FASTING

What use is Jap, Tap, fasting, or worship to
one whose heart is filled with the love of duality (Maya...)? O man,
link your mind to the Lord (of Maya).Through cleverness, the Lord is not Realized. (sggs 324).
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Fasting is the mandatory, voluntary or supererogatory abstinence from solid food, drinks, etc., over any period of time out of the ordinary. People seem to observe fasting for a variety of reasons such as religious, social, political, physical, hygienic, to attain some specific worldly gains, and so on. This practice has its origins in human society dating to the beginning of recorded history.

Traditionally, the fast has been associated with a period of quiescence during which most physical activities are suspended. Fasts also have been used by people in hope to avert natural disasters such as earthquake, flood, drought, war, etc. In very ancient times, fasts were also traditional in some societies at the vernal and autumnal equinoxes, and were believed to increase fertility of both the land (through God's grace) and of the human body for reproduction. Some use fast in hope to spread the message of social love and harmony. And yet some use fast for political purposes.

What is the Gurbani's (Sri Guru Granth Sahib, SGGS) teaching with regard to fasting? In this context, this Gurbani Reflection will attempt to reflect on the following:

  • Fasting for religious purpose
  • Fasting for social purpose - Karvaa Chauth, etc.
  • Fasting for political purpose
  • The true fast
Fasting For Religious Purpose

Religious fasting is practiced to this day amongst many religions of the world. It appears that people take on religious fasts in a hope of fulfilling a variety of material and celestial desires. They include, but not limited to, purification of the Soul, preparation to receive atonement of sins, earning the pleasure and blessing of God, fulfilling some sort of religious obligations, expectation of fulfilling material desires and avoiding sorrows, learning self-restraint, developing will power, attaining union with God, curbing of evil intentions and cravings, attaining richer perception of God, expecting material remuneration or reward, and so on. Simply put: he purpose of religious fasting seems to be to subdue the sense of fear lurking in the deluded mind, and to please God for securing fulfillment of Vaasnaas (deep-rooted subconscious cravings) as well as liberation (Mukti).

