When you begin a journey, your mind runs through a million thoughts, will it be fruitful, will i be able to complete it, etc etc. This thought began around Jul 2011 when I decided I wished to keep a 16 Monday fast. These fasts are typically to please Lord Shiva. I kept the fast for the general peace of the household, when I called the priest to keep the fast with the proper process, he almost laughed. Girls usually keep it for a good husband. I stated, I want peace at home, husband aa jayega..uski mujhe tension nahi hai… and I started practicing keeping a “Nirjaal fast” around two-three months in advance. I usually keep a fast on Mondays (with water and one time food). This is a tougher version of the kind of the fast that I keep. This involves a strict discipline to be followed. No water and food for 24 hrs on Monday. The fast begins at 12am on Monday and ends at 12am Tuesday. Typically, during this phase one can’t drink liquor, eat non-veg (incl egg) and think anything sinful. You are supposed to pray everyday and keep thoughts pure, speak truth, etc, etc…You begin your day with prayers every morning and on a Monday, you visit the Mandir and bathe the shivling with milk and water, wear white clothes and conduct your prayers. The negative part is that if you have your menstrual cycle the fast does not get counted though you have to fast on that day as well. So on every Monday, you fast and this continues till all the 16 are completed successfully.
I have completed 14 successfully and have another 2 more to go, post which I can keep the opening ceremony called “Udhyapan” where you invite friends and family and 16 brahmins for the celebration. I don’t know but this kind of fasting instills immense discipline into you. I can sit with you and yet not eat anything, even if you eat non-veg in front of me..I don’t even have the urge to eat or drink..I don’t know it comes from within..just a feeling of wellness..calm and absolute state of peace…the feeling is simply indescribable…but wonderful. I never thought I had it in me to complete it…but with every passing Mondays I feel more and more re-ensured.
What a coincidence this year as if God had aligned the events. Mahasivratri also falls on Monday, hence I don’t need to fast on two days during the week. Similarly my birthday falls on a Monday. I wish to keep the Udhyapan on my birthday – why not ring in the new year with an auspicious ceremony. Just an auspicious one. However, I will have to keep an extra fast if I do so..so it will be 16+2.. However, it is worth the bet.. 🙂