Preparing for Navratri

Navratri is around the corner, and I am gearing up for it by starting the salad diet from this week.

The vrata calls for a rest of the body and the mind, and such resets cannot happen instantly. I recommend preparing at least one week in advance, and also continuing eating light one week after. The body is then able to adjust to a new normal.

I will be writing a series on Navratri, as always. For now, here is a bit that I wrote on Ekādashi vratās. Multiply by nine and you have Navrātri!

Yes, today’s world is all about “xyz-as-a-servce”. There is SaaS, PaaS, GaaS (no, just kidding), and a lot more acronyms that end up charging you every month, little-by-little, so that you don’t notice the damage over a period of time.

Ekādashi is FaaS – fasting as a service. But with a difference. No charge, absolutely free, with mind and body benefits to boot. No login and downloads required, just dedication and commitment to the cause. No fancy spa package, nor retreat…just awareness and tranquility. If only it could be monetised!

And so if you are not convinced, try it out for yourself. But try it for at least 2 months (4 fasts). The first three are tough, in decreasing order. The fourth, may just end up convincing you:)

Will leave you with food for thought (I recognize the pun). If the whole process is to slow down one’s metabolism and step away from the crazy pace of life, to reflect and introspect…then why is it called FASTing? SLOWing would be a better word, wouldn’t it? But then, English isn’t a very scientific language, so expecting a deeper thought from such a rudimentary means of communication would be asking for too much.

So instead, let us instead call it व्रत – vrata – the Sanskrit equivalent, which means vow, resolve or devotion, and is derived from the root vr (will, rule, restrain, conduct). The Saurapurāṇa prescribes ten virtues which must be cultivated as common to all the vratas.

These are forbearance, truthfulness, compassion, charity, purity of body and mind, curbing the sense organs, worship, offering into fire, satisfaction and not depriving another of his possession. That’s a whole lot more than not having food for a few days. That is a whole lot more to observe, and work on.

And so, next Ekādashi, don’t fast. Observe a vrata instead.