at the very beginning one may feel that it is difficult to do sadhana on fasting days. But with just a little effort many sadhakas experience very good sadhana on those days since all of the body's energy can be utilised for spiritual pursuits. And Baba's guideline below is pointing in this same direction. Baba says, "As a result of fasting, the poisonous and unproductive waste of the body gets destroyed and expelled. Moreover, the energy that is not expended in digesting food can be utilised for other purposes. Therefore, a fast day is an excellent time for sadhana." (CC-3)
Here below Baba colorfully describes how we are to spend our fasting days. BABA says, "'Upa' means proximity. And va'sa means to live, to reside. So the upava'sa word means to live near the Lord. In these days of fasting, what the aspirants are to do? Mentally they should live near their Lord. On all other days there remains a balance between external objective adjustment, and subjective approach. An adjustment between objective adjustment and subjective approach. But on these fasting, or upava'sa, the aspirant remains more in proximity to the Lord than in other mundane duties. That's why these days are known as "upava'sa". The word 'fasting' doesn't carry the proper sense or the proper spirit of the term 'upava'sa'. To go without food, for this the proper word is anasan. 'An' means not, 'asan' means eating. And not upava'sa. So these ekadashii, amava'sya, and purnima they are, upava'sa. Do you follow?" (BABA) And Baba's next guideline further details how fasting days are perfect for an enhanced spiritual routine. Baba says, "These fixed [fasting] days are called upavasa since during these days people keeping their minds engaged in spiritual matters 'live closer' to God, and any possibility of mental degradation is averted: their humanity is not endangered by the lengthening shadows of annihilation." (NSS, p.188) By all this we an understand that on fasting days one can enjoy heightened spiritual awareness and thus deepen their devotional link with Parama Purusa-- Baba.
We have all experienced how our AM practices produce a beneficial effect. Thus when fasting itself has such a direct link with one's physical, mental, spiritual development, then others are encouraged to share some of the things they have experienced by this important practice. It will be inspiring to hear other's stories and reflections. Namaskar, Manjit
Note 2: Here following Baba says more about the process of upavasa. Baba says, "Upavasa in the sense of fasting is also useless...if one does real upavasa that can do a lot. The scriptural meaning of uspavasa is-- by derivation-- upa which means "near", and va'sa, which means "to stay". Upa'vasa therefore means "to make the mind stay near Parama'tma'". In other words, it means to withdraw the mind from thoughts of physicalities and keep it near Parama'tama'. The sanskrit word for fasting as such is anashana [remaining hungry / starving]." (AVM 23, p. 36-7)
This is the fourth part of this series on the benefits and importance of fasting and how to break fast. Because as we know fasting itself is not enough; as sadhakas it is essential that fast be broken in a complete yet gentle manner. Otherwise the health benefits of the fasting will be lost. Thus for a complete view of fasting please also reference the other postings on this topic. If anyone does not have these and would like a copy then please write the AM-GLOBAL editors-- as they have indicated that they will mail out copies as requested.
*************************************** Life is For Baba
"This life is for Him..." "... His universe we will serve in coordination team..." (PS 5009)
Note: In Baba's above divine teaching, He is guiding us that we should work unitedly. However, demonic groupist leaders are trying to ruin this. To please Baba, our collective duty is to save this situation in a united way.

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