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RE: [Indo-Eurasia] 'Breatharianism" -- fact or fraud?

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  • Lars Martin Fosse
    Dan, my tongue-in-cheek suggestion about waterabsorbing yogis was based on a process of elimination. Humans and other animals cannot survive without water. If
    Message 1 of 16 , May 1, 2010
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      Dan,

      my tongue-in-cheek suggestion about waterabsorbing yogis was based on a
      process of elimination. Humans and other animals cannot survive without
      water. If they don't drink, they must necessarily get the humidity they need
      some other way. Now, some animals drink (and even breathe) through their
      skin, so this would seem to be the only logical solution if we accept the
      premise that they don't get water by way of mouth (however, when it comes to
      yogis, I wouldn't put it past them to get water by way of the rectum).
      Keratin is the stuff that keeps water on the outside of the skin, that is
      why I suggested some kind of keratin deficiency. But the point is: you
      cannot simply accept the idea that people don't drink and eat at all. If
      they don't do it one way, they must do it some other way.

      The yogic practices referred to are of course known to me to, but I don't
      seriously believe that nectar is dripping from the palate! This is the sort
      of explanation you would expect from a yogi. I suspect that striving to
      become a real breatharian is a bit like looking for the lapis philosophi.
      Such people may be out there, but finding them is impossible.

      Explaining the whole thing as a fraud is of course the simple solution.

      LM





      From:
      Dr.art. Lars Martin Fosse
      Haugerudvn. 76, Leil. 114,
      0674 Oslo - Norway
      Phone: +47 22 32 12 19 Fax: +47 850 21 250
      Mobile phone: +47 90 91 91 45
      E-mail: lmfosse@...





      _____

      From: Indo-Eurasian_research@yahoogroups.com
      [mailto:Indo-Eurasian_research@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Dan Lusthaus
      Sent: Saturday, May 01, 2010 12:42 AM
      To: Indo-Eurasian_research@yahoogroups.com
      Subject: Re: [Indo-Eurasia] 'Breatharianism" -- fact or fraud?





      Lars wrote:

      Have a little faith, Dan!

      [...]

      It is, however, interesting that not only Christianity, but also Hinduism
      has these non-drinkers and non-eaters.

      A Christian example is Therese Neumann, who claimed that for many years she

      As I mentioned, not just Hindus but Chinese as well. Breatharianism has been
      a venerated practice in China at least since the Han dynasty, with legends
      and how-to manuals going back 1800 years or so. There are still
      practitioners or claimants to the art in China today, where breatharian
      retreats are common.

      Being skeptical doesn't mean dismissing things a priori. That would be
      closed-mindedness. Skepticism, however, demands viable evidence. The doctors
      are not providing us with that, and James Randi provides an important
      methodological caution concerning their abilities to observe what needs to
      be observed.

      Have any evidence, Lars, or just faith? :-)

      Dan

      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]







      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • Dan Lusthaus
      John Robert writes: But when we consider that some of the farthest reaches of what the best of empiricism in science - physics - have found, at the sub-atomic
      Message 2 of 16 , May 1, 2010
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        John Robert writes:


        But when we consider that some of the farthest reaches of what the best of
        empiricism in science - physics - have found, at the sub-atomic level, that
        there is, for instance, more "space" in an ingot of lead than there is lead
        ... the whole issue of who is taking things on faith in this discussion
        becomes rather universal.



        This expresses a common misconception about evidence, which is that it must plainly available to an untutored gaze. That's not how it works. We would have no idea about the small percentage of area occupied by particles in what on the macro level appears to be a solid object without evidence of various sorts. If you have doubts about the veracity of that account of the constitution of things, then you can test it, and if you or others cannot replicate the results, you are obligated to reject the theory. You might have to learn something more detailed about subatomic physics and its experimental modalities to conduct the tests, but they are not an esoteric secret. Any good college course on the subject will get you started.

        Claims about amrta dripping from one's palette is quite another thing. If the physicist told you that all subatomic particles are paisley, trust her, no evidence is necessary, why would you be less inclined to believe that than that someone can live without nourishment or expelling waste?

        This is not about whether to maintain narrow limits on the possible a priori, but about a request for evidence. 100 years ago if someone (in the West) would have said he could break a brick with his bare hands, people would have scoffed, and been amazed when he demonstrated it. Today any fourth grader can break a brick after a few months in a karate class. Nothing special or amazing (unless you can't do it). The difference between this and eating divine amrta? Demonstrable evidence.

