The prayers associated with the fasts ask for a spiritual wedding or union with God, but when translated into the earthly realm, devotees believe that if you say the prayer you will have a happy marriage in this life. While the Shiva fast originated in North India, many Hindu women in the West, especially within the Sindhi community, follow the practice. Radhika Kripalani, a New Yorker, has been keeping the Shiva fast since she got married and came to this country more than 30 years ago. Although Hinduism doesnâ€™t ask males to keep the fast, a few freethinking men do join their wives in the practice. In many Sindhi families living in the US, the Monday Shiva fast is a tradition. In one New Jersey household, fasting is a multigenerational affair.
Perhaps the strongest testimony comes from Sherina, who married into the family. â€œI was living in Spain and would visit my cousins in India and see them observing this fast,â€ she recalls. â€œMy grandmother was looking for a suitable boy for me, but I was very picky! Since both my brothers lived in the US, I kept insisting that I wanted to marry someone from America.â€ An aunt persuaded her to keep the Monday fast: â€œFast for four Mondays and see the results!â€ Sherina says the outcome was â€œamazing â€” after exactly four Mondays, it worked! I was shocked! â€œWithin a month of starting to keep the fast, the family priest introduced her to Nari, a handsome businessman from Boston, and the two got engaged. Theyâ€™ve been happily married for 14 years. Does Sherina see the fast as a fail-proof way of finding a soulmate? I donâ€™t know,â€ she says, â€œbut it worked for me. There is some power in it. â€” Beliefnet.com, concluded