Question: If fasting really helps us to purify ourselves, then why shouldn't we fast more often than once or twice a month?

Sri Chinmoy: Fasting from time to time does help purify our body. It gives our body and our subtle nerves a kind of rest. This resting of the nerves gives us a sense of purification, for our subtle nerves play a considerable part in our Self-realisation. But if we fast too often it will just weaken our nerves and body, so instead of helping us in our God-realisation, it will hamper our inner progress.

Let me tell you a short story. Once a Guru's disciple went to the Lord Buddha. The Buddha asked him, "Could you please tell me what your Guru teaches with regard to God-realisation?"

The disciple said, "What my Guru has told me is very simple. My Guru says that when you walk somewhere you should close your eyes. Then you won't see any beautiful women, who will distract your mind and keep you from thinking about God. And you must cover your ears."

"Why?"

"So that you will not hear any distracting sounds. You will not hear people quarrelling or gossiping. Also, you must keep your mouth closed. If you stop speaking, then you will not tell lies."

The Lord Buddha said, "In that case, all those who are blind, deaf and dumb must already have realised God. Let us go and touch their feet, since they are all realised souls."

The Buddha taught us the middle path, the path of moderation. He tried the extreme path of fasting and extreme austerity, but found it was not satisfactory. If we starve our organs, our eyes, nose, ears and mouth, do you think we are going towards God? No! Everything should be moderate. We should use each thing for a divine purpose, for a divine cause.