ஆத்திச்சூடி # 33: காப்பது விரதம் (kAA-p-puh-thu vi-ra-tham)
Translation: A Fast's objective is to save.
Rumination: "காப்பது" means "that which has to be saved" and "விரதம்" is "fasting." Basically, Auvaiyaar explains fasting by stipulating its objective to be one of safeguarding or saving. Traditional litterateurs have interpreted this to suggest that Auvaiyaar prefers abstention or vegetarianism. While, that may be the case, I take the liberty to ruminate differently. The word "காப்பது" itself can be split as "காப்பு" (protection) + "அது" (that is) -- meaning, the objective of any fasting should be one of safeguarding or protecting one's own impulses. That protection or shackles thereof is fasting, per Auvaiyaar. This musing to me is personally more fulfilling than the traditional translations. When one attempts to "save" animals from slaughter by refraining to eat meat, that is fasting. Say, if one "safeguards" from one's own anger and controls the proclivity to slander or gossip by adopting a "silent fasting," the focus is turned to the objective than the object of the fasting itself. In other words, safeguarding or saving animals, refraining from vices, impulses and other proclivities, must be the objective of any fasting to attain temperance, moderation, and self-control. It is not about whether one refrained from eating meat, but, whether one had the objective of saving something for the fast to attain a higher goal, that transcends the noble act of fasting itself.
Quotes: "Moderation is the silken string running through the pearl chain of all virtues." -- Joseph Hall.