Padma Shri Swami Sivananda, 126 years and going strong, at Woodlands for health check-up

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HNExpress Staff Reporter : Swami Sivananda, the oldest living person on the planet who was born in a beggar’s family in 1896 and has gone on receive the Padma Shri 126 years on this March, chose Woodlands Hospital for a comprehensive health check-up over the last two days.

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On Saturday while leaving the hospital on his own feet, the man who swears by Yoga and simple living, said: “I know everyone at Woodlands, doctors, nurses, the porters and all the housekeeping staff, the management. They are all very respectful. They are like family.” Sivananda ji, came all the way from his modest ashram in Varanasi to the 76-year-old Woodlands, the Kolkata private hospital closet to his age, on Friday. A medical board comprising a neurologist, cardiologist, urologist, pulmonologist, ophthalmologist, ENT surgeon and gastroenterologist was formed to assess his health condition. He underwent an array of tests, including pathological tests, ECG, ECHO, CT Scans of the chest and brain, USG, vision and audiometry tests, apart from consultation with doctors of the different superspecialities.

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The entire service was complimentary. Some physiological changes were found in the organs, which is a part of the normal aging process. No major health issues of immediate concern were identified in the tests, said critical care specialist Dr Soutik Panda, under whom Sivananda Ji was admitted. “We have been conducting health check-up for Sivanada Ji since last year. It’s a matter of pride that he bestows his trusts in Woodlands and comes to us all the way from Varanasi. His life is a lesson in itself.

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We wish him a healthy and gratifying life ahead,” said Dr Rupali Basu, Managing Director & CEO, Woodlands Multispeciality Hospital. Sivananda Ji, who was born in a village in Sylhet (now in Bangladesh), on August 8, 1896, had been born in a family dependent on alms to make ends meet but could hardly ever manage enough for the four of them, which included a sister, two years elder to him. “Sibu” was only four when his parents consented to let him go with an empathetic sadhu from Nabadwip, Nadia, who was visiting Sylhet.

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Two years on, on a visit to Sylhet, he would find out that his sister had died of starvation and malnutrition. Shortly after, he would see the death of both parents on the same day, only to return to the Nadia ashram. Sivananda stayed on in the ashram for the next 20 odd-years. Although he had no formal education, he received “practical education” at the ashram. He travelled to Europe and stayed in different countries there for 35 years as a “counselor” before returning to India in 1959. Since then, he dedicated himself to the service of others, in different states of the east and North-East India, including some exemplary work in the lepers’ colony in Puri. The Swami sermons are as simple as his life but are deep at the same time. “We should not sacrifice our future gains to satisfy our present needs,” he says.