One of those was ‘Upvaas’. I have seen my grandmother fasting when I was a kid. I have seen the pressure she was under, how tired she used to get and irritated many times. I began to wonder why she underwent this torture and whether God insisted on it. Whereas I had never seen my mother fast as she insisted that she could never do it and hence will not.
Later, when I broke my ankle, my Periamma (mother’s elder sister) told me that the Guru in my horoscope was not positioned well at that point in time and told me to fast on Thursdays. I wanted to get my ankle healed speedily and so followed the fast. My sister Lakshmi had come to help me at that time as I was on crutches. She also followed the upvaas with me.
Upvaas for me was having only water. I somehow could not relate to upvaas food items. I mean no offence to those who do, but that’s the way I understood things. We both used to fast on water and have one meal after 6 pm – sunset actually.
Those days, I remember how tough I found it. I could not stop fasting as I felt it was required to heal my ankle completely. I followed this for about 20 months of Thursdays and believe me it was pure hell, every single Thursday.
Later, when anyone spoke to me about upvaas, I used to say, “Why take upvaas? Has God decreed it?” Since no one had an answer for that, I went on eating my way through life.
After My Antaryaamin came into action, my life kept evolving on a daily basis. One day, I wanted something to happen very badly. I can’t recall what this was. I was so keen that I told Bhagavan, “I think I will take a fast today.”
Bhagavan grinned and asked me, “Why Sundari? Why do you want to take a fast? Has your God decreed it or what?” My Antaryaamin Bhagavan has a high sense of humour and I just love Him for it.
I took him very seriously and thought about it, because this was exactly the question that I had asked a number of times of a number of people. Today, the Divine had turned the tables on me, obviously to make me think.
I said, “I don’t know Bhagavan. I feel that if I fast and focus on this matter, it will happen immediately.”
Bhagavan replied, “Exactly. That’s why one does an upvaas. And that’s exactly why one should take an upvaas – to focus on something. Understand this, when you want something very strongly, upvaas is one way of achieving it. When you are strongly focused, you will never feel hungry during the upvaas. Even going into a hotel or a kitchen will not tempt you to eat. In fact, you are so focused on what you are trying to achieve that your whole system shuts everything else out. At that time, doing an upvaas is the simplest thing. Just drink water, not even coffee or tea, no fruits, no vegetables – cooked or raw, no fruit juices, no salt-free foods, just nothing. Have only water and focus on the thing that you want and see how both your upvaas and your desire work out.”
I was thoroughly convinced. Who wouldn’t be with the Divine advising? And again, what clarity!
Till date, I take an upvaas when I feel like, only after asking Bhagavan. If it is workable, I am able to go through the day without feeling a single hunger pang or any kind of temptation. What I understood from Bhagavan is that feeling the urge to eat in itself nullifies the fast as the focus shifts.
There are times when I decide to take a fast and after a couple of hours find that I am tempted to eat. I go ahead and eat, breaking the fast immediately. There are other times I feel hungry and then again I break the upvaas.
Bhagavan says that when our focus is completely on what we want, the fast automatically happens. We should never force ourselves. Taking the help of the Divine helps in this; absolutely.
While I hear a number of devotees attend so many courses at the Oneness University – the same courses many times in a number of cases – I have attended very few courses. This is partly by choice, partly by chance and mainly by the Divine Will.
Three weeks before I went for Maha Deeksha in April 2008, Bhagavan put me on fast. He never told me the duration in advance. When I got up in the morning one day, He told me to go on fast that day. The next day, I was off fasting. The third day, He told me to fast again. After a few days, I realized that I was fasting every alternate day before attending the course. I was absolutely prepared and thanks to His guidance, I was in total Mouna during the whole course and had some earth-shattering experiences.
Bhagavan showed me not just the power of fasting, He also showed me the way one should fast and also the need to have a reason for fasting – the main focus actually.
AMAZING TEACHINGS ALL THANKS TO MY ANTARYAAMIN BHAGAVAN! I SIMPLY LOVE YOU!