The chilly mornings and nights and windy days over here have made way for unbearable heat. That must signal that one nineteenth of the year in which Baha’i Bloggers and Baha’is alike are abstaining from food and drink from sunrise to sundown has started. Not like the fast my Ethiopian Orthodox roommates do for two sixths of the year where they abstain from animal products, which some do one oneth of the year. More like the one twelfth of the year that Muslims fast except at a different time and length in a solar calendar year.
Fasting in various forms is a practice you can find in nearly every world religion and increasingly as a health practice in its own right. When I was living in the North-East of Thailand in 2004, I was asked to put together a short study group on the subject for a group of youth among whom several were about to have their first fast as many had recently enrolled into the Baha’i Faith or had just reached the critical age of fifteen. While choosing quotations on the topic to be translated to Thai I found that the law of the fast is very closely joined with that of the obligatory daily prayers. This was illustrated in the words of Baha’u’llah with many visual references to illustrate their centrality to Baha’i life as pillars, wings and the sun and moon. We ended the study with some of these quotes and each of us made our own visual translations of the texts. My above drawing from my new set of drawings is based on the following two quotes that can be found in this recent compilation:
“Fasting and obligatory prayer are as two wings to man’s life. Blessed be the one who soareth with their aid in the heaven of the love of God, the Lord of all worlds.” – Baha’u’llah
“Cling firmly to obligatory prayer and fasting. Verily, the religion of God is like unto heaven; fasting is its sun, and obligatory prayer is its moon.” – Baha’u’llah
Coming up: My ridiculous 2004 article on fasting in Thailand, a simplified greywater reuse system and my departure from Dharwad.