The normal mortality in our nation, as of the year 2020, is 69.7 years. While the continuing pandemic has made destruction over the country, Challenging more than 50,000 lives, the airport security at the Abu Dhabi airport recently came across a man who appeared to wonder them by his age.
According to his passport, Swami Sivananda was born on August 8, 1896. If accurate, his life would have crossed three centuries, but notwithstanding his obvious age, he stays healthy enough to do yoga for hours at a time. He is presently applying to Guinness World Records to prove his assertion. It now records Japan’s Jiroemon Kimura, who died in June 2013 aged 116 years and 54 days, as the oldest man to have ever existed.
He had lost both his parents pretty early in life and had been given away to a spiritual guru by his relatives. Sivananda followed his guru for a tour of India which ended with them living down in the holy city of Varanasi. There he grew up between severe poverty and finally embraced the life of a disciplined celibate. Sivananda, who was first hesitant of all the publicity, did refer to the Guinness Book of World Records after being influenced by his disciples. Though, the only record of his birth appears to be a remarkably antiquated temple registry from following in the nineteenth century.
Swami has constantly believed in managing a healthy lifestyle, one who avoids any fancy food (which involves spices, milk, and even fruits) and sex, and sufficient exercise. His simple lifestyle linked with routinized conduct of yoga has supported him to stay fit all these years. Till date, the man sleeps on a mattress placed on the floor with a wooden slab as a headrest. The man has no complaints except for the amount that people have changed over the centuries.
Sivananda, from the holy city of Varanasi, grew up in severe poverty and decided to become a monk, saying he owed his age to “Yoga, discipline, and celibacy. I lead a simple and disciplined life. I eat very simply — only boiled food without oil or spices, rice and boiled daal (lentil stew) with a couple of green chilies,” he told after a two-hour yoga concourse in Kolkata, the eastern Indian city where he had arrived for a short visit.
“Earlier people were happy with fewer things. Nowadays people are unhappy, unhealthy, and have become dishonest, which pains me a lot,” said the 124-year-old man. Having been born in a period where people had the least awareness of technology, he isn’t a huge fan of it either. He enjoys traveling alone in trains even today. At such distressing conditions of turmoil around us, amusing details of this kind certainly raise our spirits. Having observed three generations now moving by, all that this man desires for at the end of the day is happiness and peace.
Standing 1.58 meters (five feet two inches) tall, Sivananda states, “I avoid taking milk or fruits because I think these are fancy foods. In my childhood I slept many days on an empty stomach,” he said. Sivananda said he had not before come ahead to claim the record because he did not seek a boost, but was eventually influenced by his followers to practice.