Our religious texts and scriptures have detailed description about the Fasts & Festivals. These texts have also outlined the qualifi cations of a person aspiring to observe Fasts & have setforth the rules to be followed while observing these Fasts. There is special importance of a Fast performed on the auspicious occasion of any festival as it is said to be bestowing manyfold auspicious results. Every Fast has its special signifi cance and provides auspicious results which ward off the agony and gives relief from the distress and problems. Let's discuss what our religious texts and scriptures enshrine about it : What is Parva (Festival) : The important dates related to the emergence and incarnation of Gods as well as the dates related to special religious events, solar ingress, eclipse, Full Moon, New Moon days etc. are called Parvas. Our sages and seers have given special relevance to the fasts, donations, Japas, Yajnas, holy bath performed on these special Parva periods. What is Festival (Vrat) : Sacred conduct and self control are called the Vrat. In common language, to have control over tongue while choosing or taking food is Vrat. There are four kinds of Vrat: 1- Fast : Not to eat anything during the whole day (sunrise to next sunrise). 2- Ek Nakta : To have food once in whole day in afternoon. 3- Nakta : To have food once in whole day at the time of sunset. 4- Ayachit : To have food once in a whole day if someone gives without asking. What is Karmakaal : The time when donation, holy bath, Japa or pooja is advised by the shashtras are called Karmakaal. For example, lord Ganesha should be worshipped on Ganesha Chaturthi at the time of Moonrise. So, the Karmakaal here is Moonrise time. Rules for the Fast observers : The following rules are prescibed for the observers of Fast : They should not accept the food given by others, should not take meal twice, have breakfast several times, smoking, beattle or tobacco chewing, taking non-veg., wine, lentil, lemon etc. Besides that they should refrain away from sleeping in daytime, oil massage, exercise, jealousy, anger, greed, telling a lie, theft etc. Forgiveness, truth, compassion, donation, prayer etc. are the main components of Fast. Fast does not break by medicines as well as the permissions from the Guru (Teacher). Representatives in Fast : If anyone is not capable of observing the Fast himself/herself due to sickness or some unavoidable reasons he/she may entrust the task of observing the Fast to his/ her respresentative who may be wife, son, brother, mother, sister, father, husband, priest, friend, disciple etc. If someone has fever or menstruation starts, birth or death takes place then one can observe the Fast but prayer and giving donation should be entrusted to others to perform.
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