Friday, June 25, 2010

The Octogenarian Breathetarian

Yogi master Prahlad Jani claims to have gone without both food and water for 70 years now.

He says that a goddess to which he is devoted feeds him substance by divinely allowing his nutrition to secrete from a hole in his palate.

I have a hole behind my palate that allows me to get nutrition. I also have a goddess at home (my wife) who often prepares my nutrition for me. So, I don't think Jani and I are all that different.

OK, seriously . . .

He says that he has never passed urine or stool since he was 11 years old-- that's the time when he was compelled to live in the jungle on his own. After which, he experienced a religious epiphany that allowed him to become a "breathetarian".

Jani was observed enduring an extended fast by a medical team in India back in 2003. They kept him isolated in a hospital for 10 days. He was provided with no food and was given no water to drink. He was not allowed access to a bathroom. He was given mouthwash, but it was measured before and after rinsing his mouth. He was allowed a sponge bath in a shallow pan only after the first seven days of fasting. He was monitored during all his activities to ensure he didn't drink any water or sneak any food.

His medical screenings stayed normal for the most part. However, he did have weight fluctuations, his body did produce urine (though it seemed to diffuse out of his badder somehow without any observation of him passing it), and the medical team felt that the activity detected by his kidneys was baffling. He had stomach gases, but no formation of stool.

The medical team says they're only interested in Jani's fasting abilities to the extent that they hope gain insight about possible survival strategies for people under extreme conditions. They are not necessarily trying to disprove Jani's claim of being a breatharian of 70 years.

The medical team feels satisfied that Jani didn't sneak any food or beverages. They cannot explain why his urine came and went. He was not observed using the restroom. (Maybe he dribbled out some during his shallow pan bath. He sat in the pan as he bathed himself).

The medical team can only say that for the 10 days they had him, he was not given food or drink and was monitored by human witnesses and surveillance cameras 24 hours a day.

Jani recently participated in a new study in April, 2010. However, the key members of the medical team were participants in Jani's previous study. This time he was monitored for 15 days. The results seem to be very similar to the first study.

So, how can this be?

I don't know. I have a lot of questions, that's for sure.

He could be a crafty fellow sneaking food a drink here and there. Or, we could be underestimating the power of slowing down one's metabolism with meditation.

One thing is certain-- animals need nutrition. And people are animals, too. Also, people die every day of starvation. A few so-called breatharians have come along and failed in the public eye. And worse, some of their devoted followers have even died trying to imitate the false claims of their masters.

Admittedly, we must explore the power to take the human body to extremes. But extremities suggest that not everyone can expect to experience these results if trickery isn't necessary to achieve extreme results.

I personally think that his meditation practices could allow him to endure long periods of fasting.

But I'm not convinced about Jani enduring 70 years of complete fasting from food and water.

I'm mean, c'mon. Jesus and Moses only got in 40 days and nights of fasting! And they had divine help!

Oh wait. Jani says he has divine help, too.

My bad.

So, what would have to be true for this yogi to be telling us the truth?

And what would have to be true for this yogi to be telling us a lie?

I can't wait to get more information on this one!

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