When the majority of Hindus in India hesitate to pursue fasting for even a day, for Sainath it is a time not only to invite divine grace into his life but also for renewing his body and mind. As Sainath, 28 a resident of Malabar region in Kerala is about to complete the nine-day long complete fasting, he asserts that it is not fatigue but a renewed self, pulsating within his body.
In the highly educated state of Kerala, Hindu festivals such Navratri, Ganesha Chaturthi are not usually followed by most of the people that too in its originality. Thanks to the false-pride that following traditional customs are not applicable for the ‘learned’ and the so-called secular perspective and strong addiction to alcohol and meat, most of the festival that requires fasting is conveniently rejected. What a Keralite celebrate is Onam and Vishu which is often celebrated by serving plentiful alcohol and meat. It is a shocking fact that during Onam 2019, Kerala spent nearly ₹500 crores on alcohol alone!
It is in this context, Sainath a youth hailing from Kanhangad, a tiny city located in the northern coastal region of Kerala. As the country follows, he too observes Vrata during Navaratri, the auspicious nine-days dedicated to the Goddess. However, his fasting is different from that of others, for throughout the period he is sustained by only water, leaving nothing else enter his body as food.
Though most of the people are ‘shocked’ hearing this, Sainath says it is not hard except for the first couple of days. Once the body is accustomed to staying without food it rather focusses on burning down the fat content that eventually results in cleansing the body and to strengthen the entire system. Sainath who was 86 kilos in weight has reduced more than 5 kilos when the fasting reaches in its 8th day. However. he asserts that it is not just losing a few kilos of weight, but a life-changing experience that would help the body and mind in numerous other ways.
Navratri for Sainath is not just about fasting. Waking up before sunrise he follows the customs as insisted by the tradition. He fulfils his duties as an assistant of the priest in the temple and back home he takes care of his family that includes his wife Shruti Warrier, 2-year-old daughter Diya, and his parents Unnikrishnan Warrier and Kartyayani Warasyar. Apart from regular pooja, he chants Lalita Sahasranamam, the famed 1000 names of the Goddess, that is capable of bringing one with divine vibrations for abundance in life. In fact, the nine days during the Navaratri festival is sufficient to prepare one for the rest of the year, Sainath emphasizes.
Sainath belongs to the community of Warrier (who are employed in temples to assist priests, to weave garlands for the idols and also to manage temple settings). His brother who also follows the custom of complete fasting for nine days is but observing the fasting this year in UAE where he is employed. For our disbelief, but Sainath’s 75-year old grandmother visits a temple more than 10 kilometres for collecting the offering for the deity which she eats for her lunch. Though the family is blessed with an abundance for what is needed for a decent living, she considers it is her duty to collect the offering that is being followed since a few generations.
Hinduism, in its true sense, is not a religion, it is a collection of perennial values applicable for every individual and for the whole world. Following the customs as insisted by the tradition when one leads a life, the very same only brings meaning to his life, but for the whole society thus constituting a healthy nation.