Strange-sounding medical claims and procedures have been found all over the world since ancient times. Today, practices like acupuncture and reiki are mainstream; but a few decades ago, they were considered crazy-sounding notions. I mean really: Stick needles into invisible points on the body to cure disease? Well, with time, acupuncture has been folded into the “normal” fabric of Western life. There is another ancient practice, called sungazing or sun-eating, coming to the fore in recent decades. It seems so “far out” that few people have paid attention to it, but physicians and NASA scientists have. Its practice dismisses the need for food and water.
Decades ago, I read what became one of my favorite books, Autobiography of a Yogi. It tells the story of Paramahansa Yogananda and the dozens of mystic Indian healers and spiritualists he met and apprenticed with along his personal journey. One of these men was a yogi who did not eat food or drink water for decades. The chapter about his experience alone is worth reading in the book. The way he survived was by opening his “throat chakra” to the energy of the sun. Now, unless you practice yogic traditions, this can seem far-fetched.
A decade after I read about this, my yoga teacher hosted a man in Philadelphia named Hira Ratan Manek (aka HRM), who then was in his 50s and who had not eaten for something like 300 days. He was giving himself up for medical study at Johns Hopkins University Hospital and University of Pennsylvania Hospital. I was unable to make the conference or meeting, but much has been written on this sungazer, who is now in his mid-70s. He has proven that people can live on solar energy alone, without food or water, for extremely long periods of time.
Today, the practice of sungazing (sun-eating) is known as the HRM phenomenon. It is claimed that the practice of HRM can “cure” humanity (one person at a time) of psychosomatic, mental and physical illnesses of all kinds. It is supposed to increase brain function and confidence while eliminating fear and anxiety. In fact, it is boldly claimed that after just six months of practice, you will be free of whatever physical illness you currently suffer and that after nine months, you will no longer need food to survive in full health and well-being.
Fasting Periods Examined
According to medical records, HRM has not eaten much food since June 18, 1995, living instead on solar energy and an occasional class of water or tea (when being hospitable for guests). He has undergone strict medical and scientific examination during his long fasting periods.
HRM’s first fasting period (1995) lasted 211 days and was observed by allopathic and Ayurvedic physician Dr. C.K. Ramachandran.
Manek’s second fasting period (2000) lasted 411 days and was observed by an international team of 21 medical doctors and scientists led by Dr. Sudhir Shah and Dr. K.K. Shah, the acting president of the Indian Medical Association at that time.
Manek’s third observed fasting period occurred in 2005 and lasted 130 days (the observation period). It was conducted by a scientific and medical team from Thomas Jefferson University and University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, who “wanted to observe and examine his retina, pineal gland and brain.” This observation team was led by Dr. Andrew B. Newberg, a leading authority on the brain, and Dr. George C. Brenard, the leading authority on the pineal gland. Initial results found that the gray cells in Manek’s brain were regenerating. About 700 photographs have been taken where the neurons were reported to be active and not dying. Furthermore, the pineal gland was expanding and not shrinking, which is typically what happens after your mid-50s, and its maximum average size should be about 6-by-6 mm. However, for Manek, it has been measured to be at 8-by-11 mm.
While it is not yet known exactly how and why gazing at the sun can cure what ails a man and make him not have to eat or drink, the process is simple enough:
- Look at the sun only in the morning and evening hours.
- Only do it during the specific time frame of one hour after sunrise and before sunset. These time periods do not expose you to the sun’s ultraviolet and infrared radiation rays.
- On Day 1, gaze at the sun for a maximum time of 10 seconds.
- On Day 2, gaze at the sun for a maximum of 20 seconds.
- Add 10 seconds of gazing time every day.
- After 7.5 months of gazing in this manner, you will be gazing for 35 minutes per session.
- By 9 months, you will be gazing for 44 minutes per session, and this is the maximum time for benefit. Do not exceed 44 minutes per session.
This all sounds quite strange, I know. However, I love practices like this that, without medicine or even food, allow us to do something simple with nature to heal ourselves. While I have not yet done this practice, I plan to begin trying it tonight before sunset.
While scientists are trying to figure out the mechanism of the sun’s rays on the pineal gland, hypothalamus and the brain, HRM is traveling the world as living proof that all the body needs is proper, natural energy to survive.
The longest confirmed period that HRM went without food is 130 days.