On Fasting right and wrong - Gandhiji

According to Gandhiji genuine fast will cleanses the body, soul and mind; apart it sets the soul free by crucifying the flesh. An intense and dedicated prayer can purify the mind to such an extent greater purity can be utilized for a better purpose. Gayatri mantra recited in a repetitive way aims at healing the sick and if the same mantra is performed in an elaborate manner in times of natural calamity or in a tight situation, it becomes an essential instrument to ward off impending danger or prevailing bad time. In the recitation of such mantra, trust in prayer and god is a crucial fact.

Gandhiji on fasting. quotefancy.com

Fasting and prayer are powerful forces of  self purification and the purity thus we have gained will help us do our duty with dedication In the absence of either dedication or right spirit the facts of fasting and prayer will be negated and won't yield the desired result if a man fasts and prays regularly but  does gamble almost daily, his latter act will leave him at the dead end to lead a doomed life. 

Fasting must be done with right thoughts without deviating from the path of righteousness or succumb to  Satan's temptation. A prayer must be sincere and focussed inwardly to identify with oneself; no room for wandering mind. A mind without focus will get you nowhere.

Fasting undertaken with  an ulterior motive to squeeze money from others would amount to cheating and coercion. It is an exercise in anarchy and self destruction. Fasting can be legitimate and illegitimate and it depends on the attitude of the person. 

One good aspect of fasting is it is a useful weapon in the armoury of satyagraha - civil disobedience or non cooperation movements. It is a substitute for violence. Violence and rampage have no place in the realm of prayer and fasting because the participants develop disciplined mind and confidence.

''Mahatma Gandhi believed strongly in nature cure. In his own words, “Fasting usually does not result in permanent weakening of the system; on the contrary frequent fasts bring an ultimate improvement of health.” Gandhiji felt that understanding the laws of nature would not be difficult. Most people think that only visiting a doctor or hakim or vaidya and taking the medicines prescribed by them, even if costly or unaffordable, would help them overcome diseases and be able to live healthy lives''

Courtesy : Nava jeevan trust  bhavan's journal Oct.28, 1963