  • ਅੰਨੁ ਨ ਖਾਹਿ ਦੇਹੀ ਦੁਖੁ ਦੀਜੈ ॥ ਬਿਨੁ ਗੁਰ ਗਿਆਨ ਤ੍ਰਿਪਤਿ ਨਹੀ ਥੀਜੈ ॥ ਮਨਮੁਖਿ ਜਨਮੈ ਜਨਮਿ ਮਰੀਜੈ ॥੬॥: Ann na khaae dehee dukh deejai ...: Those who do not eat food; They (just) tortures their body (because they don't gain any spiritual benefit from this act). Without the Divine Wisdom from the Guru, he is not satisfied (ਮਾਇਆ ਵਲੋਂ, Bikaars, etc.). The Manmukh (the materialistic) is born only to die, and be born again ||6|| (sggs 905).
  • ਮਨਮੁਖ ਕਰਮ ਕਰੈ ਅਜਾਈ ॥ ਜਿਉ ਬਾਲੂ ਘਰ ਠਉਰ ਨ ਠਾਈ ॥੭॥: Manmukh Karma karai ajaaee. Jiou baaloo ghar thaour na thaaee ||7||: The Manmukh (the materialistic) does useless deeds (i.e., ਜਿਹੜੇ ਭੀ ਆਪਣੇ ਵਲੋਂ ਧਾਰਮਿਕ ਕਰਮ ਕਰਦਾ ਹੈ ਵਿਅਰਥ ਹੀ ਜਾਂਦੇ ਹਨ - whatever religious deeds he does are useless). They are like a house of sand, which cannot stand ||7|| (sggs 1348).
  • ਕਬੀਰ ਹਰਿ ਕਾ ਸਿਮਰਨੁ ਛਾਡਿ ਕੈ ਅਹੋਈ ਰਾਖੈ ਨਾਰਿ ॥ ਗਦਹੀ ਹੋਇ ਕੈ ਅਉਤਰੈ ਭਾਰੁ ਸਹੈ ਮਨ ਚਾਰਿ ॥੧੦੮॥: Kabeer Hari kaa simran shaadi kai ahoee raakhai naari. Gadahee hoyi kai ayutarai bhaar sahai mann chaari ||108||: Kabeer, the woman who gives up meditation on God, and observes the ritual fast of Ahoee (i.e., the reason a woman observes fast is that she has forgotten God. ਅਹੋਈ = ਕੱਤਕ ਦੇ ਮਹੀਨੇ ਸੀਤਲਾ ਦੇਵੀ ਦੀ ਪੂਜਾ ਤੇ ਵਰਤ - Ahoee is associated with fast and worship of Seetalaa Devee - ਸੀਤਲਾ ਦੇਵੀ - in the Desi month of Katak). Consequently (as she is trying to please Seetalaa Devee by observing fast) she will be reincarnated as a donkey , to carry heavy burdens (Why donkey? Because Seetala Devi's riding or vehicle - ਸਵਾਰੀ - is said to be the donkey!) ||108|| (sggs 1370).
Is there any Spiritual benefit in fasting? Given that so many people are tired of fasting through the ages for religious purposes, can it be possible that there is any Spiritual value still available in the practice? No, declares the Gurbani. Man develops desires and, in turn, gets submerged in worldly pleasures (Maya) through the objects of his senses. He then indulges in useless actions (Mayaic efforts), which ultimately result in his Spiritual downfall. Our deluded mind is the crooked merchant, constantly engaged in trading with Bikaars (lust, anger, greed, emotional attachment, self-conceit, enviousness, mindedness...). To put it otherwise, the traders are man's cognitive senses who trade with the merchandise of worldly pleasures (Mayaic tastes). Thus, the merchant is false, the traders are false, and the merchandise is false!
  • ਨਾਇਕੁ ਏਕੁ ਬਨਜਾਰੇ ਪਾਚ ॥ ਬਰਧ ਪਚੀਸਕ ਸੰਗੁ ਕਾਚ ॥ ਨਉ ਬਹੀਆਂ ਦਸ ਗੋਨਿ ਆਹਿ ॥ ਕਸਨਿ ਬਹਤਰਿ ਲਾਗੀ ਤਾਹਿ ॥੧॥ ਮੋਹਿ ਐਸੇ ਬਨਜ ਸਿਉ ਨਹੀਨ ਕਾਜੁ ॥: Naayik ek banjaare paanch. baradh pacheesak sang kaach. Nayu baheeyaa das goni aahi. Kasan bahattar laagee taahi. ||1|| Mohi aise banaj siyu naheen kaaj: There is one merchant (ਛਾਹ, etc.) and five traders (with this merchant). The twenty-five oxen carry false merchandise (with this caravan). There are nine (holes as the) poles (ਬਹੀਆਂ-ਚੁਆੜੀਆਂ, ਲੰਮੀਆਂ ਡਾਂਗਾਂ ਜਿਨ੍ਹਾਂ ਦੀ ਸਹਾਇਤਾ ਨਾਲ ਛੱਟਾਂ ਲੱਦੀਦੀਆਂ ਹਨ) which hold the ten bags (i.e. ten senses are like ten bags, ਛੱਟਾਂ, ਬੋਰੀਆਂ, etc.). The seventy-two arteries (Naarhees) are ropes (ਕਸਨ-ਕੱਸਣ ਵਾਲੀਆਂ, ਖਿੱਚਣ ਵਾਲੀਆਂ, ਸੇਬੇ, ਰੱਸੀਆਂ ਜਿਨ੍ਹਾਂ ਨਾਲ ਛੱਟਾਂ ਸੀਵੀਂਦੀਆਂ ਹਨ) tied to the (ten bags of the ten senses). ||1|| I don't care at all about such commerce (sggs 1194).
  • ਇਹੁ ਜਗੁ ਤਾਗੋ ਸੂਤ ਕੋ ਭਾਈ ਦਹ ਦਿਸ ਬਾਧੋ ਮਾਇ ॥ ਬਿਨੁ ਗੁਰ ਗਾਠਿ ਨ ਛੂਟਈ ਭਾਈ ਥਾਕੇ ਕਰਮ ਕਮਾਇ ॥ ਇਹੁ ਜਗੁ ਭਰਮਿ ਭੁਲਾਇਆ ਭਾਈ ਕਹਣਾ ਕਿਛੂ ਨ ਜਾਇ ॥੬॥: Ih jag taago soot ko bhaaee dah dis baadhoo maai ...: O brother, this world is (like a) thread of cotton, which Maya has tied on all ten sides (wnadering in directions due to the love of Maya). O brother, without the Guru, the knots cannot be untied; I am so tired of religious rituals (ਰਸਮੀ ਧਾਰਮਿਕ ਕਰਮ, Karamkaand). O brother, this world (performing ਰਸਮੀ ਧਾਰਮਿਕ ਕਰਮ, Karamkaand) is deluded by doubt so much that it cannot be described ||6|| (sggs 635).
Fasting cannot bring about permanent Spiritual Realization. It is explained in the Gurbani that an impermanent or never-lasting thing cannot be the source of permanent or everlasting happiness or Bliss. Since everything we see around us is temporary (Maya), including fasting days, there is no hope to get real happiness from fasting! But, due to material illusion, we are unable to understand this Simple Truth, and thereby end up wasting life in exchange for worthless rituals.
  • ਬੋਲੈ ਨਾਹੀ ਹੋਇ ਬੈਠਾ ਮੋਨੀ ॥ ਅੰਤਰਿ ਕਲਪ ਭਵਾਈਐ ਜੋਨੀ ॥ ਅੰਨ ਤੇ ਰਹਤਾ ਦੁਖੁ ਦੇਹੀ ਸਹਤਾ ॥ ਹੁਕਮੁ ਨ ਬੂਝੈ ਵਿਆਪਿਆ ਮਮਤਾ ॥੬॥: Bolai naahee hoi baithaa monee. Antar kalap bhavaaeeai jonee. Ann te rahataa dukh dehee sahataa. Hukam na boojhai viaapiaa mamtaa ||6||: (that person who) does not speak; he sits in silence. (But) he is filled with desire; (consequently) he is made to wander in reincarnation. Abstaining from food, his body suffers in pain. He does not realize the Hukam (God's Will); he remains afflicted by possessiveness ||6|| (sggs 1348).
  • ਅੰਤਰਿ ਤ੍ਰਿਸਨਾ ਭੁਖ ਹੈ ਮੂਰਖ ਭੁਖਿਆ ਮੁਏ ਗਵਾਰ ॥: Antar trishnaa bhukh hai murakh bhukhiyaa muye gavaar: Man is filled with the hunger for desires; the ignorant fool starves to death (sggs 647).
Clearly, the driving force behind the religious fasting is material (Bhugti) as well as celestial (Mukti) desires of the outgoing mind. The true and wise ones compare these two desires to two witches. As long as these two witches reside in our mind, until then their is no chance for true devotion to manifest in us. Obviously, it is the man's desires and fear that shape his destiny. Vaasnaas on the consciousness are the cause of our present destiny, similarly the active or present desires will make the blueprint for our future destiny. The Gurbani indicates that desires and fears are enemy of the Soul, because they are the cause and perpetrator of the battle against the Soul's rightful claim to it's True Nature (Joti-Svaroop, Mool...). The Soul held together by desires repeatedly becomes encased in repeated suffering.
  • ਰਾਜੁ ਨ ਚਾਹਉ ਮੁਕਤਿ ਨ ਚਾਹਉ ਮਨਿ ਪ੍ਰੀਤਿ ਚਰਨ ਕਮਲਾਰੇ ॥: (O Prabhoo, I) neither desire for empire (Bhugati or materiality) nor liberation (Mukti); (my) mind longs for the love of your lotus feet (Virtues, Wisdom, Naam, Hukam...). (sggs 534).
Not knowing our True Nature, we wrongfully identify the Mool (Source, Origin, Mool...) with the frame of our gross body. Inflicted with this chronic disease born of false ego, we make a big show of things like religious fasts and vows, pilgrimage, etc. But the meek ones only seek the inner shelter, the Mool within (Source, Origin, Mool...).
  • ਉਦਮੁ ਕਰਿ ਲਾਗੇ ਬਹੁ ਭਾਤੀ ਬਿਚਰਹਿ ਅਨਿਕ ਸਾਸਤ੍ਰ ਬਹੁ ਖਟੂਆ ॥ ਭਸਮ ਲਗਾਇ ਤੀਰਥ ਬਹੁ ਭ੍ਰਮਤੇ ਸੂਖਮ ਦੇਹ ਬੰਧਹਿ ਬਹੁ ਜਟੂਆ ॥ ਬਿਨੁ ਹਰਿ ਭਜਨ ਸਗਲ ਦੁਖ ਪਾਵਤ ਜਿਉ ਪ੍ਰੇਮ ਬਢਾਇ ਸੂਤ ਕੇ ਹਟੂਆ ॥ ਪੂਜਾ ਚਕ੍ਰ ਕਰਤ ਸੋਮਪਾਕਾ ਅਨਿਕ ਭਾਂਤਿ ਥਾਟਹਿ ਕਰਿ ਥਟੂਆ ॥੨॥੧੧॥੨੦॥: Uddam kar laage bahu bhantee ...: (Many Men) are engaged in making efforts many ways. They reflect upon the various aspects of the six Shaastras. Rubbing ashes all over their bodies, many wander around at the various sacred shrines of pilgrimage; they fast until their bodies are emaciated, and braid their hair into tangled messes. Many perform worship ceremonies, draw ritual marks on their bodies, cook their own food fanatically (ਸੁੱਚ ਦੀ ਖਾਤਰ), and make pompous shows of themselves in all sorts of ways. Without devotional worship of the Lord, they all suffer in pain, caught in the tangled web of their love (of all their pompous shows - ਅਡੰਬਰ). ||2||11||20|| (sggs 1389).
Every religion that advocates fasting of some sort has designated its own specific days or month in which the followers must observe fasting. For example, many fast twice a month on the two days of Ekaadashee -  the eleventh day after the new moon and the eleventh day after the full moon. Many observe fast on particular days of each week. Some have designated a particular month in the year for observing fast, and so on. Thus, it appears that people have devised different fasting strategies for dealing with God in hope to secure material and celestial benefits!
  • ਬ੍ਰਹਮਨ ਗਿਆਸ ਕਰਹਿ ਚਉਬੀਸਾ ਕਾਜੀ ਮਹ ਰਮਜਾਨਾ ॥ ਗਿਆਰਹ ਮਾਸ ਪਾਸ ਕੈ ਰਾਖੇ ਏਕੈ ਮਾਹਿ ਨਿਧਾਨਾ ॥੩॥: Barahman giaas karahi chaoubeesaa kaajee mahi ramjaanaa. Giaarah maas paas kai raakhe ekai mahi dhiaanaa ||3||: The Brahmins observe twenty-four fasts during the year, and the Qazi (Muslims) fast during the month of Ramadaan (ਰੋਜੇ -Rozaa). The (Muslims) set aside eleven months, and look for (some) treasure only in one month! ||3|| (sggs 1349).

