"Mataji" Prahlad Jani claims to have lived more than 70 years without eating and drinking. The Indian Yogi was tested twice in strictly controlled experiments by the Indian Ministery of Defence giving indications for a groundbreaking scientific sensation. And the findings were so incredible that some skeptics still cannot believe in a true case. Why ?
The Case of Yogi Mataji Prahlad Jani, who claims to have lived for more than 70 years without eating and drinking is, from a scientific point of view, the most interesting and spectacular case shown in "Light".
The claims made by Prahlad Jani and the results of the experiments done with him are so far out of our scientific understanding that many skeptics just cannot believe it’s a true case.
Of course for most of Jani´s lifetime, we have only personal testimony and anecdotal evidence, but the yogi was also scrutinzed twice in the Indian Sterling Hospital under the strict watch of dozens of medical experts and permanent CC-TV-control.
Prahlad Jani was scrutinized twice under the strict watch of dozens of medical experts and CC-TV-control.
A scientific experiment under strictest watch
Everything was supervised by the Indian Devence Institute of Physiology and Allied Sciences (DIPAS) and all possible clincial tests including daily blood counts and CT-scans of the body were done - with incredible results.
2003 Prahlad Jani stayed for 10 days in the hospital under round-the-clock surveillance. He had no access to food or water, the toilet was sealed and the clothes and sheets were scrutinzed for traces of urine.
In this snippet of "In The Beginning There Was Light" we see the Yogi, some of the doctors involved in the experiment and independant medical experts speaking about the case of Prahlad Jani.
When Jani left the locked room for medical procedures and once for a sun bath on the clinic terrace, he was still under permanent watch by clinic personell and filmed by mobile cameras.
During the first seven days Jani did not even have contact with water via the skin. After the first week Jani was allowed to gargle and bath and the water was measured before and after use.
"As if a bomb had hit us "
Dr. Urman Dhruv, the General Secretary of the Association of Physicians of Ahmedabad, who supervised and approved the clinical study protocol states in my film:
"Mr. Prahlad Jani did not take anything orally, neither fluid, nor water, nor food - during these 10 days of our project - and Mr. Jani did not pass urine or stool during these 10 days".
"We are all scientifically educated and research orientated doctors. We racked our brains and it was the greatest surprise of our hitherto existing life... As if a bomb had hit us! The complete history of science has to be written anew. And our entire knowledge has been shaken to the core” said Dr. Sudhir Shah, the initiator of the study and Neurologist at the Sterling Hospital.
Dr. Urman Dhruv, Supervisor of the clinical study protocol confirms:
"Mr. Prahlad Jani did not take anything orally and did not pass urine or stool during these 10 days".
Dr. Sudhir Shah, neurologist and initator of the Jani study in 2003:
"We are all scientifically educated and research orientated doctors. We racked our brains and it was the greatest surprise of our hitherto existing life... As if a bomb had hit us!"
The Indian military takes over
In 2010, the yogi was again scrutinized in Sterling Hospital. This time the study lasted 15 days without eating, drinking and urinating. 36 medical experts were involved and this time the Indian Defense Institute (DIPAS) was the exclusive authority. So like in many military experiments, we do not know much about the 2010 study except that Jani surivived in good health and the director of DIPAS stated that Jani may demonstrate an extreme form of adaptation to starvation and water restriction and the observations could benefit soldiers and astronauts.
Luckily the 2003 study was not only done by the Indian Military alone but in cooperation with the Association of Physicians of Ahmedabad. So the initiatior of the study, Dr. Sudhir Shah, published the case study on his website where it is publicly available.
Prahlad Jani would have been expected to be dead after 5 to 6 days. Instead his blood counts were in the safe range throughout the whole study...
While the 2010 study is still disclosed the case study of the experiment in 2003 is available for the public on the internet.
"It´s an absolute bombshell !"
When I showed the study to the metabolic expert of the University clinic of Vienna, Prof. Dr. Anton Luger, he said about the yogi´s incredible blood counts during the study: "One would expect extremely high levels of uremic waste products. It´s an absolute bombshell ! "
Prof. Dr. Anton Luger, metabolic expert at the University Clinic of Vienna says about Prahlad Jani's blood counts: "It´s an absolute bombshell !"
We have to keep in mind that under the right circumstances, it is conceivable that humans can live 10 to 15 days without drinking - but without drinking and urinating, medical experts expect humans to die between day 4 and 6. Jani´s blood counts stayed in the safe range during the whole 10 days - an extremely spectacular outcome, and for skeptics, an extremely unbelievable outcome.
