Selected Letters of Gandhi : Part-2

A collection of Mahatma Gandhi letters.

Chapter-56: Fasting and Prayer

There is no prayer without fasting. And fasting without prayer is nothing but self-torture.

Recorded under January 5, 1933; ibid., p.17.

This is ‘thoroghly sound. Here fasting has to be of the widest character possible. Fasting of the body has to be accompanied by fasting of all the senses. And alpahar, the meagre food of the Gita, is also a fasting of the body. The Gita enjoins not temperance in food but 'meagreness’ ; meagreness is a perpetual fast. Meagreness means just enough to sustain the body of the service for which it is made. The test is again supplied by saying that food should be taken as one takes medicine in measured doses a measured times and as required, not for taste but for the welfare of the body. “Meagreness” is perhaps better rendered by “measured quantities”. I cannot recall Arnold’s rendering. A “full” meal is therefore a crime against God and man, the latter because the full-mealers deprive their neighbors of their portion. God’s economy.