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The 8 Chiranjeevi: Immortal Hindu Deities That Still Live Among Us

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The Chiranjeevi
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According to Hinduism, the samsara of life and death is eternal until one attains emancipation or moksha. Life carries on between birth and death until the elusive Moksha is achieved either via good karma or nirvana. The destiny of every living thing is unavoidable. Yet, in Hindu Dharma, we come across eight such personalities known as “Chiranjeevi” who are blessed or cursed with long life and are said to be still living amongst us.

They are referred to as the Astha Chiranjeevi. In Sanskrit, Chiranjeevi means a long-lived person; Chiram (meaning long) and Jivee (meaning lived). The word is often confused with immortality. The Chiranjeevi are thought to have a long life, which means they will live to see the end of the Kali Yuga but will not live to see the beginning of the next Kalpa. For those who don’t know what a Kalpa is, We have described it below.

The 8 Chiranjeevi
Astha Chiranjeevi

What Is A Kalpa?

In Hinduism, a Kalpa is equal to 4.32 billion years, a “day of Brahma,” or one thousand maha yugas. This is how long the world has been around. There are 14 manvantara periods in each Kalpa, each spanning 71 Yuga Cycles (306,720,000 years). Before the first manvantara and after each manvantara, there is a point (sandhya) that lasts as long as a Satya Yuga (1,728,000 years). A Kalpa is followed by an equal-length pralaya (dissolution), which together make up Brahma’s (in the Hindu triumvirate, or Trimurti, Brahma is the first god. The triumvirate is made up of three gods who are in charge of making, maintaining, and destroying the world) day and night.

Thirty of these days and nights make up a month of Brahma or 259.2 billion years. According to the Mahabharata, Brahma’s year is 12 months (360 days), and a maha-Kalpa is a 100-year period of his life (311.04 trillion years or 36,000 kalpa + 36,000 pralaya). Fifty years of Brahma are supposed to have elapsed, and we are now in the Shveta-Varaha Kalpa, or the first day of his fifty-first year. At the end of a kalpa, the universe is destroyed by fire.

In Hindu religious texts, these eight Chiranjeevi are Asura King Mahabali, Maha Rishi Markandeya, 6th Vishnu Avatar Parashurama, and Vibhishan, Hanuman, Ved Vyasa, Kripa-Charya, and Ashwatthama.

“Ashwatthama Balir Vyaso Hanumanash cha Vibhishana Krupacharya cha Parashuramam Saptaita Chiranjeevanam” 

Hindu shloka

Kali Yuga

In Hinduism, the Kali Yuga is the fourth and worst of the four yugas (world ages) in a Yuga Cycle, preceded by the Dvapara Yuga and succeeded by the Krita (Satya) Yuga in the subsequent cycle. It is considered that the current period is filled with conflict and sin. Four yugas are  Krita Yuga, Treta Yuga, Dvapara Yuga and Kali Yuga.

An illustration of Kali Yuga
An illustration of Kali Yuga. Depicting the world full suffering and conflicts.

“Kali” in Kali Yuga refers to “conflict,” “discord,” “quarrel,” or “dispute,” and Kali Yuga is related to the demon Kali (not to be confused with the goddess Kali). According to Puranic accounts, the departure of Krishna marks the end of the Dvapara Yuga and the beginning of the Kali Yuga on February 17/18, 3102 BCE. Lasting for 432,000 years (1,200 divine years), the Kali Yuga began 5,123 years ago and has 426,877 years left as of 2022 CE. The Kali Yuga will end in the year 428,899 CE.

1. Chiranjeevi Ashwathama

Ashwathama, the son of Guru Dronacharya, was a brave warrior of the Kaurava army, which was led by Duryodhana. After his parents undertook rigorous penance to please Lord Shiva, he was born. As a result, Lord Shiva, who is known for his kindness, granted Ashwathama the unique gift that elevated him to superiority. His forehead was studded with a magnificent gem, which made him look superior to others. He was invincible, and he was able to defy exhaustion, hunger, thirst, and pain. In addition, he was given the honor of being a Chiranjeevi (the immortal one).

