Jain Trust of Chickpet has a record where around ninety people were recorded dead in the country due to Varshitap fasting which is carried out for one year starting from May 2018.
In Karnataka fifteen people have been recorded dead.
Sonu Jain, a resident of Jayanagar said, “My mother died during her eighth month of her fasting due to low blood pressure. I am happy at least she didn’t have a normal death like accident. It was sudden and unexpected but it was during when she was fasting so that is considered as a great form of death”.
Varshitap is a religious act of fasting performed by Jains which includes of one day complete alternate intermittent fasting for around a year. People who practice this fast eats once in two days and has restrictions with the consumption of food.
Lalitha Tater, a Jain house wife said, “Yes, we are stubborn with our norms and encourage people to do this fast. There are some instances where they die but in major cases this helps people to get in a good shape as people consume healthy food and only once. I have been fasting since a year and this has helped me become more energetic and connect to the divine in a special way to maintain positivity. It is believed that by doing this fast we can wash off all our bad deeds and regain a positive form of dealing with regret”.
This is practiced in almost all places where there are Jain people. In Bangalore more than two-hundred people are practicing the fast this year.
Surendra Jain, head of Jain Trust said, “This is a positive trial of act in our community which brings people close to the divine .We encourage every Jain who do this and our trust also arranges food for the people who do this fast every alternate day for the auspicious act. . During fasting they eat one in two days and during major occasions they eat once in three days. This fasting is practised in context with the lord Adinath. The lord fasted for 400 hundred days together so in remembrance to it varshitap was introduced and a person is allowed to eat once in two days and practice this for two years till they complete 400 fasting days then only it will be considered as successful varshitap.
The doctor has a different opinion
“It has both positive and negative aspects. People who practice the process of this fast are not allowed to drink water after 6:00 pm and are allowed to consume only by morning 7:00 am. If a person who do not eat food properly every alternative day they have to face loss of complete four days. This occur lot of weakness and in usual cases low B.P. The positive aspect is they do not have food poison and they only consume healthy food.” said Sunita Jain, a doctor.
The controversy lies in the fact that people have died while fasting but also on the other hand the community solely believes that it is the deeds of the people and many have succeeded in connecting to the positivity through the act.