Yogi Survives 70 Years with no Food

Mataji, or Prahlad Jani

Eighty-two year old Indian Yogi affectionately known as Mataji claims to have survived for approximately 70 years without consuming any food or water.  A global collective of 30 physicians have spent 15 days performing a battery of tests, and have concluded that the health of the yogi is above par for most healthy men his age.

Mataji, or Prahlad Jani as he is formally named, credits a “special type of yoga” that he practices for allowing this miraculous feat. The study, conducted by the Defense Institute of Physiology and Allied Sciences (DIPAS), was performed to understand how a human being could survive without sustenance or the naturally resulting elimination for long periods of time.

DIPAS Director G. Ilavezhagen told journalists “A scientific understanding of the mechanism of such survival may help in working out survival strategies under stressful and extreme conditions. This may have applications during natural calamities and disasters.”

The yogi was under constant surveillance through closed-circuit camera in the hospital in Sterling Hospital in Ahmedabad, during which time he took in no fluids or food.  He did gargle occasionally and take baths.  The only parameters Mataji set for the testing was to forgo any invasive tests that would require him to consume any fluids.

Mataji claims that when he was eight years old a divine form of the goddess appeared to him and touched his tongue, since then he has not felt the desire to eat or drink and has survived on “solar energy.”  The team did not observe any noticeable metabolic change indicative of fasting, and found that Mr. Jani’s systems were all functioning at “normal levels.” Dr. Ilavezhagen stated that it was still too early to draw conclusions about the “survival mechanism,” but that several factors were worthy of closer examination.

Could this be true?  That a human being could survive for seven decades without eating or drinking anything and not waste away due to malnutrition?  It is so hard to fathom the severe austerities that some Indian yogis employ, though so many are easier to believe than this one.  Sure, with the aid of a support, a sadhu can keep his arm raised above his head for twenty years, or never cut his fingernails, but no food or drink…that’s a whole other level of extreme.

Though this account might seem improbable or even outlandish, many of the classical yogic text describe feats such as this and even more unbelievable as part of the natural course of a deepening practice.  Patanjali, the author of the Yoga Sutras, dedicates the whole third chapter to the amazing Siddhis (Powers) that can be gained from intense and sustained practice.  Things like levitation and omniscience are observed as a natural evolution from an intensely sustained practice.

In Chapter 30 of the great Parmahansa Yoganada’s book Autobiography of a Yogi, he expounds on the “Law of Miracles” and the tendency for modern science to discount fantastic and bizarre tales such as these, but acknowledge without qualm all of the ways that “modern” science accepts basic physical principles that defy scientific logic as adequate and commonplace.  Things like the dual nature of light (particle/wave) and electricity which is a “phenomenon of repulsion and attraction,” are accepted without question, much the same way the illusion (maya) that the world was flat instead of round was ingrained in the minds of so many before a handful of brave explorers defied “logic.”

I am not saying that I think this “starving” saint is bona fide, but I am also not saying that he is not.  If the practice yoga teaches us one thing over and over again, it is to believe that the impossible is possible.  In every moment, we are called to see the infinite possibility that sits quietly behind all of the distraction and deception of the monkey mind and the habituation of culture.  Granted, in our Western experience, the examples of this might be much less extreme, but they even happen here.  Though their shape and form might be different from the traditional Siddhis of Classical Yoga.  So maybe we as a community of yogis can open our minds to the unbelievable, or at least try to fathom the unfathomable.  But, maybe not.

What do you think about the claims made about Mataji?

Comments 7

  1. My brain tells me this is bull poop, and I’m likely to agree with my brain.

    However, if it were true, and it could be proved as true, that would change everything. I mean, literally, everything. If this dude truely lived 70 years without food, I see no reason he couldn’t live for 70 more years. And why not 70 more after that?

    Governments would collapse overnight, if you dont need food, then you don’t need money. Anarchy would ensue. Some would be learning how to shoot, others would be learning how to disregard when they were shot.

    I would be stuck in the space between, not knowing which one to choose. I know almost nothing of yoga, and I have more to say, but it would be off topic, so I won’t. Ultimatly that is what brought me to this site, I find it very hard not to think, and type, what might be best described as chaos.

    goodnight yoga guys, I hope your peace calms those around you.

  2. it is really astonishing and linked to the reality. every thing is possible if one follows pathanjali yogasutras in toto. Scients and doctors are depending on the future. That means they go to verify if something happened and cannot forsee the things as is seen by RISHIS.Nothing will happen if it is followed by all the people of the world and it will be very peaceful world at all times in future if the things really happen

  3. I believe its true. I cannot understand it, and I do believe that there are people out there who would make this stuff up and sensationalize it, but I think our brains are possible of something like this. I don’t aspire to it (even for 1 day most of the time!), but I think it speaks to our potential if we harnessed it for the good of all.

  4. I believe in this think but my brain tell me that is it true?????
    Whatever but many people have good skill so this is one of them, because many people in India called Mahatma Rishi they have potential for this way.

    yoga pants

  5. I find this extremely hard to believe. The human body needs nutrients, protein and water like a car needs gasoline to move. Waste that comes out of the human body needs to be replaced in order for internal organs to work properly, if not it’ll be a complete shutdown system. In other words “death”. It is true common nature. Anyone who survives 70 years without food and water is not human or not from this planet. Give yourself a reality check.

  6. mistermusic: A reality check? I think discounting something you know nothing about is unrealistic, myself. It may or may not be true, and just because it doesn’t fit within the tiny scope of what you already believe doesn’t mean that it isn’t possible. Unless you are perfect and know everything, your current belief is not a true indication of the actual truth of the matter. ‘The way things are’ does not equal ‘the way things always will be’ either, for the record. You’re telling me it’s impossible without even knowing how it’s supposedly done. That’s not just unrealistic, that’s flat out retarded.

    “There are two ways to be fooled. One is to believe what isn’t true; the other is to refuse to believe what is true.” ”” Søren Kierkegaard

    I’m tired of so many people fooling themselves into thinking that being negative, cynical and not just ‘not believing’ but DISBELIEVING everything new by default makes them somehow more realistic. It only makes you a pessimist, not a realist.

    Let’s search for truth, not evidence to back up nightmares.

  7. Today we use a solar powered calculator to aircrafts, so it shouldnt be hard to believe this. But one needs atoms to build cells and DNA, what about that?

    Well, if you have enough energy and you are breathing air, then you can absorb carbon-dioxide and extract carbon from it. Get water from the moisture in the air and extract hydrogen to make all the hydrocarbons in your body. Get nitrogen and various other things from air too. Maybe your skin (feet) when in touch with soil can absorb other atoms like iron, calcium, like a tree does etc. Or you simply don’t need the rest of the atoms if your already built system doesn’t throw anything out. skin is shed every 3 weeks, so he’ll need a small amount of atoms per day.

    If frogs can stop their hearts and breathing for years, salamandars can regrow their limbs, plants can live on solar energy, then I guess someway a human can too.

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