Chiranjeevi Ashwathama
Ashwathama

Soon after joining his father’s Gurukul to learn the art of combat from him, he was befriended by the Kauravas. As a result, he had been closer to Duryodhana than the Pandavas since childhood. At the end of the battle of Kurukshetra, Ashwathama played a significant role. After seeing Duryodhana lying terribly injured, Ashwathama vows to punish the Pandavas and deliver them a proper retaliation for deceitfully killing his father. Ashwathama, who had promised Duryodhana he would kill all the Pandava brothers, pays a visit to the Pandava camp. But in the end, he kills all five of Draupadi’s sons. In addition, he broke the rules of war by attacking them when they were sleeping, which was a grave offense.

To atone for his wrongdoing, Ashwathama seeks the advice of Sage Vyas, who asks him to perform austerities. To avenge Draupadi’s murderous orders, which she gave after her sons were killed by Ashwathama, the Pandavas visit Sage’s ashram to seize Ashwathama. As soon as Ashwathama sees the five Pandavas, he releases the Brahmastra to slay all five brothers at once. Shri Krishna instructs Arjun to use the same weapon to save the Pandavas.

Brahmastra

Sage Vyas, fearing the destruction of the universe, uses his divine abilities to stop the two Brahmastras from coming from either side. As a result, he requests Arjun and Ashwathama to take back their weapons. Arjun follows Sage’s orders, but Ashwathama admits that he has no idea how to get it back. The Sage then instructs him to modify the weapon’s direction, which Ashwathama does purposely, aiming it towards Uttara, who was carrying the late Abhimanyu’s kid in her womb.

Shri Krishna

To punish Ashwathama for murdering a child in its mother’s womb, Shri Krishna curses him by stating that he will wander the globe seeking peace and salvation, but he will find none. He was cursed that he would roam in the forests with blood and pus oozing out of his injuries and cry for death. Since he had no fear of death during the war, death would not meet him. He will not have any hospitality or accommodation; he will be in total isolation without contact or physical communication with humankind and society. Furthermore, he orders him to remove the gem from his forehead and hand it to Yudhisthir because he is no longer worthy of being a superior being. The wound caused by removing this gem on his forehead will not heal, and his body will suffer from a host of incurable diseases, forming sores and ulcers that will never heal, but he will not die.

2. Chiranjeevi King Mahabali

King Mahabali was the great-great-grandson of Sage Kashyapa, the great-grandson of Hiranyakshipu, the grandson of Prahlada, and the son of Virochana and his wife Devamba. Mahabali, despite being a demon king, was said to be generous and benevolent. He was a great ruler who was generous and kind. He was fair and considerate to all of his people. His rule is likened to the golden era. By drinking the amrita (which Asuras stole from the gods), he also achieved immortality and greater strength than the gods.

Chiranjeevi King Mahabali
King Mahabali

The invincible Bali had conquered heaven and earth after countless wars. The Gods came to Vishnu for help. Vishnu declined to join the conflict or kill Mahabali, one of his own devotees. Instead, he took a tactical approach and incarnated as Vamana, a dwarf Brahmin avatar. While Mahabali was in the midst of Ashvamedha Vedic rites to commemorate his victories, Vamana approached Mahabali and asked for “three steps of land.”

Mahabali bestowed the gift upon him. Vamana then transformed into Vishnu’s Trivikrama form, consuming heaven in one step and earth in the next. When Mahabali understood that the Vamana was none other than Vishnu, he offered his own head as the third step. According to some Hindu texts, Mahabali became the king of Sutala (a world more lovely than Swarga, where Vishnu himself ministered to Mahabali). Others claim he entered heaven through Vishnu’s touch, and yet another claims he became a Chiranjeevi (immortal). Vishnu gifted Bali the ability to come to Earth once every year.

Lord Vishnu

Onam harvest festivals are held to commemorate his yearly return. Festivals with colorful decorations, illuminated lamps, gift-giving, feasts, and communal festivities have been popular in India for more than a millennium, according to literature and inscriptions in temples. Onam, a celebration of good fortune and joy, is observed in anticipation of the return of Maveli or Mahabali. People celebrate this festival with an elaborate Sadya and Payasam as an alternate dessert. People create atham or rangoli in front of their homes and celebrate with their friends, family, and relatives.

