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Prahlad Jani: The Man Who Lived Without Food or Water for 80 years

Updated on August 26, 2020
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Readmikenow has written about various medical conditions. He has previously written a series of articles on Polyarteritis nodosa.

Prahlad Jani
Prahlad Jani

He was born in the Charada village, which is currently located in Gujarat, India, in 1929. Prahlad Jani was seven years old when he left his home and decided to go and live in the jungle. According to Jani, he was 12 when he had a deeply spiritual experience. It resulted in him becoming a follower of Amba, a Hindu goddess. He then decided to wear the clothes of a female Amba devotee. He would wear a red flower in his shoulder-length hair, a red garment that appeared to be a sari as well as jewelry. During this time, he was often referred to as Mataji or the great mother.

No Food or Water

Jani came to believe the Goddess Amba gave him water. This water went down through a hole in his palate. Jani believes this enabled him to live without food or water. In the 1970s, Jani began living in the forest of Gujarat in a cave. He lived as a hermit. Initially, there was no way to confirm Jani's claim of living without food and water. Physicians know a normal person is unable to go without food or water for an extended time. Should such a thing occur, a person's body will experience organ damage and their body will begin breaking down. Jani's claim of being able to survive for decades with no food or water attracted the interest of the medical community in India.

Dr. Sudhir Shah
Dr. Sudhir Shah

Scientific Testing

There were two observational studies conducted in 2003 and 2010 of Jani. These studies were conducted at Sterling Hospital in Ahmedabad, India by a neurologist named Dr. Sudhir Shah. In each of the studies, Dr. Shah was able to confirm that Jani was able to be healthy without having food or water during the entire period of the study. A spokesperson for the team involved in the study said their findings would be kept confidential until all the possible results had been established. Other physicians not involved with the study have questioned the validity of the research conducted.

Prahlad Jani being examined
Prahlad Jani being examined

2003 Study

During this time, Jani was observed for a 10-day period and remained in a sealed room. The physicians involved in the study said that Jani passed no stool or urine during this entire time. They did observe that urine did seem to be forming in Jani's bladder. Others involved in the study claimed that in all other ways Jani was physically normal. Physicians did state there was a hole in Jani's palate and that it was in an abnormal condition. Results of the 10-day study period showed Jani's weight decreased only slightly. This has led some to claim this makes it doubtful Jani could go without food or water indefinitely.

2010 Study

This time the Indian Defense Institute of Physiology and Allied Sciences (DIPAS) provided 35 researchers to help observe Jani. Dr. Sudhir Shah and other organizations also participated in the study. The Indian military believed the results of the study could benefit mankind. If there is a way victims of disasters, astronauts, or even soldiers could go without food or water for long periods, it could save their lives when experiencing difficult situations.

It was obvious that Jani's skill with yoga enabled him to control the physiological functions of his body. A team regularly observed Jani. Clinical examinations, as well as scans of his body and blood tests, were done daily. Jani was observed 24 hours a day with CCTV camera surveillance as well as personal observations. Those involved in the study took Jani out of the sealed room for certain testing as well as exposure to the sun. His only contact with liquids was during his periodic bathing and daily gargling. This was done under constant video recording.

Prahlad Jani under observation in hospital
Prahlad Jani under observation in hospital

After 15 Days

Upon the completion of the 15th day of observation, Jani had not eaten or drunk anything. He never went to the bathroom. Results of all the medical tests performed on Jani showed he was normal. Researchers reported the level of liquid contained in Jani's bladder would fluctuate. They agreed it seemed as if Jani could generate urine in his bladder, but he never passed any urine. Researchers measured Jani's two appetite-related hormones, ghrelin, and leptin. They believe it is possible he may have had some advanced ability to deal with water restriction and starvation.

Brain Imaging Study

In 2017, a team of researchers conducted an imaging study of Jani. After collecting images of Jani's brain, the Pituitary, and the Pineal gland were measured. The results showed the size of these glands in Jani was the same as that of a 10-year-old boy. The study results have been published in scientific journals.

Poster for Austrian Documentary "In the Beginning There was Light".
Poster for Austrian Documentary "In the Beginning There was Light".


A documentary called The Boy with Divine Powers was aired in 2006. It featured an interview with Jani and Dr. Shah. The Independent Television Network (ITN) in 2010 had an article and video featuring Jani that covered the testing done on him in 2010. An Austrian documentary featuring Jani was released in 2010 and was called In the Beginning There was Light.


Prahlad Jani died on May 26, 2020, in Charada, India due to old age. He was 90 years old. It is acknowledged that Jani spent his life performing a daily routine of mediation and yoga. Dr. Shah told reporters they could not determine how he survived. It will remain a mystery as to what type of phenomenon kept Jani alive for so long without him taking any sustenance.


Many skeptics point to the fact that the study conducted by India's Defense organization DIPAS was never submitted for peer review or published.

Sanal Edamaruku is the founder and president of Rationalist International. He said the experiments were a farce. He claims Jani was able to move out of camera view. Jani also received devotees and could leave the sealed test room to do sunbathing. Edamaruku also believes Jani's bathing and gargling were not properly monitored.

Many people in the scientific community point to the biological law that no animal or human has the ability to survive without the regular intake of water and food.

© 2020 Readmikenow


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