Austerity means restraint,
which is done willingly by giving away some of the bodily comforts to
discipline our mind from passions and pleasures. Austerities are performed at
various occasions and in various different ways. All austerities have their
own uniqueness. Austerities may be performed at two levels:
Physical manner or Psychic manner.
In the physical manner the person performs the austerity, but does not have
the inner desires to change his or her life and therefore, it is just a
physical act. While in the psychic austerity the person controls his or her
inner desires along with performing a physical act. Unless the austerities are
performed in psychic manner, they do not produce the much needed results.
After all, the whole purpose of austerities is not just to simply make the
body suffer, but to change our desires. Once that happens the person will be
on the path to spiritual uplift. Austerity is part of right conduct.
Austerities are categorized into two groups:
External (Bahyantar): External austerities are noticed by others because they
have a greater component of physical than psychic manner.
Internal (Abhyantar): Internal austerities are not noticed by others because
they have a greater component of psychic than physical manner.
Each of these two austerities are further divided in six types:
Fasting Completely (Anasan),
Partial Fasting (Unodari),
Limiting the number of items of food (Vruti Sankshep),
Limiting desired tasty food (Ras parityag),
Bodily Endurance (Kayakalesh),
Controlling of the Senses (Pratisanlinata).
Serving others (Vaiyavachch),
Giving away (Vyutsarg),
Spiritual study (Sajzaya),