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Breatharianism: is it Possible to Live Without Food and Water?

Updated on July 3, 2017

Breatharianism: a Definition

The idea of being able to live without physical food to sustain the body, called Breatharianism, has been around for a long time, but it's only in recent years that it has really been brought to the attention of the media. For example, we have inexplicable cases such as Prahlad Jani (see BBC News article Fasting fakir flummoxes physicians) which provided a level of proof for this phenomenon, but also deaths caused by peoples' attempts to becoming Breatharian. There are also certain examples that defy normal nutritional science, such as the Swedish man who survived for two months trapped in his car, which is nutritionally inexplicable in conventional terms.

The usual reaction is one of scorn and derision by people faced with the alleged ability of someone to live without food. Initial criticisms range from direct condemnation without pause for thought, to more varied arguments, such as, if someone can live without food, why can't the starving millions of this planet live without food?

Most of the answers to these questions, however, cannot satisfy the mind of someone immersed in empirical science of the physical world. The scientific mind resides in a purely empirical world, when clearly there are things way beyond its scope, whether it be so-called Breatharianism or other unusual phenomena.

Before providing information on how alleged Breatharianism works, the process to it, but also the people past and present who have apparently lived without food, a few definitions.

Breatharianism - a Definition

Breatharianism is not fasting - though it could be seen as the fast that never ends. Even so, Breatharianism is also called 'inedia', from the Latin meaning fasting.

Also, Breatharianism is meant to denote someone who neither eats nor drinks, though sometimes it is used to denote someone who doesn't eat but does drink. Someone who doesn't eat but does drink is technically a Waterian.

How it Works

Breatharianism centers on the notion that everything the human body needs, is in the energy that surrounds and pervades it, and that it can draw on this energy to sustain itself. The term breatharianism infers that the 'breath' is of importance and that the life-force can be inhaled to directly sustain the body. However, others say that in fact, it's possible to draw energy from anything really, as everything is imbued with this energy.

Thus, the difference between someone who is on a hunger strike and dies (or someone who is poor and starving, and dies), and someone who doesn't die from not having any (physical) nutrition, is due to deep inner transformation. Literature on the subject shows that just having the intention to 'live off light' isn't enough, but that something else takes over; that there's a subtle two way process at work,

The path to Breatharianism, involves detoxifying the body, so that it can reside in its perfect state, where it does not need to eat. This is a slow process that can take many years, beginning with the removal of meat from ones diet, to removing manufactured foods and anything that adds toxicity to the body, slowly gravitating from fruits and raw vegetables to liquids only. And for some, apparently the removal of liquids as well, which is only possible once the body has reached a state of real internal cleanliness.

Inediates perceive the truth, that eating physical substances, conceals the fact that actually the energy that keeps us alive doesn't come from physical food. The Bible's garden of Eden comes to mind, and that fateful apple. The conjecture is that humans, as they forgot their spiritual origins as direct reflections of God (God made man in his own image), needed to sustain themselves in other ways, rather than just from the subtle life-force, and so looked for things to put into themselves, to energise themselves with; and in the process, developed coarser and coarser digestive systems, and eventually even began killing and eating other developed conscious entities, such as animals, which was the final nail in the coffin for developed consciousness.

Christians may have read Matthew 4:4: "Jesus answered, "It is written: 'Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.'" (New International Version 1984) The Logos (Christian usage of) can be seen as a direct nourishing force. So whether one calls it 'The force' from Star Wars, Chi, Prana, Love, Logos, or Holy Spirit, it is this same energy that pervades all of Creation. As we will see, a fair number of inediates can be found in the Christian tradition (see list below), where saints claimed to be kept alive solely by the Holy Spirit.

Breatharianism and its Stages - Master Liao Fong-Sheng

A concise explanation of Breatharianism, and it's stages, can be viewed here, where a Qigong Breatharian, Master Liao Fong-Sheng, explains things clearly. It does away with some of the explanations that some other Breatharians have put forward, where abstract notions and terms confuse the issue. The video is taken from Supreme Master TV which I know little about, except that the main woman is highly revered, while others classify it as a cult.

The video is in 3 parts.

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

An Interesting Book by a Professor and Breatharian

Professor Michael Werner, a Breatharian himself, has written a book on the subject, called Life from Light: is it Possible to Live Without Food? He discusses his first exposure to the idea of living off Light, to his own involvement in the process.

Christians in History Who Were Inediates

Historically, the ability to live without food has been ascribed to not only people from an Eastern tradition, but also Christian.

These are the profiled saints alleged to have the ability to live without food.

