In the Beginning There Was Light

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In The Beginning There Was Light
Promotional Poster "In The Beginning There Was Light".jpg
Official US-Release Poster "In The Beginning There Was Light"
Directed by P.A. Straubinger
Produced by Helmut Grasser
Written by P.A. Straubinger
Starring Prahlad Jani, Rupert Sheldrake, Amit Goswami, Brian Josephson, Jasmuheen, Zinaida Baranova, Michael Werner, Robert Jahn, Dean Radin [1]
Release dates
  • May 13, 2010 (2010-05-13) (Cannes)
  • September 17, 2010 (2010-09-17) (Austria)
  • October 28, 2010 (2010-10-28) (Germany)
  • April 11, 2013 (2013-04-11) (United States)
Running time
90 minutes
Country Austria
Language English, German, Gujarati, Mandarin, Russian

In The Beginning There Was Light is a documentary film by Austrian director P. A. Straubinger on the subject of inedia. Straubinger visits several people who supposedly nourish themselves with "light" and tries to find possible explanations on how inedia might work. P. A. Straubinger researched inedia for ten years. This led to the film’s production, which took five years. The film premiered on May 13, 2010 at the Cannes Film Festival.[3] "In The Beginning There Was Light" was shown all over the world and became one of the most successful feature documentaries in Austrian cinema history.[4]


P.A. Straubinger first encounters inedia in a television documentary about Nicholas of Flüe, a 15th-century ascetic who was reported to have lived 19 years without eating.[5] Later, Straubinger starts research on the internet and subsequently has the desire to meet people practising inedia. He travels through different countries and interviews people who claim to nourish themselves with light, vitality, Prana or Qi, among them Jasmuheen, Michael Werner and "Mataji" Prahlad Jani. Straubinger also consults different people from classical and alternative medicine and science and looks for explanatory models for inedia. Straubinger conveys that for him, the materialistic world view of modern science falls short.[6][7]


Director P.A. Straubinger sees the public discussion about Breatharianism reduced to a false dilemma caused by black and white thinking, preconceived opinions and strong belief systems . According to his research most Breatharians admit to have a calorie intake to some extent ranging from a few drops of lemon in the drinking water to occasional meals.[8][9] This would not object the idea of non-physical nutrition, like the direct intake of Qi or Prana, as described in ancient, Eastern medical traditions. Straubinger claims to have found scientific support for these ideas in high ranking scientific journals like Nature, that conclude that the classical understanding of the human metabolism is at least incomplete.[10][11]

The Nature article "How much food does man require ?“ states: "We believe that the energy requirements of man are not known. Paradoxically, we conclude this from results of increasingly sophisticated studies.“ And further: „The results of careful studies in a number of countries suggest that some people are able to be healthy and active on energy intakes which, by current standards, would be regarded as inadequate.“ [12][13]

Straubinger sees even stronger indications that man, is at least partially, nourished by an unknown source in a peer-reviewed study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, that pointed to a crucial discrepancy between the theoretical amount of energy produced by metabolism (measuring the consumption of oxygen and production of carbon dioxide) and the actual measurable amount of energy produced by the body. This discrepancy was up to 23 percent, the so-called "unmeasured energy“, meaning that in some cases for nearly a quarter of the energy produced in normal test persons, the scientists had no explanation at all. The study finally states: „It appeared that the greater the food deficit, the larger was the unmeasured energy.“ [14][15]

P.A. Straubingers draws the conclusion that all humans are „living on light“ to a certain degree - some more, some less.[16][17] In this context outstanding examples like the Prahlad Jani Case Study are more conceivable to Straubinger.[18][19][20] He sees the tendency of critics to dismiss this kind of research as a result of preconceived opinions and "negative believing" covered as "skepticism".[21][22][23][24] Straubinger sees exceptional cases like Prahlad Jani just as a much stronger calling for science to leave behind old models of thinking and open up to new fields of research.[25][26]

Cultural impact[edit]

Due to its commercial success, especially in the German speaking countries, "In The Beginning There Was Light" was discussed in the mainstream media on a broad basis and received enthusiastic acclaim as well as harsh criticism.[27][28] In the talk show "Menschen bei Maischberger" in Germany´s National Television Das Erste [29] and two TV-discussions in the Austrian National Television ORF critics warned that the film could motivate people to stop eating.[30] Director P.A. Straubinger explained that this would be a complete misunderstanding of his film. He repeatedly stated that he does not want to motivate anybody to stop eating but he would advocate eating consciously without asserting any particular nutritional ideology. The only goal of his film would be to question the predominating, mechanistic-materialistic understanding of the human body and nature in general, and to motivate scientists to open up and do further research in the field of mind-matter interaction[31] Concerning alleged misunderstandings, Straubinger points out that he shows in his film not only the tragic cases of starvation related to the so- called "Breatharian Process", communicated by the Australian author Jasmuheen, but he also features protagonists and experts who explicitly speak out not to make dangerous self-experiments or try a breatharian lifestyle out of "spiritual ambition".[32] In Switzerland, according to the national newspaper Tages-Anzeiger, a woman who saw the film attempted to live on sunlight alone, and died in January 2012.[33] In reference to the Tages-Anzeiger article, the responsible state attorney, who investigated the death of the woman, stated that no third party could be made responsible for the death of the woman and an adequate causality between the film and the death could be definitely excluded. It was not even investigated if the woman actually saw the documentary. The film´s Official Website calls articles that implicate a responsibility of "In The Beginning There Was Light" for the woman´s death, a hoax.[34]

Awards and Festivals[edit]


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  5. ^ Heath, Pamela Rae (17 February 2011). Mind-Matter Interaction: A Review of Historical Reports, Theory and Research. McFarland. p. 27. ISBN 978-0-7864-5668-0. 
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External links[edit]