124-year-old Indian seer Baba Sivananda going strong with healthy life-style
- by Florine Roche

Oct 8: 124 years old still healthy moving around without any aid and even travelling abroad may read like a fictional character of any novel. However, Swami Sivananda Baba, a monk from Varanasi claims to be 124 year old and his Passport and Adhar card support his claim. Recently Swami Sivananda Baba who travelled from Kolkata to London via Abu Dhabi created quite disbelief among officials of Abu Dhabi airport when they realized that his age was 124.

According to his passport Swami Sivananda was born in Kolkata on August 8, 1896 and if that is true that makes him the oldest living person on earth with his life spanning three centuries. Many people in UAE who came to know about his age took to social media to share the photographed images of his passport. According to media reports India’s passport authorities confirmed Shivananda’s age from a temple register, the only record of the birth date for most Indians, though it is difficult to verify his age independently. He looks remarkably younger for his claimed 124 years and therefore many people are even skeptical about his claim. They say that lack of proper documentation might be the reason for making him so old at least on unverified records.

On the positive side even if we take into account that he is a few years or even decades younger than what he claims based on his passport to substantiate his age, it is quite a sensation in many ways. He lives independently, does his own chores, is quite fit, has no medical complications, travels around and even practices yoga for hours together. He has lost all his teeth and that seem to be the only visible sign of his age. He also admits that his speech and hearing abilities are partially affected due to old age. Despite not having formal schooling Sivananda Baba can converse in English.

No to Sex and Spice

Interestingly this Sadhu attributes the secret of his longevity to a disciplined life, celibacy, daily practice of yoga and the joy of giving or helping the needy. Media has quoted him saying “I lead a simple and disciplined life. I eat a simple but only boiled food without oil or spices, rice and boiled daal with a couple of green chilies”. He has also said that he avoids taking milk or fruits because for him they are fancy foods. He also avoids oils and spices in his food.

Sivananda who was born in Behald in Kolkata in West Bengal grew up in poverty had a tough childhood. His parents were beggars and he lost both his parents on the same day when he was hardly 4 year old. His older sister who used to beg for food with him said to have died two years later due to starvation.

As the boy was orphaned some relatives handed over the child to a spiritual guru who brought him to Nadadwip in West Bengal and he chose to become a monk. After moving around for some years he finally settled down in the holy city of Varanasi in 1979. The swami is quoted saying that as a child he slept on an empty stomach often and that is why he chose to lead a simple life and he savours the joy of giving. In Varanasi he runs a free-for-all ashram in Kabir Nagar and his faithful disciples are spread across the country and all over the globe.

It is a common practice in our country to see god men leading a posh life living in palatial bungalows with luxuries all around. But Swami Sivananda leads a simple life living in a small 600 sq ft apartment in Varanasi, that too donated by one of his disciples. He doesn’t accept any kind of donations or gifts. He leads a disciplined life - wakes up at 3 am every day, meditates for two hours and performs yoga, pranayama and other exercises routinely. In the remaining hours of the day he reads or chants mantras and speaks with devotees irrespective of their faith. Even at this age Sivananda can do a Sarvangana or a headstand with ease and élan. He sleeps on uses a wooden block for a pillow.

‘Sivananda Baba’, as he is known to his disciples leads a spiritual life and isn’t married and eats only two times a day. He says that because of his lifestyle he has no desires, no diseases, no depression and he leads a tension-free life. Selfless service to mankind is what endears him to the poor, deprived and the downtrodden. Every Saturday he along with his disciples distributes food, household items and money to the poor and the sick.

Sivananda says he did not approach Guinness World Records earlier to claim to be the oldest living person because he shuns publicity. Now he says wants to apply bowing to the wishes of his followers to be recognized as the oldest man to have ever lived.

May be a verification by the Guinsss World Records in the process of giving such a recognition will put an end to all speculation about the real age of Sivananda Baba. Whatever might be the outcome it may not besmirch the aura around him or the popularity of this simple living man.

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Title : 124-year-old Indian seer Baba Sivananda going strong with healthy life-style

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    Mon, Nov 4 2019


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