Mythology is mysterious, especially Hindu mythology that has so much to offer from a lot of the holy books that exist in Hinduism. Of course, most of us would have been through at least one epic tale from the Hindu mythology and would have surely heard of some character being immortal or Chiranjeevi or someone who was blessed to be immortal. Well, some people might not believe it but proof has been found that explains that maybe some of these characters are alive until today.
Seven immortals are mentioned in one of the mantra of Hindu scripture. It reads,
“अश्वत्थामाबलिर्व्यासोहनुमांश्च विभीषण:कृपश्चपरशुरामश्च सप्तैतेचिरंजीविन:।”
(Ashwathaama Balirvyaaso Hanumanshcha Vibhishanaha Krupascha Parshuramascha Saptaitey Chiranjivinaha)
Apart from the seven Chiranjivis mentioned above, there exist one another called Sage Markandeya who attained immortality at the age of sixteen.
“अश्वत्थामा बलिव्र्यासो हनूमांश्च विभीषण:। कृप: परशुरामश्च सप्तएतै चिरजीविन:॥ सप्तैतान् संस्मरेन्नित्यं मार्कण्डेयमथाष्टमम्। जीवेद्वर्षशतं सोपि सर्वव्याधिविवर्जित॥”
Ashwathaama Balirvyaaso Hanumanshcha Vibheeshanaha Krupaha Parshuramascha Saptaitey Chiranjivinaha Saptaitaan Samsmareynnityam Markandeymathaashtamam Jivedvarshshatam Sopi Sarvavyadhivivarjit
The above lines mean that by remembering these 8 immortals everyday one can be free of all ailments and live for more than 100 years.
Let’s talk about these eight Chiranjivis in detail:
One of the legendary characters from the Mahabharata. He was the son of Dronacharya and has a big part in Mahabharata. He fought against the Pandavas as he was a good friend to the eldest of the hundred Kauravas, Duryodhana. Being the son of Dronacharya, he was a prodigy with all the weapons. He also had Bramhastra which was given to him by his father out of love, even he was not the right person for it to be given to. There is a gem on his forehead since his birth that was gifted to him Lord Shiva that saved from any wound and illness. Lord Krishna came to justice and took away that gem because he had committed so many sins. This left him in a bizarre state and to face the brutal consequence, he was cursed to be immortal so that he would bear his misery forever. Therefore, he is still believed to be alive.
Mahabali who is also known as Bali, Māveli or Indrasenan. He is a Daitya king found in Hindu texts. Bali is the grandson of a descendant of Rishi Kashyapa, Prahlada. Today in a Kerala tradition Mahabali is considered to be the prosperous and noblest king who transforms his kingdom into a land of heaven on earth. Mahabali was driven into Patal, the underworld by Vishnu’s Vamana Avatar. He was a great devotee of Vishnu and was given a boon that he will become Lord Indra in the next Mahayuga.
Also known as the author of Mahabharata. He is also credited as the writer of other important works including the Puranas as well as the traditional compiler of the Vedas. He symbolises sagacity and erudition. He was the son of Parashara, a sage and his wife Satyawati, who was a fisherwoman. His great grandfather Vashistha was also a sage. He took birth during the end of Treta Yug and survived till the entire Dvapara Yuga and the beginning of Kali Yuga. The festival of Guru Purnima is truly dedicated to him and is also known as Vyasa Purnima It’s the day of his birth and when he divided the Vedas. Vyasa is considered to be still in existence according to Hindu tradition just like other seven Chiranjivis.
4. Lord Hanuman
One of the biggest characters of Ramayana, Lord Hanuman was born to Anjani and Kesari. He is believed to be a reincarnation of Lord Shiva. He is also called Vaayu Putra because he was the godson of Vaayu Dev. Hanuman and Lord Rama were meant to be together. When Sita was captured by Ravana and was taken to Lanka, there was no way of reaching Lanka than flying because of the sea. Ravana took her to Lanka using the Pushpak Vimaan. Because Lord Hanuman could fly, he flew to Lanka to look for Sita and he found her in Ashok Vatika, inside the palace of Ravana, which was made up of complete gold. When Sita and Lord Hanuman met at Lanka, Sita blessed him to be immortal out of gratitude of finding her. Many Ramayana scripts say that after Rama had defeated Ravana, Lord Hanuman was asked to prove his loyalty and devotedness to Lord Rama after which he tore his chest apart where we see Lord Rama and Sita. Fascinated by that, Lord Rama out of gratitude healed him and also blessed him with immortality which Hanuman refused and touched Rama’s feet. But, Rama blessed him with immortality anyway. At the end of Treta Yuga, Lord Rama along with rest of his people drown himself in the Sarayu River and move back to the heavens as Lord Vishnu, saying Hanuman to stay at the Earth and protect it, as he was immortal. Traces of Lord Hanuman still being alive are still found by some people and many people believe that he is alive.
Vibhishana was the youngest brother to Ravana, the main antagonist of the tale of Ramayana. Ravana, Kumbhkarana, and Vibhishana were brothers who prayed to Lord Brahma while they were kids and asked for some blessings. Ravana asked for immense strength and power, Kumbhkarana yawned just before making a wish and Vibhishana asked to be blessed with taking the side of truth always. Therefore, while Ravana and Lord Rama were at war, Vibhishana knew that Lord Rama was right and therefore requested his brother Ravana to release Sita and apologize to Lord Rama, which had agitated Ravana and thus, Vibhishana was banished. Vibhishana came to Lord Rama and had told him how Ravana could be killed and that is how he was defeated. Despite belonging to the asura class, he was devoted to Lord Rama and fought for what was right and thus, was blessed with immortality.
He is the fourth avatar of Brahma and was the royal guru of the princes in the Mahabharata. He was born extraordinarily to Śaradvān and Jānapadī. King Shantanu adopted his sister Kripi and him. Later on, Kripa became a teacher of the royal children and was named Kripacharya. His twin sister Kripi was the wife of Dronacharya and had a son named Ashwatthama. Kripa is widely acknowledged for his impartial attitude and also regarded his students as his children. Kripa and his nephew Ashwatthama are the only left warriors, who survived the War of Kurukshetra.
Parashurama is believed to the sixth avatar of Lord Vishnu who carried an axe. He was an extremely skilled warrior and is said to have won all over the world as a one-man army. He was born in a Brahmin family and was born for the sake of removing the evil prevailing the Earth then, which was the Kshatriya class that abused their powers to terrorize and tyrannize the common people. His aggression was not invoked until a king named Kartavirya Arjuna came to his hut while he was away and used his power to take away the Surabhi cow that their family had. When he returned and found out what had happened, he challenged Kartavirya Arjuna and defeated him. This agitated the rest of the kings and they all challenged him to war but were all defeated. It is believed that Parashurama is immortal so that he can teach the upcoming incarnation of Vishnu that art of all the weapons so that he can eliminate all evil from the world.
He is an ancient rishi who took birth in the clan of Bhrigu Rishi. The Markandeya Purana particularly contains a dialogue between Markandeya and a sage named Jaimini, and the majority of chapters in the Bhagavata Purana are committed to his conversations and prayers. There is a story in which Lord Shiva protected Markandeya from death by defeating Yama. His name also appears in Mahabharata.