James Randi speaks
So what are the arguments of the skeptics ?
The most popular, but also the most uninformed critic in this case, is former stage magician and "skeptics guru"James Randi. His video about the Prahlad Jani study has 100K plus hits on YouTube and is even used by "quality journalists" to make an argument against the case.
Nevertheless James Randi expresses in this video nothing more than his personal disbelief in strong words - but without having any sound arguments in the case. It seems that he did not even read the study protocol of the already published experiment of 2003.
Ill-informed "Skeptics Guru"
Randi indicates that the Jani case would be a fake as the yogi just would have drunken water while bathing. He obviously does not know that Jani was not allowed to bath AT ALL during the first week – afterwards, he was allowed to take a bath, but the water was measured before and after use.
Anyway - already this first week without drinking and urinating would mean a lethal outcome following conventional medicine. That´s what all medical experts I asked explained to me, that normally you would be expected to die in this time by autointoxination with uremic waste products. So we already have a medical sensation in this first week without bathing!
James Randi is a retired stage magician, enthusiastic atheist and the leading figure of the "skeptics" in the world.
James Randi´s popular youtube-video about Prahlad Jani is often used as argument against the case. But looking closely, Randi does not offer hard facts or solid analysis but second hand rumours and personal disbelief in strong words.
"Jani was not left alone for a moment !"
Furthermore Randi says: "His observers allowed him to be unobserved". That´s again nothing more than Randi´s personal belief and it contradicts all first hand information. Dr. Urman Dhruv, supervisor of the 2003 study, stated in front of my camera:"I took all possible measures that he (Jani) is not left alone for a moment." Besides having 24 hours security on duty and staff vigilance, Dhruv personally watched for weeks every second of the CC-TV-surveillance-material.
Disbelief instead of facts
Of course it´s possible that he and dozens of coworkers were fooled. But it´s for sure not a fact and the chances are not very high. Is it likely that the Indian military with dozens of experts and camera-surveillance would not be able to watch a single yogi in a clinical environment ?
After the 2003 study, the Indian government invested in 2010 even more money and manpower in their follow-up-study. Is it likely that they would have done this if there would not have been a strong indication for an authentic case in the first experiment?
Randi´s main argument is that he had not been invited to test the yogi himself and that they did not apply for his famous 1 Million Dollar prize - the James Randi Challenge, paid to anyone who can prove to Randi "paranormal" effects.
Actually this is a very popular argument against paranormal phenomena. If they are real - why does Randi still have his prize money ?
Besides that there are many stories on the internet that the Randi Million would be more a myth or a PR-gag than a serious offer for research - there are two other reasons why the Randi challenge is a weak argument in the Jani case.
"In 2010 the Indian Military invested even more money and manpower to scrutinize the Yogi a second time. Would they have done this if it would have been such an obvious fake as James Randi claims ?.
James Randis "One Million Dollar Challenge" and the fact the he never paid the money to anyone is often taken as argument to dismiss paranormal claims in general. Does that make sense ?
On the one hand, we have here a yogi who lived as a hermit meditating in a cave nearly all his life, not caring about money at all. Why should he be interested now ? On the other side we have the Indian Ministry of Defense with a multi billion dollar budget.
Why should they be interested to apply for Randi´s millions, especially when the conditions for the application are rules that would offend any military organisation like: "all data may be used freely by the James Randi Foundation" and "the applicant surrenders any and all rights to legal action".
We speak here about a private club versus the Indian Ministry of Defense. Randi says the Indian government would be "naive" "deluded" and "dumb". But in this case it seems that it is more James Randi who is naive and...
Pictures taken from the whoforted-blog about James Randi, the "Skeptic Religion" and it´s "Pseudoskepticism".
Bottom line: James Randi mixes his personal disbelieve with misleading information, untenable arguments and sells the whole thing as counter-evidence.
This is pseudoskepticism in it´s purest form - an expression of a personal belief system full of prejudices covered as scientific approach.
The only hard fact in Randi´s hefty speech is that he has not been in India himself.
The basis for all other allegations in this case is Randi´s believe that his opinion is the truth and nothing but the truth and obviously the trust in the second hand - information from his colleague in India Sanal Edamaruku.
The "Indian Randi"
Sanal Edamaruku is President of the Indian Rationalist Association, a political scientist known as an enthusiastic atheist who claims that he has debunked a lot Iof Indian "holy man" as frauds.
That´s without doubt an important task if we are dealing with fraud.
An article in the Skeptics Dictionary states that Edamaruku "debunked" Prahlad Jani already in 2003.