3. Chiranjeevi Veda Vyasa

The Hindu Dharma has a glorious past of great saints and sages. Several Saints ascended to the state of Guru and showed the path of God’s realization to many. They also taught spirituality to society through their conduct and actions. Their mission was not just limited to spirituality, but they also did substantial work for the defense of the nation whenever it was in difficulties. One such saint is Veda Vyasa.

Chiranjeevi Veda Vyasa
Veda Vyasa

In most Hindu traditions, Ved Vyasa is a central and venerated figure. He is also known as Veda Vyasa, meaning the one who classified the Vedas into four parts. His real name is Krishna Dvaipayana. Veda Vyasa was a great sage born in the later stages of the Treta Yuga who has been said to have lived through the Dvapara Yuga and the current Kali Yuga. He was the offspring of Satyavati, the daughter of the fisherman Dusharaj and the wandering sage Parashara (who is credited with being the author of the first Purana: Vishnu Purana).

Veda Vyasa was the author of the Mahabharata and the Puranas. Vyasa is also credited with penning the eighteen most important Puranas. His son Shuka, or Suka, is the narrator of the major Purana Bhagavat-Purana and was also responsible for dividing the Vedas into four sections. The splitting was an achievement that permitted mankind to comprehend the Veda’s heavenly knowledge. Vyasa means to divide, differentiate, or characterize. The Mahabharata was also written by Veda Vyasa, and he even features as an important character in it. His mother later married the king of Hastinapura and had two sons. Both the sons died without issue, and hence their mother asked Vyasa to go to the beds of the wives of her dead son Vichitravirya.

Ambika and Ambalika(earlier wives of Vichitravirya), Vyasa’s wives, give birth to the princes Dhritarashtra and Pandu. Vyasa told her wives that they should come near him one by one. Ambika did it first, but she closed her eyes because she was scared when she looked at Vyasa, as he looked unkempt and scary due to years of meditation in extreme conditions. Vyasa told Satyavati that this baby would be blind. This child was later given the name Dhritarashtra. Thus, Satyavati sent Ambalika and warned her that she should remain calm. But Ambalika’s face became pale because of fear. Now Vyasa told Satyavati that the child would have anemia and wouldn’t be able to rule the kingdom. Later, this child was known as Pandu. Then Vyasa told Satyavati to send one of them back so that a healthy child could be born. This time, instead of going themselves, Ambika and Ambalika sent a maid. The maid was very calm and collected, and she had a healthy baby who was later named Vidura. Even though these are his sons, his true spiritual heir is his other son, Suka, who was born of his wife, the sage Jabali’s daughter Pinjala (Vatika).

Veda Vyasa reciting Mahabharata and all the Upanishads and the 18 Puranas, while Lord Ganesha is writing.

In the first book of the Mahabharata, it says that Vyasa asked Lord Ganesha (god of wisdom) to help him write the text, but Ganesha said he would only do so if Vyasa told the story without a pause. To which, Vyasa then made a counter-condition that Lord Ganesha must understand the verse before he transcribed it. It took some time for Lord Ganesha to understand each of the verses as they were complex, which made Vyasa buy some time in between every verse. Thus, Veda Vyasa narrated the whole Mahabharata and all the Upanishads and the 18 Puranas, while Lord Ganesha wrote. 

In its literal sense, Veda Vyasa means the splitter of Vedas. Even so, most people think he was just one person. In Hindu mythology, there is always a Veda Vyasa who lives through one Manvantara and, because of this, is immortal during this Manvantara. Veda Vyasa is said to have lived the life of a hermit and is widely believed to be still alive and living among the living beings till the end of this Kali Yuga. The festival of Guru Purnima is dedicated to him. It is also called Vyasa Purnima because it is thought to be his birthday and the day he split the Vedas. It is said that he resides where ever the righteous and true live.

4. Chiranjeevi Hanuman

Hanuman is a Hindu god and the divine vanara (monkey) companion of Lord Rama. Hanuman is one of the most important figures in the Hindu epic Ramayana. He is an ardent devotee of Rama and one of the Chiranjeevi. Hanuman’s immortality is a combination of multiple boons that he was given by various gods during his life. In a number of legends, Hanuman is also the son of the wind god Vayu, who played a direct role in his birth. In addition to the Mahabharata and the numerous Puranas, Hanuman is mentioned in several other scriptures. 

