sun gazer
n. A person who stares at the sun for extended periods because if its supposed health benefits.
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It is known as sun gazing, and followers say the practice rejuvenates their bodies, enhances their mental capacity, cures physical ailments and even staves off the desire for food.

That staring at the sun ranks alongside running with scissors and playing with matches in the rulebook of motherly no-nos does not faze these worshippers of the centre of our solar system.

They insist warnings that staring at the sun can cause permanent damage to the eyes are scientifically unfounded and note that, even if there were cause for concern, their practice only advocates gazing when the sun is at its least powerful, at sunrise and sunset. …

Perhaps not surprisingly, most eye specialists view the claims of sun gazers with a heavy dose of skepticism.
—David Andreatta, “15 minutes to a sunnier disposition,” The Globe and Mail, August 21, 2007
When the sun pops above the tree line in Berkshire Manor, few folks seem to notice.

The blinds are still closed in many of the two-story houses. And the Alpharetta neighborhood holds onto the last quiet that precedes the morning commute.

But one man is watching. Closely.

Barefoot and bug-eyed, Paulus Bommarito stands on a sand path he built in his backyard just for these occasions.

He's staring directly at the sun. …

Bommarito, 58, is part of a small but growing group of sun-gazers in metro Atlanta. They are disciples of Hira Ratan Manek, a retired spice trader from India who says staring at the sun improves mental and physical health.
—Brian Feagans, “Praise for rays,” The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, August 07, 2007
2002 (earliest)
For 24-year-old Dimbeswar Basumatary, a college dropout in the village of Balimari, 290 kilometers (181 miles) west of Assams capital Guwahati, sun-gazing has become a passion.

"I love watching the bright sun on its journey across the sky," Basumatary told AFP. "I dont feel any burning sensation or irritation in my eyes when I look at the sun, even for very long hours."

The bizarre sun-gazer has demonstrated his skills before curious onlookers across the country, and was filmed by television crews in Guwahati at the weekend.

He even claims the sun gives him food for survival in the form of solar energy.

"The sun for me is a pudding … I have tried not eating anything for four days in a row and still not shown any signs of hunger or thirst," he claimed.
—“Indian youth's passion for sun-gazing baffles eye specialists,” Agence France Presse, December 16, 2002
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