Saturday, May 8, 2010

Verifying Yoga

Just came across this really interesting article about a yogi who was studied by the Indian medical establishment to understand (verify?) his amazing claims about the complete lack of food or water to survive for the last few decades.

And here is the western perspective .

Reproduced below in case the link goes away :

Surviving without a morsel of food and water for more than 70 years sounds humanly impossible, but Prahlad Jani, an 82-year-old Indian, claims to have eaten not a single grain of rice or consumed a drop of water since the early years of World Water II.

Despite living practically on thin air, Jani, popularly referred to as Mataji, has suffered no ill effects and is sharp in mind and perfectly healthy in body.

At a press conference at the Sterling Hospital in Ahmedabad, Jani said, "I am fit and strong today and even the doctors agree. They ran every test possible for 15 days and proved that I do not need food to keep me strong. I am strong and healthy, because it is the way God wants me to be."

A series of medical tests conducted Baffled by his ability to survive through such a long period without sustenance, medical experts conducted a battery of rigorous tests.

A team of 30 doctors, including specialists from Defence Institute of Physiology and Allied Sciences (DIPAS), closely monitored Jani for 15 days starting from April 22, 2010.

Surprisingly all the medical reports- cardiac [pertaining to the heart.] , MRI [magnetic resonance imaging, a non-invasive procedure that produces two-dimensional view of an internal organ or structure, especially the brain and spinal cord.] of chest, abdomen [between the chest and the hips that contains the stomach, small intestine, large intestine, liver, gallbladder, pancreas, and spleen.] and spine, EEG reports were normal.

Dr G Ilavazahagan, director of DIPAS stated, “Clinical, biochemical, radiological and other relevant examinations were done on Prahlad Jani and all reports were within the safe range throughout the study. He is healthy, his mind is sharp.

“What is truly astonishing, and something we have no explanation for, is that he has not passed stools or urine. To my knowledge, that is medically unprecedented."

Doctors conducting the test stated, “During the tests we found that in Prahalad Jani’s bladder [a hollow organ that urine drains into from the kidneys.] , the amount of liquid fluctuates even when he does not pass urine.

“We did blood tests for haematology, biochemistry, hormone profile and the reports were in the pre-determined safety range throughout the observation period as per the protocol.”

Investigated earlier in 2003 Scientists had earlier tried to get an insight into how Jani has endured decades of fasting in 2003. He had undergone medical investigations under the supervision of Dr Sudhir Shah, a consultant neurologist from Ahmedabad.

He was closely watched for 10 days in a special glass-walled room with the toilet sealed to verify that he felt no urge to urinate or defecate.

He was allowed a small amount of water for mouthwash which was then collected and measured to make sure that none had been swallowed.

Despite such a starvation of diet, his body exhibited no signs of damage and he was normal and perfectly healthy.

Scans revealed some urine accumulation in his bladder, but this seemed to be re-absorbed by the body because it was never passed.

A yogi’s explanation to the unexplained mystery :

According to a mystic from Himalayas, yoga helps normal people survive without food or water.

Individuals who have renounced the world in search of spirituality adopt extreme practices of standing on one leg or refusing food and communication for years on end.

While the article made for fascinating reading, what was also interesting was the extent to which modern science had to go to understand the powerful effects of yoga. I don't dispute the need for scientific verification to eliminate false claims made by quacks and such, but that an Indian doctor should find such effects "baffling, astonishing and inexplicable" bears testimony to the extent to which westernization has completely taken over Indian scientific thinking & practice.

That someone born in the land that gave the world Yoga, Ayurveda and other wonderful practices not to mention glorious texts such as the Bhagavad Gita and Yoga Vasishta, should have no clue as to the effects of the practice of yoga shows how much damage the last 400-500 years of British rule has done in covering up tens of thousands of years of glorious Indian heritage. Our modern educational system fails completely in uncovering this aspect too. Thanks Macaulay !!

In this context, Bawa's series on "The Technology Of Spirituality" is truly worth watching. High time India woke up to her true heritage - the glorious practices of spirituality that it has created and given so freely to the rest of the world.

Jai Guru Dev.

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