Surviving On Liquids / Air / Sunlight Alone (Breatharianism; Inedia)

Last part of a very long article:


According to his version of events — and there is no other — Mr Jani left his home in Rajasthan at the age of seven, and went to live in the jungle.

When he reached the age of 11, he underwent a religious experience during which he became a follower of the Hindu goddess Amba. In her honour, he chose to dress as a female devotee, wearing a red sari-like garment, nose-ring, bangles and crimson flowers in his shoulder-length hair.

In return, Mr Jani believes that the goddess has sustained him ever since by feeding him with a lifegiving, invisible ‘elixir’, which has supposedly given him the strength to continue without food or water.

For at least the past 40 years, Mr Jani has been living, hermit-like, in a cave in the jungles close to the Gujarati temple of Ambaji. He rises at 4am, spending most of the day meditating.

While well-known locally, for many years Mr Jani was no more famous than the millions of other Hindu holy men — sadhus or yogi as they are known — in India.

Mystical figures, these individuals renounce normal life for one on the margins of society, focusing every waking minute on the spiritual. They often assume austere or extreme practices — standing on one leg or refusing to talk for years on end.

Like Mr Jani, many sadhus regularly undergo lengthy periods of fasting. But the claim that his fast had endured for decades caught the public imagination and first propelled him into the limelight.

Challenged to prove that he could survive without food or water, in 2003 he underwent his first hospital investigations. Then, as now, he was placed under the care of Dr Sudhir Shah, a consultant neurologist from Ahmedabad who specialises in studying people with seemingly ‘supernatural’ powers.

Doctors had prepared a special glass-walled room equipped with CCTV cameras to monitor Mr Jani for ten days. The toilet was sealed to test his claim that he had no need to urinate or defecate.

The only fluid allowed was a small amount of water, to use as mouthwash. This was collected and measured in a beaker when he spat it out, to make sure that none had been drunk.

Scans revealed some urine accumulation in his bladder, but this seemed to be re-absorbed by the body because it was never passed.

In every other respect, clinically, Mr Jani was found to be perfectly normal.

While the results secured him an international following, they failed to offer any concrete answers. As a result, Dr Shah and the military team decided to repeat the experiment this year.

So, on April 22, Mr Jani re-entered the hospital for 15 days of tests. They ended on Thursday afternoon with doctors admitting that they were baffled by what they had seen.

Presenting their preliminary findings, Dr Shah was joined by biologist Dr Ilavashagn, director of the Defence Institute of Physiology and Allied Sciences (DIPAS), a heavily-funded department of the Defence Research and Development Organisation.

The doctors announced that despite apparently living on thin air for two weeks, the holy man was more healthy than someone half his age.

Blood tests, hormone profiles, MRIs and angiographs (imaging tests of the blood vessels) all pointed to the conclusion that Mr Jani had not needed to eat, drink or use the toilet once.

Dr Ilavazhagn said: ‘Clinical, biochemical, radiological and other relevant examinations were done on Prahlad Jani and all reports were within the safe range throughout the study. He is healthy, his mind is sharp.

'What is truly astonishing, and something we have no explanation for, is that he has not passed stools or urine. To my knowledge, that is medically unprecedented.’

There will be many who maintain that the latest tests prove nothing — and that Mr Jani’s survival is down to nothing more mysterious than trickery.

That’s the view held by the Indian Rationalist Association, an organisation which publicly campaigns against superstition and spiritual fraudsters.

It has attacked the Indian Ministry of Defence for even agreeing to take part in the tests, accusing them of being ‘taken in by the absurd claims of a village fraud’.

Sanal Edamaruku, the association’s secretary general, told the Mail: ‘I asked to be allowed to send an independent team to survey the room where this test is taking place, but I was repeatedly turned down.

'It is ridiculous to ask people to believe that any man can go 15 days, let alone 70 years, without food or water.

‘Dr Shah has been in charge of three similar investigations over the past ten years, and he has never allowed independent verification.

'In 2000, he was asking for funds to investigate a man he claimed got his energy from the sun, just like plants do.

‘In 2003, he even approached NASA for funds to investigate Mr Jani, claiming astronauts might benefit from the research. This particular hospital, led by this particular doctor, keeps on making these claims without ever producing evidence or publishing research.’

Mr Edamaruku is convinced that Mr Jani must have had access to food and water at the hospital, and does not believe that he was kept under strict supervision around the clock.

