Not eating.

A mode of asceticism or severe self-discipline. Right after uttering the eminence of the eleventh day of the lunar fortnight it is said that just like there is no ritual of observing a vow of penance on this day, there is no religious austerity such as anaśana (anashana) or starvation by choice. Here, by tapasyā (tapasya) or mode of self-discipline refers to the physical hardship of renouncing food.

  • Although self-starvation was initially a mode of observing penance by physical hardship, it has also been identified as a legitimate method of commiting suicide in Upaniṣadas (Upanishadas) upto even Rāmāyaṇa (Ramayana) and Mahābhārata (Mahabharata). There were no rules and regulations regarding suicide in out country, but since the time of Upaniṣadas it has been established that desired death may be embraced by draining the body through gradual hardship, and subsequently dying by choice by self-starvation until death, entering fire or water, etc. According to Mahābhārata, if man can understand the futility of the material world through knowledge of Vedānta (Vedanta), then he may give up his life at a holy place in Himālaya (Himalaya) by practising the rituals of self-starvation and renunciation of food—

śārīramutsrajettatra vidhipūrvam anāśake.

Anāśaka (anashaka) and anaśana are the same. In Matsyapurāṇa (Matsyapurana), embracing death by practising the rigorous austerities of self-starvation is mentioned in the context of the holy place of Amarakaṇtaka (Amarakantaka).

  • On practising anaśana or anāśaka to commit suicide, Siddhāntavāgīśa (Siddhantavagisha) has written that till the body is annihilated or destroyed, the vow of not eating until then is the vow of anaśana or anāśaka. In later times, the oath of self-starvation took the form of rebellion to achieve greater ends.