Hira Ratan Manek, 85, the man who survived on solar energy for years, passed away here on Saturday. An exponent of the ‘Solar Healing Technique’, Mr. Manek had converted his body into a laboratory to successfully prove to the world that human beings could lead a healthy life consuming only water and using the energy from the sun.
Born in a Gujarati family from Kutch, Mr. Manek lived most of his life in Kozhikode, getting involved in his family’s shipping business. It was a visit to Auroville, Puducherry, in 1962 that ignited the sun worshipper in him. He became a full-time sun worshipper in 1992.
The method, which came to be known as ‘HRM phenomenon’ later, involves gazing at the sun through naked eyes within one hour of sunrise or one hour before sunset. Though it was tough initially, Mr. Manek proved that one could gaze at the sun directly for half an hour if practised for seven months continuously. By the ninth month, the body will become a reservoir of solar energy and can survive without food, he contended.
He claimed that his method could cure all psychosomatic, mental, and physical illnesses and increase memory power and mental strength. He called the human body a super computer, ‘the Brainutor’. His solar healing technique is all about activating the human brain and awakening its infinite powers.
It was his 211-day fasting at Kozhikode in 1995, that shot Mr. Manek to fame. Later he set a Guinness World Record in 2000 at Ahmedabad, undertaking a 411-day fast, which made him a celebrity across the globe.
He conducted lectures at Pennsylvania and Thomas Jefferson Universities in the US. He claimed that astronauts could practise the solar healing technique and survive in space without much food. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) had conducted a study on him in 2002 to verify his claim.
Hira Ratan Manek propagated his ideas through books and lectures across the world. He set up Solar Healing Centres in 120 countries. He was a subject of several experiments for the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) as well as the Indian Medical Association.
Mr. Manek practised solar healing until he turned 80. His wife Vimala passed away just a month ago. Mr. Manek was undergoing treatment for fracture at a hospital in Kozhikode when he passed away.