It is completely natural that whenever someone appears who claims to live without eating and drinking there are people who want to have proof. There are stories of Maharajas who challenged Yogis and Chinese Emperors who locked Kung Fu Masters in wooden cells, to see if they could really live without physical food. We find the oldest written reports about Masters who lived in a testified state of BIGU in the Period of Warring States more than 2000 years ago!
In the Western tradition especially the church investigated many cases of Inedia like with Nicholas of Flüe, Alpais of Cudot, Marthe Robin, Therese Neumann and many more.
In 1843 King Ludwig I of Bavaria ordered a testing of Maria Furtner, a farmer's daughter who had to stop eating at the age of 12 years after a strange illness. Allegedly she did not eat for over 50 years. When she was tested for five weeks in the Royal Clinic of Bavaria, the doctors published a final report in the Bulletin of the Academy of Sciences saying, they do not see a reason to presume "cheating or deception".
In the Christian tradition we also find quite a few mystics with Charismata, like Nicholas of Flüe, who allegedly were able to live without food. They were often tested by the church or skeptical monarchs.
In the 20th and 21st century there have been studies with enhanced scientific methods. Especially in China from the 1970s to the 1990s, there has been a lot of investigation concerning the BIGU phenomenon. Perhaps the most interesting case is the one of a young woman named Ding Jing who did not eat and drink for 87 days without losing weight. The study conducted by the Chinese Military is still classified but another Case Study on Ding Jing done in the Human Body Science Laboratory of the Bejing Normal College was published in the peer-reviewed Bulletin of Science, Technology and Society, also with incredible results.
More public awareness aroused the case of Hira Ratan Manek, who was studied medically a few times. Most impressive is a study in India where Manek was under medical supervision for 411 days. Although he did not eat for over a year, just drinking water he only lost 19 kg, which is impossible by classical medical standards. The results were published in the Gujarat Medical Journal but as there was only "human" supervision and no 24-hour CCTV-control, the study provided only Level-B evidence, and was never taken seriously by mainstream scientists.
Dr. Shengping Li from the Qinghua University in Bejing states: "Ding Jing lived for one year in the Bigu state (without eating) before she attracted the attention of the Military Medical Institute in Bejing. They kept her under strict supervision for 30 days without eating and drinking."
Sun Gazer Hira Ratan Manek was studied a few times by medical experts. Most interesting is a study in India where Manek did not eat for 411 days under constant "human" watch. The study was published in the Gujarat Medical Journal.
Furthermore Hira Ratan Manek was caught eating on camera a few years later for the documentary "Eat the sun", so his credibility in the public suffered a lot. Although Manek admitted in interviews that he ate solid foods a few times during the last two decades and he was not caught eating during the 411-day medical testing, many people are very quick in calling him a fraud because this fits very well in their belief system.
Of course it is not possible to rule out cheating and fraud, but it is also not possible to rule out an authentic phenomenon of non-physical nutrition - on the contrary. Please have a look in our Controversy-section where we discuss the case of HRM and his "Breatharian Meals" in detail as well as the incredible case studies on Prahlad Jani, the yogi who claims, that he did not eat and drink for more than 70 years.
Yogi Prahlad Jani allegedly lived for more than 70 years without eating and drinking. He was scrutinized twice by dozens of medical experts and the Indian Military. Here you find an extensive discussion of the case.
During the 10- and 15-day studies, Yogi Jani was guarded by a team of 24 doctors under supervision of the Indian military. There was 24-hour CCTV-control, his blood was tested daily, his digestive organs were monitored with medical imaging techniques and during the first week the yogi was not even allowed to take a bath. So he did not even have contact with water via the skin. Under these circumstances, without drinking and urinating, a human is supposed to die after five to six days while Yogi Prahlad Jani's blood counts were still in the safe range. Nevertheless, some "skeptics" claim on the internet without any evidence, that Jani is a fraud and the study is a scam. Read the extensive analysis with all known facts and skeptical counterarguments in our article "The Case of Prahlad Jani". Many "skeptics" seem to be more "negative believers" than skeptic.
Just recently the infamous, failed "Jasmuheen-TV-experiment" was replicated successfully in Israeli TV by Breatharian Ray Maor and perplexed the doctors as the athletic Breatharian renounced completely from food and water during the test. If there would be only these isolated indications for the existence of an authentic phenomenon of non-physical nutrition I would not have bothered to do so much research on this unbelievable topic. But there are so many more indications that we will see in parts in the following articles.