Fasting

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Sikhism is probably the only major organised world religion that does not promote fasting except for medical reasons. The Sikh Gurus discourage the devotee from engaging in this ritual as it is considered to "brings no spiritual benefit to the person". The Sikh holy Scripture, Sri Guru Granth Sahib tell us: "Fasting, daily rituals, and austere self-discipline - those who keep the practice of these, are rewarded with less than a shell."(SGGS page 216). So most Sikhs have never undertaken a fast of any kind.

In your Dharma it is important to fast on Ekadshi, Janam Ashtami and other such days. In Sikhi the opinion about these rituals is as follows:

ਅੰਨ੝ ਨ ਖਾਹਿ ਦੇਹੀ ਦ੝ਖ੝ ਦੀਜੈ ॥ ਬਿਨ੝ ਗ੝ਰ ਗਿਆਨ ਤ੝ਰਿਪਤਿ ਨਹੀ ਥੀਜੈ ॥

He does not eat food; he tortures his body. Without the Guru's wisdom, he is not satisfied. (Guru Granth Sahib Ji, Ang 905)


ਮਨਿ ਸੰਤੋਖ੝ ਸਰਬ ਜੀਅ ਦਇਆ ॥ ਇਨ ਬਿਧਿ ਬਰਤ੝ ਸੰਪੂਰਨ ਭਇਆ ॥

Let your mind be content, and be kind to all beings. In this way, your fast will be successful. (Guru Granth Sahib Ji, Ang 299)


ਵਰਤ ਨ ਰਹਉ ਨ ਮਹ ਰਮਦਾਨਾ ॥ ਤਿਸ੝ ਸੇਵੀ ਜੋ ਰਖੈ ਨਿਦਾਨਾ ॥1॥

I do not keep fasts, nor do I observe the month of Ramadaan. I serve only the One, who will protect me in the end. ||1|| (Guru Granth Sahib Ji, Ang 1136)


ਨਉਮੀ ਨੇਮ੝ ਸਚ੝ ਜੇ ਕਰੈ ॥ ਕਾਮ ਕ੝ਰੋਧ੝ ਤ੝ਰਿਸਨਾ ਉਚਰੈ ॥

ਦਸਮੀ ਦਸੇ ਦ੝ਆਰ ਜੇ ਠਾਕੈ ਝਕਾਦਸੀ ਝਕ੝ ਕਰਿ ਜਾਣੈ ॥

ਦ੝ਆਦਸੀ ਪੰਚ ਵਸਗਤਿ ਕਰਿ ਰਾਖੈ ਤਉ ਨਾਨਕ ਮਨ੝ ਮਾਨੈ ॥

ਝਸਾ ਵਰਤ੝ ਰਹੀਜੈ ਪਾਡੇ ਹੋਰ ਬਹ੝ਤ੝ ਸਿਖ ਕਿਆ ਦੀਜੈ ॥2॥

On the ninth day of the month, make a vow to speak the Truth, and your sexual desire, anger and desire shall be eaten up. On the tenth day, regulate your ten doors; on the eleventh day, know that the Lord is One. On the twelfth day, the five thieves are subdued, and then, O Nanak, the mind is pleased and appeased. Observe such a fast as this, O Pandit, O religious scholar; of what use are all the other teachings? ||2|| (Guru Granth Sahib Ji, Ang 1245)


ਛੋਡਹਿ ਅੰਨ੝ ਕਰਹਿ ਪਾਖੰਡ ॥ ਨਾ ਸੋਹਾਗਨਿ ਨਾ ਓਹਿ ਰੰਡ ॥

ਜਗ ਮਹਿ ਬਕਤੇ ਦੂਧਾਧਾਰੀ ॥ ਗ੝ਪਤੀ ਖਾਵਹਿ ਵਟਿਕਾ ਸਾਰੀ ॥3॥

ਅੰਨੈ ਬਿਨਾ ਨ ਹੋਇ ਸ੝ਕਾਲ੝ ॥ ਤਜਿਝ ਅੰਨਿ ਨ ਮਿਲੈ ਗ੝ਪਾਲ੝ ॥

One who discards this grain, is practicing hypocrisy. She is neither a happy soul-bride, nor a widow. Those who claim in this world that they live on milk alone, secretly eat whole loads of food. ||3|| Without this grain, time does not pass in peace. Forsaking this grain, one does not meet the Lord of the World. (Guru Granth Sahib Ji, Ang 873)


