Category Archives: The Fire Yogi of Tanjore
The Fire Yogi is a 47 minute documentary exploring a Yogi who has the extraordinary ability to use a unique breathing technique to get into union with Fire. This documentary portrays a rare and unusual Fire Ritual performed by the Yogi and the subsequent chemical analysis of his clothing & physical tests that examine this supernatural phenomenon. The Yogi has performed this Fire Ritual for a total of 1000 days over the last 45 years. The Yogi, weighing a mere 94 pounds (43 kilos), has been able to survive on only two bananas and a mere glass of milk with a few drops of water twice a day for the last 28 years. Many aspects of the Yogi are on the edge of unbelievability, while at the same time highlighting the power and endurance of human mind, body and spirit.
Yogi Rambhauswami, the 63-year-old yogi, claims that in 1975 he stopped drinking more than a few drops of water each day, that two years later he began limiting his daily diet to a banana and a cup of milk, and that he sleeps only three hours each night. By all rights the Sanskrit scholar should be malnourished and dehydrated, but in director and producer Mike Vasan’s documentary, he appears to be a relatively normal, if somewhat slender, senior citizen. Rambhauswami’s real claim to fame, however, is his elaborate fire ritual.
The ritual begins with his taking a bath, then moving on to meditation, pranayama, and a ceremony honoring Ganesha. The fire portion of the ritual is conducted over a sunken pit, into which Rambhauswami offers rice, coconut, sugar cane, and gallons of ghee. As he’s doing this, he goes into a deep meditative state. He enters the blaze and rolls around, protected by only a wool shawl, and remains there, in the fire, for up to 10 minutes at a time.
When Rambhau emerges from the flames, though, there’s little evidence that he’s just been charbroiled. Even his shawl is intact, its preservation credited to a protective aura. The shawl was later tested for fire retardant, and results showed that the material hadn’t been treated.