        Dan

        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      • Francesco Brighenti
        Dear List, I didn t expect my initial post to cause such a flurry of weekend responses! An instructive discussion anyway. Thanks to all -- Lars Martin, Dan,
        Message 3 of 16 , May 1, 2010
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          Dear List,

          I didn't expect my initial post to cause such a flurry of "weekend" responses! An instructive discussion anyway. Thanks to all -- Lars Martin, Dan, Joanna, and John Robert.

          I, too, fear this is probably a fraud, and that's the reason why I had provided, last in the series of links I had included in my post, the URL address of the Indian Rationalist Association's webpage at

          http://www.rationalistinternational.net/article/20031201_en.htm

          on which the Indian Ministry of Defense is accused of having "obviously been taken in by the absurd claims of a village fraud."

          What has been overlooked in all the posts that followed my initial note on this alleged case of "breatharianism" is, however, the full-blown reasons behind the Indian Ministry of Defense's interest for this case. Leaving aside the usefulness of Prahlad Jani's supposed "breatharian" strategy for survival for India's planned missions to the Moon and ("in the long run", as they say) to Mars, as well as its usefulness for teaching people how to survive without food and water during natural calamities (how could they teach such a "strategy for survival" -- admitted there *is* one -- to more than one billion Indians?), we are left with the longed-for military applications of "breatharianism", which are openly stated by Dr. G. Ilavazhagan, Director, Defense Institute of Physiology and Allied Science (DIPAS, the military scientific institute that is currently studying Prahlad Jani's case):

          http://tinyurl.com/3yvg6jk
          "This may help in working out strategies for survival without food and water when it is not available… [O]ur soldiers may [...] face this situation when they are left in the deserts or in forest or in high altitude areas."

          http://tinyurl.com/34o8dzq
          "We have soldiers manning border areas where food and water is not easily available. We are trying to locate Jani's source of energy. If this can be transferred to the soldiers, or utilised by them in some manner, it will be greatly beneficial. [...] Jani says he meditates to get energy. Our soldiers will not be able meditate, but we would still like to find out more about the man and his body."

          Translation: they are apparently looking for a means to transfer the Tantric 'siddhi' attributed to this hermit -- a staunch devotee of goddess Ambaji, whose shrine in Gujarat is one of the most celebrated Shakti-pithas of India and, by extension, a Tantric seat of power -- onto the soldiers of the Indian army!

          Isn't this equation (Tantric siddhis = 'supernatural' military prowess) typical of certain Shakta-tantric traditions, whose memory is specially carried on by some kshatriya (warrior) groups within Hindu society? This interpretation would account for the extreme interest shown by the Indian Ministry of Defense for Prahlad Jani's "breatharian" power.

          Cheers,
          Francesco
        • Lars Martin Fosse
          Francesco, I believe the American army also was reputed for looking into the military value of supposed supernatural practices. People are often naïve as
          Message 4 of 16 , May 1, 2010
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            Francesco, I believe the American army also was reputed for "looking into"
            the military value of supposed supernatural practices. People are often
            naïve as soon as they venture outside their normal intellectual turf. It
            would be interesting if shaktic ways of thinking still make an impact on
            India's military, but a breatharian army would probably not get far, and
            certainly not to Mars. To make sure, I think the Indians should consult an
            alien. Aliens should know about this.

            LM



            From:
            Dr.art. Lars Martin Fosse
            Haugerudvn. 76, Leil. 114,
            0674 Oslo - Norway
            Phone: +47 22 32 12 19 Fax: +47 850 21 250
            Mobile phone: +47 90 91 91 45
            E-mail: lmfosse@...





            _____

            From: Indo-Eurasian_research@yahoogroups.com
            [mailto:Indo-Eurasian_research@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Francesco
            Brighenti
            Sent: Saturday, May 01, 2010 2:40 PM
            To: Indo-Eurasian_research@yahoogroups.com
            Subject: [Indo-Eurasia] Re: 'Breatharianism" -- fact or fraud?





            Dear List,

            I didn't expect my initial post to cause such a flurry of "weekend"
            responses! An instructive discussion anyway. Thanks to all -- Lars Martin,
            Dan, Joanna, and John Robert.