Chiranjeevi Hanuman
Lord Hanuman

According to Hindu mythology, Hanuman was born of a mother named Anjana and a father named Kesari. Hanuman is also considered the son of the deity Vayu (wind god) because of legends associated with Vayu’s role in Hanuman’s birth. One account described in Eknath’s Bhavartha Ramayana (16th century CE) states that as Anjana was worshiping Vayu, the King Dasharatha of Ayodhya was also conducting the rite of Putrakameshti yagna in order to have offspring. As a result, King Dasharatha obtained some sacred pudding (payasam) to be shared by his three wives, leading to the births of Rama, Lakshmana, Bharata, and Shatrughna. By divine ordinance, a kite snatched a fragment of that pudding and dropped it while flying over the forest where Anjana was engaged in worship. The Hindu god Vayu carried the pudding to Anjana’s outstretched hands, where she devoured it and gave birth to Hanuman.

Child Hanuman went to eat the sun as he misunderstood it as a ripe mango.

According to Valmiki’s Ramayana, Hanuman was hungry one morning in his childhood when he spotted the rising red-colored sun. He sprang up to eat it, mistaking it for ripe fruit. According to one account of Hindu mythology, the deity Indra intervened and struck Hanuman with his thunderbolt. It hit Hanuman on his jaw, and he fell to the earth, dead with a broken jaw. According to the Ramayana (section 4.65), Hanuman’s father, Vayu (air), grew unhappy and withdrew all the air on Earth. All life forms suffered greatly due to a lack of air. As a result, Lord Shiva intervened and revived Hanuman, prompting Vayu to return air to all the living beings. As the mistake was made by the god Indra, he grants Hanuman a wish along with several other gods.

  1. Indra, the God of Rain, gave him power that his body would be as strong as Indra’s Vajra, and that his Vajra could also not harm him.
  2. Agni, the God of Fire, gave him power so that fire wouldn’t harm him.
  3. Varuna, the God of Water, gave him power that water wouldn’t harm him.
  4. Vayu, the Wind God, gave him power so that he would be as fast as the wind and the wind wouldn’t harm him.
  5. Brahma, the God of Creation, gave him power so that he might move to any location where he could not be stopped.
  6. Lord Vishnu gave him the weapon Gada.
  7. Surya, the Sun god, gave him the power to change the size of his body.
  8. Yama, the God of Death, gave him the power of healthy life and protection from his weapon, Danda. (Death would not come to him).
  9. Vishwakarma, the divine architect, gave him the power that he would be safe from all objects of his creation.
  10. Kubera, the God of Wealth, gave him the power that he would always be happy and contented.
  11. Kamadeva the God of love and desire gave him power that Sex will not be effective on him.

As a result of these wishes, Hanuman becomes an immortal with extraordinary powers and strength. Hanuman keeps utilizing his superhuman abilities on innocent onlookers as simple pranks following this event, until one day he pranks a meditating sage. The sage curses Hanuman to forget the great majority of his abilities in a rage. The curse will last until he is reminded of his abilities in adulthood. 

Hanuman meets Sita in Ravana’s kingdom.

Between his childhood and the events of the Ramayana, there is a lot of variance, but his story becomes considerably more solid throughout the events of the Ramayana. After Rama and his brother Lakshmana arrive in Kishkindha in quest of Rama’s kidnapped wife, Sita, the new king and Rama’s newfound friend, the monkey king Sugriva, agree to dispatch scouts in all four directions to look for Sita. Sugriva sends Hanuman and a few others to the south, including the huge bear Jambavan. This group goes all the way to the bottom of India, where they meet the ocean and can see the island of Lanka, which is now called Sri Lanka, in the distance. No one in the group can swim or jump far enough to get to the island (it was common for such supernatural powers to be common amongst characters in these epics). However, Jambavan knows from prior events that Hanuman used to be able to do such a feat with ease, and he lifts his curse. After the curse was broken, Hanuman remembered all of his powerful divine abilities.

He is said to have turned into the size of a mountain and flown to Lanka across a narrow channel. When he gets there, he sees that the Lankan king Ravana and his demon followers live in a city, so he turns himself into the size of an ant and sneaks into the city. After looking all over the city, he finds Sita in a grove where demon warriors are keeping watch. When everyone falls asleep, he talks to Sita about how he found her. She says that Ravana took her away and is going to make her marry him soon. He offers to rescue her, but Sita refuses, stating that her husband must do it (a belief from the time of ancient India). 

