An 83-year-old Indian man claims not to have eaten since World War II. For the past seven decades, Prahlad Jani has survived on nothing but air.
Most normal mortals get their energy by metabolising carbohydrates from the food that they eat. But Jani gets his ’energy’ through meditation.
His miraculous fasting led the Indian military to study Jani to see if he could hold the secrets that could help soldiers to survive for longer in hostile environments – or help astronauts survive on long journeys to other planets.
A team of scientists observed the bearded yogi for three weeks in a hospital in Ahmedabad in Gujarat, India. He was under constant surveillance, and doctors say he didn’t eat or drink anything (or, indeed, go to the toilet) throughout this time. They claimed he was as fit as a 40-year-old man, and had the brain of a 25-year-old.
However the Medical Council of India has criticised the methodology used by Dr G. Ilavazahagan and his team, saying that they published their results too hastily. And the Indian Rationalist Society’s Sanal Edamaruku poured scorn on Jani’s claims in an interview with Indian television, in which he said requests for independent monitoring of the tests on Jani were repeatedly denied.
The study’s findings have yet to be published in any peer-reviewed medical journal.
Jani attributes his magical power to a visitation from a goddess, who blessed him at the age of eight.