The Weekly Doubt | Issue 6

The Weekly Doubt | Issue 6


Do you ever feel jealous of plants? Just sitting there, stuck in one place, never having to go looking for food, getting all the energy they need from the sunshine that shines right on top of them. What a life! Well, according to the breatharians, you don’t need to bother eating anymore because humans are capable of living without food or water. 

Imagine a world without hunger and malnourishment, without food related disease, where we don’t need to worry about finding drinking water, where animals aren’t farmed in horrific conditions, and you never have to do the dishes again. 

Breatharians believe that a person can give up food and water altogether and live purely off prana, which is a Sanskrit word that translates to “life air” or “life force.” Breatharianism is also call “living on light” or “living on air.” The movement is credited to Jasmuheen, formerly Ellen Greve. In her “Prana Program” Jasmuheen advises followers to convert to Breatharianism gradually by becoming vegetarian, then vegan, then move to raw foods, then fruits, then liquids and finally prana. As of 2012, four deaths have been linked to Jasmuheen’s influence.

Jasmuheen tried to demonstrate the breatharian abilities under scientific supervision. After 48 hours without food or water, Jasmuheen displayed symptoms of acute dehydration, stress, and high blood pressure. Jasmuheen claimed that this was a result of “polluted air”. She was moved out of the city to breath fresher air, but still her speech slowed, her pupils dilated, and she lost six kg in weight. Her pulse was double the rate it started at. The experiment had to be stopped as Jasmuheen was close to kidney failure. 

Mony Vital, a breatharian, said he would “never ever ever ever die”. He believed death was a concept constructed by life insurance companies to make money. In his book “Ageless Living: Freedom from the Culture of Death” Vital claimed that you don’t need water if you breath, even though every living thing, from bacteria to blue whales, needs water to survive. Then, as Penn Gillette put it, “In a moment of both sadness and great hilarity he died in 2013 after lecturing on his alleged immortality. He was in his late 50s.” According to some of his followers, he “made a choice to leave this existence for a higher calling.”

So breatharianism doesn’t work, but don’t worry; the alternative is eating lovely food and drinking nice drinks. You can be spiritual and eat at the same time. Is that really so bad?

This article first appeared in Issue 6, 2016.
Posted 11:47am Sunday 10th April 2016 by Wee Doubt.