Alphais
Helen Enselmini
Elisabeth the Good
Lydwina of Schiedam
Mary Ann de Paredes
Saint Nicholas of Flue
Saint Catherine of Siena
Louise Lateau (also a stigmatist)

Some Other Inediates in History

My search has lead me to find two notable Inediates from India. Giri Bala, and Devraha Baba (who is alleged to have lived to 250 years old). Giri Bala is an interesting case, as she was an avid eater, even a scoffer of great quantities of food, before becoming a Breatharian. In her case, it was a sense of shame and embarassement she felt, when her mother-in-law made comments about her eating habits, that lead her to pray to God, that she may never eat again. Her story is wonderfully recounted in an Autobiography of a Yogi, by Yogananda - Chapter 46 The Woman Yogi Who Never Eats.

Devraha Baba is notable for his longevity. Breatharians say that their toxic free bodies allow them to live longer and healthier lives than people who eat. In fact, he was so old (250) that the first President of India, Dr. Rajendra Prasad, said more than fifty years ago, that his father had sat at the feet of Devraha Baba as a child (in the middle of the nineteenth century! Apparently, Devraha Baba was already elderly at that time.)

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Part 5

Western Breatharians

This section can't be written without mentioning the famous Western Breatharian called Jasmuheen. While Jasmuheen has been known to have helped a lot of people on their path, there appears to be a lack of confidence in what she claims.

The following video is very biased against her, and the documentarist is hell-bent on discrediting her, rightly or wrongly?

What is the Point of Breatharianism?

According to Giri Bala, living without eating is done to prove that man is Spirit. From Chapter 46 of an Autobiography of a Yogi:

““Mother,” I said slowly, “what is the use of your having been singled out to live without eating?”

“To prove that man is Spirit.” Her face lit with wisdom. “To demonstrate that by divine advancement he can gradually learn to live by the Eternal Light and not by food.” "



Do you think living solely off subtle energy is possible?

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    • prasetio30 profile image

      prasetio30 7 years ago from malang-indonesia

      Great information. This hub more complete than mine. So I give big appreciation to this hub. Thank you very much , my friend. I really enjoy read all information from this hub include the video also. I rate this Up.

      prasetio

    • Electro-Denizen profile image
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      Charles 7 years ago from Wales, UK

      prasetio30 thanks for visiting!

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      MaryRenee 7 years ago

      Electro: WOW! Fascinating hub, you brought up so much intresting points, and info. Thanks for sharing! :)

    • Electro-Denizen profile image
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      Charles 7 years ago from Wales, UK

      Thanks for visiting MaryRenee

    • profile image

      Frank Mc Neill 6 years ago

      Howya

      A very interesting article, after many months I have just returned from visiting Dharma Sangha "Buddha Boy" and I can confirm that he has gone for many many months without eating or drinking anything, I have spoken to and know his Mother, brothers and sisters and of course spoken to locals who have watched him secretly for many many days, I am nobody's fool, and at this present momment Guruji is meditating on ending the suffering of all sentient beings.so if you are reading this article please consider a healthy Vegetarian or even better Vegan diet.

      I am not a particularly spiritual or religious person and I have no reason to lie, but what I find truly amazing is that I personally have the meditational concentration of a goldfish Dharma Sanga can do this for years.

      Meditation is simply the art of concentration and this young man would win gold in the ,Metapsysic Olympics if there were such an event.

      Dharma Sanga will be holding a celebration in Lumbini Nepal on the 1st of July 2011 to celebrate the end of his 6 year meditation...

      God Bless

      Frank

    • Electro-Denizen profile image
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      Charles 5 years ago from Wales, UK

      Franck McNeil - the so called 'buddha boy' is a fascinating example.

      Thanks for comment and visiting!

    • Vicky022389 profile image

      Victoria Postlewait 4 years ago from Orlando, Florida

      Very interesting, thanks! I enjoyed it a lot!

    • Electro-Denizen profile image
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      Charles 4 years ago from Wales, UK

      Thanks for visiting Vicky, have a nice day!

    • Williamkosko profile image

      William Joseph Kosko 4 years ago from Baltimore, Maryland

      You know I always thought about this ! Your hub definitely makes me want to look more into this now. I've always had that belief deep down that we truly do come into the world with everything we need. I believe that the world needs to be exposed to more of this. It reminds me that there is a whole world out there outside of the materialistic world that most of us have been taught to live in.

    • Electro-Denizen profile image
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      Charles 4 years ago from Wales, UK

      I love that phrase,'we truly do come into the world with everything we need'. I think you're right. All I know is that I've slowly become a raw vegan who eats mostly fruits and never felt better in my entire life. As to the subject of this hub, I can't really comment!

