loses 30kg in 8 months, attends office daily
accountant Prafull Varjivandas Bakhai, who is a Jain, has managed to go
without food for more than 200 days.
Mr. Bakhai holds the record for fasting for 211 days last year.
He has now broken his own record by fasting for a complete 241 days
till Sunday. Although it may
sound unbelievable, Mr. Bakhai, who began his fast on January 6, has been
living on practically nothing but boiled water twice a day for eight
this correspondent visited him, his fellow Jain disciple of Shree Kot
Vardhaman Sthanakwasi Jain Shravak Sangh confirmed that Mr. Bakhai was
fasting under their observation.
these eight months, not once did Mr. Bakhai have to see a doctor, though
he suffered a drastic weight loss. He
has gone from 59kg to 29kg,” said Kiran Shah, a fellow disciple.
Mr. Bakhai, who works as an accountant in a private firm in South
Mumbai, attended office daily. “He
has been coming to the office right from the first day of his fast,”
said the firm’s owner, Mr. Girish Shah adding, “I often wondered how
he could have managed to board the crowded local trains.”
have an immense amount of faith and love for Bhagwan Mahaveer Swami (Jain
saint),” said Mr. Bakhai. “It
is the faith that gives every disciple an edge over the common human
being, enables you to overpower your physical instincts and makes you
realise the immortality of your soul.
A fast is a form of apology to God for one’s sins.”
asked what drove him to follow such a difficult and trying method of
worship, he said, “ When I was about six years old, my uncle took me to
visit a Jain Acharya (saint) who, while giving me his blessings claimed
that I would never face problems during fasts.”
prophecy came true in later years, as over the next couple of decades he
increased his period of fasting, from 36 days at the initial stage to 241
days at present.
to whether such a long period of fasting is detrimental to one’s health,
Dr. Varsha Vadera, a keen observer of Jain disciples during their fast,
said, “The body goes through several changes like loss of weight and
muscle mass, constipation, starvation, diarrhoea, intolerance to cold and
hypothermia. There is a general decrease in the Basal Metabolic Rate and
pulse. The skin becomes dry,
scaly and loses elasticity. There
is also a tendency for the body to retain water leading to swelling of
legs.” Besides Mr.Bakhai,
Sahaj Muni, a Jain monk had successfully completed 365 days of absolute
abstinence from food from 1996-97, in Bangalore.
Following this a Jain muni, Sadhvi Mohan Malaji completed 311 days
of fast in November 1998, at New Delhi.
Currently another Jain monk, Hirachand Ratanshi Manek, who is in
his 60s, has the record of a 210 days fast.
He aspires to touch the spiritual heights by fasting for 411 days.