09.13: Fasting is an opportunity to sacrifice not just the evil, but also the good for Krishna
Most of us as spiritual seekers recognize that immoral sinful pleasures are obstacles on the spiritual pathway. What we may not recognize is that even innocent pious pleasures are also obstacles; the difference is largely a matter of degree.
Whatever gives us pleasure occupies a place in our heart. When we seek pleasure in sins, we exile Krishna from our heart and enthrone the sin-inducing objects there. When we seek innocent pleasures, we don’t exile Krishna from our heart, but we force him to share our heart with these pleasure-providing objects. This mixed devotion is in sharp contrast to pure devotion; the Bhagavad-gita (9.13) declares that the truly devoted make Krishna the singular focus of their consciousness, the only master of their heart.
We being aspiring devotees may not be able to make Krishna the sole lord of our heart right away. Nonetheless, we can cultivate that aspiration as our ideal. And special holy days beckon us as opportunities to make the ideal the actual. Fasting on these holy days is a time-honored way to leave ourselves with no source of nourishment and fulfillment except the remembrance of Krishna.
Food that is sanctified by offering to Krishna is non-different from Krishna, but we often tend to see it more as food than as a manifestation of Krishna. That’s why, though krishna-prasad is non-different from Krishna, it can still distract us in our Krishna consciousness.
Therefore, fasting from everything – even prasad – paves the way for us to sacrifice even the good for the best. Then we can offer our heart fully to Krishna with the meditation: “Nothing and no one is the owner of my heart except you, O Krishna. You and you alone!”