Does it mean that some particular days are holy, and that rest of the days during the year are unholy? Does it mean that only certain days are important, and that rest of the days in a year are unimportant? Does it mean that God only showers His Grace only during certain days or a certain month of the year, and that he does not care for His creation during rest of the days and months? Does it mean that God has limited supplies of treasures or pleasures which are only available during certain days or months, and after that he runs out of everything? Does it mean that we only abstain from ungodly activities during the fasting days, and then set aside rest of the days for our evil passions to go on rampant? No; for all days are equal; all days are holy; and His Grace is changeless.

Religious fasting is a product of the worldly or conditioned mind. Therefore, a Brahm Giaanee (Spiritually Wise, the Gurmukh) who has purified his mind by attuning it to his Mool within (Source, Origin, Mool...) does not see any Spiritual benefit in such Mayaic or mundane entanglements (Karamkaand). In them there is no fasting or feasting, no desire or desirelessness, no fear or fearlessness, no darkness or light, no day or night, no moon or sun, no creation or destruction, no speech or speechlessness, no air or water, no birth or death (time), no coming or going, no continents or regions (hell, heaven, etc.), no seas or rivers, no demigods or temples, no female or male, no social class or caste, no experience of pain or pleasure, no celibacy or charity, no Sidhas or seekers, no Yogis or wandering pilgrims, no religious robes or rituals, no chanting or meditation, no self-discipline or worship, no duality or non-duality, no purification or self-restraint, no rosary or Taantras and Mantras, no hypocrisy or crookedness, no Karma or Dharma, no buzzing fly of Maya or noose of attachment, no Soul or body, no spiritual wisdom or contemplation, no ancestry or reckoning of accounts, no priest or temples, no king or subjects, no love or hate, no energy or matter, no friends or foes, no semen or blood, no scriptures or masters, no sunrise or sunset; no one is seen there except the One Pure Mool within (Source, Origin, Mool...). The Gurbani repeatedly remind us that such uTotal Uderstanding only comes from attuning to the Supreme Truth within, all else is a passing show of Maya.

  • ਏਕਾਦਸੀ ਇਕੁ ਰਿਦੈ ਵਸਾਵੈ ॥ ਹਿੰਸਾ ਮਮਤਾ ਮੋਹੁ ਚੁਕਾਵੈ ॥ ਸਚੁ ਬ੍ਰਤੁ ਨੇਮੁ ਨ ਕਾਲੁ ਸੰਤਾਵੈ ॥ ਫਲੁ ਪਾਵੈ ਬ੍ਰਤੁ ਆਤਮ ਚੀਨੈ ॥ ਪਾਖੰਡਿ ਰਾਚਿ ਤਤੁ ਨਹੀ ਬੀਨੈ ॥ ਨਿਰਮਲੁ ਨਿਰਾਹਾਰੁ ਨਿਹਕੇਵਲੁ ॥ ਸੂਚੈ ਸਾਚੇ ਨਾ ਲਾਗੈ ਮਲੁ ॥੧੩॥: Ekaadsee ik ridai vasaavai ...: Ekaadasee (eleven lunar day): The person who enshrines the One Lord in his mind, eschews cruel mindedness, egoism and worldly attachment. By observing the fast of knowing your own self (ਆਤਮਕ ਜੀਵਨ ਨੂੰ ਪਰਖਣਾਂ), earn this profit. One who is engrossed in hypocrisy (show off fasting - ਵਿਖਾਵੇ ਦੇ ਵਰਤ - etc.), does not see the True Essence. God is immaculate (ਸੁੱਧ-ਸਰੂਪ), self-sustaining (he does not need any food, etc.) and unattached. Those who become True and Pure One ( ਸੂਚੈ ਸਾਚੇ), no filth (of Bikaars: lust, anger, greed,etc.) attaches to them |13|| (sggs 840).
  • ਕਿਆ ਜਪੁ ਕਿਆ ਤਪੁ ਸੰਜਮੋ ਕਿਆ ਬਰਤੁ ਕਿਆ ਇਸਨਾਨੁ ॥ ਜਬ ਲਗੁ ਜੁਗਤਿ ਨ ਜਾਨੀਐ ਭਾਉ ਭਗਤਿ ਭਗਵਾਨ ॥੨॥: Kiaa japu kiaa tapu sanjmo kiaa barat kiaa isnaanu || Jab lagu jugti n jaaneeai bhaaou bhagti bhagwaan ||2||: Jap, Tap, Sanjam, fasting, and cleansing bath are of no use until the Way of the Lord's Loving Bhagti is known (or understood). ||2|| (sggs 337).
Fasting For Social Purpose - Karvaa Chauth, etc.

