If you are an ardent follower of Dr. Mantena Satyanarayana Raju, you might have heard him frequently saying “Lankanam Parama Aushadham” which means “Fasting – A Super Medicine”. Yes! There is no better medicine than fasting. It is a Super Medicine because it cures any kind of disease. Apart from that it makes you strong by increasing your immunity system. It is not Dr. Raju who called the slogan first. It is our ancestors, yogis and rishi’s who experimented, experienced and given that slogan some millions of years ago. It is Dr. Raju who is taking us back to the roots through his selfless valiant efforts to the society. Fasting is the oldest medicine than any other forms. It is prevalent since the origin of living beings. Just give a thought for a moment – don’t humans used to get sick before the existence of doctors? If yes, how they used to get cured? It was fasting which cured them from diseases in those days. It is the first thing one has to do when you feel sick. Whenever you fall sick give a break to your stomach and trust me it does wonders. There are around 84,000 living beings on earth. Do they need any doctor to cure their illness? They don’t because they listen to the call of the nature and follow it. If you have been raised in rural areas you better understand this. Have you ever noticed any cattle feeding when sick? No animal try to eat when it falls sick. It sits a side without moving until it gets cured. But it’s quite opposite to us humans. We try to eat even though we don’t feel like. Whenever we feel sick, the body urges us not to give any food. You don’t get hungry when fallen sick. The body does not release the gases which make you feel hungry when sick. Moreover the taste buds release a kind of chemical which makes your tongue bitter. You don’t feel like eating. Instead of fasting we eat food forcibly with a false assumption that skipping food weakens our body. In fact, it strengthens our cells which fight the intruded bacteria.
Everybody must understand that no medicine kills the bacteria or virus intruded in our body. It is our cells that fights and kills the intruded bacteria or virus into the body. Medicines can only help our cells to fight better and stop the virus spread further. You do a great favour to the body cells by skipping a meal during sickness. If you eat food during illness, the job of your cells increased. They need to digest your food, cleanse the waste material entered through food, fight the bacteria and other viruses that entered through food apart from the one already intruded in the body. Apart from eating food we commit another mistake. We try to work or move all around the place without resting on bed. When you move around or do any other work even a sitting work needs energy which the cells have to generate for you. Whenever you feel sick simply rest on bed until you feel better. By resting yourselves, you help your cells fight bacteria or virus in a better way with full source and stamina.
I wish to share you an incident occurred with me recently. I was badly bitten by a bunch of over 1000 mosquitoes and insects all over my hands, neck, ankles and knees of my foot while trying to pluck a Brinjal plant. A couple of days later it started itching all over my body. I realized something bad had happened to my body. I thought of fasting for a couple of days. But my mind didn’t want to take risk. Therefore I consulted a doctor and took vaccination. Even though the itching hadn’t stopped and it continued for another couple of days creating havoc in my life. Then I recollected the golden words of Dr. Raju and decided to fast. I heard him saying on TV that “you don’t die if you fast for couple of days”. 2 days of fasting on honey and lemon water cured my itching completely. I knew fasting could do the trick but I hadn’t had enough courage to stay on fast for a couple days skipping my work. We-the people living in metros do the same mistake every now and then. We always try to get rid of the illness immediately without letting our body do the job. The same reason is resulting in the reduction of our immunity system. We are lacking resistance to fight diseases because we are making our cells lazy and useless. If we use medicines to cure simple ailments like cough, cold, sneeze, headache etc. where is the chance for our cells to work and show their effectiveness?
Fasting means giving rest to the stomach and intestines. Giving rest means a complete rest-providing no food at all throughout a day. When we do not eat anything, the waste material is not produced in the body. It is like keeping the body off duty during day. What we do when we are on leave? After finishing all our daily routine we try utilize the leisure time cleaning our home. In the similar way when we provide leisure to our body by fasting, it tends to clean the waste material submerged inside the body. Usually when we take food, the night duty of the body is to clean and repair. When we fast the body remains on cleaning and repairing duty for the entire 24 hours a day. We work hard for 6 days a week in order to earn our livelihood. Don’t you feel relieved when you are off the work during weekends? Why don’t you let the opportunity to relive the body for one day in a week? According to Dr. Raju one has to fast at least once a week in order to remain fit and free of diseases. We trouble our body by consuming more food on Sundays. I think it is better to fast on Sunday rather than some other day. In Dr. Raju’s opinion it is always better to fast whenever we are indisposed, when there is no appetite and on festival days etc.
