Esoteric and religious systems have always paid strong attention to sacred physiology, “thin level” body practices, and food regulations; New Age and neo-paganism are not exception, but rarely in the history of humanity had these disciplines achieved such burlesque and ugly forms as in modern Russian neo-paganism.
Historically, Russian sectarian movements have always been eager to all kinds of self-mutilations like skoptsi or flagellants and other extreme body-damaging practices.
Modern Russian neo-paganas are as eager to body experiments as their ancestors have been two, three, or four centuries ago. Self-flagellation hurts and it has lost its charm after rationalism and communism eras; and with their pretensions for the Vedic heritage, and knowledge of Ultimate Truth derived from ancient Arians, Russian neo-pagans focus their body-experimentation vigor (thus providing unlimited number of lols for Internet community) in the sphere of sacred physiology and the achievement of healthy and happy life via food regulation and what can be called “sacred dietetics” – a number of “hypothesises” or “sacred truthes” on proper dietetics for spiritual growth.
The nineties have witnessed a thrive of all kinds of body cleaning (chistka) and “thin body cleaning” procedures, urinotherapy, hypnosis-from-TV healers and the like. Still, the real boom of sacred dietology has sprung in late 2000s.
Ethical lacto-vegetarianism preached by Hare Krishnas and similar groups of Asian origin among neo-pagans is not radical enough for “mysterious Russian soul” which in the moments of spiritual inspiration calls for some devastating cleansing procedures.
Thus, raw-eating trend has become popular in “Russian World” in recent years.
Raw is better
The newly-convert raw-eaters preach their beliefs with such fanatism and zeal that can make many Christian missionaries jealous: it looks like these people can speak of nothing but food, becoming healthy and spiritual ’cause of their new diet – thus this diet becoming the main characteristic for a person’s new identity. People around soon get so used to the new discourse that they find themselves at some point calling the new-converts like Sergei-syroed (сыроед [syroyed] is the Russian for “raw-eater”), Vanya-syroed…
The idea behind is that the Nature (“God”) has created us to eat raw, and if we draw back to these pre-ancient roots we will get very healthy and “spiritual” like our pagan ancestors had been.
The apparent idiocy of this “theory” passes unnoticed by hords of raweating neophytes.
Usually the experiments last for several months (up to two years in most advanced cases) and end up with tough troubles with dentistry. Some people (especially throngs of those post-Soviet individuals, who require psychiatric help, but troll around the streets instead) go even further.
If they don’t stop after teeth problems (interpreted like being not cleansed enough or not “properly harmonised”, many become distrophic, get other problems with digestion, etc.
In first couple months of raw-eating (or becoming vegetarian) the body does really feel relief, but later steadily and slowly the physics takes its harvest and victims’ bodies start suffering from the lack of needed elements. This phenomenon does have its own “spiritual” interpretation – once you’ve started the “spiritual cleaning” all the bad stuff inside – remains of antibiotics, junk-food, bad air stored in our bodies for many years becomes activated. The neophyte has to”pass this stage bravely”.
One of important milestones on this way for females is the ceasation of menstruations – viewed as “high spiritual achievement”.
Health problems of experienced raw-eaters don’t become a lesson for newcomers: thousands new converts appear in post-Soviet space every month filling the forums and social networks with their joy of finding True Way of Life, which teaches how to clean out contaminations of modern perverted civilization with GMO, slag, drugs consumed in childhood, passive smoking, bad food, bad thoughts, and other evil phenomena.
Сharismatic guru Vedaman Vedagor Trehlebov develops a “theory” of spiritual evolution in nutrition:
as a social animal, which has lost connection with Ancestors and their Wisdom you start as meat- and junk-eater. When you get a bit smarter, you become a vegetarian, raw-eater vegetarian, vegan… The last stage in spiritual evolution brings you to the point where you don’t need food at all — prana (Sunrays) eater. Some of Trehlebov’s plagiarists can change stages in this ladder, but the principle idea remains the same: we need to aim our personal development to the stage were we won’t need physical food at all.
Pure cosmic energy’s best!
