Significance of the Hindu Vaars Days of the Week and Fasting

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By Krishan Gupta

In Indian culture, each day of the week is dedicated to a particular God or Goddess, with a special significance and many people perform daily tasks according to the added power which the relationship to the day would give. It is believed that those who fast or worship the associated deity of the day will have their desires fulfilled and will be blessed with wisdom and get immense blessings.

The seven days of the week and the celestial bodies they are named after in astrology are illustrated below. Each day of the week  – called vaars – should be understood to be appreciated however these may vary from different parts of India. Each day has multiple levels of importance and will be explained in subsequent articles.

Monday (Moon): Somvaar, dedicated to Shiva, Parvathi and Ganesh.

Tuesday (Mars): Mangalvaar, dedicated to Ganesh, Durga, Kali and Hanuman.

Wednesday (Mercury): Budhvaar, dedicated to Krishna, and Buddha.

Thursday (Jupiter): Veervaar, dedicated to Vishnu and Brihaspati.

Friday (Venus): Shukarvaar, dedicated to Mahalakshmi, Santhoshi Ma, Annapuraneshwari and Durga.

Saturday (Saturn): Shanivaar, dedicated to Shani Devta, to alleviate the bad influence of Shani.

Sunday (Sun): Ethvaar, dedicated to Surya.

Many Hindus fast – hold an upvass or vrat – depending on the day of the week they wish to dedicate to appeasing a particular God or Goddess associated with that day. Each day has a specialty and there is much folklore associated with fasting on that day.

The benefits of fasting are many. One can keep in good health by regular cleansing of the accumulated toxic materials in the digestive system by keeping an Upvaas. Fasting acts as an antidote by lowering the acid content in the body which helps people to retain their sanity. There are also other major health benefits to caloric restriction like reduced risks of cancer, cardiovascular diseases, diabetes and immune disorders. A complete fast is good for health, and the occasional intake of warm lemon juice with honey during fasting prevents flatulence. The human body is composed of 80% liquid and 20% solid, like the Earth. Research shows that the gravitational force of the moon affects the fluid contents of the body. It can cause emotional imbalances in the body, making some people tense, irritable and violent.

Broadly speaking, the word Upvaas has two parts: Upv (close) and Vaas (sitting), signifying to sit close to God and do puja. Vrat means to a solemn vow to accept some rules of restrictive discipline in the spiritual field, and to apply control over our sense organs. Vrat is keeping some special goal in mind, and using massive will power to make a resolution about it, as a special undertaking. Devotees refrain themselves from food and water on the day of the Vrat to please God. The fasting aspect of Vrat makes the mind strong and increases its firmness to add power to the internal consciousness and that is the reason.