Hanuman in Ravana’s court.

After that, he starts destroying the grove, which leads to his capture, and he ends up in Ravana’s court. Ravana laughs when Hanuman tells him that Rama is coming to get Sita back. As punishment for the chaos that he has created in the groove, Ravana tells his men to set Hanuman’s tail on fire. However, every time they put on an oil-soaked cloth to burn, he grows his tail longer, so more clothes need to be added. This continues until Ravana has had enough and orders the lighting to begin. But when his tail is lit, he shrinks it back and uses his superhuman strength to break free. He jumps out of a window and hops from roof to roof, setting fire to one building after another until most of the city is on fire. But when his tail is lit, he shrinks it back and uses his superhuman strength to break free. He jumps out of a window and hops from roof to roof, setting fire to one building after another until most of the city is on fire. 

Hanuman carries the mountain of Sanjeevni Booti for Lord Rama’s brother Lakshmana. 

When he gets back, he tells his scouting group what happened, and they hurry back to Kishkindha, where Rama has been waiting for news the whole time. Upon hearing that Sita was safe and was awaiting him, Rama gathered the support of Sugriva’s army and marched for Lanka. Thus begins the legendary Battle of Lanka. Throughout the long battle, Hanuman played a role as a general in the army. During a fierce battle, Rama’s brother, Lakshmana, was badly hurt. Everyone thought he would die if he didn’t get Sanjeevni Booti(an herb) from the Himalayan mountains. Hanuman was the only one who could make the journey so quickly and was thus sent to the mountain. When he got there, he saw that the mountainside was full of herbs, and he didn’t want to take the wrong one back. So instead, he grew to the size of a mountain, tore the mountain out of the ground, and flew it back to the battle. This may be the thing that Hindus remember him for the most. It is thought that a piece of this mountain fell off while being carried, and that piece is now called “Mount Roomassala.” 

Hanuman riped open his chest to show the picture of Rama and Sita on his heart.

In the end, Rama showed that he was an incarnation of the god Vishnu and used his godly powers to kill Ravana and the rest of the demon army. When he was done, Rama went back to his home in Ayodhya to take his place as king again. After blessing all those who aided him in the battle with gifts, Rama gave Hanuman his gift, who threw it away. This act confused and upset a lot of court officials. Hanuman said that he would always remember Rama without a gift because he would always be in his heart. Still angry, some court officials asked for proof, so Hanuman ripped open his chest and showed them a picture of Rama and Sita on his heart. Now that Hanuman had proven himself to be a true devotee, Rama healed him and gave him the gift of immortality. Hanuman refused this and asked only for a place at Rama’s feet to worship him. Touched by Hanuman, Rama blessed him with immortality anyway. Like Shesha Nag, Hanuman would live on after the Kalpa (destruction of the universe). 

5. Chiranjeevi Vibhishana

The Hindu epic Ramayana tells the story of Vibhishana, the younger brother of the King of Lanka, Ravana. Vibhishana, despite the fact that he was a Rakshasa, betrayed Ravana by joining Rama’s army and standing up for the principles of dharma. When Rama finally conquered Ravana, he returned to Ayodhya and crowned Vibhishana as king of Lanka. A sattvic (pure) mind and a pure heart were Vibhishana’s hallmarks. He spent all of his time as a child meditating on the name of the Lord. Brahma eventually appeared and promised him any boon he desired. Vibhishana stated that all he desired was to have his mind set as pure as lotus leaves at the feet of the Lord (charan kamal). He asked for the strength to always remain at the Lord’s feet and to be granted the darshan (holy sight) of Lord Vishnu. This prayer was fulfilled when he was able to give up all his wealth and family and join Rama, who was the Avatar of Lord Vishnu (God incarnate)

Chiranjeevi Vibhishana
Vibhishana

Vibhishana was the youngest son of Kaikesi and Sage Vishrava, who was a descendant of Heavenly Guardian Sage Pulatsya. Vibhishana was the younger brother of Ravana and Kumbakarna, and they also had a sister, Soorpanaka. Despite his demon birth, he was vigilant and pious, and he thought himself a Brahmin since his father was innately one. When Kaikesi, daughter of the demon Sumali, expressed to Vishrava her wish to become his wife, Vishrava said that due to her asking this wish at such an inauspicious time, their children would be born with horrible body structure and cruel nature. Kaikesi sobbed at the Brahmin’s feet when she heard this. As a result of Kaikesi’s devotion and actions as a faithful wife, Vishrava predicted that their youngest son would be born with a normal body structure and a devout mentality, while the others would remain the same.

Vibhishana left Lanka as he was against Ravana’s act of kidnapping Sita, and most of all, because Ravana wanted the throne for himself. Kaikesi, his mother, told him to go help Shri Rama, who was at the time putting together an army to defeat Ravana and get Sita back. He divulged the secrets of Ravana’s army and made sure Rama was victorious in the great battle. Lord Rama accepted Vibhishana’s service and gave him the throne of Lanka after Ravana’s death. 

Vibhishana worshipping Lord Rama.

Shri Rama benefited greatly from Vibhishana’s knowledge of Lanka’s secrets during the Lanka War. Vibhishana openly revealed numerous secrets that were crucial to Rama’s attack’s success, including the hidden path to Mata Nikumbala’s temple, the Pulatsya Clan’s family god. When Rama was unable to kill Ravana during the climactic battle, Vibhishana disclosed the secret of Ravana’s death to Rama. He informed Rama that Ravana had hidden the nectar of immortality in his belly button, which needed to be dried. Rama was ultimately able to kill Ravana because of this information. 

In the Ramayana, the way Vibhishana is portrayed helps show how the idea of Dharma works in the real world. The epic emphasizes that neither Vibhishana nor Kumbhakarna strayed from the path of Dharma and that there is no one way out of a moral dilemma. The Ramayana shows that Kumbhakarna stuck to the Dharma of being loyal to his family, while Vibhishana chose to stay with the Dharma of what is right and went against his family. Vibhishana is a symbol of devotion to Shri Rama, and being a demon devotee, he shows that the Lord doesn’t care about where someone was born or what their life is like. He had a daughter named Analte, or Trijata.

When Rama was about to leave Ayodhya at the end of his reign, in his original form as Lord Vishnu, he told Vibhishana to stay on earth and serve the people and lead them on the path of truth and Dharma. Hence, Vibhishana is considered one of the eight immortals. Lord Vishnu also told Vibhishana to pray to Lord Ranganatha, the family god of the Sun Dynasty.

6. Chiranjeevi Kripacharya

Kripacharya, or Kripa, was on the council of the Kuru Kingdom and taught the Pandava brothers and Kaurava princes. Kripa and his sister Kripi were adopted by King Shantanu of the Kuru Kingdom after being born from the seed of the warrior-sage Sharadvan. Sharadwan once performed penance to become invincible, but this posed a threat to the devas, particularly Indra. The gorgeous apsara Janpadi (celestial nymph) from heaven was then sent to distract the celibate saint. Sharadvan lost control and ejaculated when he saw her. He abandoned his weapons and fled deep into the wilderness, ashamed of his conduct. The sperm landed on some weeds, separating them into two sections. The weeds produced a boy and a girl. Kripa, like his birth father, was groomed to be a brilliant archer. He and his sister were named “Kripa” and “Kripi” as they were adopted by King Shantanu out of pity. As Kripa was an expert archer, he was given the title “acharya” (‘master’).

Chiranjeevi Kripacharya
Kripacharya

“Kripacharya was capable of managing 60,000 warriors single-handedly on the battlefield. He ravaged the whole of the foe’s army like a blazing fire. In fighting the battles bravely, he is comparable only to Karthikeya, the son of Lord Shiva who vanquished the demons.”

Mahabharata
Kripacharya, the warrior who was capable of fighting against 60,000 soldiers single-handedly in the battle field.