The whole story with no-food-at-all started in early nineties when the “works” of Australian guru Jasmoohen appeared in the realm of former USSR. The guru stated that it was possible to live without food and advised all kinds of dietetics tricks to “clean oneself” declaring the state where “physical food is not needed anymore” a goal.
The idea received cultural and “theoretic” support in legends about Indian and Buddhist yogis, monk, rishis, and saddhus, as well as stories of Orthodox saints some of which presumably had a siddha of surviving eating nothing but with prayer and Holy Ghost.
The basic notion in this pranic nourishment worldview is that a highly spiritually evolutionied human being doesn’t need any food at all: one of most interesting Russian mystics D.Andreev in his treatise “Roza Mira” described a “spiritual realm” where creatures live with consuming rays of light and other emanations.
Beeing free from food is very tempting for modern Russian soul – if you don’t eat food, you don’t have to spend money and time for eat, you don’t even need to work at all!
The trend has suffered a decade of experimentation by all kinds of schizoterics and truth-seekers,
and sprung as business with the wide spread of Internet in Russian-speaking realm in 2000s. It avoids names like “inedia” or “breatharianism” sounding too scientific or “too American” emphasizing either its “Far East” or “natural Russian” origin.
The most demonstrative example is the case of Olga Podorovskaya — an overweight guru who “feels happy because of the freedom from food” and teaches sun-eating or prana-eating with sexual “tantric” practices via numerous expensive seminars and webinars and provides help (for proper financial compensation) in cases of “disruption” – a case of break of raw-eating or prana-eating in schizoteric jargon.
Another guru is Z.Baranova, who states that she had cured many diseases via inedia and that she knew several thousand people who lived only “pure sun”. Baranova reported to have practised several kinds of chistkas (body cleansing and dieting procedures popular in post-USSR states in the nineties), studied Agni-yoga, and heard the “voice from above” who told her to become vegetarian, reduce food to veg bouillons and finally quit eating.
For sure, most of the prana-eating gurus are mean charlatans – like Jasmoohen, Genesis Sunfire, and other Western breatharian gurus all of whom at some point of their career got into the photographers’ lenses chewing McDonald’s hamburgers. There’s another side, though: esoterics and schizotercis attracts lots of mentally diseased people, many of whom do really believe that they stay without food for months and years and preach their confidence very sincerely and eloquently.
Breatharian victims and risk groups
Theories like the ones described have gained popularity among all kinds of Russian-speaking eso- and schizoterics, followers of “Anastasia” movement, neo-pagans, spiritualists, Vedas-lovers and even some Hare Krishnas all over post-Soviet Union states.
All groups have anything to do with Russian Vedas, yoga, Eastern spirituality, political revival of “Russian World” are in the risk groups.
Reception by the Internet community
Anoter thing to mention about Russian-speaking raw- and especially sun-eating communities in the Internet is their good digital marketing strategy:
in Google’s first SERP in Russian one doesn’t find any critical or negative information about “pranaeaters”, “suneaters” and the like. No critical scientific articles or videos on pnana-eating come into the top-10 infested with suneating advertising and propaganda. That’s not suprising – none of self-respecting scientists will waste time on prana-eating, so, paradoxically, there’s a lack of easy-to-find reliable information on those “theories”, the rare pros and frequent harm of these practices.
Thus, the low-educated newcomer to the movement after spending first several hours watching videos and reading forums on the subject might easily come to the worldview, where there are thousands or even tens of thousands people eating nothing but Sun energy around us.
We have already noted that Russian neopagan movements are very superficial cultural and ideologic phenomenon “with religious coloring” as Soviet propaganda would have called it. They absence of theology, psychetechnics, and other things needed for an organized religion is in their worldview compensated by suppression of critical thingking and strong opposition to science, attempts to find truths in popular culture, superstitions, and traditional practices.
The lack of real inner religious and spiritual life brings emphasis on the outer – swasticas, Nazi cult attributes and symbols, aggression towards foreigners and “ancient truths and practices” like raw-eating and prana- or sun-eating. At the same time, the flow of food-experimenting neophytes nergy eaters has created a big-money business in Russia.
Schizopherenied by crazy propaganda (with a strond element of GermanNazi-like “esoterics”) Russian society easily accepts the trend with inevitable physical and mental harm these experiments bring.
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