Many observe fasting for a variety of social reasons, the famous Karvaa Chauth among them. The fasting of Karvaa Chauth is mainly observed by the women of north India; Hindus, Sikhs and otherwise. It is virtually unheard or nonexistence in rest of India. Traditionally observed on the few days before Diwali on the Kartik Ki Chauth (fourth day of the waning moon), married women observe their ritualistic fast on this day seeking the welfare, prosperity, well-being, and longevity of their husbands. Thus, apparently, the Karvaa Chauth is celebrated as a wife's benediction for her husband. Nowadays it is equally popular among unmarried women; perhaps they observe it in hope for a "good match''!

There seems to be no such celebration as a husband's benediction for his wife! Does this mean that the married men do not care or are not obliged to seek the welfare, prosperity, well-being, and longevity of their wives? Evidently, it scarcely requires a feminist to point out that there exists an extraordinary inequity in the relations between men and women.

  • ਮਃ ੧ ॥ ਭੰਡਿ ਜੰਮੀਐ ਭੰਡਿ ਨਿੰਮੀਐ ਭੰਡਿ ਮੰਗਣੁ ਵੀਆਹੁ ॥ ਭੰਡਹੁ ਹੋਵੈ ਦੋਸਤੀ ਭੰਡਹੁ ਚਲੈ ਰਾਹੁ ॥ ਭੰਡੁ ਮੁਆ ਭੰਡੁ ਭਾਲੀਐ ਭੰਡਿ ਹੋਵੈ ਬੰਧਾਨੁ ॥ ਸੋ ਕਿਉ ਮੰਦਾ ਆਖੀਐ ਜਿਤੁ ਜੰਮਹਿ ਰਾਜਾਨ ॥ ਭੰਡਹੁ ਹੀ ਭੰਡੁ ਊਪਜੈ ਭੰਡੈ ਬਾਝੁ ਨ ਕੋਇ ॥ ਨਾਨਕ ਭੰਡੈ ਬਾਹਰਾ ਏਕੋ ਸਚਾ ਸੋਇ ॥ ਜਿਤੁ ਮੁਖਿ ਸਦਾ ਸਾਲਾਹੀਐ ਭਾਗਾ ਰਤੀ ਚਾਰਿ ॥ ਨਾਨਕ ਤੇ ਮੁਖ ਊਜਲੇ ਤਿਤੁ ਸਚੈ ਦਰਬਾਰਿ ॥੨॥: Ma: 1 || Bhand janmeeai bhand ninmeeai bhand mangan veeaahu || Bhandahu hovai dosatee bhandahu chalai raahu. Bhand muaa bhand bhaaleeai bhand hovai bandhaan || So kio mandaa aakheeai jit jammahi raajaan || Bhandahu hee bhand oopajai bhndai baajh na koi || Nanak bhandai baaharaa eko sachaa soi ||Jit mukh sadaa saalaaheeai bhaagaa ratee chaar || Nanak te mukh oojale tih sachai darabaar ||2||: Ma: 1. From woman, (man) is born; within woman, (man) is conceived; to woman he is engaged and married. With woman (man) establishes friendship; through woman, the future generations come. When woman dies, (man) seeks another woman; because of woman, (man) becomes related (to other people - ਲੈਣ-ਦੇਣ ਦੇ ਸਾਰੇ ਸੰਸਾਰਕ ਬੰਧਾਨੁ, etc.). From her, (even) kings are born; so why call her bad? From woman, woman is born; without woman, there would be no one at all. O Nanak, only the True Lord is without woman (i.e., He is Unborn, etc.). That mouth which praises the Lord continually is blessed and fortunate. O Nanak, those faces are radiant in the Court of God. ||2|| (sggs 473).
Why does only a woman pray for her husband's well-being, not the husband for his wife's well-being? How did such inequity arise in the first place? There are many reasons, including the Satee Prathaa (also spelt Sati pratha). If we recall the history of India, the Satee Prathaa involved the woman burning herself alive on the funeral pyre of her husband. Why women had to resort to such horrible act?

According to the traditional belief, upon marriage, the husband becomes protector of the woman after she leaves her parents home. He provides her food, shelter, clothing, respect, comforts, etc. Because of selfishness, it so happened that, after the death of her husband, the widow was viewed as burden to the household and was best got rid of by burning her on the funeral pyre of her husband. This Satee Prathaa was glorified by attributing great virtue to the woman who had become widow, having thus brainwashed her enough so that she herself would decide to jump into the burning funeral pyre of her husband and become what was known as a Satee. In reality, Satee Prathaa still continues in remote village in India!

"What this got to do with Karvaa Chauth?", one may ask. Well, nobody wants to burn herself alive on the funeral pyre of her husband. Would you? So it became exceedingly important for a woman that her husband remain alive, otherwise she would become a Sati. Hence, in complete Spiritual ignorance, or out of desires and fear came into being the importance of ritual fasting like that of Karvaa Chauth. With this came an another easy source of income for the wily priest class (Pujaarees, Brahmins... )!

Nowadays, Karvaa Chauth has become so commercial that it is glorified on the television, radio stations, temples, and other media outlets. In the market place, for example, shops are heavily decorated with expensive clothes, jewelry, sweets, foods, and so on. Women adorn themselves with the latest designer's clothes, ornaments, bodily decoration and professionally performed make-up. In general, on this day people end up stuffing their belly with more food and fat than usual! Thus, the modern Karvaa Chauth has apparently become more or less a showoff fashion parade and a day of feasting!

To the contrast, in the olden times, girls were married at very young age (this practice is still in use in some rural areas). Consequently, elders of the in-laws family were always keen to discipline the young wife. For that they would observe her to ensure that she took neither food nor water unwittingly during the fasting period. She would be observed to the extent that an older woman would accompany the young girl even to the bathroom, or the toilet, to ensure that she did not take any food or water!

