Prahlad Jani is being held in isolation in a hospital in Ahmedabad, Gurjarat, where he is being closely monitored by India's defence research organization, who believe he may have a genuine quality which could help save lives.
He has now spent six days without food or water under strict observation and doctors say his body has not yet shown any adverse effects from hunger or dehydration.
Mr Jani, who claims to have left home aged seven and lived as a wandering sadhu or holy man in Rajasthan, is regarded as a 'breatharian' who can live on a 'spiritual life-force' alone. He believes he is sustained by a goddess who pours an 'elixir' through a hole in his palate. His claims have been supported by an Indian doctor who specializes in studies of people who claim supernatural abilities, but he has also been dismissed by others as a "village fraud."
India's Defence Research Development Organisation, whose scientists develop drone aircraft, intercontinental ballistic missiles and new types of bombs. They believe Mr Prahlad could teach them to help soldiers survive longer without food, or disaster victims to hang on until help arrives.
"If his claims are verified, it will be a breakthrough in medical science," said Dr G Ilavazhagan, director of the Defence Institute of Physiology & Allied Sciences.