He says that whenever the Rationalist Association has investigated individuals making similar claims, all have been exposed as frauds.

In 1999, they investigated a woman who claimed that she was the reincarnation of another Hindu goddess. For five years, she had remained alone in a small closet where it was claimed she had not eaten nor passed any urine or faeces.

In co-operation with the police, investigators from the association searched the room, finding a toilet hidden behind a shelf and a disguised hole through which she received food. Blood tests revealed the presence of glucose, indicating the intake of food.

To further prove the case, a gas was released into the room that made the woman vomit. The contents of her stomach were found to include pieces of recently-eaten chapatti and potatoes. :twisted:

Mr Edamaruku is concerned that by publicising the activities of individuals such as Mr Jani, others will be encouraged to copy.

‘The Hindu religion is a belief system that’s all about magical thinking, about great things happening that are not understandable to the ordinary person,’ he explained.

‘These claims are very dangerous, because people try to follow these holy men and can end up hurting themselves.

‘In any other religion there’s a priest who requires a lot of training and there’s a structure which means people can’t just make up their qualifications.

'In Hinduism, anyone can become a guru overnight. You just decide that’s what you are, dress the part and become it.’

Perhaps he’s right. Doesn’t logic and common sense dictate that Prahlad Jani must be tricking the world somehow?

And yet, there’s a part of all of us that would love to believe such a human ‘miracle’ could be true.

After all, isn’t a consultant neurologist staking his reputation on these tests being entirely watertight?

We may never know the truth, but until he is exposed as a fraud, perhaps we should enjoy suspending our disbelief and give Mr Jani the benefit of the doubt.

After all, wouldn’t life be boring if everything was rational? 8)

Read more: ... z0nL3H0l3v
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Mystic astounds doctors in two-week study

RAHUL BEDI in New Delhi

Wed, May 12, 2010

AN INDIAN mystic aged 83 who claims to have spent seven decades without food or water has astounded a team of military doctors and specialists who observed him for a fortnight.

The 30-odd doctors who monitored Prahlad Jani round the clock with cameras and via closed circuit television at a hospital in the western Indian city of Ahmedabad in Gujarat province said the long-haired and bearded yogi did not eat, drink or go to the toilet during the experiment.

He remained fit, and exhibited no signs of lethargy.

“Jani’s only contact with any kind of fluid was during gargling and bathing periodically during the period,” said G Ilavazahagan, director of India’s Defence Institute of Physiology and Allied Sciences, in a statement after the project ended last week.

Military doctors believe Jani’s experience could help soldiers survive longer without food in combat situations, assist astronauts and even save people trapped in natural disasters until help arrives.

During the fortnight-long observation, doctors took scans of Jani’s organs, brain, and blood vessels, in addition to performing tests on his heart, lungs and memory capacity.

“The reports were all in the pre-determined safety range through the observation period,” neurologist Sudhir Shah said, adding that they were still mystified over how he survives.

What the phenomenon is remains a mystery, he declared. “If Jani does not derive energy from food and water, he must be doing that from energy sources around him, sunlight being one,” Dr Shah speculated.

Medical practitioners could not shut their eyes to possibilities of a source of energy other than calories, said the doctor, who had examined Jani previously in 2003 for 10 days. He said Jani’s urine appeared to be reabsorbed by his body after forming in his bladder.

Jani, who claims to be a “breatharian”, living on a “spiritual life force” after being blessed at a young age by a goddess who gave him special powers, has returned to his village near Ambaji in northern Gujarat to resume his routine of yoga and meditation.

His claims have been supported by a local doctor specialising in studies of people claiming supernatural abilities, but others have deemed him a “village fraud”.

India has an ancient tradition of fasting by sadhus – holy men who renounce the world and repair to mountains or forests to dedicate themselves to achieving moksha (salvation), the fourth and final Hindu goal of life through meditation and contemplation.

Many religious sects also fast regularly for days on end without adverse effects, as part of rituals. ... 07825.html
We've had a few Breatharian stories in the FT, recently. Including some Breatharian related deaths. Apparently, vegan ex-Catwoman, Michelle Pfeiffer, was once a member of the Breatharian cult.

Michelle Pfeiffer: The day I realised I was part of a cult

Michelle Pfeiffer, the actress, has disclosed that she was once part of a “cult” which believed humans can exist without food or water.

the Telegraph. By Claire Duffin. 02 November 2013

Pfeiffer, 55, whose films have included Dangerous Liaisons and Batman Returns, said she became involved with a “very controlling” couple when she was starting out in Hollywood.