From a Spiritual standpoint, the story and rituals related to Karvaa Chauth are extraordinarily bizarre and nonsensical. In the textbook version of this fast, various items are collected and worship is offered to Siva and Parvati before ending the fast. Some of these items include a Karvaa (an earthen pot with a spout), a Saari for the first Karvaa Chauth of a woman, a strand of red thread, rice, water, sweets, Roli for Tikkaa or Maang, coconut, leaves, money, and so on. In principle, the fast is not to be broken until the moon is sighted at night, and an elderly woman in the house is supposed to narrate a totally weird story of Karvaa Chauth before the fast is terminated. Also, women get together and visit a nearby Pandit's house or a temple for the purpose of performing rituals of ending the fast.

Does all of this have any Spiritual value? None whatsoever! This is all Karamkaand (worldly or Mayaic entanglements) performed under the spell of illusion, ignorance, worldly love, ritualism or dogmatism, selfishness, material desires, pride, hypocrisy, egoism, possessiveness, emotional attachment, material bondage, greed, doubts, superstitions, whim-led mental and material habits, deceitfulness, spiritual indifference, and "I-am-the-body" idea.

First of all, the Gurbani disapproves of worshipping of any demigods or goddesses because they are mentioned to be as much deluded by Maya as anybody else. The Gita also condemns such worship saying that those who worship demigods are devoid of any intelligence.

  • ਮਾਇਆ ਮੋਹੇ ਦੇਵੀ ਸਭਿ ਦੇਵਾ ॥: Maya mohe devi sabh devaa: Maya has deluded all demigods (sggs 227).
  • Kaamais tais tair hrta-giaanah prapadyante nya-devtaah....: Those whose intelligence has been stolen by material desires surrender unto demigods (Gita 7-20).
Second, it is declared by the Gurbani that each Jeeva (individual being) is blessed with the counted number of breaths and morsels of food; no less, no more! However, in his thoughtlessness, man does not know that each day, his breaths are being used up; his most beautiful body is wearing away; old age, the daughter of death, is closing on him. Instead, he is engrossed in family play; placing his hopes in transitory things. He indulges in corrupt pleasures, and wanders lost.
  • ਕੋ ਰਹੈ ਨ ਭਰੀਐ ਪਾਈਐ ॥੫॥: Ko rahai na bhareeai paaeeai ||5||: No one remains here when the count of the breaths is full ||5|| (sggs 465).
Third, we are born to realize our Mool within (Source, Origin, Mool...). Therefore, the only purpose of our life is to know ourselves or to find out why we are here on this earth; not to use it in pursuit of passions. Only way to experience Mool-realization is to use the life for Spiritual Unfoldment through the Gurmat (Aatam Giaan); to emerge from behind the clouds of cosmic hypnotism of Maya; and to cease from identifying with the second nature - false ego.
  • ਸੋ ਬਉਰਾ ਜੋ ਆਪੁ ਨ ਪਛਾਨੈ ॥ ਆਪੁ ਪਛਾਨੈ ਤ ਏਕੈ ਜਾਨੈ ॥੪॥: So baouraa jo aap na pachaanai. Aap pacchaanai ta eko jaanai ||4||: Man is crazy without Self-realization. When he knows himself (ਆਪਣੇ ਅਸਲੇ ਦੀ ਪਛਾਣ, the Reality of his Being, his True Nature, etc.), only then he comes to know the One (All-pervading Truth). ||4|| (sggs 855).

However, in the illusion to gratify senses (which is impossible!), we spend life in developing plans for amassing wealth, adoring the body and entertaining ourselves. Participation in religious activities or rituals is also generally motivated by the hope for further sense gratification here, and after death in some far-off heaven, and so on. Is this the purpose of Dhrma? Not at all - this is neither the purpose nor meaning of Dharma as understood by the scriptures. The religion is meant only for Self-realization, otherwise it has no meaning.

Religious rituals are generally performed with the purpose of material benefit in mind. Such acts are in the mode of either passion or ignorance, for they bind us in egoism. In this madness, we work day and night like ass to develop material wealth, without caring for the eternal Spirit or advancement in Spiritual Understanding (Aatam-Giaan). Due to such perverted understanding, we maintained some religious rituals or observance as long as such activities contribute to our wealth or material well-being. This material success, in turn, is utilized for sense gratification. This is like pouring more fuel on blazing fire!

  • ਕਰਮ ਕਰਤ ਬਧੇ ਅਹੰਮੇਵ ॥: Karma karat baadhe ahammev: Ritual practices bind people in egotism (sggs 324).
  • ਏਕੁ ਗਿਰਹੁ ਦਸ ਦੁਆਰ ਹੈ ਜਾ ਕੇ ਅਹਿਨਿਸਿ ਤਸਕਰ ਪੰਚ ਚੋਰ ਲਗਈਆ ॥ ਧਰਮੁ ਅਰਥੁ ਸਭੁ ਹਿਰਿ ਲੇ ਜਾਵਹਿ ਮਨਮੁਖ ਅੰਧੁਲੇ ਖਬਰਿ ਨ ਪਈਆ ॥੨॥: Ek Girah das duaar hai jaa ke ... ||2||: There is one body-house, which has ten doors (senses), the five thieves (lust, anger, greed, attachment, prode) and burglars, day and night break into it. The blind (spiritually blind - ਆਤਮਕ ਜੀਵਨ ਵਲੋਂ) Manmukh (materialistic, self-willed, etc.) falls pray to (these thieves and burglars) who steal his wealth of righteousness (spiritual wealth - ਆਤਮਕ ਜੀਵਨ ਵਾਲਾ ਸਾਰਾ ਧਨ ) ||2|| (sggs 833).

As made clear in the Gurbani, pure devotion or Bhagti is to thoroughly Understand the Gurmat (Aatm Giaan), devoid of desire for material profit. One cannot be a pure devotee if he has some worldly aspiration or desire to fulfill in exchange for his devotional service. In other words, when one fully understands that any material remuneration or reward has nothing to do with Spiritual well-being, then he becomes a pure devotee.

A butterfly sails on with the breeze, indiscriminately sitting on various flowers, drinks the honey for temporary pleasure of its senses. Similarly, the mind of a spiritually ignorant (Manmukh) is like that of a butterfly. It sails on with the breeze of its Vaasnaas or innate tendencies. Foolishly it dwells on various blossoms of worldly and celestial cravings and engages in superficial religious actions or rituals, drinking the honey of never-lasting meager pleasure or inspirations. Such a conditioned, restless, or shallow mind engrossed in material (Maya) bondage forgets to seek the Divine Name (Amrit, Aatam Giaan... ) and Mool-realization. Thus, the choice of most people concerning religious practices and beliefs is guided by fancies, whims, false ego, indiscrimination or ignorance of Sat (Truth) and Asat (falsehood).

