Boon or Curse from Deities The Great Chiranjeevis of India

In Hindu mythology, there have been many great warriors, saints, gods etc.The people who are Immortal (the ability to live forever) have received the boon / curse of eternal life from the Immortal Deities; mortals can become Chiranjeevi by good deeds etc., but cannot become AMAR without drinking Amrita of Devas. In the Hindu pantheon, these seven-eight long-lived personalities are well described in the extant of Puranas, the Ramayana, and the Mahabharata. There are some others as well, which are not included in this one particular shloka. The Each one of them represents a different attribute of man, which as long as they live, will exist amongst humanity. There are seven to eight Chiranjeevi's in Hinduismwho are immortal living beings left to remain alive on Earth until the end of the current Kali Yuga.
 
Chiranjeevis of Hinduism
Chiranjeevis of Hinduism
 
In Hindu scriptures their names in this Mantra are recited for luck and longevity which contains seven immortals:
 
अश्वत्थामाबलिर्व्यासोहनुमांश्च विभीषण:कृपश्चपरशुरामश्च सप्तैतेचिरंजीविन:।
 
Ashwathaama Balirvyaaso Hanumanshach
Vibhishanha Krupascha Parshuramascha
Saptaitey Chiranjivinaha
 
"Ashwatthama Balir Vyaso Hanumanash cha Vibhishana Krupacharya cha Parashuramam Saptaita Chiranjeevanam" - 'Ashwathama, King Mahabali, Vyasa, Hanuman, Vibhishana, Kripacharya and Parashurama are the seven death-defying or imperishable personalities '.
 
There is another Shloka of Hindu Scriptures which mentions the presence of Sage Markandeya, who at the age of sixteen, was blessed with immortality. 
 
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
 
Meaning in Hindi: इस श्लोक का अर्थ यह है कि इन आठ लोगों (अश्वथामा, दैत्यराज बलि, वेद व्यास, हनुमान, विभीषण, कृपाचार्य, परशुराम और मार्कण्डेय ऋषि) का स्मरण सुबह-सुबह करने से सारी बीमारियां समाप्त होती हैं और मनुष्य 100 वर्ष की आयु को प्राप्त करता है।
 
Meaning in English: The above lines mean that by daily remembering these 8 immortals (Ashwatthama, King Bali, Ved Vyasa, Hanuman, Vibhishan, Kripacharya, Parashuram and Rishi Markandaya) one can be free of all problems and live for 100 years. These are also called as 8 great warriors.
 
That's why there is a great debate even today about these CHIRANJEEVIS existence in the world. Recently, we had all heard about Ashwathama who is still alive and around 5000 years old, was seen by local people in Khaireshwar Temple of Kanpur. This place where temple stood is considered as his birthplace, where He comes everyday to this temple to worship the deity Lord Shiva. 
 
The CHIRANJEEVIS about whom there is no traditional argument are mentioned below: 
 
Lord Hanuman:- Hanuman is the son of Anjana Devi and Kesari (called as Anjaneya) the Vanara community, also son of Wind-God Vaayu Deva (called as Vaayu Putra, by this relationship, he is a brother of Bhima), who according to several stories, played a role in his birth. Several texts also present him as 11th Rudra Avatar (incarnation) of Lord Shiva such as Mahabhagavata Puranam, Skanda Puranam and Brhaddharma Puranam, He also played a great role in the Indian Epic-Ramayana and proved to be an ardent devotee of Lord Rama, who's devotion is personified as he participated and aided in Lord Rama's war against the demon King Ravana for rescuing Sita from Him. He is worshipped as a deity with magical powers and the ability to conquer evil spirits. He is the symbol of strength and energy.
 
Hanuman an Ardent devotee of Lord Rama
 
Hanuman an Ardent devotee of Lord Rama
 
Ashwatthama:- Ashwatthama is the son of Drona, a great warrior who did penance to Lord Shiva for attaining son with the same valiance as of Lord Shiva. He was born with a gem in his forehead which gave him power over all living beings lower than humans and also protects him from the attacks by ghosts, demons, animals, poisonous insects, snakes etc. He is grandson of Brahmin Sage Bharadwaja and is the master of all forms of knowledge who possess complete mastery over 64 forms of arts or Kalas and 18 Vidyas or branches of knowledge. He was teacher of Kauravas and Pandavas, who had fought in the Indian Epic-Mahabharatha against Pandavas along with the Kauravas. He was named Ashwatthama due to neighing like a horse, and "Ashwa" means horse after his birth. 
 
Ashwathama
 
Ashwathama
 
Parashurama:-  Parashurama is the 6th Avatar (incarnation) of Lord Vishnu who is very knowledgeable about all Shastras, Astras (weapon) and Divine Weapons. He appeared many times in Indian Epics- Ramayana, Mahabharata and Puranas. He is famous for killing Haihaya-Kshatriyas on the earth 21 times for their arrogance. The most famous Kshatriya, he slew was Kartavirya Arjuna– also called Sahasrarjuna (possessor of a thousand arms) – the King of Mahishmati. He moved the sea back so that he can build a place to live for the growing population -- which is how Konkan/ Deccan came into existence. He was also the guru of Bhishma, Drona and later Karna. It is well stated in Kalki Puranam, that he will re emerge at End of Time to be the martial guru of Kalki and instruct the final Avatar to undertake penance to receive celestial weaponry, which would be required to save mankind at end time. 
 
