Question: Sir, yesterday while answering a question by Shyam ,you had mentioned that the difficulty in fasting is that it tends to weaken the mind because mind is formed from food. In this context will power is also something formed out of mental strength. Mental strength is the initial factor for everything.So, as far as an aspirant is concerned how can he perceive the need for fasting taking into account both these.
Answer: This is something to be understood. It is a good question. We know by experience that, the promoting of man's ego is to be unconscious. But actually this ego can also be used as a guide to return to consciousness.It is a very fruitful use of the ego. Will power is formed from ego. When this will power is used to reach consciousness ,ego takes a role of a guide rather than that of an obstacle. Instead of being a street dog it becomes a street lamp. Did you get it? We can thus transform it. That is the main feature of Gouthama Buddha's meditation. To utilize the mind to the fullest is the intention there. Then, will power can be productively used and one can move on in the path of consciousness. The progress towards consciousness happens then. Now the question is ,how is fasting useful for this? First of all, the ego which in unison with bodily needs , takes us for a ride, is brought under control. Good question. Fasting puts a check on ego. Ego will keep reminding of the hunger and may prompt to take food.Postponement of fasting to the next year and other similar excuses may take shape. Such tricks may be played . I suppose some of my friends have started observing fasting now.They had the feeling that they were about such unnecessary trivialities.Only ignorant people act in such a manner. In a scene , where a policeman is arresting someone , it is very easy to exhibit ones power, even for a simple spectator. No special training is needed for this. To be on the top, is always convenient.So it is very easy to criticize customs from above for it is the powerful side.The interesting part is that , the people who do this are real fools. They are neither intellectuals nor ideal. In fact, they are cutting a sorry figure. The reason is that children need toys.In their level they should be allowed to play. There is a person in my friend's list. Today , being Karkkidaka vaavu , is marked for feeding crows. This person usually posts his views and shuns those who give any opinions. His childhood background, his area of operation etc may demand such reactions. There is freedom for that. But it should not be considered as absolute truth. They should move forward . Without the effort to probe into the inner truth ,they cannot be labelled as truth seekers. This will tarnish the label carried along. There is liberty to say something but when a label is carried, it gets reflected on that too. That is a crime. Thus a mistake is committed. There is no need to observe a hard and fast rule. If unable to fast one day ,the remaining days can be observed. It is the interest in the mind of man. There is no one to monitor. Only the quality counts. Quality points to a fasting in all its dimensions. Has the lesson from fasting been learnt? Has he realized the hunger in others? Is he bothered about homes without food? Did he offer supper to others before his supper.All these are the lessons to be learnt. So fasting can be used as a tool to curb ego.No doubt. Since that was the question,I am saying this. Don't think it is the way. If the question is ,can ego be curbed this way, the answer is "yes". If the question is ,is this the only way, the answer is "no".There are many ways. That is my answer.