So let´s have a look what he has to say:
"The Indian Ministry of Defesce (MoD) and the NASA have obviously been taken in by the absurd claims of a village fraud. It is shocking to see that government officials and scientists are so gullible to believe that a human being can survive 60 years without food and water! The claim does not only contradict experience and common sense, but also our well-established biological and medical knowledge about the functioning of the human body. It is absolutely impossible that it is true - if it was, it would disprove the laws of physiology and we would have to rewrite our scientific text books!" he writes.
At least with the latter he is absolutely right - but we want to know how he had "debunked" Jani ?
Mixing apples and oranges
First we read a list of cases with similar claims who have been exposed by the Indian Rationalist Society as frauds - by catching them eating or make them vomit just to find little pieces of food.
But when we look at Jani´s case it was not just a man sitting in a wooden cabin claiming something. The yogi was examined in a high tech clinic and his digestive organs were scanned daily and the doctors actually saw (!) that there were not traces of food in there.
So the doctors are cheating is Edamarukus conclusion and Dr. Sudhir V. Shah, the initiator of the Prahlad Jani study in 2003 would be very "suspicious" as he is a "deeply religious Jain" writes Edamaruku in an often cited article in The Guardian. Shah was also involved in an experiment with sungazer Hira Ratan Manek who also is a Jain, and he would "protect" now Prahlad Jani as "head of Ahmedabad´s Sterling hospital".
Sanal Edamaruku`s allegations and quick guesses in the Jani case were taken by the skeptics community as proven facts without further examination.
In an article in The Guardian Sanal Edamaruku accuses the "head of Ahmedabad´s Sterling hospital", Dr. Sudhir Shah, of faking the study and "bolstering" Jani. He is not aware that he is confusing two men with the same surname. Or is he giving the wrong impression on purpose ?
Now, wait a moment. I have personally been at the Sterling Hospital and I interviewed the head of the Sterling hospital face to face. His name is Dr. V.N. Shah, not Dr. Sudhir Shah !
Bad research or mix-up on purpose ?
Shah is a very popular name in the northwest of India and Dr. V.N. Shah, the director of the Sterling Hospital, and Dr. Sudhir Shah are two different people, not related to each other and Dr. V.N. Shah is a Hindu not a Jain.
Dr. Sudhir Shah just works in the Sterling Hospital as neurologist. He made contact with Prahlad Jani, initiated the study but he is not Head of the Sterling Hospital nor was he responsible for staff vigiliance, security etc..
That was the job of Dr. V.N. Shah. Futhermore the supervision and approval of the study protocol in 2003 was the mission of Dr. Urman Dhruv, who also is not a Jain but a Hindu. And by the way - although Prahlad Jani himself is a Hindu and not a Jain.
I don´t know if Edamaruku mixed up the doctors unknowingly or on purpose but the "Jain conspiracy" is completely untenable if you do research on it.
Nevertheless it got via Edamarukus article quite popular within the skeptic´s societies as explanation for the Jani case. Normally so called "ad hominem"-arguments which address not the case but the person studying it are a tabu within the scientific community.
But when it comes to scientific experiments, that do not fit the ruling "dogma" they seem to be just good enough to discredit involved scientists. But that´s another story..
"Loopholes" in Edamarukus argumentation
Let´s look at the other "loopholes" Edamaruku claims to have exposed: "An official video clip revealed that Jani would sometimes move out of the CCTV camera's field of view". What Edamaruku did not know or did not want to tell us is that there was multicamera CC-TV. So when Jani left the frame of one camera he entered the field of another one as there were more cameras in the room.
"The bathing acivities were not sufficiently monitored" is the allegation. O.K - perhaps here is a loophole. The water was measured before and after use while bathing. But perhaps he sucked in water via the anus and urinated the same amount in the bath tub, claimed for example some Austrian sceptics.
Yes it´s difficult but it could be possible. What the skeptics forget is that Jani was not allowed to bath during the first week AT ALL.
And as we heard earlier on - we already have a medical sensation during this first week without bathing. Even the fluctuation of liquid, appearing and disappearing in Janis bladder, happened during this first week without bathing. So the "wonder" also happened without bathing.
Sceptic Sanal Edamaruku confuses two doctors with the same surname:
Dr. Sudhir V. Shah and...
... Dr. V.N. Shah, who is actually the "head of Ahmedabad´s Sterling Hospital" and was responsible for staff vigiliance and security in the Prahlad Jani Study. The two doctors are not related, nor do they share the same religion.
