Beyond Belief

Prahlad Jani is a hermit who claims not to have consumed food or water since he was eight. His claims are disputed by rationalists such as Sanal Edamaruku whose Guardian article suggests that the doctors studying this phenomenon are either not very bright or are colluding in a hoax. Edamaruku has been involved in exposing hoaxes by prominent gurus but the existence of fakes does not prove the non-existence of the authentic.

Ram Bahadur Bomjan (“Buddha Boy”) is another example of this ‘extreme fasting’ phenemenon.

The documentary showing him being continuously recorded sitting in meditation without food or water for 96 hours is evidence that Ram Bomjan is doing something that contradicts what is known by medical science. The sceptical position seems to be that because it is scientifically impossible it must be a fraud.

After his initial disappearance Ram Bomjam re-emerged and now runs a successful guru practice dispensing wisdom (and scarves) as Dharma Sangha aka Palden Dorje:

Perhaps the extreme fasting abilities of Prahlad Jani and Dharma Sangha are clues (rather big clues) that meditation works and that it is possible to transcend the limits of physical laws. Sceptics and ‘realists’ will insist that since physical laws cannot be transcended the inedia phenemenon must be a scam but I am prepared to provisionally accept its authenticity on the basis of this evidence. Whether the phenomenon, these psychic accomplishments, point to spiritual enlightenment is a different matter. There is a problem with gurus but it is not the one that the sceptics are concerned about. The problem for me concerns the incongruities between the teachings and the practice of the gurus. As I read more about Dharma Sangha I found references to a scandal alleging violence, kidnapping and sexual abuse. There is an extremely interesting discussion, following an article referencing the allegations, on the Irregular Times blog.