The Baha'i Fast... starts sunrise March 2nd & ends March 20th

Discussion in 'Baha'i' started by arthra, Mar 2, 2019.

  1. arthra

    arthra Baha'i

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    Fasting of some kind or other exists in many religions … In the Baha'i Faith Fasting occurs during the month of 'Ala (Loftiness) which is the last month in the Baha'i Calendar. Each Baha'i month is nineteen days in length and there are nineteen months.. all are named after an attribute of God as are the days of the week. The Baha'i calendar is solar and begins with "Naw-Ruz" the ancient Persian New Year. The meaning of "Naw-Ruz" is New Day and is the Vernal Equinox when the daylight hours are the same as the night time.

    The Fast begins at sunrise and ends at sunset each day for nineteen days. The Fast involves abstaining from food and drink during the daylight hours. You must be at least fifteen years of age to Fast. If you're over seventy years Fasting is not required. There are exemptions for those who are ill... those who have to work in hard labour. Travellers are also exempt. Pregnant women are exempt as are those who nurse their young.

    There are no "make ups" for Fasting... If you cannot Fast you don't have to Fast later...
     
  2. arthra

    arthra Baha'i

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    Bahá'u'lláh asserts: "One who performeth neither good deeds nor acts of worship is like unto a tree which beareth no fruit, and an action which leaveth no trace. Whosoever experienceth the holy ecstasy of worship will refuse to barter such an act or any praise of God for all that existeth in the world. Fasting and obligatory prayer are as two wings to man's life. Blessed be the one who soareth with their aid in the heaven of the love of God, the Lord of all worlds."

    a prayer for the Fast:

    "This is, O my God, the first of the days on which Thou hast bidden Thy loved ones to observe the Fast. I ask of Thee by Thy Self and by him who hath fasted out of love for Thee and for Thy good-pleasure—and not out of self and desire, nor out of fear of Thy wrath—and by Thy most excellent names and august attributes, to purify Thy servants from the love of aught except Thee and to draw them nigh unto the Dawning-Place of the lights of Thy countenance and the Seat of the throne of Thy oneness. Illumine their hearts, O my God, with the light of Thy knowledge and brighten their faces with the rays of the Daystar that shineth from the horizon of Thy Will. Potent art Thou to do what pleaseth Thee. No God is there but Thee, the All-Glorious, Whose help is implored by all men.

    "Assist them, O my God, to render Thee victorious and to exalt Thy Word. Suffer them, then, to become as hands of Thy Cause amongst Thy servants, and make them to be revealers of Thy religion and Thy signs amongst mankind, in such wise that the whole world may be filled with Thy remembrance and praise and with Thy proofs and evidences. Thou art, verily, the All-Bounteous, the Most Exalted, the Powerful, the Mighty, and the Merciful."

    Bahá’u’lláh
     
  3. arthra

    arthra Baha'i

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    Today I came across a brief essay by David Langness on some of the possible benefits of "intermittent fasting":

    "So while the Baha’i Fast has a primarily spiritual purpose—which we’ll discuss in subsequent essays in this series—it also has powerfully beneficial physical ones, too. Medical science has shown that cyclical intermittent fasting:

    • decreases blood sugar levels and insulin resistance,
    • fights inflammation,
    • enhances heart health by reducing cholesterol and triglycerides,
    • boosts brain function and prevents neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s,
    • increases metabolism and helps control weight,
    • increases levels of human growth hormone (HGH), a key factor in growth and muscle strength,
    • aids in cancer prevention, and
    • delays aging and extends longevity.
    Read the full article here:

    When and Why Did Humans Start Fasting?
    From a Health site online are similar findings:

    10 Evidence-Based Health Benefits of Intermittent Fasting
     
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  4. Cino

    Cino Big Love! (Atheist mystic) Admin

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    At least my Christian an Muslim friends all report that they tend to put on weight during their fasts, and that is not entirely due to the party afterwards. :)

    Anyway. What's the spiritual benefits you observe? Does it provide good opportunity for mindfulness practice?
     
  5. Ahanu

    Ahanu Well-Known Member

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    I feel increased levels of concentration after a period of time. There's also a post from a neuroscientist's perspective on the blog Art referenced here.
     
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  6. arthra

    arthra Baha'i

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    Thanks for your post Cino … I'm posting a video that may respond to your question...

     
  7. Cino

    Cino Big Love! (Atheist mystic) Admin

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    Interesting article. The "switch" it mentions only gets thrown after 16 hours though, whereas the Baha'i fast is a roughly 12 hour break in calorie intake.

    All of that is more physiological than spiritual. Good to know and interesting, yet the spiritual benefit is not obvious from it. Is it so personal an subjective that it has to be tried to be seen?
     
  8. Cino

    Cino Big Love! (Atheist mystic) Admin

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    Thanks, I'll watch it!
     
  9. Cino

    Cino Big Love! (Atheist mystic) Admin

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    I watched it, thanks. So the strengthening of spiritual perception is one benefit of the fast, according to the video.

    You're a humble person, and I don't want to get you to brag or anything. That said, have you noticed this increase in spiritual perception in your own experience? What did you perceive?
     
  10. arthra

    arthra Baha'i

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    I think the Fast helps us identify with people who are less fortunate than ourselves... their going without food and comforts and living circumstances are often much greater than our own.

    The other side of Fasting for me is discipline. We can transcend our discomforts with a farther goal and perspective:

    "....this physical fasting is a symbol of the spiritual fasting, that is, abstaining from all carnal desires, becoming characterized with the attributes of the spiritual ones, attracted to the heavenly fragrances and enkindled with the fire of the love of God."

    ~ Abdu'l-Baha, Tablets of Abdu'l-Baha v1, p. 40
     

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