Dr. Sanjay Mehta, head radiologist of the Prahalad Jani Study, confirms that the mysterious fluctuations in the yogi´s bladder also appeared during the week, where Jani was not allowed to perform his bathing ritual. So the bathing-argument seems to be a dead end for the skeptics.
Edamaruku further: "He (Jani) could even leave the sealed test room for a sun bath". Yes that´s what the doctors told me as well but during the sun bath on the hospital´s terrace he was watched by security personell and a mobile camera. "He was not left alone for a moment" confirmed study supervisor Dr. Urman Dhruv to me.
I cannot see any exposure by Sanal Edamaruku concerning the Prahlad Jani case. The only hard fact he can bring up is again that he has not been allowed to take part in the study at Sterling Hospital. But honestly, would any military organization in the world invite the head of a private club to their experiments, just because he thinks they are all incompetent and their work does not make sense ? I don´t think so.
Nevertheless, Edamarukus writings inspired many skeptics around the world and so we find a lot of rumors concerning this case on the internet. Some stories are just full of plain nonsense and ignorance but some also raised good questions .
A screenshot of Dr. Mehta´s data concerning the radiological investigations in the Jani Case shows the fluctuations in his urinary bladder in the week where Jani did not perform his bathing rituals.
Good question - wrong answer
For example, the yogi lost some weight during the study and this would be evidence that his claims are wrong, said the head of the Austrian Skeptics Society Dr. Ulrich Berger.
Mathematican and head skeptic Berger did more research than James Randi on the case and actually read through the published study and the presentation of Dr. Shah and found that "the daily weight varied between 42 und 38 kilos". So Dr. Berger published as counterevidence that Jani lost 4 kilos from day one to the end of the study.
Based on information from the Internet, Dr. Ulrich Berger, head of the Austrian Skeptics Society, ignores in his blog the clear statement that Janis weight "varied". Instead he uses as "proof" for continuous weight loss a measurment of a follow-up-examination procedured not within the observation period (!) - on 26.11.2003 . The Austrian head skeptic did not research the actual weight distribution during the observation and misses another sensational indication.
But also the Austrian sceptic did not do enough research to find the interesting part in this. When I asked the doctors about the distribution of Janis weight they told me that Jani had the lowest weight of 38 kilos on day 7 combined with deteriorating blood counts (everthing still in the save range).
Jani then asked for fresh air, sun and the possiblity to do his yogic bathing ritual. He was allowed to take a bath, which is an important practice in the yogic tradition, and visited (unter surveilance) the terrace of the hospital for fresh air and sun.
Another scientific sensation !
And now this is the sensation: Suddenly Jani gained weight again - one kilo plus from day 7 to day 10 - a human actually gaining weight without any calorie intake!
Even if Jani would have managed somehow to drink a few milliliters of water while bathing - this one kilo plus is the second sensation of the study (besides surviving the first seven days without drinking and urinating).
Nevertheless it´s a justified question to ask why the yogi lost 4 kilos in just a few days if he claims to have lived for decades without eating and drinking ?
Another sensational indication !
From the seventh day on, when the Yogi was allowed to perform his daily bathing ritual, and got access to fresh air and sunlight (under video surveilance) he gained weight again - without any calorie intake !
The medical Qigong has an answer why Breatharians often "underperform" in clinical studies. Direct Qi-intake is impaired by the surroundings. it is dependant on "ordered Qi-fields" which we find especially in intact nature.
An answer from China
"In cities our Qi-fields are often disrupted and chaotic. Pollution influences our Qi-fields and impairs the energy intake of the human body. To practice BIGU ("Breatharianism" in China) it is best to choose a clean environment with plenty of negativly charged ions" says Taoist Grandmaster You Xuande.
The environment makes a big difference for "Breatharians". There is more energy in fresh air than in the air out of the air condition of the hospital, more energy in nature than in the cities. This could be also the reason why Dr. Werner lost weight during the Bern study.
We have to leave this an open question and the answers could fill many books and films.
Skepticism or Narrow-Mindedness ?
Besides this open question we have to say that the sceptic's arguments do not show the necessary scientific skepticism but "negative believe" driven by ideology.
They publish their beliefs as hard facts on the internet and they get copy pasted until they are "known facts".
No evidence for fraud or delusion !
Skepticism is important but it has to be combined with impartiality and openeness for the unknown to help in scientific progress. If not Skepticism changes to narrow-mindedness.
Fact is: there is no evidence for fraud or delusion in the Prahlad Jani case - there are just big open questions that could cause an earthquake in the academic world - but nothing is happening - why ?
