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#73850 - 05/31/08 01:44 PM Vrata or the vow (‘fasting’)
seva Offline
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Registered: 05/26/03
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Vrata or the vow (‘fasting’)

There is no Karmic basis in Hinduism for any outlandish claims that fasting or not eating food on a particular day (e.g. Ekadashi or Purnima) will absolve one’s sins, incurred from criminal and sinful actions.

In fact the whole idea of vrata (or taking vow), practiced normally as a day of fasting and contemplation (once a month on a day like Ekadashi), is a reminder and for mental and physical purification so that the person stays healthy (physically and mentally) and avoids criminal and sinful activities.

Moreover, if a person has done anything wrong or sinful, vrata (the day of fasting, once a month for example) then is the time for him / her to make restitution, seek forgiveness and take a vow not to repeat such actions. Then only there is any value in keeping the vrata or fasting.

Furthermore, while the person still, after doing the vrata, is responsible for his actions because of Karmic principle, he is ready to face the outcome of his bad actions in peace.

- Seva (Subhash C. Sharma)

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#73851 - 06/01/08 06:05 PM Re: Vrata .(complete article) [Re: seva]
seva Offline
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Registered: 05/26/03
Posts: 1111
Loc: Toronto (Canada)
Vrata or the vow (‘fasting’)

There is no Karmic basis in Hinduism for claims that just a simple fasting or not eating food on a particular day (e.g. Ekadashi or Purnima) will absolve one’s sins, incurred from criminal and sinful actions.

In fact the whole idea of vrata (or taking vow), practiced normally as a day of fasting, reflection and contemplation (once a month on a day like Ekadashi), is a reminder and for mental and physical purification so that the person stays healthy (physically and mentally) and avoids criminal and sinful activities.

Moreover, if a person has done anything sinful or bad (in thought, word or deed -- the Gita: Ch. 18 – V. 15), vrata (vow on the day of fasting, once a month for example) in the name of God is then the time for him / her to make restitution, seek forgiveness and take a vow not to repeat such actions. Then only there is any value in keeping the vrata or fasting. Note for example a prayer in this regard from the Veda, "O Agni (God) ...each fault done in a village or in forest, in society or mind, each sinful act that we have committed to Shudra or Vaishya or by preventing a religious act, even of that sin, you are the expiation..." Yajur Veda (Kanda 1, Prapathaka 8, Hymn i.8.3.d).

Furthermore, while the person still, after doing the vrata, is responsible for his actions because of Karmic principle (Appendix), he is ready to face the outcome of his bad actions in peace.

Note that several religious practices and rituals are based on the concept of vrata to improve the lives and actions (karma) of people. For example in the Satya Narayana Vrata Katha the narrative is intended to reflect the divine aspect of truth (e.g. truth is God) urging people to respect and adhere to truth with determination and devotion.

Incidentally, the pilgrimages to holy places were also to enhance the spiritual and worldly condition of people, even requiring pilgrims to take a vow to give up, for the rest of life, a number of (usually two during each pilgrimage) bad habits and vices like anger, cheating, lying, gluttony, gambling, smoking, etc.


Appendix:
(Karmic principle or the Law of karma)


This basically reflects the gist of several philosophies in Hinduism that the creation, even though has its origin in God, is totally dependent on the karmic principle or law of karma, which states that all actions have their good or bad results. In other words, God creates or puts together the world and lets it operate on the basis of karma, without exception. Thus, the fate and condition of creation, in spite of its beginning from God, depend on karma - the Gita (Ch. 8 - V. 3 & 4). In addition, even when God temporarily and through special powers becomes part of or enters creation (world), basically to uphold the Law (righteousness), he is subject to the law of karma although he remains untainted by it - the Gita (Ch.4 – V. 6, 8,14).

Needless to say, as indicated above, if there is any bad action it is likely to have negative consequences, physically, mentally and spiritually. The idea then is (1) to minimize the negative consequences of original action, and (2) to not do such action again. Both these (1 & 2) can be achieved by the right vrata (in the name of God), indicated previously (making restitution, seeking forgiveness and vowing to not repeat that type of activity), to assist the wrong-doer in achieving peace as well as a closure to his bad past (action).

Incidentally, the choice of Ekadashi etc. is well-suited to carrying out the vrata activity on a particular day each month. Similarly, Moksha may be achieved through such activities -- it is not certain though because Moksha in addition depends on the grace and mercy of God -- when all the consequences of good and bad actions (karma) have been exhausted thus freeing the person from bonds of creation.

- Seva (Subhash C. Sharma)

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#73852 - 06/11/08 11:35 AM Re: Vrata .(complete article) [Re: seva]
seva Offline
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Registered: 05/26/03
Posts: 1111
Loc: Toronto (Canada)

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