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Hundreds of Indians Fast to Death Every Year in Ancient Santhara Ritual

Fasting is a common religious practice in several cultures across the world, but few are as hardcore as ‘Santhara’. The exacting ritual is a part of Jainism, one of the oldest religions in the world, and it involves participants making an oath to stop eating until they literally die of starvation. According to the Jains, this is a surefire way to purge oneself of bad karma and achieve ‘Moksha’ – liberation from the worldly cycle of death and reincarnation.

Every year, hundreds of Jains across India take up the onerous oath – some are monks, others are ordinary people. Interestingly, over 60 percent of the participants are female, and it is believed that women are more strong-willed than men. The practice is more popular with Jains who are ill or dying, but healthy people are also known to participate.

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Man Lives on Beer and Water Alone, for Lent

J. Wilson, a blogger from Adams County, Iowa, is giving up solid food for Lent, as he investigates and old story about Paulaner monks who lived on beer and water only, during fasting periods.

Wilson, who has been a home beer brewer for more than 14 years, says he’s been considering testing the story of the Paulaner monks firsthand, for a few years now. According to old tales, this order of monks would use a dark, calorie-rich beer known as “liquid bread” to sustain themselves during fasting, when they weren’t allowed to consume solid foods.This happened in mid 16th century Germany, and no one really knows if this mysterious dopplebock ale actually replaced food, so Wilson is trying it out for himself.

Working with the guys at Rock Bottom Restaurant and Brewery, in West Des Moins, the young beer aficionado has created the Illuminator Dopplebock, which has 288 calories per 12-ounce pint, and an alcohol content of 6.67%. Lucky for J. Wilson, the state law has recently changed, allowing beer with more than 5% alcohol to be commercialized. He will consume four pints of Illuminator ale every day (around 1,200 calories) and a lot of water in between, to prevent dehydration.

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