  • ਵਰਤੁ ਤਪਨੁ ਕਰਿ ਮਨੁ ਨਹੀ ਭੀਜੈ ॥ ਰਾਮ ਨਾਮ ਸਰਿ ਅਵਰੁ ਨ ਪੂਜੈ ॥੧॥: Varat tapan kar mann anhee bheejai. Raam naam sar avar na poojai ||1||: The mind is not softened by fasting or austerities. Nothing else is equal to the worship of God's Name ||1|| (sggs 905).
Religious actions based on ritualism and dogmatism have no place in the Gurbani, because they only increase egoism. Religious fasting is one of such actions. For a true devotee, fast or feast has no significance. The idea of fast or feast only enters in the mind of those who have confounded the Mool within (Source, Origin, Mool...) with the physical body. This body-consciousness, in turn, gives rise to the sense of doership and enjoyership which constitutes the false ego. Any act performed in false ego is nothing but suffering in disguise. Thus, the Gurbani has strongly repudiated the act of any fasting, such as Karvaa Chauth, etc.
  • ਛੋਡਹਿ ਅੰਨੁ ਕਰਹਿ ਪਾਖੰਡ ॥ ਨਾ ਸੋਹਾਗਨਿ ਨਾ ਓਹਿ ਰੰਡ ॥ ਜਗ ਮਹਿ ਬਕਤੇ ਦੂਧਾਧਾਰੀ ॥ ਗੁਪਤੀ ਖਾਵਹਿ ਵਟਿਕਾ ਸਾਰੀ ॥੩॥ ਅੰਨੈ ਬਿਨਾ ਨ ਹੋਇ ਸੁਕਾਲੁ ॥ ਤਜਿਐ ਅੰਨਿ ਨ ਮਿਲੈ ਗੁਪਾਲੁ ॥ ਕਹੁ ਕਬੀਰ ਹਮ ਐਸੇ ਜਾਨਿਆ ॥ ਧੰਨੁ ਅਨਾਦਿ ਠਾਕੁਰ ਮਨੁ ਮਾਨਿਆ ॥੪॥੮॥੧੧॥: Shodahi ann kare paakhand. naa sohaagani na ohi rand. Jag mahi bakte doodhaadhaaree. Guptee khaavahi batikaa saaree ...: One who discards food, is practicing hypocrisy. (He is like that woman who is) neither a happy soul-bride, nor a widow. (Those who claim in this world that) they live on milk alone, secretly eat whole loads of food! ||3|| Without the food, time does not pass in peace. Forsaking this food, one does not meet the Lord. Says Kabeer, this I know: that blest is the food etc. by which my mind is propitiated with the Lord. ||4||8||11|| (sggs 873).
As already discussed, women apparently observe fast in hope of remaining Suhaagan (bride), in material sense! But, according to the Gurbani, who is the true Suhaagan? How one can become a true Suhaagan? The true Suhaagan is she (she meaning Soul) who has made the Mool within (Source, Origin, Mool...), her beloved husband. In other words, she has enshrined the Pure Mool in her mind; through God-consciousness, her Heart-Lotus has blossomed forth; she is blessed with the treasure of Love and devotion; her doubts or darkness of ignorance is dispelled; she has focussed her consciousness on the Divine; she is joyously embellished in Sahaj (Natural State of Being...); her material hunger and thirst are vanished; she has torn down skepticism; with her intuition, she is engaged in meditation (Jap or Naam-Simran: Understanding the Gurmat...); she has conquered her mind; thus her mind has awakened to Spiritual Realization. Such a beautiful, happy Soul-bride enjoys her Husband Lord who never dies. She is the True Suhaagan.
  • ਨਾਨਕ ਜਿਨਿ ਪ੍ਰਭੁ ਪਾਇਆ ਆਪਣਾ ਸਾ ਅਟਲ ਸੁਹਾਗਨਿ ਰਾਮ ॥੪॥੧॥੪॥: Nanak jin prabh paaiaa saa atal suhagan Raam ||4||1||4||: O Nanak, who (soul-bride - ਜੀਵ-ਇਸਤ੍ਰੀ) has obtained (Realized) God, is a happy Suhaagan (ਖਸਮ ਵਾਲੀ) forever ||4||1||4|| (sggs 848).
  • ਸਾ ਧਨ ਰੰਡ ਨ ਬੈਸਈ ਜੇ ਸਤਿਗੁਰ ਮਾਹਿ ਸਮਾਇ ॥ ਪਿਰੁ ਰੀਸਾਲੂ ਨਉਤਨੋ ਸਾਚਉ ਮਰੈ ਨ ਜਾਇ ॥ ਨਿਤ ਰਵੈ ਸੋਹਾਗਣੀ ਸਾਚੀ ਨਦਰਿ ਰਜਾਇ ॥੪॥: Saa dhann rand na baisaee jo satgur maahi samaai ...: (sggs 54).
  • ਤਨੁ ਮਨੁ ਧਨੁ ਗ੍ਰਿਹੁ ਸਉਪਿ ਸਰੀਰੁ ॥ ਸੋਈ ਸੁਹਾਗਨਿ ਕਹੈ ਕਬੀਰੁ ॥੩॥੨੩॥: Tan mann grih saup sareer. Soee suhaagan kahai Kabeer ||3||23||: (sggs 328).
On the contrary, the wicked bride (Duhaagan) is engrossed in the love of the worldly objects (Maya). In duality and evil-mindedness, she is gone blind and deaf. She wears the dress of lust, anger, greed, delusion, self-conceit, enviousness and mental stubbornness. She so decorates herself, but her Husband Lord is not pleased with that. Although her Husband Lord is within the Home of her own Heart, but due to her identification with the physical body she is unaware of this Truth and wanders outside, restlessly. The evil-minded, wicked Soul-bride, thus, practices wickedness.
  • ਪਿਰੁ ਮੁਤੀ ਡੋਹਾਗਣੀ ਤਿਨ ਡੁਖੀ ਰੈਣਿ ਵਿਹਾਇ ॥੪॥: Pir muttee dohaaganee tin dukhee raini vihaai ||4||: (Those soul-brides who have) forgotten or separated (ਛੱਡੀਆਂ ਹੋਈਆਂ, ਛੁੱਟੜ) from God, the life-night of Duhaagan passes in misery ||4|| (sggs 1014).
Who is the true Satee? The Gurbani defines a true Satee as follows: "Do not call them "Satee", who burn themselves along with their husbands' corpses. O Nanak, they alone are known as "Satee", who die from the shock of separation (from their Husband Lord)... (sggs 787)". In other words, she alone is the true Satee who has Realized the Supreme Truth within.
  • ਬਿਨੁ ਸਤ ਸਤੀ ਹੋਇ ਕੈਸੇ ਨਾਰਿ ॥ ਪੰਡਿਤ ਦੇਖਹੁ ਰਿਦੈ ਬੀਚਾਰਿ ॥੧॥: Bin sat satee kaiase hoi naar. Pandit dekho ridai beechaar ||1||: Without the Truth, how can the woman be a true Satee (Satee: a widow who burns herself on her husband's funeral pyre)? O Pandit, O religious scholar, see this and contemplate it within your heart ||1|| (sggs 328).
Fasting For Political Purpose

