Chapter 5: Your Purity Is Absolute
First physiology, because that is the outer layer. If you eat too much you collect too much reserve, you collect too much fat. Then you can fast very easily, because fat is nothing but a reservoir, it is a reserve. Women can fast more easily than men, and you know it. If you look around at people who go on fasts, particularly Jainas, you will find that if one man fasts, then four or five women can fast: that is the ratio. The husband cannot fast but the wife can. Why? - because the feminine body accumulates more fat, and it is easier if you have much fat on you, because on a fast you have to eat your own fat. That’s why you lose one or two pounds in weight every day. Where does that weight go? You are eating yourself, it is a sort of meat-eating.
Women can fast easily; they collect more fat than men, that’s why their bodies are more round. For them there is not so much difficulty. Fat people can fast very easily, they can go on diets, they are always in search of diets. A man, an ordinary healthy man, can collect so much fat that for three months he can fast and he will not die: ninety days, that much reserve can be collected. But if you are lean and thin - that means if you have been eating in a balanced way, only that much which is needed for the day-to-day activity of the body, and you have not collected much fat - you cannot fast. That is why the cult of fasting is always around rich people, never the poor.
Observe: whenever a poor man celebrates a religious day, he celebrates by a feast; and whenever a rich man celebrates a religious day, he celebrates it by a fast. The Jainas are the richest people in India, hence their fasting. But a Mohammedan, a poor Mohammedan, or a poor Hindu, when the religious day comes, he has a feast because the whole year he is hungry, so how can he celebrate the day of religion with more fasting? He is already fasting the whole year, and the religious day must be different from the ordinary days. So that is the only difference: he will put on new clothes and he will have a good feast and enjoy himself, and give thanks to God. That is a poor man’s religion.
Now, in America, fasting and the cult of fasting will develop rapidly. It is developing already because America has become so rich and people are eating so much that now fasting has to come in from somewhere. In America all the cults of fasting are growing fast; they may have different names but, physiologically, your body must have more fat than is needed, then fasting is easy.
Secondly, psychologically, you must be obsessed with food. Food must be your obsession: you must be eating too much, eating and eating, and thinking about eating more and more. That type of mind one day gets fed up with food and thinking about food. If you think too much about anything you will get fed up with it. If you get too much of anything you will get fed up with it. Then the opposite becomes attractive: you have been eating too much, now you need to fast. Through fasting you will be able to eat again with taste, the appetite will come back, that is the only way.