Monday, August 14, 2006
fast and be fit
this is the month of shravan and the most auspicious month in the hindu calendar. it is named after the asterisk shravan that rules the sky during this period. it is known as tiruvonam in tamil and is associated with lord vishnu. one who is born under this star is destined to rule the world say astrologers. my father's star was tiruvonam and he reached a very high position in his career.
there are many festivals which are celebrated during this month.naag panchami,naariyal purnima/raksha bandan and janmashtami,the birth of lord krishna. shravan purnima/raksha bandan is the day when sisters tie wrist bands on their brothers seeking their protection and brahmins renew their sacred threads.
nonvegetarian hindus who are religiously inclined abstain from meat,fish and other nonveg products during this month. the more religious among them visit temples and places of pilgrimage. many control their consumption of food during this month. even the veg food that they have is essentially saatvik. no raajasic or taamasic food for them. it is upvaas khana all the way. fasting is practised among believers of other faiths too. be it buddhism ,jainism, islam or christianity. it is a form of penance.you come closer to God when you fast. that is the meaning of upvaas. near god. a light stomach makes you concentrate and facilitates the meditative process. and it helps you to detoxify and get rid of the impurities clogged in your system. when i am unwell i skip food .it helps.you start feeling much better and revival is quicker. there is an old sanskrit saying,"langanam paramaushadam". fasting is the best medicine. how true!
generally speaking, one takes light food during this month.phalaahar.or a diet of fruits.it is milk and fruits that while giving the necessary sustenance help in going through the fast. over time there has been some dilution.in addition to fruits other foods have also been customarily consumed. there are some which are taboo. like for example, radish or onions or garlic and even rice.
the other day i decided to try out eating during lunchtime at 'salt'. it is a relatively new veg restaurant on princess street and the menu was a shravan-focussed one.so i decided to go for the upvaas thali.kadhi made out of yogurt thickened with shingare ka atta or water chestnut flour. puris made out of rajgeera(amaranth) flour. a potato pattice and rice made out of pasrai. dessert was a kheer made from sweet potato. the appetiser was sugarcane juice!. tonight we are planning to eat out and it will be at 'soam'. this is in walkeshwar near the famous babulnath temple. there is a special shravan dinner. it could be kuttti na dhokla(buckwheat flour), farali handvo, dahi bateka kela nu raitu and rajgira thepla. followed by doodhi halwa or kopra paak.
one thing is certain.even when you fast you still don't miss out. you are enriched physically,mentally and spiritually.