Various Types of Fasting and Its Significance

Published on November 21, 2018

Fasting Types And Significance
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Fasting on the holy days is a noble and effective exercise undertaken by the Hindus. In fact, fasting is an auspicious act which should be done in an appropriate manner. If it is not done properly, it may not be effective; on the other hand, it may even cause problems. Even those who do not fast at all will have to face difficult situations. In Raja Bhoj’s account, there is a mention of 24 types of fasts.

Three Types of Fast (Based on Purpose):

On the other hand, the names of 700 vratas are mentioned in the book Hemadi. The great Sanskrit scholar Gopinath Kaviraj has mentioned 1,622 vratas in his Shabdakosh. Broadly, there are 3 types of fasting, based on their purpose: 1) Nitya (Daily), 2) Naimittik (Specific), 3) Kamya (Personal)

1) Nitya Vrat is that in which there is an emphasis on the worship of God and good conduct like speaking truth, staying pure, controlling the senses, restraining anger, avoiding bad talk and criticism and getting committed to God come what may. If someone doesn’t follow this vrat and rituals, he/she will invite sin.
2) Naimittik Vrat is for repenting for the bad karma or getting free of your sorrows. Besides, vrats which are kept according to any specific tithi (date as per Hindu calendar) also fall under the category of Naimittik Vrat.
3) Kamya Vrat is kept for fulfilling any wish or desire like to beget a child, to become more prosperous and other reasons.

The Annual Cycle Of Vrats

1) Weekly Fast: In this, we fast once a week. This is the best method to fast.
2) Fortnightly Fast: There are two fortnights in the Hindu time scale method (Waxing Moon or Shukla Paksha and Waning Moon or Krishna Paksha). The important days to fast during the two fortnights are Chaturthi, Ekadashi, Trayodashi, Amavasya and Purnima. We can fast on any of the above mentioned days.
3) Three-Monthly Fast: The prominent fast in this category is the Navratri fast. As per the Hindu calendar, Navratri falls in the months of Paush, Chaitra, Ashaadh and Ashwin. In all of the above mentioned months, the first day till the ninth day is called Navratri. Fasting on these nine days can remove all your sorrows. Are you facing confusion in relationships? Access the Relationships Ask Question: Detailed Advice Report and get the golden guidance.
4) Six-Monthly Fast: Chaitra month Navaratri is called Greater Navratri and Ashwin month Navratri is called Smaller Navratri. The time lag between both is around six months.
5) Yearly Fast: In the annual Vrats is the fast undertaken during Shravan Month. As per the tradition, people are required to fast during the entire month of Shravan. Besides, those who do Chaturmas do not face any disease or sorrow. Shravan month is very useful. Fasting during the entire Shravan month (and not just on Mondays) can free you from physical and mental problems. Do you want to grow your wealth? Buy the Wealth Ask a Question Report and surge ahead in life.

Different Kinds of Fast (As per their Nature):

1) Prat
2) Adhopvas
3) Ekaharopvas
4) Rasopvas
5) Phalopvas
6) Dugdhopvas
7) Takropvas
8) Poornopavs
9) Saptahik Upvas
10) Laghu Upvas
11) Kathor Upvas
12) Toote Upvas
13) Deergh Upvas

1) Prat Upvas: In this, we are not required to take our breakfast in the morning. Besides, we are to eat only two times during the entire day.
2) Adhopvas: This is also called the fast of the evening. We are required to eat only once during the entire day; we are not required not to eat at night.
3) Ekaharopvas: In this, we are required to eat only one type of food. For example, if we consume roti in the morning, we can consume only sabji in the evening. On the next day, we can consume fruit in the morning and milk in the evening.
4) Rasopvas: Herein we are required not to consume cereals (ann) and several types of fruits. We can only consume juicy fruits and vegetable juices. Even consuming milk is not allowed on this day.
5) Falopvas: During Falopvas we are required to consume only juicy fruits and vegetables. If fruits do not suit us, we should only consume cooked vegetables.
6) Dughdopvas: This fast is also known as Dugdha Kalp. In this, we are required to consume only milk 4 to 5 times the fasting days.
7) Takropvas: It is also known as Mathakalp. In this, we are required to avoid ghee and sour things. This vrat can be followed for two months at a time.
8) Purnopvas: We are not required to eat anything and just stay on the clean and fresh water. We are required to follow other rules which have been laid down by tradition.
9) Saptahik Upvas: If we do one Purnopvas once in the week, it is called Weekly Upvas.
10) Laghu Upvas: When the Purnopvas is carried out for 3 to 7 days, it is called Laghu Upvas.
11) Kathor Upvas: This upvas is very suitable for people who are suffering from a difficult disease. In this one has to strictly follow all the rules of Purnopvas.
12) Toote Upvas: Here we are supposed to carry out Purnopvas for 2 to 7 days. Thereafter, we are required to eat light natural food for a few days and again go on a fast for some more days. Keep continuing with this cycle (of going on fast and thereafter consuming light fruits) till you get what you were seeking.
13) Deergh Upvas: In this Purnopvas is to be done for a number of days. The days are pre-decided. The number of days may range from 21 to around 50 to 60. This fast is discontinued once we start feeling the need for food or fasting has detoxified our body.

With Ganesha’s Grace,
Acharya Dharmadhikari
The GaneshaSpeaks Team

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