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Sri Sahajmuniji Maharaj -- a copy of an article.

 
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JMW



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PostPosted: Mon Jan 28, 2008 12:27 pm    Post subject: Sri Sahajmuniji Maharaj -- a copy of an article. Reply with quote

Indian Monk Breaks Year Long Fast, Only Warm Water Twice Daily

By Y.P. Rajesh

5-1-98, BANGALORE, India (Reuters)

A Jain monk ended a 365-day-long fast in south India Friday, drinking half a cup of warm water mixed with cloves, saffron and other herbs. ``Sri Sahajmuniji Maharaj decided to break his fast three and a half hours after sunrise and did so in the presence of other monks,'' said Manakchand Kothari, secretary of the Jain religious organization where the monk had fasted since May 1, 1997.

Sahajmuniji, 65, clad in white robes and sitting cross-legged, said he undertook the fast for self-purification that would spread peace and brotherhood and influence people to shun discrimination and regional differences. During the fast he lived by drinking hot water -- once after sunrise and once before sunset -- at the Jain religious center in Bangalore.

Doctors say that, under normal circumstances, two months is about as long as a human can survive without nourishment. ``It has been possible probably due to the combination of his will power and his experience of fasting,'' said Dr Prakash Chand, a consultant radiologist and ultrasonologist, who helped look after the monk's health. The two doctors who examined Sahajmuniji Friday said his vital systems were normal, outside of a pulse rate that rose after he consumed herbal water. Sukumar Shetty, a general medicine consultant at Bangalore hospital, said Sahajmuniji's long fast was ``very, very unusual and difficult to explain medically.'' ``It may be possible for a few weeks to live only on water and practically impossible to maintain normal health. Water has no calories and the body's reserves of fat and protein cannot last for one year,'' Shetty said.

The doctors said Sahajmuniji weight had dropped from 173 pounds before the fast to 95 pounds. ``Protein levels have come down; his lipid profile shows a decrease in levels and his fat deposits have been fully utilized. He is almost skin and bone now,'' the doctors said. Leaders of political parties, including India's new Home Minister L.K. Advani, were among thousands of devotees who visited the monk to seek his blessings. At least 30 million Indians practice Jainism, a religion that started about 1,800 years ago and preaches peace, celibacy and austerity.

Monks say it centers on sacrifice and self-mortification, contending that strict discipline offers the only escape from a mundane world. The tightly-knit Jain community is dominated by a rich business class with a large influence on India's economic activities. Sahajmuniji held his first fast in 1964 in the northern Indian state of Haryana. In 1994, he abstained from food for 201 days in Bombay, India's commercial capital. Kothari said Sahajmuniji would gradually return to a normal diet over two weeks, moving from water to milk and soft food before consuming solid food.
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