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Sungazing, also known as solar healing or sun staring, is the term broadly applied to the practice of staring directly at the sun. It basically refers to looking at the sun at sunrise or sunset to receive nourishment from it.

There is no scientific evidence available to back the claims of sungazers. Hira Ratan Manek (HRM), among others, has proven that a person can live just on solar energy for very long periods without eating any food.  This has come to be known as the HRM phenomenon. Hira Ratan Manek submitted himself to NASA for scientific monitoring, and reported that he was able to survive for extended periods solely on light and occasional beverage, water and buttermilk.  Both supporters and critics of sungazing are keen to see the matter undergo thorough scientific coverage.

How to practice sungazing?

Sungazing is usually a practice followed for a period of 9 months.  It could be broken up in three phases: 0-3months, 3-6months and 6-9months.  This practice is said to activate the pineal gland, the gland responsible for the body's circadian rhythm. The method is used for curing all kinds of psychosomatic, mental and physical illnesses as well as increasing memory power and mental strength by using sunlight.  People who practice this method have observed negative emotions to drop, chronic illnesses to disappear and all obsession with food become a thing of the past. 

The practice requires looking at the rising or setting sun one time per day only during the safe hours.  The safe hours are anytime within 1-hour window after sunrise or anytime within the 1-hr window before sunset.  It is scientifically proven beyond a reasonable doubt that during these times, one is safe from harmful exposure to UV and IR rays.  

Sungazing also has the additional advantage of providing vitamin A and D during the 1-hour safe period window.  Vitamin A is necessary for the health of the eye.  It is said that sungazing could rid you of the spectacles and the associated power in the eye and could provide better eyesight without glasses.  
For a person who is not initially comfortable sungazing during the safe periods, sunbathing is an effective method for receiving the sun energy at a slower pace until he/she is able to sungaze.  Best times to take sunbath is when the UV index is 2 or below.  This usually occurs within the 2-hour window after sunrise or before sunset.  Sun bathing during the day is to be avoided, except for during the winter months, when the UV index usually remains at 2 all throughout. 

0 - 3 months

Look at the sun for a maximum of 10 seconds in the safe hours on the first day, and then go on adding ten seconds every succeeding day. In about three month’s time, you will be doing it for about 15 minutes.  After 3 months of sun gazing, you develop a sense of confidence and positive approach to problems in the society.  There is a balance of the mind, where you get into in a position to judge the correct answers. Besides, mental depression also goes away.

3 - 6 months

Eyes receive the entire spectrum of the sunlight, which is distributed to different parts of the body by the brain on a need per basis. Physical diseases start getting cured in this period. As you proceed in sun gazing and as your tensions decrease, the need for food intake also goes down. You also get liberated from physical ailments over a six-month period.

6 – 9 months

By seven and a half months, you are comfortable sun gazing for 35 min. It is the time when hunger starts going down severely. After 9 months, hunger completely disappears forever. At the end of this period into the practice, you are somewhere around 44 minutes. This is the maximum and you should not exceed 44 minutes.
Post sun gazing practice: simply walk barefoot on bare earth for 45 minutes a day!

After nine months or when you reach to a 44 minutes level, you should give up sun gazing since solar science discourages further gazing for the safety of your eyes.  Your body will start getting discharged when you stop practicing, and thus needs to be recharged. The ideal way to do this is to start relaxed walking on bare foot on bare earth for 45 minutes daily for a total of 6 days.  Any convenient time of the day is all right, however it is preferred to do that when the earth is warmer and the sunlight is falling on your body.
Continue the bare foot walking if you want the immune system to strengthen and want memory power or intelligence to increase. 

Possible dangers and criticism of sungazing

The practice of sungazing is highly controversial. Doctors, scientists, and others almost entirely denounce the practice of sungazing as there is substantial evidence to support the fact that looking directly at the sun for even brief periods of time may cause blindness or severe damages to the eye. Solar retinopathy is a form of damage to the retina of eye due to solar radiation that frequently results from sungazing during a solar eclipse. Although vision loss due to this damage is generally reversible, permanent damage and loss of vision of varying degrees and persistence can also occur. Most eye care professionals advise patients to avoid looking directly at the sun, during solar eclipses and otherwise. There is also evidence indicating that sun exposure can result in skin cancer; but increasing evidence shows that sun exposure reduces colon and breast cancers.

Currently, none of the claims made by sungazers to obtain energy from sunlight or survive without food have been verified or reliably tested according to scientific methods. These claims pf obtaining energy from sunlight are similar to the way plants use photosynthesis to convert sunlight into food energy. However, while plants possess chlorophyll to assist photosynthesis, critics emphasize that the human body has no such apparatus to convert sunlight into a form of energy that could be used as fuel.
 
And even if it was possible for humans to somehow harness solar energy with the eyes and convert it into necessary energy and nutrients, the eyes seem to provide a tiny surface area particularly compared to that of a green plant’s leaves. Further, humans require a far greater amount of energy for sustenance than plants. Thus, sungazing would likely have to be many more times efficient than photosynthesis in plants to produce enough energy to keep a human being even minimally functional.

Sungazers often also claim to achieve spiritual enlightenment by sungazing, again a concept that is much less testable.

Defences of sungazing

Sungazers contradict some of these criticisms saying that these criticisms utilize popular scare tactics against sungazing in an attempt to attach negative emotional feelings to it with relatively very little scientific basis. Sungazers believe that solar retinopathy, blindness, and other potentially harmful eye defects could be avoided by exercising caution. Slowly conditioning one’s eyes to increased levels of light is possible in a manner similar to physical or mental exercise. They recommend to not to sungaze during solar eclipses.

According to sungazers; a great deal of experimentation, analysis, and other work still needs to be done on sungazing. There are different theories that explain how a surface area as small as that provided by the eyes could absorb sunlight and convert it into food energy. Sungazers contend that the human eye may actually possess some sort of photovoltaic cells, and that this may be the means whereby humans can survive on sun energy. 

While sun exposure and the likelihood of skin cancer have been linked by different studies, but sungazers believe that there may not actually be any direct link. The association is in fact much more likely due to the use of different sun blocks on human skin, some of which have been shown to produce carcinogenic effects.

Sungazers so realize that presently there isn’t enough scientific backing for this activity, but they also emphasize that there is little or no evidence that refutes sungazing either. The sungazing community is hopeful that in the future this subject will receive thorough and widespread consideration by science and medicine.