Fasting and Self-control

If you feel heavy in body and brain, if you feel mentally sluggish it is a sure indication that your system is “clogged” with waste matter, due to partial or total inactivity of the physical channels of elimination. You have been indulging in high living and gluttony or you have been indulging in physical gratifications and have thus exhausted the vital fibres of your body.

Perhaps you have drunk very little water which is nature’s demand for cleaning the vessels of the body. Perhaps you have exercised little and thus the supply of oxygen required for burning off carbon and energising the blood has been rather limited. Mental depression, ‘weak nerves,’ melancholy, despair, fear, lack of concentration and lots of other mental weakness are due to a clogging of the system with accumulated refuse. In brief, the following are a few of the benefits derivable from scientific fasting:–(1) It gives nature a chance to “Clean Up.” The day of fasting is a day of physical “house cleaning.” (2) Like the galvanic battery the body “recuperates” its energies. Strength is invariably rested to one’s powers of digestion after a careful fast. No case of dyspepsia, constipation, etc., there is, but can benefit or be totally and radically cured by fasting. Fasting will increase powers of assimilation, quicken hunger, purify and strengthen the nerves and raise your health in all ways. (3) By gaining control over appetite you gain control over your lower nature. It is a splendid drill for your Will. You shall gain in spiritual strength. You shall grow positive to your flesh and its cravings. Jesus Christ fasted for 40 days in order to prepare himself to face his great trial and temptation. Our Yogis are all great fasters.


Don’t undertake too much. If you have never observed a fast begin with a 24 hour fast. Drink at least 5, if possible, 8 tumblers of pure water at frequent intervals slowly. Keep yourself gently active and occupied the whole day, mentally and physically. You may feel a feeling of faintness, all-goneness and an irresistible craving for food. These are mischievous pranks of a cultivated and pampered and artificial appetite. Drink water slowly but don’t give your body anything else.

Always keep before yourself the distinction between the regal “I–am–I” the soul and the carnal, sensating animal known as the body. The great point of achievement during a fast lies in thinking high thoughts and forgetting the demands of the flesh. Don’t think of your fast. If you do think say to yourself “this is to develop my will.” Breathe plenty of fresh air. Exercise gently and walk. I have seen educated men afraid to go out for a walk during a day’s religious fast “lest they should feel hungry.” O shame! You can’t control a little hunger! You should bathe daily thoroughly early in the morning, fast or no fast.

And don’t be afraid. “Man liveth not by bread alone but by very word that proceeds from the mouth of God”–said Christ. Starvation may kill off your body but not fasting. Deny the power of all disease and weakness over yourself. Your mind is master of your body. Assert this mental control. Lastly, during a fast, your body is sensitive to your suggestions. Fill your mind with incessant affirmations of courage. Think courage, say courage, act courage. Take time by the forelock. Force your suggestions upon body and brain right now.


When breaking a fast, be sure to control re-action. Eat very lightly and only sensible food. Now that you have a clean body, stay clean You can train yourself to fast for 40 days at a stretch.