Between Master and Disciples
Maria Furtner: The Water Drinker from Frasdorf (In German)      
This program discusses the possibility of breatharianism, or living without eating food, and is not a full instruction. For your safety, please do not attempt to cease eating without proper expert guidance. For your safety, please do not attempt to cease eating without proper expert guidance.

Today’s Between Master and Disciples – “Maria Furtner: The Water Drinker from Frasdorf” – will be presented in German with subtitles in Arabic, Aulacese (Vietnamese), Bulgarian, Chinese, Czech-Slovak, English, French, German, Hindi, Hungarian, Indonesian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Malay, Mongolian, Persian, Polish, Portuguese, Punjabi, Russian, Spanish and Thai.

In scriptures, the human body is often referred to as the temple of God. Yet, it is quite an uncommon privilege for any soul to attain this sacred abode that houses the Divine, as it is truly a blessing to be reborn as a human being. On several occasions, Supreme Master Ching Hai has spoken about the rarity of this phenomenon:

To be reincarnated in the human world is hard. You have to have enough Human Quality. You have to have affinity with the parents and with the society, with the people around which you are born. Very difficult. To be a human, you need some merit. You have done something good in the past in order to be able to pick a human birth.

As a living temple of God, the human body is fully equipped with miraculous wonders that can be awakened in those who are spiritually conscious and have complete faith in the Creator of all life. Inedia, Latin for “fasting,” is the human ability to live without food. Since time immemorial, there have always been individuals who can sustain themselves on prana, or the vital life force. Through the grace of the Providence, inediates, people who follow a food-free lifestyle, can draw the energy from nature to nourish themselves:

They live on the chi from the ground, or from the forest, and from the sun and from the air. They make use of all that. Or they live on love, on faith alone. These individuals are known as breatharians(pranarians or inediates), solarians, or waterians, and they come from all walks of life, from different cultures, and all corners of the world.

Indeed, the possibilities and miracles in this life as our benevolent Creator has designed for us are endless; we only need to connect within to recognize our abounding largess as God’s children. Supreme Master Ching Hai has lovingly recommended a weekly series on Supreme Master Television to introduce those individuals of the past and present who have chosen to live food-free on Earth. May their spiritual stories enthrall you; may hearts be opened, and horizons be expanded. We now invite you to join us for part 1 of our two-part program “Maria Furtner: The Water Drinker from Frasdorf” on Between Master and Disciples.

For 52 years Maria Furtner lived without food. Her only apparent source of sustenance – water. How is this possible in 19th century Germany? Let us find out. Maria was born in 1821 in Weizenreit near Frasdorf, district Rosenheim, in Bavaria in South Germany, in a deeply religious farming family. Growing up, Maria was mostly a vegetarian as her family only ate meat five days a year and usually on certain holidays. As a child, Maria was healthy and consumed food as everyone else, until 1835, when she and her siblings came down with smallpox.

All the children in her family survived the illness, but in Maria’s case, the disease triggered other diseases that caused her life to be in serious danger. Although Maria recovered after each of these bouts of diseases, each time she fell ill, her feeling of hunger decreased. First, she felt repulsion to warm food, but later she also couldn’t take cold food anymore. From that moment onwards, 11-year-old Maria lived solely on water. Maria’s parents were very concerned but all attempts to make her eat again failed. However, even though Maria had stopped consuming food, she was quite well after she had recovered from smallpox. She was described as being slightly on the thin side, but other than that, she ran and played about happily, could do minor chores such as plucking apples, and helping out in the kitchen.

Elisabeth, Maria Furtner’s niece, remembered: “When the water drinker [Maria] suddenly stopped eating, our family members visited different physicians. But they also didn’t know why it happened that the girl wouldn’t eat anymore. She was given different kinds of medicine but nothing helped. She just didn’t have an appetite. Finally, our family members stopped trying to cure her. With the passing of time, people got used to it that the girl didn’t eat. They just said, ‘The girl from Weizenreit simply doesn’t eat.’”

Within the next five years Maria’s family and friends gradually accepted the fact that she wouldn’t eat and stopped talking about it altogether. Then in 1841, the local physician, Dr. Carl Ramis, reported about Maria to Dr. Joseph Zetl in Rosenheim who initiated a royal investigation. First, he wrote to the priest of Frasdorf, Jakob Niedereder, and asked for his report about Maria. The priest confirmed Maria’s food-free state in which her only apparent source of sustenance was water.

