UAE border agents were suspicious when they checked the travel documents of the spritely passenger, fresh off a plane from Calcutta. The Indian passport gave the man's date of birth as the 8th of August 1896.

For a 123-year-old, Swami Sivananda is a vision of health. The youthful looking monk who lives in the holy city of Varanasi, says he owes his longevity to "yoga, discipline and celibacy".

He could be many years younger, speculated Abu Dhabi Airport staff in a report by Gulf News. He certainly didn't look like a man who was almost twice as old as the foundation of India as a country.

Swami Sivananda, left, owes his youthful looks to abstinence from spice and sex. Photo / Supplied
Swami Sivananda, left, owes his youthful looks to abstinence from spice and sex. Photo / Supplied

Then again the monk's precise age is uncertain, as the only record of Sivananda's age is from a rural temple registry. This is not an uncommon reference for the Indian authorities issuing passports, though notoriously inaccurate.

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Still, the monk swears by his healthy lifestyle and strict abstinence.

If you want to reach the dizzying age of the Swami, his advice is simple: no slouching, no spice, and no sex.

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"I lead a simple and disciplined life. I eat very simply — only boiled food without oil or spices, rice and boiled daal (lentil stew) with a couple of green chillies," the Gulf News reported him as saying.

The Swami's passport gives is birth date as the 8th of August, 1896. Photo / Supplied
The Swami's passport gives is birth date as the 8th of August, 1896. Photo / Supplied

Sivananda is a man who abstains from comfort, choosing instead to sleep on a wooden mat on the floor.

"I avoid taking milk or fruits because I think these are fancy foods. In my childhood I slept many days on an empty stomach," he says.

"Earlier people were happy with fewer things. Nowadays people are unhappy, unhealthy and have become dishonest, which pains me a lot," said Sivananda.

The current oldest recorded person was Jeanne Louise Calment, who died 1997 at the age of 122 years and 164 days.

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The oldest living person, and current Guinness World Record holder is Kane Tanaka, of Japan who compared to the monk is a mere 116 years 279 days young.