originally published January 16, 2014
We’re all looking for the answers.
In this chemically-saturated culture of corruption and perpetual impurity, we have a seemingly unending array of potential branches with which we can hoist ourselves a little closer to salvation, to spiritual enlightenment, to… dare I say it?… immortality. So which do we grab? Which branches will support our karmic weight and which ones will snap off, covering our hands and wrists in the sap of disappointment and astral imbalance?
Many follow the security of age-old religion, the oft-translated texts and teachings that have comforted and confounded terrestrial travellers for several millennia. Others opt for less-encompassing and more specifically focussed tenets, such as Transcendental Meditation or staunch veganism. Some folks allow themselves to drift upon the waters of rampant materialism and pop-cultural chew-toys, believing the truth will wash us all clean in the end anyway.
Then there are those who feel the road to the soul’s sustentation runs right through the County of Weird, never intersecting with Reason Street or Common-Sense Boulevard. These are fun people to know, but only if you keep one eye on the nearest exit. Buckle up – you’re about to take a Thursday cruise with the Breatharians.
Breatharianism is the belief that food and water are unnecessary, that human beings can exist solely on light and the Hindu energy of prana, that which binds the universe together. It’s a beautiful and peaceful construct, one which promises a wholly clean and unfettered life, ensconced in the aura of awakening and light, except for that tiny little asterisk because THIS IS ENTIRELY BOGUS AND MORE THAN A LITTLE BAGEL-HUMPINGLY INSANE!
Sorry, I got a little judgy there. That’s not my way – I don’t usually succumb to such acute snootiness in face of others’ beliefs. But this is not so much a religion as a dangerous delusion, and as much as some of my atheist friends may counter that all religion is a dangerous delusion, this one could kill you within a matter of days. Breatharianism comes adorned in the tacky little plastic beads of pseudo-Eastern philosophy, with tiny sequins of actual ideas stitched to a floppy curtain of self-harm.
This is one of the world’s foremost practitioners of this madness:
Born as Ellen Greve in New South Wales, Australia, this is now Jasmuheen, a proponent of light-nourishment (which doesn’t mean eating a salad – it means dining on sunshine) and a frequent speaker at new age gatherings worldwide. She has written several books about her lifestyle for the simple reason I stated at the very top of this kilograph: we’re all looking for the answers. And Jasmuheen knows we’re willing to pay for them.
When the Australian 60 Minutes tried to document Jasmuheen’s assertion that food and water are unnecessary to her survival, she lasted about 48 hours before doctors intervened due to her high blood pressure, dehydration and stress. Jasmuheen claimed this was because of ‘polluted air’, and relocated the experiment outside the city. Four days went by and the film crew stopped shooting as the effects of her abstinence were showing and they didn’t want to be legally liable for her death.
Four deaths have been documented as a direct result of attempting pure breatharianism. Jasmuheen denies any responsibility, even though these followers were allegedly viewing her as a role model. It’s true – it’s not her fault in the end. People should know better. The body needs food.
Prahlad Jani, who is apparently quite proud of his trident, claims to have lived without food or water for the past 72 years. He was observed on two occasions at Sterling Hospital in Ahmedabad, lasting for two weeks without eating or drinking or producing any bodily waste. Closed-circuit TV cameras watched him closely, though there were instances where he was out of frame or even out of the room to bathe in the sun.
Hey, Mahatma Gandhi made it 21 days with only a sip of water here and there. Hunger strikers have gone on record for up to 40 days without swallowing a bite. And clearly Prahlad Jani has the goods in his system to keep on keeping on without any nutritional intake. But 72 years? I don’t buy it.
Nevertheless, no single mystical-maybe can stand up next to the wild claims of Wiley Brooks.
Sure, Wiley Brooks will occasionally indulge in some of our culture’s greasiest grub, but he claims that in a world of junk food and junk culture, this simply provides “balance.” I’m going to refer directly to his website, which you should definitely check out if you have time for a little slack-jawed gaping at the manic weirdness of humanity today.
According to Wiley, December 21, 2012 was actually a thing – not the fiery apocalypse all slathered in horseman quartets, bible-wiggling told-you-so’ers and Jon Cusack, but an influx of deadly heat energies that will destroy any of us who have not achieved the necessary higher vibrations. Wiley’s goal is to populate Earth Prime – that’s the new earth, the one located in the fifth dimension that will unlock untold love and joy and free us all from our pain and fear. That’s right, that earth.
According to Wiley, the secret to achieving this enlightenment comes through meditation, through five key words, and through this:
You see, it’s a complete accident that we humans are stuck here on this 3D world. We are meant to live in the fifth dimension. Most of the food we consume is 3D-based, but when it comes to a Double Quarter Pounder with Cheese meal (with a Diet Coke!), “the sum total frequencies of all of its parts equal the base frequency of that item.” Get it? No? Me neither, but Wiley swears by the stuff.
Basically, the Quarter Pounder with Cheese (or Royale with Cheese in Europe – Wiley wants to save all of us) is a fifth-dimensional food and all McDonalds restaurants are constructed upon 5th dimensional high-energy portals. It’s important not to drink any water during your meditation period, and to forsake all other foods but these. Focus on the five magical 5th dimension words for up to two hours a day.
Your friends won’t drop by and talk to you anymore, but hey – you’ll be headed straight toward the fifth dimension!
Naturally, Wiley’s deepest wisdom comes with a price tag. Just as Jasmuheen keeps poking her fans with books to buy, Wiley’s Immortality Initiation Workshops are only for those who can afford it. He’s based out of New Mexico, but this seminar requires 1 to 2 weeks and some travel around several southwestern states. You’d better hurry though – he may not run another after March 23, as he and his followers may have ascended to the next plane by then.
Oh, and you’d best cash in those savings bonds your great-aunt gave you for your bar mitzvah – the fifth dimension ain’t cheap. Wiley’s workshop will cost you a cool billion dollars.
That’s not a typo. A $100,000 deposit is required right away, but you’ll be responsible for the full billion eventually. This is where Wiley’s pitch runs from a harmless refuge from life’s big questions into big business. I can’t take any system of belief seriously if it demands a heap of bucks to take you to the next spiritual plateau.
At least if all you’re eating and drinking are the occasional fast food meal you’ll probably save a bit of cash. Maybe Wiley will accept McDonalds coupons as partial payment. Or a big suitcase full of fresh air.