Parashurama
Parashurama
                                                                                     
Vibhishana:- Vibhishana is  the younger brother of Demon Ravana, also known as Bibhishana. He surrendered himself to Rama before his battle against brother Ravana. In the Epic-Ramayana, after the death of Ravana and victory of Lord Rama on Lanka, He was crowned as king of Lanka by Rama. Before Lord Rama left Ayodhya at the end of his reign, He was told to stay on Earth and serve the people and guide them to the path of truth and Dharma. He stands for righteousness. Although, He is having a boon of longevity, He is not a true Chiranjeevi, as he would serve on the earth only until the end of the Mahayuga.
 
Vibhishana
 
Vibhishana
 
Bali:– He is also known as Maha Bali (his son was Banasur), who was the virtuous emperor of the three worlds and grandson of Prahlad from Asura descent. During the Vamana Avatar, Lord Vishnu blessed him to be a Chiranjeevi, as to humble himself as Vamana to conquer him. He had two great eternal qualities which stands out as his valour and charity. Every year on the day of Onam Festival (Bali Pratipada the first day after Lakshmi Puja – Deepavali), he descends to earth from the heavens to visit his people and grant favors to them, especially the region of Kerala to ensure that they are prosperous, which is his capital as he is believed to have ruled in South India before the Epic-Ramayana and his empire was believed to have been extended from the Vindhyas in the North to the far out in the South. The realm of Patala is supposed to be the realm of Bali. Bali is a righteous king who is also known as Sahastrabahu (one with thousand arms). Although he was Asura, he was very religious and pious, and his ruling was considered as a golden era, as he took great care of his subjects. 
 
Mahabali
Mahabali
 
Sage Markandeya:- Markandeya is an ancient rishi (sage) from the Hindu tradition, born in the clan of Brigu Rishi. He is venerated as a devotee of both Lord Shiva and Lord Vishnu and is mentioned in a number of stories from the Puranas. The Markandeya Puranam gives dialogues between Markandeya and a sage called Jaimini, where He is also known to be of great mental prowess and an exemplary narrator of stories. There are various conversations and prayers well mentioned in number of chapters dedicated to in the Bhagavata Puranam. We can also see his mentions and appearance in Mahabharata, where he meets the exiled Pandavas in forest and reduces their burden by telling them stories of earlier kings and gods and demons. Today, the place where Sage Markandeya wrote the Markandeya Puranam is known as Markandeya Tirtha, situated on a trekking route to the Yamunotri Shrine in the Uttarkashi district, Uttarakhand
 
Sage Markandeya
 
Sage Markandeya
 
Vyasa Maharashi (Krishna Dwaipayana Vyasa):- Vyasa is a central and much revered figure in Hinduism who represents erudition and wisdom. He is also known as Veda Vyasa the one who compiled the Vedas and sole composer of Epic-Mahabharata who also had a character in it. According to legends, he was the son of Satyavati (a ferryman's daughter), and the wandering sage Parashara. It is before Satyavati’s marriage to Shantanu and before Devavrata became Bhishma. He is also grandson of Sage Vashishtha. He was born at the end of Tretayuga, lived to see the complete Dwaparayuga, and also saw the initial phase of Kaliyuga.  In Vishnu Puranam, it is said that "Veda Vyasa" is a title applied to the compilers of the Vedas who are avatars of Vishnu; there are presently 28 people with this title. It is traditional belief of Hindus, that Vyasa categorised the primordial single Veda into four. Hence he was called Veda Vyasa, or "Splitter of the Vedas," the splitting being a feat that allowed people to understand the divine knowledge of the Veda. The word 'Vyasa' means 'Analyize'. The festival like Guru Purnima is dedicated to him, which is also known as Vyasa Purnima, as it is believed to be the same day as his birthday and the day he divided the Vedas into four.
 
 
Vyasa Maharishi
 
Vyasa Maharishi
 
Kripacharya:- He is also called as Kripa and comes from the lineage of Gautam Maharishi who had a son called Sharadwan – who was supposedly born with arrows. Sharadwan was great archer and attained the art of all types of warfare. He had twins from an Apsara called Janapadi – a boy and a girl. The twins found by an attendant of King Shantanu, were brought to Hastinapura by him and the King named them as Kripa and Kripi. He became an important character as chief priest at the court of Hastinapura, and became first teacher of 100 Kauravas and 5 Pandavas in the Mahabharata. Kripi got married to Dronacharya, and gave birth to Ashwatthama. In that way, Kripa was also maternal uncle and Guru of Ashwatthama.  Kripa is considered to be foremost among the rishis in Kaliyuga, who also became one of the Saptarishi in the 8th Manvantara. It is very less known about Him, that why he was called a Chiranjeevi.
 
Sage Kripacharya   
 
Sage Kripacharya
 
Image Courtesy: daily.bhaskar.com, www.indiatimes.com, lord-parshurama.blogspot.com, ancientindians.in, www.kochiservnet.com, krishnasmercy.org, speakingtree.in

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