Chiranjeevi is a term made from a combination of chiram, or ‘permanent’, and jivi, or ‘lived’. Chiranjeevi are the living creatures which are not subjected to death. According to Hindu mythology, there are seven undying(immortal) living beings. Who are said to remain alive on Earth until the end of the current Yug(Kali yuga). It is same as Amaratva, which refers to freedom from fear of death. These seven Chiranjeevis of Hindu Mythology are:
There is a shlok(shloka) in Sanskrit, as like this ‘Chiranjeevishloka’. The shloka says “Aswathama Balir Vyaso Hanumanash cha Vibhishana Krupacharya cha Parashurama Saptatah Chirjeevanam”. This Shloka means that Aswathama, The Mahabali King, Veda Vyasa, Hanuman, Vibhishana, Krupacharya and Lord Parashuram are death-defeating or evergreen beings.
Apart from these seven, Markandeya, one of the greatest Rishis(sage). Who was blessed by Lord Shiva. Next is Jambavan, a strong and famous character from the book of Ramayana are also counted in Chiranjeevi.
Description of each Chiranjeevi:
According to epic book ‘The Mahabharata’, Ashwatthama means “The voice as a horse”. Its second meaning is the one who has strength like a horse. He is considered as the most interesting of all the Chiranjeevi. He is a notable character in Mahabharata. Dronacharya was Ashwatthama’s father, who was a great warrior and teacher. Lord Shiva had gifted him a gem on his forehead which was known to have divine powers.
Ashwathama and war of Kurukshetra:
When the battle of Kurukshetra(also referred as Mahabharata War) was over. Ashwatthama was the one who fought from the Kauravas. He set his mind to murder the five Pandava brothers (Yudhishthira, Bhima, Arjuna, Nakul, and Sahadeva) in their camp at midnight. This action of attacking after sunset was against the ethics of war. He went there but mistaken the identity of the five brothers. As a result, Ashwatthama killed the sons of Pandavas while Pandavas were not at home. On coming back, the Pandavas saw the situation and became very angry with the incident and ran after Ashwathama to kill him. Yet, he was able to escape from his crime but it was already too late and he was caught.
For his safety, he decided to call upon Bramhashirastra, it is a sort of holy weapon highly destructive in nature. He wished to use it against the Pandavas. In return, Arjuna called upon the same weapon as had been the student of Dronacharya. Krishna was watching this scene. Lord Krishna said them “Cancel your act of calling the weapons, else it would lead to the huge destruction of this Planet”.
Chiranjeevi Ashwathama failed to down his weapon
Receiving his advice Arjuna withdrew his weapon. However, Ashwathama was not able to do it as he was never taught how to.
He was totally helpless and directed the weapon towards a Uttara, the daughter-in-law of Arjuna. She was carrying an unborn child in her womb. The weapon caused the death of the child and due to it, the family of Pandavas came to an end. Angered by this evil act, Lord Krishna cursed Ashwatthama as follows:
“Always involved in sinful acts, you are the murderer of children. For this reason, you must have to bear the fruit of everyone’s sins. For next 3,000 years, you shall travel over this earth, without a partner. You would not be able to talk with any creature on this Earth. Lonely in life you shall travel through various countries.
You will be out of a fortune, and none will love you. A very bad smell of pus and blood shall originate from your body. Thick forests and dangerous caves shall be your home. You shall be in total separation from mankind and society. Your body shall suffer a deadly disease forming sores and ulcers that would never heal”. And thus, as a result of this curse Ashwatthama is had to live a life of deep sadness. His pain will never become less until the end of this yuga(Kali yuga).
Mahabali or Bali is referred as the “Daitya” king. Which means the king of Asuras(Rakhshasa). His capital was present day ‘state of Kerala’. He was the son of Devamba and Virochana. He grew up under the caretaking off his grandfather, Prahlada. Who was an honest man, he instilled in him a sense of honesty and devotion? He was a great worshipper and follower of Lord Vishnu and was known as a peace-loving, big-hearted and wise King.
Bali succeeded his grandfather as the King of the Asuras. His rule at that time period is identified by peace and harmony. He later expanded his kingdom by bringing the entire world under his rule. He was even successful in controlling the Underworld and the Heaven. To win it he fought from Lord Indra and the Devas. The Devas after getting defeated by Bali went to Lord Vishnu. They asked him again give their control over the Heaven.
Guru Sukracharya, started the Ashwamedha Yaga
In the Heaven Mahabali, on the advice of his Guru Sukracharya, started the Ashwamedha Yaga. In order to maintain his rule over all the three worlds(The Heaven, The Earth, and The Underworld).
During an Ashwamedhayagna, Bali once was gifting the wishes to his people with full heart and soul. In the mean time, Lord Vishnu reached there in the form of a little Brahmin boy. It is known as his fifth avatar or image of Vamana. As a little Brahmin boy, he asked from the King Bali enough land to cover three steps of his feet. King accepted his wish, and the very moment Vamana increased in size. Later in his two steps, he took away all the three living worlds(heaven, earth, and underworld).
After this, he has left nothing else to offer, for his third and final step. King Bali bent down in front of the Vamana. He realized that he was none other but his Lord Vishnu. And then he asked him to place the third feet as this was the only thing for him.
A celebration of the festival Onam:
Vaman took the final third step and then he raised Bali towards Suthala, the supreme form of Heaven. Seeing his big heart and devotion, Vamana gave Bali the permission to visit earth once a year. So that he could to see that his people are well and happy. Due to this reason, that the festival of Onam is celebrated widely in Southern parts of India especially in Kerela. It is to warmly welcome the arrival Onapottam, the symbolic form of King Bali.
He takes hold of a position to be a great example of the highest and the unique Sadhana of Nava Vidha Bhakti, called as Atmanivedanam. It is believed that Bali practiced the Raja Yoga.