Our elders knew this secret of fasting and were going on fast on certain days of the month and on the day when we worship by attaching sanctity to it. Every ritual of our tradition is connected with health. We are asked to fast on certain days of month in the name of some God or Goddess only due to health reasons. Sanctity and fasting has a deep relationship. When you worship by eating stomach full of food you don’t get the concentration required to pray the God. In fact, you tend to get lazy, dull and sleepy. On the other hand, if you worship empty stomach your concentration standstill on the prayers you offer to the God. When you offer prayer with single minded concentration your brain remains calm free of thoughts and emotions. As we all know that 99% of diseases are caused by a disturbed brain. As famous Yoga guru BKS Iyengar says that “the mind is the king of all senses, the breath is the king of the mind and the rhythmic vibration of the nerves is the king of breath.” In order to control these three elements one needs a great concentration which can be attained by pure sanctity. When these elements are controlled you remain free from all diseases. This sanctity is nothing but sanctity to our body and soul.
Many people are afraid to remain on fast thinking that they become weak by fasting. I and my wife have decided to take up fasting every Saturday in the name of Lord Venkateswara. With this we gain health as well as sanctity. But when our parents learned about this they got worried about our health. They fear we might become weak. All our efforts to convince them have gone in vain. Leaving the decision to the time we progressed. People willing to reduce their weight or people who are conscious about their health can try fasting in the harmless manner as detailed below:
Water and honey plays a vital role during the fast. Honey is the best food, which keeps you away from hunger and helps in fasting very well. It is like nectar. If we take honey energy is produced even while stomach and intestines are off duty. Honey gives more energy than food. It is better to fast with the help of honey. On the other hand, it is only the water that benefits the body while fasting. If all the waste material is to be cleaned it is the water, which does the job. The water after going into the body soaks the waste material and purges it out through fasces, urine, sweat and carbon dioxide. It is futile to go on fast without taking water. Likewise, it is no fasting if you take tea, coffee, fruit juice and a light diet. If you do it you neither clean the body nor give it food. Even very little amount of food means stomach and intestines have to work to digest it. It means it is another usual day. Since it is the water, which helps cleaning process, it is better to fast while taking more water.
Let us now see how to take water while fasting:
1) As usual take up 1.5 liters of water as soon as you wake up as a part of your first installment. This helps you have a free bowel movement with the pressure of water.
2) Take another 1.5 liters of water with a gap of an hour.
3) An hour later take a glass of water with 2-3 spoons of honey and limejuice whether or not you are hungry.
3) An hour later take another liter of water in couple of installments.
4) By the mid afternoon take another glass of water with honey and lime juice.
5) Take another liter of water in couple of installments again after an hour of taking honey and lime juice.
6) In this way take water with honey and limejuice 5-6 limes before you sleep in the night.
7) You can stop taking water around 7-8 P.M to avoid frequent urination at nights disturbing your sleep.
8) If anybody feel week or any difficulty can take coconut water.
9) It is better to keep yourself busy by reading spiritual books or prayers on fasting.
10) You can take up to 250gms of honey during a fast which gives you ample energy.
11) The next day you can continue with your usual routine.
Many people fast but they do not derive the intended benefit. There is no harm in fasting without taking honey but there won’t be any benefit if you do it without taking water. Moreover it is harmful. Many take pride in saying that they can fast without taking water. Some other feel (especially women) that the God do not accept their prayers if they drink water. Do not fast on such false assumptions. Fasting is only meant for attaining sanctity through concentration. Neither the God punishes you for taking water on fasting nor do you deprived of your fruits of fasting. If you take no water or less water the purpose of fasting is lost. Let us overhaul the body by fasting once in a week and guard the body from diseases.