    • Williamkosko profile image

      William Joseph Kosko 4 years ago from Baltimore, Maryland

      Really? I've been strongly considering doing the same. I guess I just been hesitating out of fear. But I'm glad to hear that. I have noticed huge differences just eliminating certain meats and most sugars...so I guess why not try to go all the way. I have a feeing I won't regret it. Thanks!

    • Electro-Denizen profile image
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      Charles 4 years ago from Wales, UK

      That's great! The only thing I've learned so far about this, is that eating habits are just that, habits. There's so much to relearn, like the fact that the humble (and Free!!) dandelion is a superfood and rich in protein, as are some other leaves and fruits, that calcium is found in ample quantity in veges and fruits, not just milk etc etc. that traces of B12 are found in the soil, on vegetables which are not overwashed for supermarkets. .. It's a slow process to change food intake, and the mind plays far out tricks on the way :-))

    • Williamkosko profile image

      William Joseph Kosko 4 years ago from Baltimore, Maryland

      I totally agree with that. I mean that goes to pretty much every aspect of life. Though, I believe the best way for us to rid of bad habits is to replace them with good habits. I believe you have to trick your subconscious mind in that way because we really are programmed by the lives we have been living. That's why people find it so hard to quit bad habits, but if they taught that in all schools...well it wouldn't be so hard. I'll definitely have to look into that more. I think I'll step my way into it, so if I actually like it I know I will stick to it. Thanks for the great information though. You should write a hub on that, if you haven't already! I would love to read that.

    • Electro-Denizen profile image
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      Charles 4 years ago from Wales, UK

      Yeah maybe I will write a hub on that at some point. That B12 thing I mentioned, is only for healthy soils... Well have fun with it! Thanks for visiting.

    • Williamkosko profile image

      William Joseph Kosko 4 years ago from Baltimore, Maryland

      Oh okay. Well thank you as well. Don't be a stranger!

    • ThompsonPen profile image

      Nicola Thompson 4 years ago from Bellingham, WA

      I love this hub! well done friend! Now, it makes me wonder. I have written a similar hub about Sun Gazing, and how some are able to live off it. I wonder if the two concepts are friends, that one exists with the help of the other.

    • Electro-Denizen profile image
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      Charles 4 years ago from Wales, UK

      Thanks ThompsonPen for dropping by. I've read that Sun Gazing makes this process a whole lot easier. On the other hand, there are accounts of people who are not so much into sun gazing, but who apparently live perfectly fine without food, while doing various forms of spiritual practice. It's interesting to note that people who have become food-free, as it were, talk about a definite process, and it's something you know about if you're on it or not. Just jumping into this kind of thing as a mental ideal, isn't much good, for obvious reasons. I keep meaning to update this page with new info, but haven't got round to it yet.

    • ThompsonPen profile image

      Nicola Thompson 4 years ago from Bellingham, WA

      It's all very interesting. I was reading a really good book that is either fiction or "fiction", called EarthFire (highly recommend it!) and it's mentions a thing called holotropic breathing. I'm super interested in it, though at the time that I researched it last (which was at least 5 or 6 years ago) I couldn't find too much about it. But it's another way of delving into other dimensions and realities simply with certain types of breathing.

    • Electro-Denizen profile image
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      Charles 4 years ago from Wales, UK

      Interesting, I'll like into that, thanks!

    • profile image

      Poornima.S.Prasad 3 years ago

      Lot of information...loved reading it..and now it makes me more curious to know much more about the so called phenomenon!! thank You Electro!

    • Electro-Denizen profile image
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      Charles 3 years ago from Wales, UK

      You're welcome :-) have a nice day

    • Kalpatraman profile image

      Kalyanaraman Raman 2 years ago from NOIDA

      Very interesting and useful hub. You have done a very good job with an open mind. My compliments.

    • Electro-Denizen profile image
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      Charles 2 years ago from Wales, UK

      Thank you Kalpatraman

    • profile image

      PMARTIN 2 years ago

      As a Christian I say no....because to me it falls under "tempting God". God did tell us to go eat the herbs of the land, Christ did eat and told us to keep communion which is a consuming. There's other verse and stories to HOWEVER I do think this interesting because gluttony is not only a sin but its harmful to the body. I dont think anyone can live long because the body needs to go through processes and nurishment is needed but mind over matter does mean something. Very interesting thing to think about though...I wish I knew someone practicing it.

    • Electro-Denizen profile image
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      Charles 2 years ago from Wales, UK

      Thank you for visiting PMARTIN, and for a different kind of view on the subject.

    • profile image

      Thomas 2 years ago

      Interestin yes, but too hard I say. Thanks anyway.