Taoist Grandmaster You Xuande states:
"In cities our Qi-fields are often disrupted and chaotic. To practice BIGU ("Breatharianism" in China) it is best to choose a clean environment."
Prahlad Jani: "I have been doing it for decades. I defy science !" -- Although there are no valid indications for fraud or delusion in the Jani case and just big, open questions the science community reacts only with ignorance and rejection. Why ?
"Holy scriptures of science"
Why did the Prahlad Jani study not cause an "earthquake" in the science community ?
The study never has been published in a renowned peer-reviewed journal is the answer of most scientists, meaning, that if there would be truth in it – it would have been published.
Before doing research on the topic, I did not know about the immense meaning for scientists to publish their work in the right scientific journals.
Nobel Prize Laureate Prof. Brian Josephson explained to me that the big peer-reviewed scientifc journals are like the "holy scriptures" of science. They "make the truth".
What´s not in there does not exist and is not true. And Josepshon compared the mainstream science with the Catholic church a few hundred years ago.
Nobel Prize Laureate Brian Josephson, professor of Physics in Cambridge, explains the meaning of important scientifc journals for "making scientific truth".
The Church of Science
An elite of "clerics" decides what is published in the "Holy Scriptures" and what´s not. And what´s not in there is not true and anybody who makes different claims will be "ex-communicated from the Church of Science".
But the history of science shows that it happened very often that scientists were not published in renowned journals and even ridiculed just to be proven right years later.
The history of science is also a history of mistakes and self-renewal.
Just one example for many scientists who were first ridiculed by the mainstream and years later proven right. Japanese physicist Hideki Yukawa was rejected to be published by all renowned western journals. Many years later he was awarded a Nobel Prize.
For example, the Japanese Physicist Hideki Yukawa tried to publish his work in the 1930s about the "Meson"-particle in renowned western science-journals. He was declined by all western journals as his research would be "obvious nonsense".
But Yukawa continued working and published in an unimportant Japanese journal.
Two decades later he received the Nobel Price for his work on the Meson as the first Japanese Physicist.
(Source: Herbert Pietschmann "Phänomenologie der Naturwissenschaft" - "Phenomenology of Natural Scienes", p.131)
Before we get too negative on the system of peer-review - of course it works very well in established parts of science. You have experts in a field checking the work of a colleague and judging it as right or wrong. This guarantees a good quality in scientific work but it makes it very difficult to bring up really new things.
Hindering scientific progress
So - Not being published in one of the renowned journals can mean that the work is really mistaken - but it also can mean that it is so far out of the mainstream that the peer-reviewers find no consensus to publish it.
Prof. Harald Walach writes in his "Generalised Quantum Theory" about this chronic problem of mainstream science:
"We tend to ignore phenomena which we encounter and which we cannot classify within the narrow bounds of the official theory. We tend to interpret them differently within the standards of the theory or to declare them as irrelevant. "
"We tend to ignore phenomena which we encounter and which we cannot classify within the narrow bounds of the official theory."by Prof. Harald Walach:
So - did Prahlad Jani really renounce from eating and drinking for over 70 years ? We will never know. But this in not the point....
Don´t get me wrong: I fully understand the skepticism of people concerning Prahlad Jani. And if this would be a completely isolated case I also would say that it must be a mistake or fraud.
But as I did so much research in this field, I see that it just makes sense and that there is an authentic phenomenon.
Does this really mean that Jani renounced from eating and drinking for more than 70 years?
Honestly I don´t know. Perhaps he drinks everyday a few sips of water during his bathing ritual. Perhaps he even eats sometimes although I was told by his brother that he already had to vomit as a child whenever he was given a bite of food.
But that´s not the point. We find so many interesting cases of people who prove our classical calorie mathematics wrong - actually everybody does, as we discussed earlier.
A new Understanding of Life
The Prahlad Jani case is a much stronger calling to do more research on this topic - meaning the human energy balance and the living body in general.
This is not about proving a certain yogi right or wrong. This is about questioning our classical mechanistic materialistic worldview, our conception of food and nutrition and finding a better understanding for the human body and life in general.
As Dr. Sudhir Shah says at the end of my film:
"We have to hypothesize alternative forms of energy. I am not looking at this one case. I am looking at the force behind that. And that is really going to change the future of mankind. I am pretty sure."
"It´s about questioning the mechanistic worldview and searching for a new understanding of the living body."by Director P.A. Straubinger
"We have to hypothesize alternative forms of energy. That is really going to change the future of mankind. I am pretty sure."by Dr. Sudhir Shah