According to his passport, Swami Sivananda was born on August 8, 1896, which makes him 120 years old and the oldest living person in the world.
Sivananda looks old, but nowhere near his proclaimed age. The secret to his (relatively) youthful look? Bland food, celibacy and daily yoga.
Orphaned at six and given away by his parents to a spiritual guru, Sivananda traveled far and wide in India before settling in Varanasi.
Not only does Sivananda not consume spices, but he also refrains from fruits and milk which he considers “fancy” foods. Having grown up in extreme poverty, he says he often slept on an empty stomach.
Sivananda told AFP that he lives a “simple and disciplined life”, consuming only boiled food devoid of oil and spices and “rice and boiled daal (lentil stew) with a couple of green chillies.” At five feet two inches tall, Sivananda sports a lean, albeit aged frame and sleeps on a mat on the floor with a wooden slab for a pillow.
He does not have any medical complications, lives alone and travels on his own in trains.
Calling himself a ‘Hindu monk’, Sivananda is now applying to the Guinness Book of World Records for supposedly being the oldest person alive. He also says that he did not speak out publicly until recently, upon the insistence of his followers.
And while passport authorities verified his age at a temple register, there is no independent authentication, because many people born in Sivananda’s era do not have any other record of their age.