Prahlad Jani- Who survives without food and water for over 6 decades


Prahlad Jani, also known as “Mataji”, is an Indian sadhu born Chunriwala Mataji, August 13, 1929 in Charada, Mehsana district. He claims to have lived without food and water since 1940, and says that the goddess Amba sustains him.

His Life…

Born with the name Chunriwala Mataji, Jani grew up in Charod village in Mehsana district. According to Jani, he left his home in Rajasthan at the age of seven, and went to live in the jungle.

At the age of 11, Jani underwent a religious experience and became a follower of the Hindu goddess Amba. From this time, he has chosen to dress as a female devotee of Amba, wearing a red sari-like garment, jewellery and crimson flowers in his shoulder-length hair. Jani is commonly known as Mataji (“[a manifestation of] The Great Mother”). Jani believes that the goddess provides him a liquid sustenance or water, which drops down through a hole in his palate, allowing him to live without food or water.

Since the 1970s, Jani has been living as a hermit in a cave in the rainforest near to the Gujarati temple of Ambaji, awakening at 4am each day and spending most of his time meditating.

A man who has survived without any food or fluid for over 6 decades. Normally, fasting without food would lead to starvation, dehydration & eventually death. As i read about him, i learned a new word called “inedia” – the ability to live without food or fluid. Inedia is related to breatharianism in which people with such abilities that food & water are not necessarily needed for nourishment. Instead, they can rely on breath to draw on the energy of “Chi” or “Prana”, the vital force by which they draw on or the energy from sunlight. This is a skill which is learned by the application of specific techniques.

The 76 year old ascetic who lives in Gujerat, India has not had any food since the age of 11 years after a spiritual experience that changed his life forever. Mr. Jani explains that he gets an elixir through a hole in his palate which helps him to survive without food or water.

More about him :

In November 2003, after over a year of coaxing, Prahlad Jani was finally persuaded to participate in a scientific research study. A medical research team of twenty-one specialists, headed by Dr. Sudhir V. Shah, had Prahlad Jani under twenty-four hours of observation for ten days at the Sterling Hospital in Ahmedabad. The team’s research expertise included cardiology, neurology, urology, gastroenterology, ophthalmology, renal function, pulmonary function, ENT analysis, psychiatry, general medicine, and other specialities. A series of investigations were done on Mr. Jani in each of these areas according to a pre-determined protocol, and additional tests were carried out as per suggestions of the team. At the conclusion of their intensive investigations the team’s doctors were left with an unexplained mystery, unable to disprove Prahlad Jani claims.

Prahlad Jani was initially kept in ICU for the first twenty-four hours. For the next nine days he was kept in a specially prepared room with a sealed-off toilet and a glass door. The room was also equipped with video surveillance to continuously monitor Prahlad Jani. Additionally, staff persons were assigned to stay in the same room with Prahlad Jani round-the-clock to make sure that he did not eat, drink, or pass urine or stool.

To assure researchers of no possible intake of water, Prahlad Jani agreed he would not bathe during the medical investigation. Prahlad Jani was permitted a small measured quantity of water to use as a mouthwash. He then spat the water into a beaker to verify that none had been drunk. An ultrasound, which was made of Mr. Jani’s bladder twice daily, indicated that there was urine accumulation, which subsequently decreased on its own without passing.

At the end of the ten days of observation, the team of doctors verified that Prahlad Jani had not taken food or drank fluids. (The average person cannot survive without water for more than four days.) The team concluded that Mr. Jani’s health had not deteriorated during this study. Also, according to the hospital’s deputy superintendent, Dr. Dinesh Desai, “A series of tests conducted on him show his body mechanism is that of a normal person.” Prahlad Jani’s survival without food or fluids remains one of those unexplained mysteries.

The following are excerpts from the research team’s concluding report :

  1. The protocol was strictly adhered to.
  2. Mr. Jani had not passed or dribbled urine during these 10 days.
  3. He has not taken anything by mouth or by any other routes not even water for 10 days.
  4. All his parameters remained within the range determined by the committee.
  5. He has shown evidence of formation of urine, which seems to be reabsorbed from his bladder wall. However, at present the committee does not have any scientific explanation for the same but the help of senior scientists and medical personnel of the country is being taken for the same.

We are surprised as to how he has survived despite above particularly without passing urine for 10 days and remaining generally physically fit. However, it should be made very clear that we have confirmed the claim over 10 days only and we as scientists and responsible doctors cannot say anything regarding validity of the claim of his sustaining without food, drinks, urination and excretion of stools over several years.

Dr. Sudhir V. Shah (Consultant Neurophysician, Sterling Hospital/Associate professor of neurology at K. M. School of PGMR, Ahmedabad) headed the research panel of doctors who performed this study. I am deeply grateful to Dr. Sudhir V. Shah for providing the Case Summary of this study along with the photos of Mr. Jani. To view the Case Summary of Mr. Jani in its entirety please go to: P. Jani Medical Report.

Another similar research study, also headed by Dr. Sudhir V. Shah at Sterling Hospital, was conducted on Hira Ratan Manek. Mr. Manek claimed not to have eaten since 1995. Mr. Manek was kept under scientific observation round-the-clock for 411 continuous days. During this time Mr. Manek subsisted only on boiled water. This study also left researchers baffled. Dr. Sudhir V. Shah kindly provided a copy of his article about this study which was published in Gujarat Medical Journal – March 2001. To view this report online please see: Mr. Manek Medical Report.


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