Selected Letters of Gandhi : Part-2

A collection of Mahatma Gandhi letters.

Chapter-46: Fitness For Fasting

It is not possible to frame satisfactory rules about fasting, but I may say this. Fasting should be inspired by perfect truth and perfect non-violence. The call for it should come from within and it should not be imitative. It should never be undertaken for a selfish purpose, but for the benefit of other only. A fast is out of the question in a case where there is hatred for anybody. But what is the inner voice? Is everyone capable of hearting it? These are big questions. The inner voice is there in everyone of us, but one whose ears are not open for it cannot hear it, just as a deaf person is unable to hear the sweetest of songs. Self-restraint is essential in order to make our ears fit to hear the voice of God. In short fitness for fasting can be attained by him alone who is a sthitaprajna (one with a stable intellect) as described in the second chapter or a bhakta (devotee) as defined in the twelfth or a gunatita (one who has transcended the three gunas or modes) in the sense of the fourteenth chapter of the Gita or who combines all these qualifications in himself.

Recorded under October 30, 1932; ibid., pp. 186-7; translated from the Gujarati.