Ask most people whether it is possible for a human being to survive without food or water for any length of time and the answer will be an emphatic NO. We have enough medical evidence now to show that extreme dehydration, shock and eventual death will occur if a person does not have water within 3 to 5 days. A person can survive longer without food, 28 to 76 days, but that time depends on the person’s initial weight and physical condition. Heat, cold and other environmental stresses also determine how long a person can live without food, but everyone generally agrees that death is inevitable without it.
Is there any evidence to support that some human beings can and do live without physical sustenance? A world without good food, delicious restaurants and fine wines certainly seems like a bleak place to me, however there are in fact those that claim that they do not ingest anything at all and sustain themselves instead on prana, the life-force energy. There is of course considerable controversy regarding these people’s claims and more than once have they been labeled as charlatans and profiteering frauds. Notable is the founder of The Breatharian Institute in America, Wiley Brooks and also Jasmuheen (born Ellen Greve) who wrote the book Living on Light – The Source of Nourishment for the New Millennium and also claimed to be able to go for months and months without eating anything at all other than a cup of tea.
Are the people that make such claims really deluded or is there evidence around us that biological creatures can sustain for periods without food or water? Actually Yes! Nature in it’s wonder has adapted many of the earth’s creatures to be able to survive during periods of hardship. Hibernation is just one of the many strategies that nature has devised in order to keep species alive during periods when food or water is not plentiful. In hibernation, all bodily processes slow way down allowing the creature to burn little energy. Fluid levels are retained by reabsorption of urine, essentially allowing the animal to survive many months without water. If animals, reptiles and amphibious creatures can trigger genetic change within the body in order to survive without food or water, could a human being do the same? Well, there are now several cases of human beings who can do just that.
Ram Bahadur Bomjon is a young Nepalese Buddhist monk who lives as an ascetic in a remote area of Nepal. Ram has been studied and does indeed appear to have the ability to go for long periods without ingesting either food or water. One such period was actually chronicled over a 96 hour period by the Discovery Channel in a documentary entitled: The Boy with Divine Powers.
An 81 year old Indian sadhu Prahlad Jani claims to have been blessed by a Goddess when just 8 years old and has now lived without food and water for the last 70 years. His claims were investigated by a team of doctors at Sterling Hospital in Ahmedabad in 2003 and again recently in 2010. The study concluded that Prahlad Jani was able to survive under observation for two weeks without either food or water, and in that time had passed no urine or stool. Both Ram Bahadur Bomjon and Prahlad Jani were practiced-in and able to enter a deep meditative state at will.
Is it possible therefore to circumvent thousands of years of evolution by the deliberate use of one’s mind? (a question we will pose in an upcoming post). In the meantime we will let you decide!
Here is a portion of the Discovery documentary showing the study of Prahlad Jani. We love to hear your comments, please let us know what you think by filling in the form below: