Who are the seven immortals (Chiranjeevi)?


As mentioned here

  1. Chiranjivins (Sanskrit nominative sing. ciranjivi, चिरंजीवी):

    The word is a combination of "chiram" (long) and jivi (lived).

    Aswathama Balir Vyaso Hanumanash cha Vibhishana Krupacharya cha Parashuramam Saptatah Chirjeevanam

    Which means that Aswathama, King Mahabali, Veda Vyasa, Hanuman Ji, Vibhishana , Krupacharya and Lord Parashuram are death-defying or imperishable personalities.

    Markandeya, a great rishi and Jambavan are also considered as Chiranjivins.

  2. Brief note on Chiranjivins:

    • Aswathama:

    Aswathama did not attain the so called Chiranjitvam due to any noble deed. It was a curse from Lord krishna after Aswathama killed all the sons of Pandavas with his Brahmastra.

    Mahabharata, Book 10: Sauptika Parva, Chapters, 15 & 16: Aswathama could not take back Brahmastra and with that killed the sons of the Pandavas. But Lord Krishna gave rebirth to the foetus, that of Parikshit.

    Lord Krishna cursed Aswathama as follows;

    Always engaged in sinful acts, thou art the slayer of children. For this reason, thou must have to bear the fruit of these thy sins. For 3,000 years thou shalt wander over this earth, without a companion and without being able to talk with anyone. Alone and without anybody by thy side, thou shalt wander through diverse countries, O wretch, thou shalt have no place in the midst of men. The stench of pus and blood shall emanate from thee, and inaccessible forests and dreary moors shall be thy abode! Thou shalt wander over the Earth, O thou of sinful soul, with the weight of all diseases on thee."

    • King Bali is immortalised because even Vishnu had to humble himself as Vamana to conquer him. He stands out for his valour and charity — two great eternal qualities. Bali knew fully well who Vamana was. Yet, he prepared to surrender all he had, to his Lord. So this man of grace is still revered.

    • Vyas, the great scholar and writer, the author of Mahabharata and the Srimad Bhagavatam, is another immortal, a shining beacon of erudition and wisdom. A katha-wachak reading from the holy texts, is said to ascend the Vyaspeeth — blessed by the immortal Vyas. He comes to represent the continuity of erudition, scholarship and the apotheosis of the writer as the ultimate visionary.

    • Hanuman exemplifies selflessness, courage, devotion, energy, strength and righteous conduct. He stands for the potential that is inherent in all of us. He also represents the air, the atmosphere and thus the life-breath — the prana. Sita is believed to have bestowed on him the boon which made Hanuman ever-youthful, energetic and immortal.

    • Vibhisana had unshakable faith in what he believed. He was a fearless counsellor of righteousness even when all around him were given to sycophancy and peer pressure. As a follower of right conduct, Vibhisana survived unscathed while tragedy befell the unrighteous king and his followers.

    • Kripacharya was an extraordinary teacher. To him, all pupils were equal. A guru like Dronacharya favoured Arjuna and sacrificed an equally if not more promising student — he asked Ekalavya for his right thumb. Kripacharya, on the other hand, upheld the highest standards expected of a teacher: He was impartial.

    • Parashuram was master of martial arts. No one could beat him — whether the tools were astras, sastras or divine weapons. He had no temporal ambition. Had he so wished, he would have been the greatest Chakravarti Samrat India had ever known. But he lived a hermit's life. He was also one who never hesitated to admit a mistake.

    During Sita's swayamvar, after Ram had broken the divine bow of Shiva, Parashuram asked both Ram and Lakshman for forgiveness. Despite his excellent qualifications, he did not hesitate to apologise in all humility that he had lost his reason in anger. Parashuram symbolises excellence and strength, tempered by humility.

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