Dr KK Aggarwal
President, Heart Care Foundation of India
*The fast is observed four days after Sharad Purnima and eight days after Dusshera.
*It is a popular fast in Hinduism. It is observed by the married women for the well being of their husbands.
*The fast builds relationship between the husband and wife and is often promoted on the theme “be faithful to your partner”
*The fast is linked to Navratri. The benefits of doing mind body soul detoxification during Navratri are seen on health (Sharad Purnima), longevity (Karva Chauth), fertility (Ahoi Ashtami), wealth (Dhanteras) and inner happiness (Diwali).
*The fast starts before sunrise and ends after worshipping the moon. On this day, married women wake up before sunrise and take bath and offer their usual prayers. They then consume food that helps in maintaining the fluid level of the body – milk, fruits, juice, tea or coffee.
*Non-vegetarian food is avoided.
*No food is consumed after sunrise.
*The practice of “feast, fast and feast” is not health friendly.
*Patients with diabetes and hypertension may need to reduce their dose of drugs. During fast the requirement may reduce by 40%.
*Most patients with high blood pressure are advised to take their BP drug at night. The fast therefore will not affect the BP regimen timing.
*One should avoid trans fat rich foods before or after the fast.
*One should break the fast with light food only for getting the maximum spiritual benefit.
*Moon is worshipped on both Sharad Purnima and Karva Chauth.
*In Sharad Ritu, with predominant metabolism (Pitta) the importance of moon with cooling properties cannot be over emphasized.
*Moon in mythology indicates positive thinking with cool mind.
*Most pregnant ladies are asked to avoid fasting during pregnancy and if they do they are allowed to take fruits and liquids.
*The difference between Karva Chauth fast and ekadashi fast is (in both water is not allowed) is that in Karva Chauth one is allowed to consume enough liquids early in the morning. Ekadashi Vrata aims at producing dehydration in the body so as to avert the mental side effects of water retention during full moon. In Karva Chauth, one is not required to dehydrate the body.