09.14: Focus on not fasting from food but feasting on Krishna

by June 1, 2012

Some people think of fasting as a means of achieving mastery over their body. They fast to increase their willpower by refusing to let bodily appetites control them.

As spiritual seekers, if this self-centered motive seduces us, then we miss the devotional benefits of fasting, irrespective of whether our fast fails or succeeds. If we fail to fast due to not having enough willpower, then fasting becomes the cause of self-torture. If we succeed in fasting due to having enough willpower, then fasting becomes the medium for expressing and boosting our false ego.

We can nimbly avoid this lose-lose dilemma by shifting our focus from self-centeredness to Krishna-centeredness. The Bhagavad-gita (9.14) points to this shift when it asserts that the great souls complement their resolve for strict vows with constant glorification of Krishna. This shift of focus changes our vision of fasting: instead of seeing it as an opportunity to demonstrate our willpower, we see it as an opportunity to experience the power of the non-material nourishment latent in remembrance of Krishna. Actually, Krishna consciousness can satisfy us far more than the best food – at any time and at all times. Sadly, however, we rarely experience this satisfaction. Why? Because to get this satisfaction, we need to pay the price of focusing our consciousness on Krishna singularly. We have little impetus to pay this price when multiple alternative sources of satisfaction are available for us.

Fasting cuts us off from all other sources of satisfaction and thereby impels us to see remembrance of Krishna not as a casual choice, but as a serious necessity. When this impetus causes us to fill our consciousness with Krishna-thoughts, then we discover to our delight that we are experiencing not the agony of fasting from food, but the joy of feasting on Krishna.



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