Guinness world records have become an obsession in Nepal, and here is another world record we could break: 57-year-old Keith Furman holds the world record for the most number of inclusions in the Guinness world record book. He has a total of 131 records to his name. Many are just stunning feats in being able to bear pain and great heights of perseverance. In London he walked nearly 10 metres in the world's heaviest shoes which weighed 146.5 kg.
One of his most memorable record is for somersaults. He did 8,341 somersaults over 20 km which took him 10.5 hours. He had cramps, vertigo, and vomiting throughout most of the distance, but he kept going.
Endurance clearly is his forte. He has clapped for 50 hours non- stop. Each clap had to be audible at a hundred yards. Contrary to what you may think, you can't just go out and do something arduous and call up the Guinness people. To own a record you have to break one that exists, undertake one that Guinness has created, or propose one to Guinness and seek their approval. Guess what, most proposals are rejected.
Furman also attempted to climb a mountain near Machu Pichu in South America on stilts. Perhaps we can entice him to come here and try out his stilts on Mt Everest. Or perhaps climb an 8,000m peak walking backwards if he fails the stilts.
In all likelihood just like world-famous mountain climbers who have been tested for physical strength and ability and found to have nothing physiologically exceptional, Furman (1.8m in height) too probably does not have any measurable fitness quantity that sets him apart. So what's helping him break records even at the ripe age of 57?
For sure his threshold for pain is very high. And he is extraordinarily motivated. Clearly these two qualities make a great combination for breaking Guinnessport (as it is called) records. But Furman also uses something else: the teachings of an Indian Guru, Sri Chinmoy, who changed Furman's first name Keith to Ashrita (protected by God).
Sri Chinmoy, who settled in the US, believed that extreme physical pursuit offers the means of transcending the self. Furman took this this message to heart, literally. When he is totally exhausted, he says he meditates on a flame within his heart. Clearly many things in medical science are inexplicable, perhaps ineffable.