Growing up in India, I’ve heard several stories of yogis who would eat nothing, surviving on only sunlight. We never really tested out the theory, assuming it was only the stuff of legends. But a Swiss woman apparently did try it, and the results were not good. She ended up starving herself to death. Looks like she found out the hard way that sunlight isn’t really food unless you’re a plant.
The woman’s real name is unknown, but news reports refer to her as Anna Gut. She was in her early fifties when she first heard about the concept of living off sunlight in the documentary film “In the Beginning There was Light”. The two men portrayed in the film – anthroposophist Michael Werner, 62, and Indian yogi Prahlad Jani, 83, claimed they made use of spiritual practices and sunlight for their sustenance, rather than food. Inspired by the concept of ‘breatharianism’, Anna read a book on the same subject written by Australian Ellen Greve. She then began to follow the instructions provided by the book.
Photo: WTL photos
According to the instructions of the first stage, which Anna followed perfectly, she did not eat or drink anything for a week. She even spat out her saliva. The next two weeks saw her taking in liquids, but no solid food. At this point she was visibly weakened and this got her children very worried. But Anna promised them she would stop her experiment if her condition became too bad. Then one day, last winter, she wouldn’t answer any of her phone calls. When her door was broken down, she was found dead inside her home. The autopsy showed pretty clearly that she had died of starvation.
Surprisingly, Anna Gut is the first Swiss, but not the first person in the world to die from living on ‘pranic nourishment’. Several doctors are of the opinion that breatharianism is nothing short of suicidal. According to Dr. Dee Dawson, a British specialist in eating disorders, “These people must have some sort of psychological problems, I would say, to be doing this. They know perfectly well that you starve if you don’t eat.” Supporters of light or pranic nourishment disagree, however. They feel that the only way people could die from the practice is out of sheer negligence. While it is scientifically established that the body needs energy and hydration from food and drink to survive, according to mystics light carries its own nourishment and nutrients. Several of these mystics point out to the countless gurus who have sat for several years under trees without consuming a morsel.
In the western world, Therese Neumann is known to have stayed without food for two whole weeks while being observed by doctors, without any weight loss or dehydration during the period. Also, the patron saint of Switzerland, Nikolas vod der Flue, is known to have lived for 19 years without food or drink. All these examples however, are insufficient to convince doctors and scientists, and I suppose Anna’s case does prove their point further. As for me, well, even if I could live off sunlight I don’t think I’d be able to resist some chocolate cake!
Two years ago, we posted an article on Prahlad Jani, an old Indian yogi who claimed he could survive on air alone. He was tested in a medical facility and physicians couldn’t figure how his body functioned without any food or water.
via The Local