Prahlad Jani claims he has lived without food or drink for the past 70 years, yet I can't spend two hours playing World of Warcraft without having to pee. What could I possibly learn from this Indian holy man?
Jani recently spent a period of two weeks being observed by a team of military doctors in the western India state of Gujarat, to test claims that he could survive without food or drink for an extended period of time. The holy man was confined to a hospital, where a team of 30 monitored his every move and a camera recorded every moment of his captivity.
Suspecting a trick, as any rational scientist would, the doctors of India's Defense Research and Development Organization were baffled as Jani proceeded to spend fifteen days without eating, drinking, or using the toilet.
"We still do not know how he survives," neurologist Sudhir Shah told reporters after the end of the experiment. "It is still a mystery what kind of phenomenon this is."
A mystery that any MMO player would love to solve. Imagine the sort of play time one could accrue if they never had to get up to pee, or run to the door to pay the pizza guy.
Unfortunately, the situation isn't quite as simple as it seems, and one major snag might ruin the chance MMO players have at gaming immortality.
"(Jani's) only contact with any kind of fluid was during gargling and bathing periodically during the period," G. Ilavazahagan, director of India's Defense Institute of Physiology and Allied Sciences (DIPAS), said in a statement.
If the holy man was cheating during the two-week period, bathing would have been his only chance to do so. If the key to being without food or water for an extended period of time lies in bathing, MMO players might want to stick with pizza and Mountain Dew.
Going without food for two weeks is certainly possible. especially when you aren't doing anything but sitting and meditating. During the Irish hunger strike of 1981, Irish Republican prisoner Laurence McKeown lasted 70 days taking only water and salt. Of course, he had salt, and water.
Not drinking water is much more difficult. The average human can last perhaps three days without water. Being a skeptic, as well as a bearded man, I wouldn't be surprised if Jani wasn't sucking a little excess moisture from that impressive beard he's got going to keep himself hydrated.
Still according to the monitoring scientists who tested Jani extensively during the 15 day period, all reported results were well within established safety ranges, leading them to conclude that something strange is going on. Duh.
"If Jani does not derive energy from food and water, he must be doing that from energy sources around him, sunlight being one," said Shah. "As medical practitioners we cannot shut our eyes to possibilities, to a source of energy other than calories."
While doctors await the results of DNA analysis, molecular biological studies and tests on his hormones, enzymes, energy metabolism and genes, gamers, members of the press, and the makers of Gamer Grub hang on the edge of their seats.
'Starving yogi' astounds Indian scientists [Physorg.com]