They believed in breatharianism – the ability to live without food and water – and put her on a diet “nobody can adhere to”.

She was 'saved' when she was introduced to her first husband, Peter Horton, the actor. He had been cast in a film about the Moonies, the name given to followers of Rev Moon Sun-myung’s Unification Church. She said that while she was helping him with research “on this cult” she realised: “I was in one”.

“We were talking with an ex-Moonie and he was describing the psychological manipulation and I just clicked,” she said in an interview for The Sunday Telegraph’s Stella magazine.

Pfeiffer, who left home and moved to Los Angeles when she was 20 described, the couple as “kind of personal trainers”.

“They worked with weights and put people on diets. Their thing was vegetarianism,” she said in the interview ahead of the release of her latest film, The Family.

“They were very controlling. I wasn’t living with them but I was there a lot and they were always telling me I needed to come more. I had to pay for all the time I was there, so it was financially very draining.”

“They believed that people in their highest state were breatharian,” she added.

Followers of breatharianism believe food is unnecessary and sunlight can provide all the nourishment the body needs.

In the interview, Pfeiffer, a strict vegan, also denied having plastic surgery, including Botox and fillers, but admitted she found ageing difficult and would “never say never”.
Now she only looks as if she lives on nothing but air and sunlight. ;)
Hmmm. Looks slightly chubby. Can air and sunlight make you put on weight?
Hmm. this thread has said the world record for going without any form of food is either 44 or 53 days. And, incredibly, that some people have set out to beat it. It occurs to me that if you want a situation where somebody who was motivated to starve himself did so whilst under constant supervision of the most exacting sort - and whose progress can therefore be very easily verified to a high standard - you should look at a prison hunger striker such as Bobby Sands. In prison in Northern Ireland (the reasons why are irrelevant here), on his first hunger strike he lasted 53 days and made a full recovery: on his second hunger strike he went for 66 days, but died . Two other hunger strikers lasted longer: Kevin Lynch for 71 days and Kieran Doherty for 73. (both died). Lawrence McKeown lasted 70 days, but went into a coma and his family intervened, forcing medical intervention. I'd suggest that if anything of worth or value came out of the Maze Prison hunger strikes, it would be that the participants would have been under continual medical supervison and a lot of information would have been gleaned about the effects on the human system. Wikpiedia notes that survivors "still suffer from the effects of the strike, with problems including digestive, visual, physical and neurological disabilities ". But - what a way to find these things out....
Audra Bear identifies as a breatharian and claims she fasts for up to 97 days because food gets in the way of her enjoyment of life. Despite the dangers and lack of any scientific backing whatsoever that it works, Audra, 25, insists that it is good for her. She has tried various diets over the years including being a vegan then a raw vegan for four years before taking on so-called pranic living and breatharianism.
Audra Bear identifies as a breatharian and claims she fasts for up to 97 days because food gets in the way of her enjoyment of life. Despite the dangers and lack of any scientific backing whatsoever that it works, Audra, 25, insists that it is good for her. She has tried various diets over the years including being a vegan then a raw vegan for four years before taking on so-called pranic living and breatharianism.

She appears to be an 'influencer' with instagram page featuring photos of her in various locations in various bikinis.

You can send her money if you want her to carry on this valuable service. I'm sure you do.

Words of wisdom from her: If you want to be given everything, give everything up.
Hira Ratan Manek, the man in the op, is the inspiration behind a very schizophrenic website:

Nothing comes up about him being tested by NASA, so I suspect the original article is the product of shoddy reporting.
He took his last breath... Breatharian yogi Prahlad Jani has passed away.

India yogi who claimed to live without food or water dies aged 90
An Indian yogi whose claims he spent decades without food or water earned him a band of devotees and the scepticism of doctors died Tuesday, his neighbour told AFP.

The long-haired and bearded Prahlad Jani -- who dressed in red and wore a nose ring in the fashion of Hindu goddesses -- hailed from Charada village in the western state of Gujarat, where he spent his life in a routine of yoga and mediation.

He was 90 based on his claim that he was born in August 1929.

"He died early Tuesday morning at his residence due to old age," Sheetal Chaudhary, who lived next door to Jani, told AFP.

"He was rushed to hospital after midnight, but was declared dead on arrival by the doctors there."