The way we highlight Guinness world records in Nepal, it seems we are obsessed by these records. We are always trying to figure who has the Guinness record for the shortest man, for the tallest man, for the person with the longest hair, for the person with the longest nail and so forth. It seems, fortunately for our insatiable appetite in these matters, there seems to be no limit to these world records.
And here is one to add to our list. Fifty-seven year old Keith Furman holds the world record for the most number of inclusions in the Guinness world record book. This man is certainly a person that would be one of the most fascinating people given our appetite for these world records. He has a total of 131 records to his name. Many are just stunning feats in being able to bear pain and persevere. In London he walked thirty-three feet in the world’s heaviest shoes which weighed 323 pounds.
One of his most memorablerecord is for somersaults. He did 8,341 somersaults over 12 miles which took him ten hours and thirty minutes. He had cramps, vertigo, and vomiting throughout most of the distance, but he kept going. Endurance clearly is his forte. He has clapped for fifty hours non- stop. Each clap had to be audible at a hundred yards. Contrary to what we may think, you cant 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 Sagarmatha. Or perhaps climb an 8000 m peak walking backwards if he fails the stilts, what with the slippery slopes on themountains.
In all likelihood just like world-famous mountain climbers who have been tested for physical strength and ability and found to have nothing physiologically extraordinary, Furman ( five feet ten inches in height) too probably does not have any measureable fitness quantity that sets him apart. So what’s helping him break records even at the ripe age of fifty seven?
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 offered the means of transcending the self. Furman took this to 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.