    • Electro-Denizen profile image
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      Charles 2 years ago from Wales, UK

      Thanks for visiting Thomas! Yes, looks like years of dedicated practice etc, if at all possible. Even harder in our modern society.

    • Hendrika profile image

      Hendrika 2 years ago from Pretoria, South Africa

      This is of course not possible at all! Prolonged fasts, though has been recorded in the Bible, so it is difficult to know. How did Moses survive on the mount for 40 days and Jesus in the desert?

    • Electro-Denizen profile image
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      Charles 2 years ago from Wales, UK

      Thanks for visiting Hendrika! Long fasts are indeed possible. I suppose the question to ask, is what happens to the human body when it gets rid of many years of accumulated toxins? Ultimately I can't say either way 100% with regards to this hub... have a great day!

    • peachpurple profile image

      peachy 2 years ago from Home Sweet Home

      is it really possible?

    • Electro-Denizen profile image
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      Charles 2 years ago from Wales, UK

      peachpurple, under the right circumstances, and body training, probably... We all have our mental shut off points ,some people even wonder how it's possible to live without meat... thanks for visiting, have a nice day

    • profile image

      Henry David 2 years ago

      Yes it is possible. It has recently been discovered that humans can create energy (in the form of ATP) from sunlight. The full mechanism and spiritual implications are in the book "complete mechanism of breatharianism"

    • Electro-Denizen profile image
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      Charles 2 years ago from Wales, UK

      Thanks for comment Henry David. I mean to write about the sunlight connection at some point...

    • profile image

      Edwin van Ouwerkerk 14 months ago

      I have witnessed 2 authentic breatharians in the past 5 years, the first is Velai Anandha swami in Tiruvannamalai who died last year and Mahayogini Manikeshwari, who lives near Hyderabad. 2 month ago I stayed with Mahayogini for a couple of days and talked to many people who could actually understand my english. Well nobody has seen her ever eat or drink anything. She is even beyond what you would call breatharian as she locked herself up in an air tight room for 70 days, proving she does not only survive without food or drink, but also without air and sunlight ! Now I knew from Trialinga and Vallalar that without sun and air you can also live but have never before seen this in real life - apart from the state called nirvikalpa samadhi which I have experienced myself. Well with Mahayogini I now know that breathing is also optional. We had a darshan together where she did not breath but was moving around. Vishudananda talked about it and Mayamma devi was another living example of the non-breathing state while remaining alive. Even people who were in contact with Padakacheri Ramalinga and Mewa Khenchen Tsewang Rigdzin witnessed the same thing. Now these are real examples, not the temporary breatharians like Hira Ratan Manek.

    • profile image

      Edwin van Ouwerkerk 14 months ago

      It is Vellai Anandha Swami not Velai.

      https://soonyata.home.xs4all.nl/Jeeva%20samadhi/Je...

    • Electro-Denizen profile image
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      Charles 13 months ago from Wales, UK

      Thank you for your comment. It's this type of feedback which is so useful in adding knowledge to this subject. I have heard of yogis being buried alive, then dug out much later - like the example you mentioned, the ability to sustain the body even without air or light. It requires a high degree of detachment and transcendence.

    • profile image

      Christopher 4 months ago

      Thank you very much for the insights. I first heard about this "phenomena" many years ago on Coast2CoastAM and nothing since. I went through a malnutritioned poverty phase just a year prior and found this subject to be super exciting. As of this 2016-2017 Awakening, I went through a phase, a few months ago, where I had no desire for food or water; for a few weeks. Interestingly, my dog wasn't eating or drinking either but we both felt great with tons of energy. I had mentioned that I wasn't eating in passing conversation, with a friend, and she started with the long lists of "Oh no Christopher, you NEED to eat!!!". Doubts to which I accepted, for the time being. Welp, this topic has been coming up again and I was talking with my Twin Flame the other day and she, too, has been sitting on the Knowing that we do not actually need to eat. And so, I'm just looking to figure out how to get from here to here, unfolding into the version of me that has 0 reliance on the Outer Universe.

      I'll likely be following up on this story, on www.theforbiddenchannels.com if anyone is interested. Thank you again, much Appreciated! Love & Light

    • Electro-Denizen profile image
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      Charles 4 months ago from Wales, UK

      Christoper thanks for commenting. Very interesting. So many people seem to be eating less or in some cases not at all for a considerable amount of time, with no adverse affects. Whether this is a period where excess luggage is being burned, or whether people are actively living off light, is the question. Certainly there seem to be a number of people who are not skinny at all, who seem to live without physical food.

    • profile image

      Rafik 3 months ago

      Well if you bother a bird, it flies away. Simple :)

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