Chiranjeevi : The seven undying Lords of Hindu Mythology, Part 4


This is part four of Chiranjivis ( Parashuram and Jambavant ) present in Hinduism. Therefore, Let’s know about the Chiranjivis from those olden days yet living in this present Era.

Description of each Charanjivi: 

7.) Parashuram 

Parashuram is one of the seven immortals or Chiranjivi, of Hinduism. He Parashuram is also known as the sixth avatar of  Lord Vishnu. He is the son of the saptarishi Jamadagni and Renuka. His living period is centered during the last Dvapara Yuga. He received an axe(Parashu) after undergoing tough self-punishment to please Lord Shiva. Pleased by his act Lord Shiva taught him the martial arts.

Parashuram is most known for making the world of kshatriyas free, twenty-one times over after the mighty king Kartavirya. Kartavirya killed his own father. He comes in the Mahabharata and Ramayana, playing important roles. He guided Bhishma, Karna, and Drona. Parashurama fought against the high waves of the seas to protect the lands of Konkan, Malabar and Kerala.

It is said that he will play the role of a teacher for the last and final Avatar of Vishnu called as Kalki. He will help him in taking self-punishment for receiving the holy weapons and knowledge. These weapons and knowledge will be helpful in saving humanity towards the end of the present Yuga (Kaliyuga).

Apart from the seven immortals mentioned above. Markandeya was a great Rishi(Hindu Sage). He was blessed by Shiva, and Jambavan. Jambavan was a strong and well-known character. He appears in Ramayana as a symbol of strength. He is also considered as one of the Chiranjivins.

Who is Markandeya? 

Markandeya is an ancient rishi (Hindu sage), born in the family of ‘Bhrigu Rishis’. Completely devoted towards both Shiva and Vishnu so is mentioned in a lot of stories from the Puranas. The book  Markandeya Purana contains a dialogue between Markandeya and Jaimini. Jaimini is a sage of those times. A number of chapters in the Bhagavata Purana are given to his discussion and prayers. He also comes in the Mahabharata. Markandeya is being worshiped in all major Hindu traditions.

Shiva was worshiped by Mrikandu rishi and his wife Marudmati. Pleased with them Shiva blessed them with a son. But he was given the choice son with two options. First was to get a child highly intelligent but with a short life on earth. The second was to get a child of low intelligence but with a long life. Mrikandu rishi chose the first one and was provided with Markandeya, but he was subjected to die at the age of 16 years.

The child grew up to be a great worshipper of Lord Shiva. While the day of his death came he continued his worship of Shiva in his form of Shivalingam. The messengers of Yama(Yamaraja), who is the god of death were not able to take away his life. As he was totally lost in worshipping his Lord. Yama then came in the form of a person to take Markandeya’s life. He jumped and tied his rope around the young sage’s neck.

Accidently or mistakenly the rope landed around the Shivalingam. Lord Shiva came out in all his anger attacking Yama for this act of cruelty. Shiva won after defeating Yama in battle up to the point of death. Shiva then restored his energy, and said: This youth shall live forever.” For this act, Lord Shiva also came to be known as Kalantaka(One who can end death). Thus, Maha Mrityunjaya Stotra(one who won over death) is a quality to Markandeya. This devotee of Shiva who ruled over death is kept inside a metal. He has worshiped at Thirukkadavoor a place in Tamilnadu, India. 

Who is Jambavan?

Jambavan is also known as Jamvanta, Jambavantha, Jambavat, or even Jambuvan. He is the first form of humans created by god Brahma. He is with lots of hair on his body but did not look like a bear. In the next life, he appeared has a bear. In Indian epic tradition, at some places, he is described as a monkey. He is considered as undying to all but his father Vishnu. A number of times he is mentioned as Kapishreshtha (Ahead among all the monkeys) and other books generally given to the Vanaras(Vanar).

He is called as Riksharaj (The King of the Rikshas). Rikshas are described as something same as Vanaras but in later texts of Ramayana Rikshas are explained as bears. He was created by Lord Brahma, to assist support Rama(Ram) in his battle against Ravana. Jambavan is also present at the mixing up of the ocean and is believed to have circled Vamana nearly seven times when he was getting the three worlds from Mahabali. He was the King of the Himalayas. Who had changed themselves into a bear in order to help Lord Rama. Lord Rama blessed him saying “You would have a long life, handsome looks and strength that would be equal of ten million lions.”

Jambavantha and Ravana:

In the Ramayana, Jambavantha helped Rama find his beloved wife Sita and fight her kidnapper(Ravana). He was the one who made Hanuman realize his great powers. He also encouraged him to fly across the ocean to search for Sita in Lanka.

Jambavantha and Krishna:

In the Mahabharata, Jambavantha had murdered a lion. Who had a gemstone called as ‘Syamantaka’ from ‘Prasena’ after killing him. Krishna was doubted of killing Prasena for that jewel. So he tried to find out who killed him. He learned that he had been killed by a lion, and in turn, that lion was killed by a bear. Then Krishna traveled in Jambavantha’s cave and had a fight. After eighteen days of war, he realized who Krishna was, healing  plantas a result Jambavantha give himself on him. He gave Krishna the gem and also showed him his daughter Jambavati, who became one of Krishna’s wives.

Jambavan in Ramayana and during Samudra manthan :

Jambhavan mentions two events of his life in the Ramayana. A long time ago at the foot of mountain Mahendra, when Hanuman was to take a jump. He says that he could have jumped over the ocean and reach Lanka except that he got injured. He was beating the drum for Vishnu at the time of the Vamana Avatara. When Vishnu (the great god measured) the three worlds. Vamana’s shoulder hit Jambavan and he got hurt which limited his movement.

And during the Samudra-Manthan, he was present at the time when this event was taking place. He healing plant‘Vishalyakarni’ from the gods. He then used this information to order Hanumana to help hurted and fainted Laxmana in the great battle with Ravana.

Jambavan, along with Parasuram and Hanuman, is known to be one of the few who were present for both Ram and Krishna avatars. He was present during the mixing of the oceans and thus saw the Kurma avatar. Further the Vaman avatar, Jambavan is believed be the longest lived of the chiranjivis.  Jambavantha had been an eye witness to nine of the avatars.

Read More : Chiranjeevi , The seven undying Lords of Hindu Mythology, Part 3


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