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We all are strongly drawn towards things which we can not understand or perform on our own. To see for themselves, Professor Herbert Benson and his team of researchers from the Harvard School Of Medicine set out towards the the mysterious folds Himalayas. This was more than two decades back but the findings will shock you.

Monks who could accidentally burn themselves

In Sikkim, they saw monks displaying superhuman qualities. During advanced sadhna, bodies of the monks get so heated up that the followers have to wrap their bodies in wet sheet. This is done so that no harm is caused to the ‘physical’ body which is at the risk of catching fire. Through concentration and breathing techniques, these monks lower their metabolism rate by 64 percent which raises the their body temperature. It is a common practice for monks to spend winter nights at an altitude of 15,000 feet high in the Himalayas.

According to the Harvard research, “In a monastery in northern India, thinly clad Tibetan monks sat quietly in a room where the temperature was a chilly 40 degrees Fahrenheit. Using a yoga technique known as g Tum-mo, they entered a state of deep meditation. Other monks soaked 3-by-6-foot sheets in cold water (49 degrees) and placed them over the meditators’ shoulders. For untrained people, such frigid wrappings would produce uncontrolled shivering. If body temperatures continue to drop under these conditions, death can result. But it was not long before steam began rising from the sheets. As a result of body heat produced by the monks during meditation, the sheets dried in about an hour.”

Why do monks do this

Why would anyone do this? Herbert Benson, who has been studying g Tum-mo for 20 years, answers that “Buddhists feel the reality we live in is not the ultimate one. There’s another reality we can tap into that’s unaffected by our emotions, by our everyday world. Buddhists believe this state of mind can be achieved by doing good for others and by meditation. The heat they generate during the process is just a by-product of g Tum-mo meditation.”

Can it help us?

Benson firmly believes that studying advanced forms of meditation “can uncover capacities that will help us to better treat stress-related illnesses.” A body at ease is characterised by decreases in metabolism, breathing rate, heart rate, and blood pressure. This improves health and longevity of a human body.