Fasting even has a political history, highlighted by the use of the fast unto death's door by some Sikh leaders; to pressure other parties and or incite their followers to struggle for political demands such as Punjabi Suba, etc. Since the Gurbani does not approve of fasting, perhaps this practice got rubbed off on Sikh leaders from their contemporary political leaders such as Mahatama Gandhi, who often used fasting for political end! It is unthinkable that Gandhi learned it from the Vedic scriptures, because the Vedic scriptures do not approve of political fasting either!  [footnote 1].

  • ਬੋਲੈ ਨਾਹੀ ਹੋਇ ਬੈਠਾ ਮੋਨੀ ॥ ਅੰਤਰਿ ਕਲਪ ਭਵਾਈਐ ਜੋਨੀ ॥ ਅੰਨ ਤੇ ਰਹਤਾ ਦੁਖੁ ਦੇਹੀ ਸਹਤਾ ॥ ਹੁਕਮੁ ਨ ਬੂਝੈ ਵਿਆਪਿਆ ਮਮਤਾ ॥੬॥: Bolai naahee hoi baithaa monee. Antar kalap bhavaaeeai jonee. Ann te rahataa dukh dehee sahataa. Hukam na boojhai viaapiaa mamtaa ||6||: (that person who) does not speak; he sits in silence. (But) he is filled with desire; (consequently) he is made to wander in reincarnation. Abstaining from food, his body suffers in pain. He does not realize the Hukam (God's Will); he remains afflicted by possessiveness ||6|| (sggs 1348).
  • Know those persons to be demons who perform terrible austerities and penances not recommended in the scriptures. Hypocrites and egotists - possessed by lust, attachment and power madness -  foolishly torture the material elements of the body as well as the Super Soul dwelling within (Gita 17- 5,6).

Thus, fasting for any ulterior purpose such as to promote a political end or social agenda is nothing but fasting in utter ignorance; hence against the injunctions of the scriptures. Therefore, those who resort to such unnecessary practice of fasting are described as "fools" or "Manmukhs" in the Gurbani, and as "demons" in Gita. Anything done against the scriptural injunctions or in the mode of "foolishness" or "Manmukhtaa" are bound to bring chaos, confusion, suffering, and miseries to the people.

The results of such political fasting are in front of us! To illustrate the point, for example, there was a time the boundaries of Punjab extended all the way from near Delhi to past Peshaawar. Punjab once so mighty region was split in 1947 between two nations, Pakistan and India; and again Punjab in India was later divided in 1966 into three states comprising Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Punjab. Thus, it is reduced to a bare bone territory. Thanks to political fasting! Such are the far reaching consequences of indulging in empty rituals by ignoring the true teachings of the Gurbani.

  • ਇਕਿ ਅੰਨੁ ਨ ਖਾਹਿ ਮੂਰਖ ਤਿਨਾ ਕਿਆ ਕੀਜਈ ॥ ਤ੍ਰਿਸਨਾ ਹੋਈ ਬਹੁਤੁ ਕਿਵੈ ਨ ਧੀਜਈ ॥ ਕਰਮ ਵਧਹਿ ਕੈ ਲੋਅ ਖਪਿ ਮਰੀਜਈ ॥ ਲਾਹਾ ਨਾਮੁ ਸੰਸਾਰਿ ਅੰਮ੍ਰਿਤੁ ਪੀਜਈ ॥ ਹਰਿ ਭਗਤੀ ਅਸਨੇਹਿ ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਘੀਜਈ ॥੧੭॥: Ik ann n khaahi moorakh kiaa keejaee ...: Some refuse to eat; (tell me) what can be done with these fools? (i.e., how can it be explained to them that the Truth is not realized like this, etc.). By such acts, their thirst (desires) greatly increase; (consequently) nothing (done in stubbornness) can bring them satisfaction. Somany are tied down by rituals; they hassle themselves to death. In this world, the true profit (ਨਾਮ ਹੀ ਖੱਟੀ) comes by drinking in the Amrit Naam, Name of the Lord. By becoming the Gurmukh, (one) attains (the Bliss of) Bhagti (devotion) of the Lord ||17|| (sggs 1285).
A person in the mode of ignorance and passion - possessed false ego and its faults such as lust, anger, greed, attachment, pride, envy and stubborn mindedness -  may think that he can force his enemy or other parties to comply with his desires by this method of fasting. But, in the final analysis, such method proves to be very disturbing to others; thus not recommended in the scriptures. Such demonstrations are insult to the Gurbani.

The True Fast

Without the indwelling consciousness or Spirit Soul, there is no physical body. The true nature of the Spirit is Bliss, Knowledge, Truth, Purity, Harmony, Spiritual Beauty, Vitality, and Radiance. To torture or abuse this body any way that distorts this Pure Image of God is not recommended in the Gurbani.

Fasting of all sorts is condemned in the Gurbani because man's true enemy is not his body but his deluded mind. Man's all Vaasnaas and physical passions are in reality created by the spiritually blind mind, which we all must try to restrain and conquer if we wish to link with our true Husband, who never dies or takes birth.

  • ਕੂਟਨੁ ਸੋਇ ਜੁ ਮਨ ਕਉ ਕੂਟੈ ॥: Kootanu soi ju man kaou kootai: He alone is "Kootan" (ਕੁੱਟਣ, Thug, etc.), who pounds down his mind (or beats: assess, appraise, introspect, survey, search, test, measure, etc., his mind to mend it or annihilate it...). (sggs 872).

The true fast, hence, is to keep the wandering mind in check through mental fast. The mind is drunk with the illusive wine of Maya. It is restless though thousands of scorpions have stung it at one time! In such disturbed condition, the mind behaves like it is separate from the Mool (Jot, Source...). This is our disease; and in this diseased condition, we perform worthless deeds. Contentment in every situation coupled with compassion is indicated to be the antidote to subdue and conquer dark mental forces.