            I, too, fear this is probably a fraud, and that's the reason why I had
            provided, last in the series of links I had included in my post, the URL
            address of the Indian Rationalist Association's webpage at

            http://www.rational
            <http://www.rationalistinternational.net/article/20031201_en.htm>
            istinternational.net/article/20031201_en.htm

            on which the Indian Ministry of Defense is accused of having "obviously been
            taken in by the absurd claims of a village fraud."

            What has been overlooked in all the posts that followed my initial note on
            this alleged case of "breatharianism" is, however, the full-blown reasons
            behind the Indian Ministry of Defense's interest for this case. Leaving
            aside the usefulness of Prahlad Jani's supposed "breatharian" strategy for
            survival for India's planned missions to the Moon and ("in the long run", as
            they say) to Mars, as well as its usefulness for teaching people how to
            survive without food and water during natural calamities (how could they
            teach such a "strategy for survival" -- admitted there *is* one -- to more
            than one billion Indians?), we are left with the longed-for military
            applications of "breatharianism", which are openly stated by Dr. G.
            Ilavazhagan, Director, Defense Institute of Physiology and Allied Science
            (DIPAS, the military scientific institute that is currently studying Prahlad
            Jani's case):

            http://tinyurl. <http://tinyurl.com/3yvg6jk> com/3yvg6jk
            "This may help in working out strategies for survival without food and water
            when it is not available… [O]ur soldiers may [...] face this situation when
            they are left in the deserts or in forest or in high altitude areas."

            http://tinyurl. <http://tinyurl.com/34o8dzq> com/34o8dzq
            "We have soldiers manning border areas where food and water is not easily
            available. We are trying to locate Jani's source of energy. If this can be
            transferred to the soldiers, or utilised by them in some manner, it will be
            greatly beneficial. [...] Jani says he meditates to get energy. Our soldiers
            will not be able meditate, but we would still like to find out more about
            the man and his body."

            Translation: they are apparently looking for a means to transfer the Tantric
            'siddhi' attributed to this hermit -- a staunch devotee of goddess Ambaji,
            whose shrine in Gujarat is one of the most celebrated Shakti-pithas of India
            and, by extension, a Tantric seat of power -- onto the soldiers of the
            Indian army!

            Isn't this equation (Tantric siddhis = 'supernatural' military prowess)
            typical of certain Shakta-tantric traditions, whose memory is specially
            carried on by some kshatriya (warrior) groups within Hindu society? This
            interpretation would account for the extreme interest shown by the Indian
            Ministry of Defense for Prahlad Jani's "breatharian" power.

            Cheers,
            Francesco







            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
          • JKirkpatrick
            Thanks John Robert for a morning elevation to different heights, good thing for May Day. Also, thanks for the factoid about sub-atomic lead, a new view for me
            Message 5 of 16 , May 1, 2010
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              Thanks John Robert for a morning elevation to different heights,
              good thing for May Day. Also, thanks for the factoid about
              sub-atomic
              lead, a new view for me and I love it.

              As for Baba Jani's "hole" in the palate, strikes me as his
              description
              of what goes on between the sinuses and the throat. This hole is
              likely
              a vernacular view of someone who never had a class in physiology!

              If so, taking the idea of a "hole in the palate" literally, to be
              subjected
              to empirical investigation, is no doubt mistaken. meanwhile, the
              doctor
              flock of putative empiricists doing the swabs etc., are sharing
              in the
              media sensationalism and gaining some attention.
              Everybody --Baba Jani, the docs, the audiences-- is having fun.

              Joanna K.

              _______________________________________

              ..............................................................
              the whole issue of "faith"
              and "evidence" become really fun verbal foppery when pushed to
              extremes.
              Imagine, a bastion of empiricism, the science of physics, driven
              by it's
              most powerful yajna's to find things that can only be called
              "charm" and
              "strange" making up the only tangible heart of the "what is" that
              forms
              their methodological bedrock. The rest is just space ... unless
              Cern finds
              the god-particle ... but, then, how that sounds like more "faith"
              than
              "science" is an adumbration ...

              Personally, I'll take some amrta from a hole in the palate ...
              that's as
              tangible as things called "charmed and strange" making up less
              than the
              predominant space that is what we touch, see, and weigh as "lead"
              ...

