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This Hindu monk from Varanasi aged 120 years claims to be the oldest man alive
According to Indian monk Swami Sivananda, a resident of Varanasi, who claims to be 120 years old, the secret to longevity is daily yoga, a simple life without sex and simple food without spices.

According to his passport, Swami Sivananda was born on August 8, 1896. If that holds true, he has lived for three centuries. Despite his age he still has the stamina and strength to perform yoga for hours at a time.

He is applying to the Guinness Book of World Records to verify his claim. The Guinness Book of World Records currently mentions Japan's Jiroemon Kimura, who died in 2013 at the age of 116 years and 54 days as the oldest living man ever.

Hailinjg from the holy city of Varanasi, Sivananda grew up in extreme poverty and chose to become a monk. He leads a simplistic lifestyle away from luxuries. He sleeps on the floor on a mat and uses a wooden slab as a pillow.

Indian passport authorities verified his age from a temple register, the only reliable birth record that existed for most Indians even decades younger than Sivananda during earlier days, in complete absence of verified birth certificates. It is however extremely difficult to verify his correct age.

Earlier this summer, Sivananda had featured in local media. The Times of India had noted that he looked at least 50 years younger than the age he claims to be at. However, his claims were accepted on face value.

After a two-hour yoga session in the city of Kolkata, where he had come on a short visit, Sivananda told AFP, "I lead a simple and disciplined life. I eat very simply – only boiled food without oil or spices, rice and boiled dal (lentil stew) with a couple of green chillies."

Sivananda is 5 feet 2 inches tall. He said, "I avoid taking milk or fruits because I think these are fancy foods. In my childhood I slept many days on an empty stomach."

Sivananda says that he had not come forward previously to claim the record as he was not publicity hungry. But, after persuasion from his followers he had applied for the record. As a child he lost both his parents before he turned six. He was given away to a spiritual guru by his relatives, with whom he travelled around India before settling down in Varanasi.

He is fighting fit and free from any medical complications. He lives and travels alone on trains. Colonial-era born Sivananda has no interest in modern technology and prefers being on his own.

He says, "Earlier people were happy wit fewer things. Nowadays people are unhappy, unhealthy and have become dishonest, which pains me a lot. I just want people to be happy, healthy and peaceful."

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