Can humans really survive without consuming food? Is it possible to develop a kind of superpower to be able to live without food?
Back in 2003, there were reports of an Indian man who claimed to have survived only on liquids and sunlight for 8 years. Hira Ratan Manek, a retired Indian mechanical engineer, says he was able to do this by practicing a technique called sun-gazing.
Sun-gazing is an ancient yogic practice which involves staring directly at the soon in order to receive nourishment, healing as well as spiritual enlightenment. This method was practiced by the ancient Egyptians, Greeks, Aztecs, Mayans, and even by some Native American tribes.
Since much of the information in favor of this practice comes from Hira Ratan Manek, this phenomenon is also known as the HRM phenomenon. Apparently, this man has absorbed the sun’s energy by gazing at it as it rises and sets since 1995. During this time he is reported to have not taken any solid food, only occasionally drinking tea, coffee, and buttermilk.
And naturally, many people took this news with a grain of salt and set out to disprove these claims. For instance, the 2011 documentary “Eat The Sun”, directed by Peter Sorcher, suggests Manek is a fraud since he was photographed with solid food. Manek, on the other hand, defended himself saying he was just posing with food for a picture. The documentary also shows a letter allegedly written by Manek, where he apologizes for lying about not eating. However, Manek has not made such an admission anywhere else.
Nevertheless, it’s undoubtedly true that he has undergone 3 long-term fasts under the observation of several scientific and medical teams. The first fast lasted 211 days in 1995-1996, in Calicut, India, and was supervised by Dr. C. K. Ramachandran who is a medical expert on allopathic and ayurvedic medicine. The second fast lasted 411 days in Ahmedabad, India, and was directed by an international team of doctors and scientists, led by Dr. K. K. Shah and neurologist Dr. Sudhir Shah who vouched for the genuine nature of Manek’s permanent fast.
The third fast was conducted in the USA under an observation of a team at Thomas Jefferson University and the University of Philadelphia, funded by NASA, for 130 days. This observation was specifically focused on his retina, pineal gland and brain, which is why it was supervised by Dr. Andrew B. Newberg, a leading neuroscientist, and Dr. George C. Brainard, a leading authority on the pineal gland.
Their initial results found that the gray cells in Manek’s brain are regenerating. They have taken 700 photographs and concluded that the neurons were active and not dying. In addition, the pineal gland was neither expanding nor shrinking which is what usually happens after the mid-fifties. Its maximum average size is about 6 x 6 mm, but HRM’s size was measured to be at 8 x 11 mm. Furthermore, other medical evidence showed that sun-gazing had given him intense endurance as well as perfect health. And it should be pointed out that he has just turned 80.
But, still, how is this possible?
According to research on sun-gazing, this ancient practice is beneficial for the enhanced production of melatonin and serotonin, increased pineal gland size (HRM’s pineal gland was three times the size of an average person his age) and more energy. Furthermore, the blog Q4LT which investigates a number of issues related to the pineal gland in the brain and melatonin production, suggests the melatonin, the hormone in the human body related to sleep cycles and metabolism, might have something to do with the ability to survive without food. It further points out that melatonin is crucial in regulating adenosine triphosphate (ATP).
ATP is fundamental in storing and releasing energy in our cells. And there have been several scientific studies conducted over the last few years which show melatonin can normalize ATP production. Also, the pineal gland in the brain which is responsible for melatonin production has been considered by many Eastern spiritual traditions as a key physiological link to a person’s spirit.
Although this information is contradictory to commonly held beliefs that sunlight is harmful, there are actually several studies which show that sunlight burns fat, has pain-killing properties, improves evening alertness, may directly regulate human lifespan and it may even prevent Alzheimer’s.
So, do you believe Mr. Manek’ can truly live this way? Or is he just another fraud? This is certainly a controversial subject. But, if a well-known organization such as NASA has confirmed his story, does that mean we can try this practice too?