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  • Category: Hinduism

    Fasting rituals for 16 Mondays

    Maintaining a fast for sixteen Mondays? Learn the significance of this fasting ritual from the expert responses below & when you can eat and break the fast on that day.

    I keep fast for 16 Mondays, for the whole day. Should I eat food after midnight (12.00p.m.)? I also wish to know:
    1. What is the purpose to keep that fast?
    2. When should I take food and what can I eat during the fast?

    Mainly, I want to know if I can eat after midnight.
  • Answers

    6 Answers found.
  • As far as Hindu calendar is concerned a day means Sunrise to sunrise. The day will start with the sun raising time and the day goes until the next day sunrises. All our astrologers take the day like that only. If you are fasting for a full day means you are not supposed to eat midnight. Mondays are good for Shiva. People who want to have the blessing of Siva may do Monday fastings. There are two types of fasting in this. From morning you should not eat till night the star appears in the sky. After seeing the star in the sky you can eat food. This will be practised by people during the month of Karthik on all days or some people on Monday only. Another type is full day fasting. The whole day you should not eat. You can take once are twice some liquid diet like coffee or tea or fruit juice. It all depends on your decision.

    always confident

  • 1. What is the purpose to keep that fast?
    This is purely personal and depends on one's belief and faith. However ancient religious texts give various beneficial effects for fasting on different occasions. That varies from good knowledge acquiring for a student (Vidya labhate vidyaarthi), to moksha or liberation from further birth cycle to the grand old person who wishes for that.

    2.What is thepurpose of fasting on Mondays ?

    Generally as per traditional belief, Monday fasting or Somavaara vruta or Somavaara upavaas is undertaken by unmarried girls for getting a good husband and by married women for the longevity of their husband. The basis is on a connection of Parvathi Devi observing fasting for getting Lord Shiva as her husband. Thus Monday fasting consists of prayers and obeisance to Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati.
    However there is no taboo for men to observe somavara vruta. Anyone who observes it sincerely and with proper devotion is believed to get benefits according to his/her life stage and prayer.

    3. When should I take food and what can I eat during the fast?

    A rigorous fast is one when the devotee does not take any food or drink except the 'Theertha jal' or the holy water collected from the abhishek of Lord Shiva idol. However one should observe fast according to one's health situation and age. After whole day fasting –from sunrise on Monday to Sunrise on Tuesaday- the devotee should take bath early in the morning of Tuesday,perform poojas to Lord shiva and take the theertha jal and other Prasad made for concluding the pooja. The prasad may be distributed to others also taken by the devotee. That ends the fasting. Then the devotee can resume hi/her routine.

    However there can be variations in all these according to the geographical locations, the traditional practice in one's family etc. If one is not sure, better take guidance from the local priest or an experienced elder.

  • Fasting for 16 Mondays is basically praying lord Shiva for ones well being and traditionally it is observed by the girls for getting a good husband. There is no restriction and anyone can observe this.

    With time the religious rituals and traditions change. There is variation from place to place depending upon local customs. Religion is a vast ocean and there are innumerable variations. One should not be too much bogged down by these rules and regulations. What is required is faith and belief.

    In many places it is common to fast for morning to evening and devotees take food in the night at the usual dinner time. Some places they take food only the next day morning that is Tuesday morning.

    So depending upon ones will it can be adopted.

    Knowledge is power.

  • Fasting is one of popular ritual practiced in Hinduism. It is done in order to express your devotion to God. According to Vedic literatures, God resides in every human body. When you are fasting, you are expressing your gratitude towards the God within yourself. But if you starve yourself, the God inside you will not be pleased. Though this practice is purely a personal choice, it is a good practice which makes you feel cleansed of your mind and body.

    There is no absolute rule for fasting in modern Hinduism unless you are performing a specific yaga or ritual which in your case is for Lord Shiva on every Monday. In this ritual you may go on fasting for entire day or half day. You can also consume milk or water. This is purely a personal choice. In past, devotees used to fast in order to express their faith in God and as a process to purify their souls, as a good karma. This ritual has been taken to extreme level by Vedic and spiritual saints/gurus/sanyasi who kept fasting for days until their soul is met with the God.

    In ancient Vedas, fasting is also used as punishment. The head of the house may keep his family members for fasting if they commit any sins. Some kings used to punish thieves or other citizens of his kingdom through making them starve, in other words keep them on fasting. This indicates that fasting is atonement for the sins people commit as fasting purifies their sins and souls.

    In modern era, fasting is considered as considered as a ritual which expels your bodily sins and finds a way to rekindle with spirituality. So if you want to do fasting remember that you are pleasing your inner God and also expiating your wrong deeds. Generally fasting means you should avoid taking any forms of food (solid and liquid), avoid drinking water and sway away from sexual pleasure. You can be selective in this.

    According to Hindu literature, a day starts with a particular time called "Brahma Muhurtha" which is early in the morning nearly at 4:30 AM. This time indicates that charioteer of the Sun God, Aruna who rises above the horizon. This can be sighted in sky by seeing the planet Venus as a bright star. This happens just before sunrise. While the day ends after the sunset. Although the time is not specific when the day ends, it is usually considered as the time of darkness where you cannot see any other person, implying the sunset. In ancient literature a day is divided into Praharas and Muhurtas. Praharas is a brief division of day into two parts, four praharas for day and four praharas for night. These praharas overlap with muhurtas which is more precise division of day. Though this needs elaborate explaination about how to calculate the time in day, I will keep it simple. A day starts with 'Brahma Muhurtha' and ends with sunset. The next new day is considered at the time of Brahma Muhurta only.

    So you can start eating after sunset after offering the prayer to God.

    Thank You
    Dr. V. Shashikanth

  • Fasting in a matter of personal choice and belief in the Almighty apart from fasting for health benefits. Normally people know the reason for fasting (good health, for wish to come true, to have a child).

    The 16 Somavara Vratha or Somarvar Vrath is to please Lord Shiva as Mondays are the most auspicious days for sincerely praying to Lord Shiva who is the deity who removes many obstacles, like his son Lord Ganesha. Although anyone can fast for 16 Mondays, people choose to follow this Vrat if they have difficulties in getting married or have difficulties in married life.It is also followed to get rid of illness or to gain wealth or just simple happiness in life.

    After a morning bath and a sincere prayer, the person has to fast the whole day and after sunset, a Pooja is performed and the fast is broken by having some fruits and Parsadham kept for the Lord.Bascially the fast begins with the sun rising and ends with the sun setting.During the fasting period, you can drink water and some juice. People who are frail or diabetics or not very healthy, they can have some fruits. After sunset you can have a sweet dish without any salt. Some devotees have tusli leaves or Sabudhana sweet kichidi.

    So basically you can eat after the evening Pooja well into the night but nothing after sunrise. Fasting and rituals are more to please our minds and have a discipline in our spiritual ways. So, it is the holy thoughts, clean inner mind and spirit devoid of all the common evils of Man, at least during the period of fasting.

  • You see, fasting is not mandatory. If one wants to fast for health benefits, that's fine; but it should not be done keeping some religious benefits in mind, because there are none.

    Our body is made of food; food is our basic necessity to sustain this body. By avoiding food for a day or a week or a month, never appeases God.

    In fact it's the other way round. If I am too devoted to God and worships Him day in & day out. I lose interest in the body & bodily activities decreases. Consequently, I conserve more energy and therefore dependency on food reduces. That fasting happens naturally, it's not an imposed one. That is true fasting.

    "If you want to make real progress, you must give up all ideas of personal attainment".

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