Later in the epic, he fought for the Kauravas in the Kurukshetra war against the Pandavas. On the eighteenth day of the war, Duryodhana (the eldest brother of the Kauravas) was killed by Bhima (one of the Pandavas). So, During the night, Kripa, along with Ashwatthama and Kritavarma, raided the Pandavas’ camp, burnt it and massacred the remaining Pandava army, but in the course they also mistakenly killed all five of Draupadi’s sons (wife of Pandava). In addition, he broke the rules of war by attacking them when they were sleeping, which was a grave offense. Lord Krishna was so angry at this unethical way of fighting that he cursed Kripacharya to live forever with suffering until the end of the Kaliyuga.

Draupadi with her five husbands – the Pandavas. The central figure is Yudhishthira; the two on the bottom are Bhima and Arjuna. Nakula and Sahadeva, the twins, are on each side of the throne.

After the war, Kripacharya is claimed to have been the one who informed Dhritarashtra (Kaurava’s father) of Duryodhana’s defeat and death. Kripacharya also wished to go to the Himalayas with Dhritarashtra and the entourage, but Dhritarashtra ordered Yudhisthir (the eldest Pandava brother) to stay in the kingdom and manage the affairs. He had to obey the monarch and do his duty to the empire until Parikshit was ready to take over. He was Parikshit’s preceptor, and he made sure that he didn’t leave any stone unturned in restoring Hastinapur to its former glory and making Parikshit a Noble King. He finally proceeded to the Himalayas after completing his duty, where he is claimed to be in penance as an immortal who can never die. From Shantanu’s sons Vichitravirya and Chitrangad to Arjuna’s grandson Parikshit, he taught 5 generations of Hastinapur.

Hence, Kripacharya was one of the few survivors of the war and a Chiranjeevi, an immortal entity doomed to live till the end of the Kali Yuga, the last yuga (age). According to some Hindu scripture, in the next Manvantara, which is a cyclical period of time in Hindu cosmology, he will also become one of the Saptarishi, the seven respected sages

7. Chiranjeevi Parashurama

The sixth incarnation of the Hindu god Vishnu among the Dashavatara, Parashurama is also known as Rama Jamadagnya, Rama Bhargava, and Veerarama. He is thought to be one of the Chiranjeevis who will arrive at the end of the Kali Yuga to serve as the guru of Vishnu’s tenth and last incarnation, Kalki. He possessed a multitude of characteristics, including aggression, warfare, and heroism, as well as calmness, prudence, and patience. Parashurama, the son of Jamadagni and Renuka, was prophesied to arrive at a period when the earth was overrun by evil. With weapons and power, the Kshatriya class began to misuse their position, taking what belonged to others by force and tyrannising people. By destroying the Kshatriya warriors twenty-one times, he restored cosmic balance. According to legend, the main goal of Vishnu’s sixth incarnation was to relieve the earth of its burden by killing sinful and irreligious rulers who didn’t do their jobs.

Chiranjeevi Parashurama
Parashurama with his axe.

He is wedded to Dharani, a manifestation of Lakshmi, Lord Vishnu’s wife. He appears in the Ramayana as a result of his dispute with Rama (the protagonist of the Ramayana) about Lord Shiva’s broken bow. In the Mahabharata, he imparted knowledge of weapons to Bhisma, Drona, Rukmi, and Karna. Once, Parashurama went to see Lord Shiva, but Lord Ganesha stopped him. This made Parashurama angry, so he broke one of Ganapati’s teeth. Since then, Lord Ganesha is also known as Ekadanta (one-toothed). During the time of the Mahabharata, he imparted knowledge of weapons to Bhishma, Dronacharya, and Karna. He also provided the Sudarshan Chakra to Lord Krishna

According to Hindu mythology, Parashurama was born in a hut to Sage Jamadagni and his Kshatriya wife Renuka. Sage Jamadagni performed a great yagya for the son. Indradev was so pleased with this yagya that he bestowed upon him the blessing of a wonderful son, and on Akshaya Tritiya, Parashuram was born. Sage Jamadagni and his wife Renuka gave their son the name Rama. Lord Shiva had given Rama the knowledge of the weapon. Lord Shiva rewarded him with an axe, or Parashu. This is the reason Rama was then given the name Parashurama

Chiranjeevi Parashurama
Parashurama defeated the Haihaya dynasty of the Kshatriya clan 21 times. 

