Osho on Fasting
I thought of sharing Osho’s views on fasting, since today happens to be Bhishma Ekadasi. This is excerpted from the book “Essence of Yoga”. You can read it on this link – The Body is a Great Organic Unity.
"....How does fasting purify? Whenever you are on a fast, the body no longer has to work at digestion. In that period, the body can work at throwing out dead cells, toxins. It is just as if one day, Sunday or Saturday, you are on a weekend holiday and you come home and clean all day. The whole week you were so engaged and so busy that you couldn’t clean the house. When the body has nothing to digest, when you haven’t eaten anything, it starts self-cleaning. The process starts spontaneously and the body starts throwing out all that is not needed, which is like a load. Fasting is a method of purification. Once in a while, a fast is beautiful – not doing anything, not eating, just resting. Drink as much liquid as possible, just rest, and the body will be cleaned. If you feel that a longer fast is needed, you can do a longer one, but be deeply in love with your body. If you feel the fast is harming your body in any way, stop it. If the fast is helping your body, you will feel more energetic, more alive, rejuvenated, vitalized. This should be the criterion: if you start feeling that you are getting weaker, that a subtle trembling is coming in your body, then be aware. Now it is no longer purification. It has become destructive. Stop it. One should learn the whole science of it. In fact one should fast with someone who has been fasting for a long time and who knows the whole path very well, all the symptoms. What will start happening if it becomes destructive and what will happen if it is not destructive. After a really purifying fast you will feel new, younger, cleaner, weightless, happier. Your body will be functioning better because now it is unloaded. But fasting is needed only if you have been eating wrongly. If you have not been eating wrongly, there is no need for fasting. Fasting is needed only when you have already done something wrong with the body – and we all have been eating wrongly. Man has lost the path. No animal eats like man. Every animal has its chosen food. If you bring some buffaloes into the garden and leave them, they will only eat a particular grass. They will not go on eating anything and everything. They are very choosy. They have a certain feeling about their food. Man is completely lost and has no feeling about his food. He goes on eating everything and anything. In fact you cannot find anything which is not eaten somewhere or other by man. In some places, ants are eaten. In some places, snakes. In some places, dogs. Man has eaten everything. Man is simply mad. He does not know what is in resonance with his body and what is not. He is completely confused. Man, naturally, should be a vegetarian because the whole body is made for vegetarian food. Even scientists concede to the fact that the whole structure of the human body shows that man should not be a non-vegetarian. Man comes from monkeys and monkeys are vegetarians – absolute vegetarians. If Darwin is correct, man should be a vegetarian. Now there are ways to judge whether a certain species of animal is vegetarian or non-vegetarian. It depends on the length of the intestine. Non-vegetarian animals have a very small intestine. Tigers and lions have a very small intestine because meat is already a digested food. It does not need a long intestine to digest it. The work of digestion has been done by the animal and now you are eating the animal’s meat. It is already digested; a long intestine is not needed. Man has one of the longest intestines, so that means he is a vegetarian. A long digestion is needed and there will be a lot of excreta which has to be thrown out. If man is not a vegetarian and goes on eating meat, the body is burdened. In the East, all the great meditators – Buddha, Mahavira –have emphasized the fact. Not because of any concept of nonviolence ? that is a secondary thing ? but because if you really want to move into deep meditation, your body needs to be weightless, natural, flowing. Your body needs to be unloaded. A non-vegetarian’s body is very loaded. Just watch what happens when you eat meat. What happens to the animal that is killed? Of course, nobody wants to be killed. Life wants to prolong itself. The animal is not dying willingly. If someone kills you, you will not die willingly. If a lion jumps on you and kills you, what will happen to your mind? The same happens when you kill a lion: agony, fear, death, anguish, anxiety, anger, violence, sadness. All these things happen to the animal. Violence, anguish, agony spread all over his body. The whole body becomes full of toxins, poisons. All the body’s glands release poisons because the animal is dying very unwillingly. And then you eat the meat. That meat carries all the poisons that the animal has released. The whole energy is poisonous and those poisons are carried in your body. The meat which you are eating belonged to an animal’s body. It had a specific purpose there and a specific type of consciousness existed in the animal’s body. You are on a higher plane than the animal’s consciousness and when you eat the animal’s meat, your body goes to the lowest plane, to the lower plane of the animal. There exists a gap between your consciousness and your body and now tension, anxiety arises. One should eat things which are natural for you: fruits, nuts, vegetables. Eat as much as you can. The beauty is that you cannot eat more than is needed of these things. Whatever is natural always gives you satisfaction because it satiates your body, saturates you. You feel fulfilled. If something is unnatural, it never gives you a feeling of fulfillment. If you go on eating ice cream, you never feel that you are satiated. In fact the more you eat it, the more you feel like eating it. It is not a food. Your mind is being tricked. Now you are not eating according to the body’s need, you are eating just to taste. The tongue has become the controller. The tongue should not be the controller. It does not know anything about the stomach. It does not know anything about the body. The tongue has a specific purpose to fulfill: to taste food. Naturally, the tongue has to judge, that is the only thing. Which food is for the body – for my body – and which food is not for my body? It is just a watchman on the door, it is not the master. If the watchman on the door becomes the master, everything will be confused.
There are two important messages in this excerpt – vegetarianism and being in tune with your body’s needs. Osho gives enough reasoning about why one should not eat meat. Science is saying the same thing …The Wuhan virus pandemic was caused because a human being ate something that he/she should not have !
The second message is extremely important – being in tune with your body. Shovelling food into your mouth while watching TV, drinking the worst thing that man created – Coke and Pepsi at the end of the meal or during the meal and then going out to the gym to “burn” off those calories … the perfect recipe for disaster. Be aware, Be alert while eating. Listen to your body.