Q: Gurudev, what is the meaning of Upvaas (fasting)? What food should we eat during these days? In different parts, people eat different things.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: When we eat too
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: When we eat too much then we feel sleepy. We get this feeling of inertia. Upvaas means to live near (up – near, vaas – live). Live near whom? Near the Divinity. It means sitting near the Divinity. And when will you be able to sit near the Divine? When your stomach is not over filled.
Fasting is also done to give the stomach some rest.
In the Bhagavad Gita, Krishna says, 'Naty-asnatas 'tu yogo ‘sti na caikantam anasnatah'.
This means, remaining hungry is also not good. It is prohibited in the scriptures. Krishna says that yoga is not for one who doesn’t eat at all, and it is also not for one who overeats. So then how should one fast? By having a fruit diet.
You can have fruits. They get digested in 20-25 minutes. So take light food which you can digest easily. Take less than what you have normally and do it only for as many days as you can do. You should listen to your body.
You are not fasting for God. Fasting is for the self, for the purification of one’s own body. If you think that you will make God happy by fasting, then you are mistaken.
Fasting is not for pleasing God but for the purification of one’s mind, body and subconscious.