Way back in 1971, I left my home in Sydney's Eastern Suburbs (the same house in which I am currently writing) to live with the Hare Krishna devotees. I had in fact 'joined the Hare Krishna Movement'.
Whilst it appeared to some that I had eschewed my liberal Jewish life to take up something alien, I had in fact voluntarily taken up the orthodox life of Gaudiya Vaishnavism.
Fasting days are fairly common in most of the world's religious regimens. Judaism has a sprinkling of them. And while fasting has never been a favourite of mine, I embraced it as a necessity when I took up monastic Temple life.
My Guru, Srila A.C Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, outlined in one of his 80 books (specifically the purport to Shrimad Bhagavatam, Canto 1, Chapter One, Text 38) a description of duties required of all executive heads of state.
First on the list was this:
"Two compulsory fasting days in a month, if not more (austerity). Even from the economic point of view, such two fasting days in a month in the state will save tons of food, and the system will also act very favourably on the general health of the citizens."
I was reminded of this quote when I read the following article, posted by fellow-blogger Sita-pati yesterday. And I was once again edified in my knowledge that all the instructions given to me by Srila Prabhupada are practical, uplifting beneficial and necessary for a peaceful, happy world.
Oh, and here's that article:
Fasting One Day a Month Causes Significant Reduction in Clogged Arteries
Wednesday, July 23, 2008 by: David Gutierrez
"Fasting for one day each month may reduce the risk of clogged arteries by 40 percent, according to a new study conducted by researchers from Intermountain Medical Center and the University of Utah and presented at a conference of the American Heart Association.
Researchers first began to study fasting when an analysis of a health registry indicated that significantly fewer Mormons than non-Mormons in Utah suffered from the clogged arteries indicative of heart disease, even after different smoking rates were taken into account.
The researchers then conducted a survey of 515 people, 92 percent of whom were Mormon. Participants were asked about a number of habits associated with the practice of the Mormon religion, including fasting one day per month .... more...
Posted by Kurma on 1/8/08; 10:18:41 AM
from the dept.