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Encyclopedia of Vedic Astrology: Remedies: Austerities and Fasts, Chapter VII, Part – 1

Dr. Shanker Adawal

Austerities and Fasts

One way of astrological remedy is to do certain form of austerities. Austerities or “tapas” is a form of accepting voluntarily a penance or self-restraint, in order to pay a karmic debt. Tapas strengthens the mind, will power and capacity to endure any difficulty in life. It takes the mind away form the duality of “likes and dislikes”, Raga and Dwesha.

Tapas activates the “Tejas” or fire element in the mind and body, which bestows inner strength, sharp mind and the capacity to achieve any desired situation and overcome any difficulty in life.

Instead of trying to avoid any form of pain at all means, which is what the mind usually does, the Yogi takes upon himself some challenge to become stronger.

Tapas can be especially powerful to counteract any negative influence from Saturn or to strength the Mars or Sun energies if weak on the birth chart.

The most recommended Tapas are:

Doing service to the poor, the sick, the personal teacher or the wise people, refrain from pleasures that are not healthy and make the mind scattered and attached, observing a pure simple moderated diet, occasional fasts, keeping silence or only speaking what is absolutely necessary and beneficial, getting up early in the morning to do Yoga, meditation or other spiritual practices, assuming and maintaining a steady posture without movement for meditation, sleeping on a hard bed, sitting on the floor.

One of the highest (and most difficult, but recommended) tapas is: “Bear insult and injury”, not responding with aggression or negativity towards an offender, not identifying with the ego.

But tapas donot mean torturing the body by extreme or “masochist” means, which harm the physical body. Some people cut, burn, beat, pierce their bodies. This kind of extreme Tapas is considered as “Tamasic” or born out of ignorance and delusion.

The Bhagavad Gita clearly explains that:

“Worship of God, the brahmanas, the teachers, the wise, purity, straightforwardness, celibacy and non-injury are called the austerities of the body”

“Speech which causes no excitement, which is truthful, pleasant and beneficial and the study of the Vedas are called austerity of speech”

Serenity of mind, good heartedness, self-control, purity of nature, this is called mental austerity”

The austerity which is practiced with the object of gaining good reputation, honour and worship, and with hypocrisy is here said to be of a “rejasic”, unstable and transitory” “That austerity which is practiced out of a foolish notion, with self-torture or for the purpose of destroying another is declared to be “Tamasic” or ignorant”. Fasting is regarded as an efficient way of physical, mental, spiritual and karmic purification.

During fasting the toxins from the body are released and that allows the negativity of the mind to be released too. The mind and will power becomes strong. Karmic debts can be purified too.

The prana or vital force usually occupied in digesting the food can be engaged in healing the body and flowing to the higher chakras during fasting.

When there is an afflicting planet on the birth chart, or during a difficult “Dasa”, planetary period or difficult transit of that planet, the austerities and fast should be perform on at least the whole day of the week ruled by the planet for at least 6 consecutive weeks.



Dr. Shanker Adawal
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