Restraint is life-giver approach and obsession is life-consuming approach. Fasting in modern parlance is either fashion statement to appease religious affiliation or a torture to reduce weight! Both are against the dharma!

Then what is dharma aligned fasting?

युक्ताहारविहारस्य युक्तचेष्टस्य कर्मसु |
युक्तस्वप्नावबोधस्य योगो भवति दु:खहा || १७ ||

जो खाने, सोने, आमोद-प्रमोद तथा काम करने की आदतों में नियमित रहता है, वह योगाभ्यास द्वारा समस्त भौतिक क्लेशों को नष्ट कर सकता है |

Plants do it. Even plants need autophagy (उपवास). Modern chemical based agriculture won’t allow it. Hence, over-nutrition led viral infection.


Plants overcome hunger with the aid of autophagy

Plants use solar energy for growth through a process known as photosynthesis. Photosynthesis reactions occur in chloroplasts, which are the intracellular compartments in green organs, mainly in leaves. In nature, plants cannot get enough solar energy when neighboring plants shade them from the sun. Under agricultural fields, insufficient sunshine due to unusual weather, or natural disasters such as flooding, strongly inhibits energy acquisition in crop plants. Therefore, many researchers are interested in how plants cope with their “hunger” due to the shortage of solar energy.

Drs. Masanori Izumi and Hiroyuki Ishida from Tohoku University had previously demonstrated that plant chloroplasts are actively digested via a process of autophagy during energy starvation. Autophagy is the “self-eating” process of consuming the portion of intracellular proteins in the cells of eukaryotes such as yeast, humans and plants. The research group focused on the precise role of chloroplast-targeted autophagy in the plant survival strategy under low-energy stress. “We hypothesized that chloroplast-associated autophagy is closely linked to the amino acid metabolism in energy-starved plants”, said Izumi.

According to the study, when a cress plant known as Arabidopsis thaliana is exposed to hunger stress as plants are transferred into complete darkness they can continue to grow for several days; autophagic digestion of chloroplast proteins are rapidly activated and amino acid levels increase. This response during the early stage of hunger stress is suppressed in the mutant plants lacking autophagy machinery.

Hints for गुरुकुल शिक्षण

लालयेत् पंच वर्षाणि दश वर्षाणि ताडयेत्।
प्राप्ते षोडशे वर्षे पुत्रे मित्रवदाचरेत्॥

अर्थ- पाँच वर्ष की अवस्था तक पुत्र को लाड़ करना चाहिए, दस वर्ष की अवस्था तक (उसी की भलाई के लिए) उसे ताड़ना देना चाहिए और उसके सोलह वर्ष की अवस्था प्राप्त कर लेने पर उससे मित्रवत व्यहार करना चाहिए.
Age 5 to Age 15 is to make their life disciplined but that doesn’t mean you start scolding him from his 5th birthday. शनै शनै …For first 5 years from age 5 to age 10, father figures in family takes care of gradually introducing different forms of शिस्त…ताडन by rules…and small punishments when rules are broken. Sudden scolding is dangerous.

This happen best at Gurukul. ताड़न is pro-life. ताड़न happens best at gurukul. ताड़न is Autophagy for growing mind.

One of the fundamental tenant of Gurukul education is to impart self-discipline in child so that he or she can focus on ज्ञान यात्रा and eventually walk inch closer to the self-realization. This cannot happen effectively by living in संसार. It can happen best in forest based residential school.

How? You imagine based on your understanding of Gurukul!

Hint: प्राणमय कोष विकास by struggles and simple living. Just like how a plant works better due to autophagy process, ब्रह्मचर्य जीवन play crucial role in man making.

When student’s mind is most vulnerable for external attacks (teen age), he or she spends enough time away from luxury and comforts that society offers them. This restraints prepare them like solid rock. Their धारणा for life becomes more rooted and firm. Such students will never disappoint society as a citizen, family as father/mother and elderly and poor as caretakers!