A ‘120-year-old’ monk who claims to be the oldest man alive has credited celibacy for his long life.
Swami Sivananda was born on August 8, 1896, according to details in his passport.
He believes he is the oldest person after Japan’s Jiroemon Kimura died June 2013 aged 116 years and 54 days.
Sivananda, who was born in an extremely poor family, lives in Kolkata city, India, but had lived in the city of Varanasi all his life.
Despite his astonishing age, he lives with no help and no medical aid, performing yoga for hours every day.
He gives all the credit for his longevity to yoga, food with no spices and no sex.
He said: “Discipline is the most important thing is life.
“One can conquer anything with discipline in food habits, exercise, and sexual desires.
“Control over your needs is the biggest gain in life. I have lived for so long because material things don’t make me happy.”
Sivananda believes that times have changed but he is still the same.
He said: “Because I was born in poverty, I have never had great demands from life.
“Nowadays, people are unhappy, unhealthy and have become dishonest, which pains me a lot.”
“I just want people to be happy, healthy and peaceful.”
He sleeps on the floor with a jute mat beneath him and uses a stone brick as a pillow.
Whether Guinness qualifies him as the oldest man alive or not, his lifestyle has already made him a local celebrity.
He travels to give interviews and lectures on life and people from all over the country flock to him in search of peace and the secret to his longevity.
He said: “My followers persuaded me to come forward to claim the record.
“Previously I was worried about inviting publicity into my life as these things don’t serve any purpose in life.”
“Though my followers would be happy to see my name in the Guinness Book of World Records.”