8 Chiranjeevi’s or Immortals of Hinduism | CHIRANJIVI’s
In the Sanskrit language, the meaning of Chiranjeevi is “immortal” or “Amaratva”. It is the combination of “chiram” meaning long and “jeevi” meaning lived. According to Hindu mythology, there are more than 15 immortals or Chiranjeevi’s, which are ever-living and believed to exist even today on earth. As described in the Hindu scriptures, all these Characters were born as human, but they were either blessed or maybe cursed to live a long permanent life on earth.
अश्वत्थामा बलिव्र्यासो हनूमांश्च विभीषण:।
कृप: परशुरामश्च सप्तएतै चिरजीविन:॥
सप्तैतान् संस्मरेन्नित्यं मार्कण्डेयमथाष्टमम्।
जीवेद्वर्षशतं सोपि सर्वव्याधिविवर्जित॥
The above Sanskrit mantra lines say that by remembering these 8 immortal gods (Ashwatthama, Daityaraj Bali, Ved Vyas, Hanuman, Vibhishana, Kripacharya, Parshuram, and Markandeya Rishi) daily one can be free from all kinds of diseases and enjoy happiness. can take Life for more than 100 years.
Immortals of Hinduism
As per the great Indian epic Mahabharata, Ashwatthama was the son of Guru Dronacharya, a guru or teacher of the Pandava and the Kaurava brothers. Actually, for him, Immortality was given as a curse, rather than a blessing.
At night, Ashwatthama killed Draupadi’s 5 children who were sleeping, mistaking them to be the Pandavas. Later, when Pandavas came, Ashwatthama used his Brahmastra while Arjun used his Pashupatastra to defend. However, the Gods asked them to take the weapons back as their collision could destroy the entire universe.
While Arjun was able to take his weapon back, Ashwatthama did not know how to. So, when Lord Krishna asked him to divert the Brahmastra to a place that is uninhabited. He instead aimed it toward Uttara, who was pregnant, killing both Uttara and the unborn child.
Krishna was somehow able to revive the child back, but he also cursed Ashwatthama of immortality for this deed, making him Chiranjeevi, among Immortals of Hinduism.
2. King Mahabali
King Mahabali is next among Immortals of Hinduism has been mentioned as the Daitya (Devil) King in many Hindu texts such as the Mahabharata, Ramayana, Puranas, etc. as well as numerous Jain inscriptions. In South India, he is considered the most noble and prosperous king and the famous Onam festival is completely dedicated to him.
It is said that Mahabali gained immortality by drinking the Amrit (Nectar) stolen by the Asuras during Samudra Manthan. Meanwhile, some texts also suggest that he was granted immortality by Lord Vishnu after he was able to gain back heaven and the earth from Mahabali using his Vamana avatar.
3. Ved Vyasa
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The literal meaning of the word “Ved Vyasa” in Sanskrit would be “one who classified the Vedas.” He is famous as the writer of the Mahabharata and is also one of the characters in the epic.
It is believed that he had spoken the verses of the epic “Mahabharata” while Lord Ganesha, the son of Lord Shiva, noted them down. He also contributed in the writing and transcriptions of many Hindu texts such as the Vedas and the Puranas.
He was born during the later times of the Treta Yuga and is believed to still exist among living beings, and is among the eight Immortals of Hinduism or Chiranjivis.
4. Lord Hanumana
Hanumana is one of the most important characters in the Ramayana. He was the most ardent devotee of Lord Rama and was his right hand in almost all the important events that take place throughout the epic. It is believed that Hanumana gained immortality not through one but through many boons given by different Gods.
Lord Indra granted Hanumana that his Indra’s Vajra weapon won’t harm him; Lord Agni blessed him that fire would not harm him; Lord Varuna blessed him that water would not hurt him; God Vayu gave him a boon that he would be as fast as the wind; while Lord Brahma granted him a wish that he could move to any place where he would not be stopped.
On top of that, Lord Vishnu granted him the “Gada” which added to all the boons and ultimately, he was granted immortality. According to many beliefs, Lord Hanumana is one of the most blessed characters in Hindu Mythology. He has been blessed and granted many wishes by most of the significant Gods in mythology which made him amongst the immortals of Hinduism.
As per the epic Ramayana, Vibhishana is Ravana’s brother who later joins the forces of Lord Rama following the path of Dharma and going after the good. He has been depicted as a representative of Dharma who shows that devotion to the Lord does not depend upon the circumstances of birth.
At the end of his reign, when Lord Rama was leaving the kingdom of Ayodhya, he granted Vibhishana immortality in order to stay on the Earth and guide people towards the path of Dharma. So with the blessings of Lord Rama he becomes Chiranjeevi and is among immortals of Hinduism.
In Mahabharata, Kripacharya was the Guru of the Kauravas and Pandavas and was known for his impartiality towards his disciples as well as his discipline.
It is assumed that he was granted immortality by Lord Krishna so that his sacred principles and values stay alive in the coming generations and other mortals. Therefore Kripacharya was also considered as Chiranjeevi and among the Immortals of Hinduism
Parashurama means “Rama” with an “Axe”, and is considered the sixth among the 10 incarnations (Dashavatara) of Lord Vishnu in the Hindu religion. As per Hinduism, he is immortal and will re-appear as Lord Vishnu’s 10th Avtar, Kalki at the end of Kali-yuga.
It is believed that Parshuram is Chiranjivi or among immortals of Hinduism and still doing prayer and meditation somewhere on Mount Mandaranchal.
In the records of “The Mahabharata”, “Puranas” and other Hindu texts, Parashurama was born to the Brahman sage Jamadagni and his Kshatriya wife Renuka.
Parshuram is a strong devotee of Lord Shiva. He received his famous axe from Lord Shiva, who was very pleased with the strict penance of Parashurama.
8. Markandeya Rishi
Sage Markandeya is the son of Sage Mrikandu and Marudmati who pleased Lord Shiva and asked for a son. He was given two options to get a son, either he gets a pious son with a short life or a low intelligent son with a long life.
By choosing the first option, Markandeya’s death at the age of 16 was certain. He was a great devotee of Lord Shiva and even on the day of his impending death, he continued to worship the Shivalinga, composed and chant the Mahamrityunjaya mantra.
When Lord Yama came there and put his noose around Markandeya’s neck, but by mistake he went around the Shiva Linga as Markandeya embraced the Shiva Linga.
This act of Yama enraged Lord Shiva and he came out of the Shivling and Lord Yama died in the battle.
Later he revived him on the condition that Markandeya would live forever and thus sage Markandeya became immortal and is also among the immortals of Hinduism.