There are more than 15 Chiranjeevi’s (chiram = “long or permanent”, jeev = “ living”) who are believed to exist even today on Earth according to Hindu religion. Those immortals were born human but blessed or cursed with extremely long life. The existing Puranas, the Ramayana, and the Mahabharata describe eight long-lived personalities in the Hindu religion. While there are others as well, which is not included in the one particular shloka. The each represents a different attribute of man, which as long as they live, will exist amongst humanity until the completion of Kaliyug.
“अश्वत्थामा बलिव्र्यासो हनूमांश्च विभीषण:।
कृप: परशुरामश्च सप्तएतै चिरजीविन:॥
सप्तैतान् संस्मरेन्नित्यं मार्कण्डेयमथाष्टमम्।
जीवेद्वर्षशतं सोपि सर्वव्याधिविवर्जित।।”
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7 Notable People Thought To Be Immortal According to Hindu texts
Ashwathama, King Mahabali, Veda Vyasa, Hanuman, Vibhishana, Kripacharya, and Parashurama are the seven death-defying or imperishable personalities.
According to the epic Mahabharata, Ashwatthama was the son of Guru Dronacharya, teacher of Kauravas and Pandavas. He was a great warrior who fought in the side of the Kauravas. Dronacharya did many years of severe penance to please Lord Shiva in order to obtain a son with the same valiance as the Lord himself. He did not get the immortality for any good deeds but was cursed by Lord Krishna after he killed all the sons of Pandavas believing them to be the five Pandava brothers.
2. King Mahabali
Bali, a grandson of Prahlad, was an Asura King who with his valor controlled all the three worlds and later had an unhealthy conceit with Indra, King of Devas. Upon request of Indra, Lord Vishnu took a Vaman avatar, who asked Bali to give him land that covered with 4 steps of his feet. Looking at the dwarf, King Bali instantly gave his words and in 3 steps Vamana covered all the three worlds. When asked what to do with the 4th step, King Bali kneeled and presented his head. For the pious deeds of Bali, Lord Vishnu granted him the boon of visiting his subjects once every year. To this day, Onam is celebrated every year in Kerala for his return.
3. Veda Vyasa
Veda Vyasa is the author as well as a character in one of the greatest epic of Hindus – “Mahabharata” who represents intelligence, vision, and wisdom. Veda Vyasa by translating from the Sanskrit language is called “one who classified the Vedas”. Veda Vyasa is also known to be the transcriber of Vedas and Puranas. He is the son of sage Parashar and Satyavati. Satyavati later married King Shantanu, father of Bhishma and it is her descents who continue the whole story of Mahabharata, predicted and composed by Vyasa.
Hanuman is an ardent devotee of Rama and served in Rama’s every step including killing of Ravana and freeing of Sita. Sita is believed to have bestowed on him the boon that made Hanuman ever youthful, energetic and live until and wherever people venerate the name of Rama. He is the son of Anjana and Kesari and is also the son of the wind-god Pawan, who according to several stories, played a role in his birth and one of the Ansha (bodily part) of Lord Shiva.
Vibhishana is the brother of Ravana, King of Lanka, He ditched his own brother and helped Rama’s triumph over Ravana by providing information about every power and secrets of Ravana. He later ruled Lanka and was provided with immortality to guide people in the steps of Dharma.
Kripacharya was the royal and KUL Guru of Kuru Dynasty who remained impartial and neutral to all of his disciples. He was the son of Shardwana and Janapadi, born in a particularly extraordinary manner. He along with his sister Kripi were adopted by King Shantanu. Later on Kripa became an Acharya, teacher of the royal children, giving him the name Kripacharya. His twin sister Kripi married Drona. Kripa was among the Maharathis who fought on the Kauravas’s side against the Pandavas in the Kurukshetra war in the Hindu epic of the Mahabharata. Along with others, Kripa is considered to be foremost among the rishis in Kali-yuga.
Parashurama is the 6th avatar of Vishnu, master of all astras, Sastras and divine weapons. He is the son of Renuka and Jamadagni, one of the Saptarishi. According to Kalki Purana, he will re-emerge at end time to the martial guru of Kalki. He will then instruct the final avatar to undertake penance to receive celestial weaponry, required to save mankind at the end time. He lived during the last Treta and Dvapara Yugas and received his famous axe after undertaking terrible penance to please Shiva, who in turn taught him Kalaripayattu. His real name was Bhargava Rama.
As Chiranjeevi is considered a person who lived a long life, long like a complete Yuga. So some other names are.
- Markanday– It is specified that Markandeya had a boon that he will never die and is blessed with immortality.
- Jambavan – He helped Lord Rama and was blessed with long life, later Krishna fought with him and killed him setting him free from this world. Krishna married his daughter.
- Devapi – He is believed to be the elder brother of Shanthanu(grandfather of Pandavas), he was/is immortal sage. Scholars are confused about him and know nothing much too.
- Saptarishis – Seven Sages, may refer- Saptarishi