A monk of mathematical puzzles, memory and focus

At 22, he is a wizard at maths, has a stellar memory and sharp focus. He could have been a sought-after corporate talent drawing a six-figure salary. However, Munishri Ajitchandra Sagarji is a Jain monk, who renounced all worldly pleasures at the age of 12.

On Sunday, Munishri held a demonstration of his skills in front of 3,000 persons at Shanmukhananda Hall, Sion.

In a single sitting, he memorised and recounted 200 items such as mathematical puzzles, names of places or personalities, factual and philosophical questions and shlokas spoken or shown to him by the audience.

"The parents who gave birth to a son like him must be very proud and great," said Assembly Speaker Dilip Walse-Patil, who was present at the event. "If this science is taken forward, it will be extremely beneficial for us, our children and our generation," he added.

The monk sat on the dais with his eyes shut, heard the questions from the audience while simultaneously thinking of apt answers, registered the names of various objects, places and persons thrown at him, took in the foreign language words and mentally worked out complex mathematical problems. After the 200th object was mentioned by the audience, he opened his eyes and recited all the names, shlokas, questions with their answers and mathematical problems with their solutions in ascending and descending orders. He also recollected the items in a random order.

"What we have seen today is a big feat in neuroscience. A human brain has the capacity to hold 90 million books each having 1,000 pages each, but we greatly underutilise our memory," said Dr Sudhir Shah, a neurosurgeon and professor of neurology.

The process of recollecting 100 different things at one go is called Shatavadhan. Munishri, who holds a Guinness record for being the second-fastest talker in the world, went a step ahead by recollecting 200 items. He claims he can go up to 350.

"Through my Shatavadhan, I wanted to convey the message that one can develop his own power by reaching out to their inner strength of the soul," the monk said. "One just needs excellent direction, assistance and the will."

The event was organised by Saraswati Sadhana Mahasangh, which helps children improve their memories and intelligence levels by instructing them in meditation and Sanskrit verses.

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