They had a celestial cow named Surabhi that gave them all they wanted (Surabhi was the daughter of Kamadhenu). Kartavirya Arjun (not to be confused with Pandava Arjun) discovers Surabhi and desires it. He requests it from Jamadagni, but the sage refuses. During Parashurama’s absence, he forcibly took Surabhi. Parashurama is disturbed when he learns of the crime. With his axe in hand, he challenges the king to battle. In accordance with Hindu mythology, Parushama defeats and kills the king in a battle. He is challenged by the warrior class, and he kills all of them. Most likely, the mythology comes from an old fight between the Brahmin varna, which is in charge of knowledge, and the Kshatriya varna, which is in charge of military and law enforcement tasks.

In some versions of the mythology, Parashurama comes to his wise father with the Surabhi cow after his martial adventures and informs him about the fights he had to face. The sage does not applaud Parashurama but rather chastises him for killing a king, emphasizing that a Brahmin should never kill a king. He suggests that he embark on a pilgrimage to atone for his wrongdoing. When Parashurama comes back from a pilgrimage, he finds out that while he was gone, Kartavirya Arjun’s sons killed his father. In vengeance, Parashurama again picks up his axe and kills them, as well as many more warriors. He eventually gives up his weapons and begins practicing yoga.

Kalki is the 10th avatar of Lord Vishnu.
Kalki is the 10th avatar of Lord Vishnu.

Parashuram is one of the eight Chiranjeevi.It is stated that when the Kalki avatar of Vishnu is born at the end of the Kali Yuga, Parshuram will appear. He will impart knowledge of weapons to Kalki. He will also instruct Kalki to perform a long sacrament to please Lord Shiva. After being pleased, Lord Shiva will bless Kalki with celestial weaponry. He is reported to have defeated the Haihaya dynasty of the Kshatriya clan 21 times. 

8. Chiranjeevi Maha Rishi Markandeya

Bhargava Markandeya, or Maha Rishi Markandeya, is an ancient rishi (sage) who was born into the Bhrigu Rishi clan (Bhargava Brahmin Community). He was known for his everlasting youth status. In the Bhagavata Purana, a number of chapters are about his conversations and prayers. In the Mahabharata, he is also referenced. In all mainstream Hindu traditions, Markandeya is revered. Today, Markandeya Tirtha, where the sage Markandeya penned the Markandeya Purana, is located on the Yamunotri Shrine trekking path in Uttarakhand’s Uttarkashi region.

Chiranjeevi Maha Rishi Markandeya
Maha Rishi Markandaye

Mrikandu Rishi and his wife Marudmati worshipped Shiva and prayed to him for the blessing of having a son. As a result, he was given the option of having either a righteous son with a short earthly life or a child with a lengthy earthly life but low intelligence. Mrikandu Rishi chose the first option and was blessed with Markandeya, a good son who was doomed to die at 16 years old. Markandeya grew up to be a big Shiva follower, and on the day he was supposed to die, he kept worshipping Shiva in the form of Shivalingam. The god of death, Yama, sent messengers to take his life, but they were unable to take away his life because of his great devotion and continual worship of Shiva. Yama then came in person to take away Markandeya’s life and sprung his noose around the young sage’s neck. By chance or fate, the noose landed around the Shivalingam, and Shiva appeared in all his rage, punishing Yama for his act of aggression. After defeating Yama in battle, Shiva brought him back to life on the condition that the religious young man would live forever. Hence, he is one of the eight Chiranjeevis. Shiva was given the name Kalantaka after this deed (“Ender of Death”). 

Chiranjeevi Maha Rishi Markandeya
Shivalingam

This occurrence is supposed to have occurred on the banks of the Gomati River at Kaithi, Varanasi. At this place, the Markandeya Mahadeva Temple is constructed. It’s the place where the rivers Ganga and Gomati merge, so being a Sangam area, its sacredness increases. Alternately, according to another account, this occurrence occurred in Kerala, at the Triprangode Siva Temple, where Markandeya ran up to the Shiva Linga to avoid Yama

Chiranjeevi Maha Rishi Markandeya
Maha Rishi Markandaye worshipping Lord Shiva,

The Sati Purana, a secret part of Markandeya Purana, says that Goddess Parvati also gave him a boon to write a text on Veera Charitra (Brave character) on her. The text is famously known as Durga Saptashati, a valuable portion of Markandeya Purana. The place is known as Yamkeshwar.

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