Fasting is an opportunity to sacrifice the good for the best
As spiritual seekers, werecognize that immoral sinful pleasures are obstacles on the spiritual pathway. What we may not recognize is that even innocent pious pleasures are also obstacles. Let’s see how.
Whatever gives us pleasure occupies a place in our heart. When we seek pleasure in sins, we exile Krishna from our heart and enthrone the sin-inducing objects there. When we seek innocent pleasures, we don’t exile Krishna from our heart, but we force him to share our heart with the pleasure-providing objects. This mixed devotion falls far below the standard of pure devotion, of making Krishna the only master of the heart, as indicated in the Bhagavad-gita (9.13: bhajanty ananya manaso).
Being aspiring devotees, weknow that such pure devotion is our ideal. Special holy days beckon us as opportunities to make the ideal the actual. Fasting on these holy days is a time-honored way to leave ourselves with no source of nourishment and fulfillment except the remembrance of Krishna.
Some of us may wonder, “Food sanctified by offering to Krishna is non-different from him. Why do we need to fast from a manifestation of Krishna to progress in Krishna consciousness?”
Because we usually see sanctified food, krishna-prasad,more as food, an object for our gratification, than as Krishna, an object for our devotion.Due to our lop-sided vision, even prasad can distract us from our Krishna consciousness. Therefore, fasting from prasad paves the way for us to sacrifice even the good –prasad – for the best – Krishna.
Fasting thus enables us to offer our heart fully to Krishna with the meditation: “Nothing and no one is the owner of my heart except you, O Krishna. You and you alone!”
“O son of Prtha, those who are not deluded, the great souls, are under the protection of the divine nature. They are fully engaged in devotional service because they know Me as the Supreme Personality of Godhead, original and inexhaustible.”