- According to the Hindu mythology, there are a group of people who are blessed or cursed with an unusually long life
- Known as the Ashta-Chiranjeevis, they are said to found in flesh and blood, living to see the end of the Kali Yuga
- Chiranjeevis are not immortals but rather live till the end of this Kalpa
The desire to live forever in this world has always attracted Man. They have looked for answers in every domain to quench their thirst for immortality. In an attempt to cheat death, they have conducted various experiments, but all have ended in failure. Does that mean that there are no immortal beings that are walking this planet for thousands of years?
According to the Hindu mythology, there are a group of people who are blessed or cursed with an unusually long life. Known as the Ashta-Chiranjeevis, they are said to found in flesh and blood, living to see the end of the Kali Yuga. The word ‘chiranjeevi’ is derived from ‘chiran’ which means long and ‘jeevi’ which means lived. Chiranjeevis are not immortals but rather live till the end of this Kalpa. One Kalpa corresponds to 4.32 billion years and the Kali Yuga is said to be a period of 432,000 years, mentioned the boldsky.com Website.
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The eight Chiranjeevis are Ashwathama, King Mahabali, Vyasa, Hanuman, Vibhishana, Kripacharya, Markandeya and Parashurama.
Ashwathhama, the son of the great teacher Drona as well as a great friend of Duryodhana who committed three unpardonable sins in Dwapara Yuga. He was one of the warriors who killed Abhimanyu unlawfully, who was only a child; killed the five Upapandavas and Draupadi’s sons after the war was over in their sleep. Therefore, out of fury, Lord Krishna cursed him with immortality. Ashwathama was born with the gem in his forehead that guaranteed protection from disease, weapons and snakebites but Krishna cursed him saying that his wounds would never heal and he will wander in the world and suffer from miseries. This makes him as one of the Chiranjeevis in Hindu Mythology.
The righteous Asura king, Mahabali gained so much glory that he even made the king of gods feel intimidated. Fearing that the Yagnas conducted by him would grant him powers that would equal that of Indra, he approached Lord Vishnu for help. Disguised as a Brahmin-dwarf, tricked Mahabali and banished him to the underworld. But Mahabali remained humble and stayed righteous to the very end of the trial. Pleased with him, Lord Vishnu blessed him with immortality and let him return to the earth once every year to visit his people. The festival Onam is celebrated in Kerala to mark this occasion.
Ved Vyasa, the author of the epic Mahabharata and the Puranas was blessed with immortality by Lord Ganesha and Maha Vishnu. It is said that he resides wherever the faithful and true exist.
Vayuputhr or the son of the wind, Hanuman is the dispeller of evil. He is believed to be the symbol of devotion, innocence, strength and knowledge. Instead of going for Moksha, Hanuman decided to stay on earth, wherever Rama’s name was spoken; such was his devotion. He is mentioned in Mahabharata that is believed to have taken place in Dwapara Yuga.
The younger brother of Demon-King Ravanan, Vibhishan, fought on the side of dharma in Ramayana. He was blessed as a Chiranjeevi to upheld righteousness in Lanka and to lead people on the path of Dharma.
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Kripacharya was the Kul Guru of the Kurus. It is said that his impartiality towards all of his students is the reason for his immortality. He is often revered as the ideal Guru.
Son of the great Sage Mrgandu, Markendeya was blessed with wisdom and godly talents. But when the stipulated period was over, Lord Yama, the God of death came to take his life away, he prayed to Lord Shiva. Pleased with his devotion, the Lord granted him the boon of immortality.
Parashurama, the sixth avatar ofVishnu was born to rid the earth of immoral kings and rulers. He received an axe from Lord Shiva after rigorous penance, learned the art of warfare from him making him the first warrior-saint. It is said that he would appear at the end of Kali Yug to be the Guru of Vishnu’s last avatar, Kalki.
– prepared by Ajay Krishna of NewsGram
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