ਸਗਲੀ ਥੀਤਿ ਪਾਸਿ ਡਾਰਿ ਰਾਖੀ ॥ ਅਸਟਮ ਥੀਤਿ ਗੋਵਿੰਦ ਜਨਮਾ ਸੀ ॥1॥

ਭਰਮਿ ਭੂਲੇ ਨਰ ਕਰਤ ਕਚਰਾਇਣ ॥ ਜਨਮ ਮਰਣ ਤੇ ਰਹਤ ਨਾਰਾਇਣ ॥1॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥

ਕਰਿ ਪੰਜੀਰ੝ ਖਵਾਇਓ ਚੋਰ ॥ ਓਹ੝ ਜਨਮਿ ਨ ਮਰੈ ਰੇ ਸਾਕਤ ਢੋਰ ॥2॥

ਸਗਲ ਪਰਾਧ ਦੇਹਿ ਲੋਰੋਨੀ ॥ ਸੋ ਮ੝ਖ੝ ਜਲਉ ਜਿਤ੝ ਕਹਹਿ ਠਾਕ੝ਰ੝ ਜੋਨੀ ॥3॥

ਜਨਮਿ ਨ ਮਰੈ ਨ ਆਵੈ ਨ ਜਾਇ ॥ ਨਾਨਕ ਕਾ ਪ੝ਰਭ੝ ਰਹਿਓ ਸਮਾਇ ॥4॥1॥

Setting aside all other days, it is said that the Lord was born on the eighth lunar day. ||1|| Deluded and confused by doubt, the mortal practices falsehood. The Lord is beyond birth and death. ||1||Pause|| You prepare sweet treats and feed them to your stone god. God is not born, and He does not die, you foolish, faithless cynic! ||2|| You sing lullabies to your stone god - this is the source of all your mistakes. Let that mouth be burnt, which says that our Lord and Master is subject to birth. ||3|| He is not born, and He does not die; He does not come and go in reincarnation. The God of Nanak is pervading and permeating everywhere. ||4||1|| (Guru Granth Sahib Ji, Ang 1136)


ਪੂਜਾ ਵਰਤ ਉਪਾਰਣੇ ਵਰ ਸਰਾਪ ਸ਼ਿਵ ਸ਼ਕਤਿ ਲਵੇਰੇ॥

ਸਾਧ ਸੰਗਤ ਗ੝ਰ ਸ਼ਬਦ ਵਿਣ ਥਾਉਂ ਨ ਪਾਇਣ ਭਲੇ ਭਲੇਰੇ॥

Fasting on Ekadashi, adoration of Thakurs (stones) one remains away from Hari engaged in the Maya and omens. Without the Guru’s word in the company of Saints one does not get refuge no matter how good one looks. (Bhai Gurdas Ji, Vaar 7)


ਗ੝ਰੂ ਕਾ ਸਿੱਖ ਝਕਾਦਸ਼ੀ ਆਦਿਕ ਬਰਤ ਨਾ ਰੱਖੇ ।

A Sikh of the Guru should not fast on Ekadashi etc. (Rehatnama Bhai Daya Singh Ji)


ਸਿੱਖ ਇਹ ਬਰਤ ਰੱਖੇ - ਅੱਖੀਆਂ ਕਰ ਪਰਇਸਤ੝ਰੀ ਨਾ ਦੇਖੇ, ਜਿਹਵਾ ਕਰ ਮਿਥਯਾ ਨਾ ਬੋਲੇ, ਪੈਰਾਂ ਕਰ ਬ੝ਰੇ ਕਰਮ ਨੂੰ ਨ ਧਾਝ ।

A Sikh should keep fast of this nature – Do not covet another’s woman, with you tongue do not tell lie and do not take your feet towards bad actions. (Prem Sumarag)

See also