The Immortals, or ‘Chiranjivi’ as they’re popularly known, are eight individuals who’re said to remain alive through the Kali Yuga until the next Satya Yuga. Each of them has a unique quality or attribute which describes man which will live on for as long as man himself. So just who are these ‘Chiranjivi’s’? Take a look for yourself:
Ashwatthama misinterpreted the Upapandavas for the Pandavas themselves and killed them. He then tried to kill Uttara (Abhimanyu’s wife) in an attempt to end the Pandava lineage. For his act of ‘cowerdise’, Krishna placed a curse upon him to suffer the burden of all men forever. Thus, immortality was granted upon him unwillingly.
The younger brother of Ravana, Vibhishana was a ‘righteous’ man. He advised his elder brother to return Sita (Shri Rama’s wife) back to him and when his message failed to get through, he joined Rama’s army to divulge the secrets of Lanka, which eventually helped Lord Rama win the war. For his acts, Lord Rama granted him immortality until the end of the Treta Yuga.
Kripa is most famously known as the ‘Military Guru’ of the Panchapandavas in the Mahabharata. His ‘loyalty’ and impatience earned him the right to mentor Parikshit, grandson of Arjuna. He was granted immortality until the end of the present age, the Kali Yuga.
One of the most prolific characters of the Ramayana, Hanuman had a deep and devoted love for Rama and Sita. Known for his selflessness, courage, devotion, strength and righteous conduct, Hanuman was granted immortality by Sita upon his request to help spread the name of Lord Rama.
The sixth avatar of Vishnu and ‘savior of man-kind’, Parashurama is the master of all astras, shastras and divine weapons. It is believed that he will re-emerge at the end of time to perform penance in order to receive the celestial weapons, which are required to save man-kind.
A child prodigy and true devotee of Shiva, Markandeya is known for his ‘intelligence’. He was destined to die at the age of 12 but when Yama came to take his life, Lord Shiva intervened and spared Yama’s life in return for the immortality of Markandeya. He is believed to be immortal till the end of time.
7. Bali Chakravarthi
The most prominent and successful ruler in all of Hinduism, Bali managed to conquer Earth, Heaven and the underworld. When he was performing Ashwamedha Yagna, Lord Vishnu tricked him into giving all the land back but upon his devotion to his subjects, Lord Vishnu granted him immortality and a seat as Suthala, the supreme position in Heaven.
The Puranas, Vedas, the Mahabharata…all but a feather in Vyasa’s cap. He is believed to stand for erudition and wisdom. Born at the late end of the Treta Yuga, he’s believed to have retreated to some remote village in North India as a result of today’s violence.