Tuesday, November 25
Fasting fakir flummoxes physicians
Rajeev Khanna. BBC correspondent in Ahmedabad, November 25, 2003
Doctors and experts are baffled by an Indian hermit who claims not to have eaten or drunk anything for several decades - but is still in perfect health.
Prahlad Jani, a holy man, or fakir, who is over 70 years old, has just spent 10 days under constant observation in Sterling Hospital, in the western Indian city of Ahmedabad.
During that time, he did not consume anything and "neither did he pass urine or stool", according to the hospital's deputy superintendent, Dr Dinesh Desai. [...more]
"A series of tests conducted on him show his body mechanism is that of a normal person," said Dr Desai.
Mr Jani spends most of his time in a cave near the Ambaji temple in Gujarat state.
He spent his 10 days in hospital in a specially prepared room, with a sealed-off toilet and constant video surveillance.
... A statement from Ahmedabad's Association of Physicians says that despite no water entering his body, urine nonetheless appeared to form in his bladder - only to be re-absorbed by the bladder walls.
At the end of his confinement, doctors noted no deterioration in his condition, other than a slight drop in his weight.
"I feel no need for food and water," says Mr Jani, who claims he was blessed by a goddess at the age of eight and has lived in caves ever since.
He grew up in Charod village in Mehsana district and wears the dress of a devotee of the goddess Ambaji - a red sari-like garment, nose ring, bangles and crimson flowers in the hair.