              Sorta makes empiricism the ultimate act of faith, doesn't it?

              john robert

              On Fri, 30 Apr 2010 18:41:47 -0400, "Dan Lusthaus"
              <vasubandhu@... <mailto:vasubandhu%40earthlink.net> >
              wrote:
              > Lars wrote:
              >
              > Have a little faith, Dan!
              >
            • Dan Lusthaus
              Francesco, The mixing of yogic powers with martial applications has a long history in China -- the most famous example perhaps being the Boxer Rebellion at the
              Message 6 of 16 , May 1, 2010
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                Francesco,

                The mixing of yogic powers with martial applications has a long history in China -- the most famous example perhaps being the Boxer Rebellion at the turn of the 20th c, named for the belief of the martial artists that their practice made them invulnerable to bullets. They had faith, and the bullets killed them.

                Joanna,

                "If so, taking the idea of a "hole in the palate" literally, to be
                subjected to empirical investigation, is no doubt mistaken."

                On the contrary, that is precisely the sort of thing that could be ascertained empirically. It would prove there is no hole, and that he is producing mucuous. I'm beginning to wonder what some people believe "empirical" means.

                "Everybody --Baba Jani, the docs, the audiences-- is having fun."

                Assuming it is all harmless fun.

                Dan

                [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
              • Trudy Kawami
                All of which brings to mind a film I saw recently, Men Staring at Goats. Every military culture has someone looking for that extra angle, that special edge.
                Message 7 of 16 , May 3, 2010
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                  All of which brings to mind a film I saw recently, "Men Staring at
                  Goats." Every military culture has someone looking for that extra
                  angle, that special edge. On human nature I can only recommend that
                  scholarly expert from Connecticut, "Prof." P. T. Barnum. :-)

                  Trudy Kawami

                  ______________________________

                  Francesco Brighenti wrote:

                  Dear List,

                  I didn't expect my initial post to cause such a flurry of "weekend"
                  responses! An instructive discussion anyway. Thanks to all -- Lars
                  Martin, Dan, Joanna, and John Robert.

                  I, too, fear this is probably a fraud, and that's the reason why I had
                  provided, last in the series of links I had included in my post, the URL
                  address of the Indian Rationalist Association's webpage at

                  <http://www.rationalistinternational.net/article/20031201_en.htm>

                  on which the Indian Ministry of Defense is accused of having "obviously
                  been taken in by the absurd claims of a village fraud."

                  What has been overlooked in all the posts that followed my initial note
                  on this alleged case of "breatharianism" is, however, the full-blown
                  reasons behind the Indian Ministry of Defense's interest for this case.
                  Leaving aside the usefulness of Prahlad Jani's supposed "breatharian"
                  strategy for survival for India's planned missions to the Moon and ("in
                  the long run", as they say) to Mars, as well as its usefulness for
                  teaching people how to survive without food and water during natural
                  calamities (how could they teach such a "strategy for survival" --
                  admitted there *is* one -- to more than one billion Indians?), we are
                  left with the longed-for military applications of "breatharianism",
                  which are openly stated by Dr. G. Ilavazhagan, Director, Defense
                  Institute of Physiology and Allied Science (DIPAS, the military
                  scientific institute that is currently studying Prahlad Jani's case):

                  http://tinyurl.com/3yvg6jk <http://tinyurl.com/3yvg6jk>
                  "This may help in working out strategies for survival without food and
                  water when it is not available... [O]ur soldiers may [...] face this
                  situation when they are left in the deserts or in forest or in high
                  altitude areas."

                  http://tinyurl.com/34o8dzq <http://tinyurl.com/34o8dzq>
                  "We have soldiers manning border areas where food and water is not
                  easily available. We are trying to locate Jani's source of energy. If
                  this can be transferred to the soldiers, or utilised by them in some
                  manner, it will be greatly beneficial. [...] Jani says he meditates to
                  get energy. Our soldiers will not be able meditate, but we would still
                  like to find out more about the man and his body."

                  Translation: they are apparently looking for a means to transfer the
                  Tantric 'siddhi' attributed to this hermit -- a staunch devotee of
                  goddess Ambaji, whose shrine in Gujarat is one of the most celebrated
                  Shakti-pithas of India and, by extension, a Tantric seat of power --
                  onto the soldiers of the Indian army!

                  Isn't this equation (Tantric siddhis = 'supernatural' military prowess)
                  typical of certain Shakta-tantric traditions, whose memory is specially
                  carried on by some kshatriya (warrior) groups within Hindu society? This
                  interpretation would account for the extreme interest shown by the
                  Indian Ministry of Defense for Prahlad Jani's "breatharian" power.
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