Navratri is a Hindu festival celebrated with great pomp and show across India. Navratri, which literally translates to ‘Nine Nights’, are devoted to nine avatars of ‘Durga Maa’. Navratri is celebrated twice in the year. One in the month of March-April, this is known as ‘Chaitra Navratri’, and the other, October-November, this is known as ‘Sharda Navratri’.
Navratri is the auspicious days in which Hindus fast for nine days to help to cultivate a divine connection while paying reverence to all the nine goddesses dedicated to each day. And for those who want a scientific reason, the reason ranges from Detoxifying to Self-Discipline and Health and Healing.
The ‘Fast’, or as some people call ‘Vrats’, does also have special rules, especially on that plate you are served. While some strictly believe in holding fast for all nine days, most people fast only on the first and the last days, and a few just abstain from consuming alcohol, onion, garlic or non-vegetarian items.
There is a long list of ‘Pure’ and ‘Impure’ food items that are ‘Allowed’ and ‘Prohibited’ in ‘Vrats (‘Fast’). So, why there is a set of ‘Pure’ and ‘Impure’ food items in the list during the festival? What differences does rock salt consumption have the regular table salt? To solve the mystery surrounding this we let our think tanks work on this ‘Discrimination’ over food items and tried to reason the above questions associated with ‘Navratri’ and other ‘Vrats’.
Fasting is considered as a way to get closer to the almighty. Almost every religion believes that abstinence leads to spirit purification which leads to a stronger willpower. Also, according to Indian Ayurveda Shastras foods are categorise in three different types Saatvik, Rajasic and Tamasik. In Ayurveda, there’s a saying the food which grows on plants, or above the ground, is called Satvik food, and the food which grows under the ground is called Tamasik.
Saatvik Food: Satvik food brings calmness purity and promotes longevity, intelligence, strength, health, happiness and delight. The examples of Satvik food items are fruits, vegetables, leaves, grains, cereals, milk, honey, etc. These items can be consumed as they are. It is also said that one can live throughout their life on Satvik food.
Rajasic Food: It is a mixture of hot, spicy and salty food items with a pungent taste. Rajasic food is said to promote negativity, passion and restlessness, High Blood pressure etc.
The foods grouped under Rajasic are;
*Hot & Spicy Food
*Fried & Junk Food
*Meat and non-vegetarian food
Consumption of the above mentioned leads to cholesterol, hypertension, irritability and mood swings. These foods create sensuality, sexuality, greed, jealousy, anger, delusion, fantasies, egotism and irreligious feelings.
Tamsik Food: Consumption Tamsik food leads to lack of concentration, sleeping disorders, anger outbursts and acidity. Tamsik food promotes dullness and ignorance because it takes time for digestion. The person who eats Tamasik food has insecurity and is unable to deal with others in a balanced way. They have little regard for the welfare of others and tend to be very self-centered. Their nervous system and heart do not function optimally and such individuals age fast. They usually suffer from conditions like cancer, heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, and chronic fatigue.
The foods grouped under Tamsik are:
*Meat & other non-vegetarian food
*Tea, Coffee and other caffeinated beverages
*Alcohol & Tobacco
Tamsik ‘bhojan’ (food) should be avoided especially during purification period. Onion falls in Tamsik category.
So, this is the reason why there’s a limited food item during Navratri and other Vrats.