Pournami, an Introduction
Pournami means Full Moon and that refers to the Full Moon Day too. This is actually a thithi, the lunar day that normally happens once a month and that divides the lunar month into two fortnights, the Shukla Paksha and Krishna Paksha. A full Moon appears when the Sun and the Moon are separated by 180 degrees. On this day, the Moon remains a well-illuminated full disc, causing high tides. It is only on Pournami days that lunar eclipses occur.
Benefits of Fasting
Abstaining from food or at least some kinds of food items is referred to as Fasting. It does have its own physical benefits as it provides the much-needed rest to the digestive organs and gives respite to the other over-worked systems. However, the benefits of fasting on the spiritual side can be said to be much more profound.
Though Upavas or fasting is undertaken at times for the fulfillment of some vows and also for physical gains, its true purpose remains less material and substantially spiritual. Our consciousness often is corrupted over time by accumulation of impurities, and it is fasting that helps significantly in its purification.
Importance of Pournami Viratham
Pournami is regarded as an auspicious day and remains as a symbol of abundance and prosperity. While many divinities like the Matsya Avatar of Vishnu, Subramanya, Dattatreya and Gautama Buddha have incarnated on Pournami days, several of our festivals too remain associated with those days. Science too reveals that the gravity of the earth is high on Pournami days and this can generate a lot of positive energies in human beings. Further, each one of the Pournami days has one’s own unique significance and can bestow a range of benefits by the observance of specific religious practices. People undertake Vrats or Virathams, offer worship on this auspicious occasion, and get divine blessings.
Observance of Pournami Fasting
The early morning Brahma Muhurtham, that is, the time from around 4:00 AM to 6:00 AM is considered highly auspicious for undertaking religious activities. People performing Pournami Vrat or Fasting get up, take bath and offer prayers to the Gods and Goddesses, during this propitious Brahma Muhurtham time. Then, they start the day-long Vrat at the time of sunrise, which essentially involves fasting. While some completely abstain from food during the fast and take only liquids like water and milk, others consume fruits or a single meal. The day is spent in the worship of Gods and Goddesses, especially Lord Shiva or Lord Vishnu, reading of scriptures, recitation of hymns and offering of prayers to the deities. The fast is completed after sunset with the sighting of the Moon, and after doing the evening prayers.
Benefits of Pournami Fasting
While fasting, in general, has many advantages, Pournami Upavas in particular can bestow a host of positive effects at physical and psychological levels. The ensuing benefits can be both immediate and long-term. This fasting can relax the body and mind, and in combination with the prayers made to the divine, it can recharge and refresh the entire human system. The long-term effects can be far reaching and that include the balancing of the metabolism of the body, having in check the acid content in the system, cleansing of the digestive systems, enhancing the vitality and improving the endurance and resistance powers.