Photo provided by Sterling hospitals
This is Pralhad Jani, a man who lives in India as a sadhu, meaning ‘good man’ or ‘holy man’. He is said to have not taken any food or water since 1940! He claims to live solely on the power of the sun, putting the modern understanding of the nutritional requirements for health to the ultimate test.
Prahlad left home at the age of 7 to live in the wild and find his purpose. After four years on a deep spiritual journey, at age 11 he had an intense awakening and no longer required any food or drink. He needs only to lie in the sun and pull Prana (essential life force) from its massive energy. He is now 85 and continues to live alone in the forest, connected in a fascinating sense to the wild world that is his home. He awakes each day at the auspicious time of 4am and spends most of his time in deep meditation. His life is one of complete and absolute devotion.
Twice he has been under medical observation to test his claims. He was placed in a sealed room with a sealed toilet; once for 10 days and another time for 15. Though he has lived nearly his entire life as a hermit, he agreed to these tests as an understanding of how his body copes under his unique conditions could save the lives of others. Each time he took no food or water and passed zero stool or urine.
The testing was met with praise and skepticism, some seeing issues with the tests. He was given 100ml of water a day to gargle and clean his mouth, as well as being allowed to bathe. For some people this showed a flaw in what was meant to be an absolute test, suggesting he may have swallowed some of the water.
This seed of doubt in our society is understandable, given the current status of our collective perception. The fact-based education that we receive has given us a certain scientific understanding of the human function, and life in general. This understanding in many ways has been a very enlightening and beautiful thing, but in some ways it has been blinding.
In the Shiva Sutras it is stated “knowledge is bondage”. In other words; knowledge is attachment, ignorance is bliss. This man is free from a modern perception of what his body needs, he is of the absolute conviction that he thrives on light and energy, and thus he simply does.
In addition to the doubt cast on Prahlad’s way of living, there has also been supporting scientific evidence brought about by this time in observation. At the beginning of his testing he showed decreased levels of appetite related hormones, which did not increase throughout the experiment. His physiological need for food is significantly lower than others, proving that his body is extremely adapted to a life of extreme fasting, at the very least. In addition, his body showed to be producing urine, yet not excreting any. This was very puzzling for doctors and further study is planned to see how his body is using the urine, which builds up in his bladder but does not leave the body.
Regardless of the finer scientific details, it is agreed upon by both sides that this man has lived a very extreme life of devotion and isolation, taking little to no food and water for over 7 decades.
Beings like Prahlad take our perceptions of ourselves and the world we live in and turn them upside down, which is something we greatly need! We have gone from a life where imagination and reality are in union, to one where they are distinctly separate. It is through the infinite perception that the practical, functional advances in our abilities and nature take place.
– Jordan Ross Dore