Miracle man and common mortals
Dr R Nneerunjun Gopee
Everybody must have read about the sadhu – Hindu ascete – in Gujarat who has been ‘discovered’ by doctors and has turned out to be of unique biological and medical interest. About 80 years old, he has lived the last 70 years of his life without feeding (drinking or eating) and without passing urine and stools. He looks fresh, is healthy and is physically active. He spends most of his time in meditation, and claims that at age eight he was divinely endowed with a special boon that has allowed him to live as he has.
He was kept under observation in an Ahmedabad hospital by a team of doctors and physiologists, with 24-hour CCTV surveillance that has confirmed the absence of any intake of drink or food, and neither passing of urine or stools. He has been discharged after spending two weeks in these conditions, and the data collected by the medical men and scientists is being analysed.
It would appear that preliminary results of scan examination show that his organs are like those of a 25-year old.
Imagine if we were all such miracle creatures, right from birth. There would be no need to produce food, and therefore agriculture would have been inexistent: no clearing of forests to grow corn, wheat, rice, vegetables. No need for breeding of animals and slaughtering them for human consumption: no need to send anyone, human or animal, to l’abattoir! Land not spoilt by pesticides and fertilisers. We do not eat, therefore we do not poison ourselves, and remain healthy. No need for markets and food sections in supermarkets. No need to sell bottled water, fizzy drinks, alcohol or tobacco.
No need for cooking or for trips to the loo several times a day. Thus no kitchens and toilets in houses or anywhere else for that matter. No fight among spouses about who will do the dishes. No stinking public toilets. No agricultural activity whatsoever, and minimal industrial activity. Transport needs to haul food and the raw materials to produce food eliminated.
No need for any sewerage system or for extensive landfill sites, or massive incinerators. All this adds up to no pollution, or minimal levels of pollution that we can cope with. The air is clean, and therefore we are not exposed to allergens. No allergic respiratory diseases.
What do we do with the fruits that nature produces? Well, they are there for us to admire. Everyone is an artist or a poet who spends time in contemplation and recording of nature’s beauty and bounty. Since there is no competition for drink or food, we do not need to work long hours – or perhaps not even work at all? And therefore no stress.
As a result, we would hardly fall ill, there would be very few hospitals, and whatever ones existed would be of small size. Those much-maligned doctors would be out of a job, and health professionals would be reduced to a minimum.
There would be no chefs and cordon bleus anywhere in the world. In Mauritius, tourists would still come for sun, sand, sea and surf, and eco-tourism in the various domaines opening up. The deer would gambol about in the open, tourists would enjoy playing with them as they would not be killed for consumption, thus no hunting season.
In France and other wine producing countries oenology as art and science would grind to a halt. The Scotch would have to find other reasons for making Scotland famous. Scotch-guzzling Indians will have to fall back on other trinkets to show off their phoren-ness.
Goodness me, what a dull world eh?
A lot of… er, food for thought? Alas, we have to come down to earth, for all the rest of us are but common mortals with our standard biological needs. But what the ‘miracle man’ shows is that we can reduce our needs to the minimum, and then perhaps there will not be all these quarrels for land grabbing and military-industrial complexes which are associated with greed and corruption. May be too simplistic a scenario, and too ideal a world to be imagined, but who knows that clues obtained from a study of the sadhu’s life may allow us to really cut down on requirements in daily life, and not necessarily only as survival tactics during catastrophes such as earthquakes and so on.
At the very least the example of the sadhu demonstrates that the human being has as yet unknown, and therefore untapped potential that can help him to live a saner life. Further, it shows that we can do away with many of the things we have come to feel that we absolutely cannot do without – in other words, many if not most of them are superfluous. This should lead us to call into question many of the values and principles on which we base our current mode of life, and we will perhaps not then be surprised that we may have to rethink and alter them, and found our existences on a few simpler, core concepts.
Thank you, Sadhuji, for the lessons that will emerge from your experience and your way of life.