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122-yr-old does a headstand

Sivananda Baba

Guwahati: A Hindu monk from Varanasi, who claims to be 122 years of age and the oldest living man in the world, is arousing great curiosity and interest among visitors at the Ambubachi mela in Kamakhya temple here.

The documents Sivananda Baba possesses to substantiate his claim are a passport and an Aadhaar card that cites his date of birth as August 8, 1896.

"The secret of my long and disease-free life is my lack of any desire and a disciplined lifestyle," said Baba, who runs an ashram in Kabir Nagar, Varanasi, and has disciples across the country.

"I eat very simply and take only two meals per day - two rotis with boiled vegetables without oil or spices," said Baba, who has remained a bachelor.

"Because of my lifestyle, I have no disease, no desire, no depression and no tension or hypertension," he said.

He starts his day at 3am and meditates for two hours before performing yoga for half-an-hour.

"I also do my household chores myself. Only my speaking and hearing abilities have been partially affected due to old age," he said.

What has surprised many is the way he performs different forms of yoga and exercises, including a headstand, at this age. "It is amazing to see him leading such a healthy life even after crossing 100 years of age, which is very rare nowadays," said Rubul Das, a devotee.

"We are speechless to see him do yoga asanas with such ease. It is remarkable that he is keeping fit at this age without any medical complications and lives independently and even travels alone on trains," said Nabarun Guha, an entrepreneur disciple.

Baba does not eat fruits. Neither does he drink milk nor accepts any kind of donation.

"Since poor people cannot afford to have fruits and drink, I also do not take such food as I feel for the poor. What causes me pain is that even today so many people sleep on an empty stomach," he said.

Baba said that he was born in a poor family in Sylhet, (now in Bangladesh) and handed over to a spiritual guru, Omkarananda Goswami of Nabadwip in Bengal at the age of four by his parents due to extreme poverty.

"My parents were beggars and they struggled to look after me and my sister. As a result, my sister died of starvation," he recalled. He grew up in Bengal before shifting to Varanasi in 1979.

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