When Between Master and Disciples returns in just a moment, we’ll find out more about the Maria’s stay in Munich during the 5-week examination. Please stay tuned to Supreme Master Television.

Welcome back to Between Master and Disciples for our program on Maria Furtner, a waterian who lived in Bavaria, Germany in the 19th century. In 1843, Dr. Joseph Zetl in Rosenheim contacted Maria and her family, asking for Maria to travel to Munich to stay for five weeks under the supervision of the physicians at the General Municipal Hospital. Maria and her family consented. A carriage was sent to Frasdorf to bring her to the hospital where she stayed in an isolated room and was taken care of by the nuns from the order of Merciful Sisters. The journey from her hometown to Munich was the longest distance Maria had ever travelled in her life. Upon her arrival in Munich, Maria had a slight Eryspelas infection on her face which caused it to be swollen. She also caught a fever due to the cold climate.

At the hospital, Maria was under the supervision of renowned physicians such as Johann Nepomuk Ringseis and Franz Xaver von Gietl. She was 23 years old at that time and since she was a simple and modest Catholic girl, Maria never had had any close contact with members of the opposite gender, thus, she didn’t allow the doctors to examine her as they requested. Professor Dr. Karl Emil von Schafhäutl, who acted as the recorder of Maria’s examination in the hospital, wrote that he had to use all his eloquence, pleadings, and persuasive powers to ask Maria – who was frightened and shy – to step on the scale to measure her weight. He describes her appearance:

The girl had a fair complexion, was of delicate stature, a little bit below medium height – 140 cm. Her weight was 43.68 kg. The time in the hospital was difficult for Maria. She was kept in isolation in her room most of the time, and even though she was being given the best water available in Munich, she described it as being stale in taste. During her stay in Munich, Maria’s food-free state became widely known. According to Elisabeth Furtner, while at the hospital, she was visited by the nation’s very important personage:

“When the water drinker [Maria] was in the hospital in Munich for examination, she once was visited by King Ludwig I. She complained to the king that she was locked up like that – the windows were sealed, the room was never ventilated. She said that she couldn’t stand it; she would like to have some fresh air again. Then the King got permission for her to go for a walk every day under the supervision of the Merciful Sisters.

Apparently, Maria and her food-free lifestyle had left a deep impression on the king of Bavaria because that was not the only time he visited her. In fact, he wasn’t the only member of the royalty who visited Maria. Later, when the water drinker [Maria] was home again, the King also visited her once in Weizenreit. The Duchess of Modena also visited her once together with her brother, King Maximilian II, in Weizenreit.

At the end of five weeks, when the examination concluded, Maria’s weight had dropped by 1 kilogram. The physicians in attendance attested to the validity of the claim that Maria did not need food to live based on the fact that she had not taken any food except water and that she had had no bowel movement during the entire time that she was under observation.

It has been a pleasure to have you with us for today’s episode of Between Master and Disciples. Please stay tuned to Supreme Master Television for Good People, Good Works, after Noteworthy News. May your life be blessed with Heaven’s grace.

During the observation period, Maria also took a consecrated host 2-3 times a week. Intuitively, Maria couldn’t take hosts which were not consecrated, even if they were diluted in water. Her niece, Elisabeth Furtner, remembered: “In Munich, the physicians once gave her a host which was not consecrated, diluted in water. The water drinker [Maria] didn’t know about it. She regurgitated it immediately.”

How did the public view the results of the investigation in which well-known authorities in the medical field proved that Maria possessed the ability to live without the need for physical food? Join us again next Sunday when Between Master and Disciples continues with part 2 of “Maria Furtner: The Water Drinker from Frasdorf.”

“She never ate anything but she drank water every day.” Maria Furtner, a 19th century waterian from Bavaria, lived for 52 years without food. Tune in to Supreme Master Television on Sunday, August 29, for our program, “Maria Furtner: The Water Drinker from Frasdorf,” on Between Master and Disciples.

Tune in to Supreme Master Television today for our program, “Maria Furtner: The Water Drinker from Frasdorf,” on Between Master and Disciples.

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