  • ਮਨਿ ਸੰਤੋਖੁ ਸਰਬ ਜੀਅ ਦਇਆ ॥ ਇਨ ਬਿਧਿ ਬਰਤੁ ਸੰਪੂਰਨ ਭਇਆ ॥ ਧਾਵਤ ਮਨੁ ਰਾਖੈ ਇਕ ਠਾਇ ॥ ਮਨੁ ਤਨੁ ਸੁਧੁ ਜਪਤ ਹਰਿ ਨਾਇ ॥ ਸਭ ਮਹਿ ਪੂਰਿ ਰਹੇ ਪਾਰਬ੍ਰਹਮ ॥ ਨਾਨਕ ਹਰਿ ਕੀਰਤਨੁ ਕਰਿ ਅਟਲ ਏਹੁ ਧਰਮ ॥੧੧॥: Mani santokh sarab jeea daiaal ...: Let your mind be content, and be kind to all beings. In this way, your fast will be successful (i.e., this is the real fast, etc.). (With this kind of fast, one can) keep his wandering mind ( wandering after Bikaars) restrained in one place. Chanting God's Name, his mind and body become pure. The Supreme God is pervading amongst all. O Nanak! sing His Praises; Sing God's kirtan, this alone is the eternal faith ||11|| (sggs 299).
How can we develop Divine Virtues like True contentment, etc.? As indicated in the Gurbani, the Divine attributes can be awakened within through observing the fast of Naam-Simran (Aatam Giaan) through the Shabad-Vichaar . Through it comes the dissolution of the body-consciousness, transforming the mind into Divine Consciousness. Vanish with the dissolution of the body-consciousness are the useless Karamkaand such as fasting and all other rituals.
  • ਹਰਿ ਹਰਿ ਜਾਪ ਤਾਪ ਬ੍ਰਤ ਨੇਮਾ ॥ ਹਰਿ ਹਰਿ ਧਿਆਇ ਕੁਸਲ ਸਭਿ ਖੇਮਾ ॥੨॥:Hari Hari jaap taap brat nemaa ..: God's Name is my Jaap, Taap, fasting and daily religious practice. In His Meditation I have found total Joy and Bliss. (sggs 715).
Thus everything - fasting, pilgrimage, liberation, all treasures, happiness, purity, self-discipline, good deeds, good thoughts, Kirtan, devotional service, meditation, knowledge, all Mantras, Divine Love, fearlessness, desirelessness, and so on - is in the Divine Name. The Divine Name is woven into all our breaths and morsels of food; without which man's all actions are useless. In other words, the real fast is to experience the Supreme Truth, not to carry out useless and mean acts. Freedom from mental delusion confers the state of equanimity which leads one to liberation from desires and fear.
  • ਇਕਿ ਤੀਰਥਿ ਨਾਵਹਿ ਅੰਨੁ ਨ ਖਾਵਹਿ ॥ ਇਕਿ ਅਗਨਿ ਜਲਾਵਹਿ ਦੇਹ ਖਪਾਵਹਿ ॥ ਰਾਮ ਨਾਮ ਬਿਨੁ ਮੁਕਤਿ ਨ ਹੋਈ ਕਿਤੁ ਬਿਧਿ ਪਾਰਿ ਲੰਘਾਈ ਹੇ ॥੧੪॥: Ik teerath naavahi ann na khaavahi. Ik agan jalaavahi deh khapaavahi. Raam naam bin mukti na hoee kit bidh paar langhaaee he ||14||: Some bathe at sacred shrines and refuse to eat. Some torment their bodies in burning fire. Without the Lord's Name, liberation is not obtained; how can anyone cross over? ||14|| (sggs 1025).
The Gurbani indicates that a mind which is always busy in pampering and beautifying the body can never Realize his True Nature as Pure Consciousness (his Mool within). To a true Giani, all the days, months, and years are one and the same. He always eats light and sleeps less! Thus, he neither tortures his body, nor pampers it with sense gratification. Overeating or wrong eating is the enemy of meditative mind; eating insufficiently, on the other hand, leads to physical and mental weakness. Similarly, oversleep dulls the nervous system; not enough sleep produces a tendency to sleep against one's will. All of this is undesirable to the seeker of Truth.
  • ਓਨ੍ਹ੍ਹੀ ਦੁਨੀਆ ਤੋੜੇ ਬੰਧਨਾ ਅੰਨੁ ਪਾਣੀ ਥੋੜਾ ਖਾਇਆ ॥: Onhee duniyaa torre bandhanaa annu paanee thorraa khaaiyaa: (Who are content and contemplate the Truth) burn away (i.e., break) the worldly bonds, and eat little food and (drink) little water (sggs 467).
  • ਨਾਮ ਬਿਨਾ ਜੋ ਪਹਿਰੈ ਖਾਇ ॥ ਜਿਉ ਕੂਕਰੁ ਜੂਠਨ ਮਹਿ ਪਾਇ ॥੧॥: Naam binaa jo pahiarai khaai. Jiou kookar joothan mahi paai ||1||: Without the Naam, one who dresses and eats well is like a dog, who eats filthy foods - Joothan ||1|| (sggs 240).
  • ਅਲਪ ਅਹਾਰ ਸੁਲਾਪ ਸੀ ਨਿੰਦ੍ਰਾ ਦਯਾ ਛਿਮਾ ਤਨ ਪ੍ਰੀਤਿ ॥ ਸੀਲ ਸੰਤੋਖ ਸਦਾ ਨਿਰਬਾਹਿਬੋ ਹ੍ਵੈਬੋ ਤ੍ਰਿਗੁਣ ਅਤੀਤਿ ॥੨॥: Alap ahhaar sulap sinindraa dayaa chhimaa tan preeti. Sil santokh sadaa nribeehibo hvaiho tigun ateeti||2||: Eat less and sleep less, cherish mercy and forgiveness; Practise gentleness and contentment and remain free from three modes. ||2|| (Guru Gobind Singh Jee, Dasam Granth 1344).
  • Naaty-ashnatas tu yogo sti na caikaantam anashnatah ..: There is no possibility of one's becoming a Yogi, O Arjuna, if one eats too much or eats too little, sleeps too much or too little (Gita 6:16).
  • Man will not live by bread alone (i.e., eat light), but by every Word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God (Bible, Methew 4:4).

— T. Singh
www.gurbani.org


FOOTNOTE 1: Please note that this is not a criticism of any person whatsoever, but instead a specific point intended to foster a true spiritual understanding of the Gur-Shabad. [Return footnote 1]