‘Is this true?’ is the first question most asked themselves, and were asked when they shared pictures and a video of an old man in the Abu Dhabi airport.
The pictures and video have gone viral in the last couple of days, talking about the ‘123-year-old Swami Sivananda Baba travelling from Calcutta to London via Abu Dhabi on board Etihad Airways with no assistance from crew or anyone. He was born on 08/08/1896’, reads the post.
According to a report in the UAE-based daily Khaleej Times, Swami Sivananda won several fans during his three-day visit to the UAE, with the newspaper saying there was already a debate raging on his age, since if his date of birth was true, that would make him the oldest living person on earth, adding that according to the Guinness World Records, the oldest verified living person is Kane Tanaka of Japan, aged 116 years, 278 days, as on October 7.
Sivananda was flying from Kolkata to London with Etihad Airways, it says, adding that with his simple demeanour and conduct, he charmed the staff in the flight and at the airport.
“The staff gleefully clicked photos with him. They were amazed as they had never come across any passenger whose date of birth on passport dated back to 1896. More surprisingly, the man was walking around unassisted at the airport,” the report says.
Sivananda’s close aide Sanjoy Sarvajana has been quoted as saying that for the first passport, the proof was age on a temple register.
Sivananda, according to reports in other newspapers, is a regular yoga practitioner, and insists on abstinence from sex, milk and fruits and, in fact, eats very less.
Reports say his parents passed away when he was a child, after which he went on a spiritual journey with a guru. In the late 1970s, he reached Varanasi, where he set up Sivananda Ashram. He now has followers in different countries and last week’s trip was to meet his followers in Europe.
The report says Sivananda wasn’t keen on applying for the Guinness World Records but on insistence of his followers, the process has just been started.