Nine Lamps ... One Light

Spiritual Enlightenment: Proclaiming the Oneness of Humanity and Presenting the Blueprint for the Establishment of Peace on Earth ... One Heart at a Time.

Get Notified of New Posts. Enter your Email

Powered by FeedBlitz

Monday, March 05, 2007

Spiritual Fasting … For the Love of God

Baha'is Fast from 2-20 March each year, abstaining from food and drink from sunrise to sunset. Some quotes on fasting are noted here:

"In the realm of worship, fasting and obligatory prayer constitute the two mightiest pillars of God’s holy Law."

"O ye loved ones of God! Out of gratitude for firmness in the eternal Covenant arise to serve the threshold of the omnipotent Lord, observe obligatory prayer and fasting, and spend your time in diffusing the sweet savors of God and in spreading the Divine verses. Tear asunder the veils, remove the obstacles, proffer the life-giving waters, and point out the path of salvation."

"Fasting is the cause of the elevation of one's spiritual station."

"Well is it with you, as you have followed the Law of God and arisen to observe the Fast during these blessed days, for this physical fast is a symbol of the spiritual fast. This Fast leadeth to the cleansing of the soul from all selfish desires, the acquisition of spiritual attributes, attraction to the breezes of the All-Merciful, and enkindlement with the fire of divine love."

(Quotes from The Importance of Obligatory Prayer and Fasting, Bahá'í World Center)

Well, it's that time of year again—2 March – 20 March—a 19-day period when Bahá'ís worldwide are enjoined to observe the Fast.

And after my 20 years of fasting, you would think that I would remember when it begins. But, this year it was 10 a.m. on Friday, 2 March when I remembered that it was time to fast. I had spent the last two days prior to then visiting my family and delivering a few gifts, as is the custom of Bahá'ís as we celebrate a 4 to 5 day period of gift giving, fellowshipping and performing charitable activities immediately preceding the Fast. These days prior to the Fast are called the days of Ayyam-i-Ha.

And for me, the fact that I could forget when the Fast started, well that is the point of the Fast exactly. You see, if I had been performing all of the spiritual requirements of my faith, then there would be no way that the Fast would have snuck up on me.

Daily obligatory prayers "is the very foundation of the Cause of God," Abdu’l-Bahá states.

And Bahá'u'lláh states:

"Cling firmly to obligatory prayer and fasting. Verily, the religion of God is like unto heaven; fasting is its sun, and obligatory prayer is its moon. In truth, they are the pillars of religion whereby the righteous are distinguished from those who transgress His commandments. We entreat God, exalted and glorified be He, that he may graciously enable all to observe that which He hath revealed in His Ancient Book."

And though public confession is not allowed, it would be hard for the Fast to sneak up on one who had been engaging dutifully in observance of the requirement for daily prayer.

Now, do not misunderstand, not a day goes by that I do not talk to and communicate with my Maker, especially given the seemingly insurmountable obstacles I have been challenged with as of late.

Fasting for me is an indispensable part of my life now, as I use it to bring myself back into greater alignment with my spiritual nature and spiritual obligations each year.

For me, it is a time of increased prayers, meditation and reflection, a time when the TV does not stay on as long, and I spend less time in front of the computer monitor.

It is a time for shedding all the dross, dirt and extra baggage I have accumulated from the previous year, and for bodily and spiritual cleansing, as I get ready for the New Year. When the Fast has ended, the Bahá'í New Year (Naw-Ruz) begins on 21 March.

What a blessing it is to be able to participate in the Fast. Bahá'ís between the ages of 15 and 70 are asked to fast. There are exemptions based on physical infirmities, pregnancy and other conditions, but everyone else is expected to abstain from food and drink (and smoking) from sunrise to sunset for 19 days.

So what are some of the spiritual benefits of Fasting?

Francis Worthington of Greenville, SC, in her book Bahá'í Basics, highlights two passages from the Writings:

"… These are the days whereon Thou hast bidden all men to observe the fast, that through it they may purify their souls and rid themselves of all attachment to anyone but Thee, and that out of their hearts may ascend that which will be worthy of the court of Thy majesty and may well beseem the seat of the revelation of Thy oneness. Grant, O my Lord, that this fast may become a river of life-giving waters and may yield the virtue wherewith Thou hast endowed it. Cleanse Thou by its means the hearts of Thy servants whom the evils of the world have failed to hinder from turning towards Thy all-glorious Name, and who have remained unmoved by the noise and tumult of such as have repudiated Thy most resplendent signs which have accompanied the advent of Thy Manifestation Whom Thou hast invested with Thy sovereignty, Thy power, Thy majesty and glory. These are the servants who, as soon as Thy call reached them, hastened in the direction of Thy mercy and were not kept back from Thee by the changes and chances of this world or by any human limitations."

"Praised be Thou, O God, my God! These are the days whereon Thou hast enjoined Thy chosen ones, Thy loved ones and Thy servants to observe the Fast, which Thou hast made a light unto the people of Thy kingdom, even as Thou didst make obligatory prayer a ladder of ascent unto those who acknowledge Thy unity."

(Compilations, The Importance of Obligatory Prayer and Fasting)

You can read more quotes from The Importance of Obligatory Prayer and Fasting here:

Or read the entire compilation online here:

Happy Fasting to all the Baha'is!



Post a Comment

<< Home