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The 7 Immortals (Chiranjivi) from Hindu traditions

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I came across a Taoist immortal list recently, which reminded of the chiranjivis.  These 7 are considered to be Chiranjivi or Immortal in Hindu traditions  -- they will live till the end of the yuga (kali) or this cycle.  Even though becoming a Chiranjivi or immortal is not described as a goal anywhere in the Hindu scriptures, these 7 are mentioned to be chiranjivis or immortals.  Moksha or liberation is the goal per Hindu scriptures and not becoming a Chiranjivi.  If we look at this list, it is diverse with a demon king, a warrior, a brahmin, etc.  One thing is certain, each one of these is a great spiritual powerhouse, some of them born with gifted abilities and others that developed through their practice and cultivation.


It is interesting to note some concept of immortality existed in almost all ancient traditions.  Granted, the immortal does not mean the same in Taoism and the Hindu traditions.  Something similar to the Taoist external and internal alchemy can be seen in other Indian traditions that evolved at later times.  For instance, we can see a lot of external and internal alchemical practices, in practitioners of the southern siddhar traditions. 



“Aswathama Balir Vyaso Hanumanash cha Vibhishana Krupacharya cha Parashuramam Saptatah Chirjeevanam”


1. Ashwathama 

According to The Mahabharata, Ashwatthama means “the horse-voiced”. It probably also means the one having strength of a horse. Perhaps the most interesting of all the Chiranjeevis, And one of the most intresting character from Mahabharata. Ashwatthama was a great warrior and son of a legendary warrior and teacher named Dronacharya. He was gifted with a gem on his forehead by Lord Shiva and was said to have divine powers.


2. King Mahabali 

Mahabali or Bali was the “daitya” (demon) king and his capital was the present day state of Kerala. was the son of Devamba and Virochana. He grew up under the tutelage of his grandfather, Prahlada, who instilled in him a strong sense of righteousness and devotion. He was an extremely devoted follower of Lord Vishnu and was known as a righteous, wise, generous and judicious King.


3. Veda Vyasa  

Vyasa ‘व्यास’ is a central and revered figure in most Hindu traditions. He is also sometimes called Veda Vyasa ‘वेदव्यास’, the one who classified the Vedas into four parts. His real name is Krishna Dvaipayana.
Veda Vyasa was a great sage born in the later stage of Treta Yuga and who has been said to have lived through the Dvapara Yuga and the current Kali Yuga. 


4. Hanuman

Hanuman is a Hindu god and an ardent devotee of Rama. He is a central character in the Indian epic Ramayana and its various versions. He also finds mentions in several other texts, including Mahabharata, the various Puranas and some Jain texts. A vanara (monkey), Hanuman participated in Rama’s war against the Daitya (demon) king Ravana. 


5.  Vibishina 

Vibhishana was the youngest son of Sage Vishrava, who was the son of Sage Pulatsya, one of the Heavenly Guardians. He (Vibhishana) was the younger brother of the Lord of Lanka, Ravana and King of Sleep, Kumbakarna. Even though he was born in the demon race, he was alert and pious and considered himself a Brahmin, since his father was intuitively such. 


6.  Kripacharya  -  The kula guru for Kauravas and Pandavas in Mahabharat  

Kripa, also known as Kripacharya or Krupacharya is an important character in the Mahabharata. Kripa was an archer born to a sage and was a royal teacher of the Pandavas and Kauravas before Drona (the father of Ashwatthama).


7.  Parushuram  

Parshurama is the sixth avatar of Vishnu, He is son of Renuka and the saptarishi Jamadagni. He lived during the last Dvapara Yuga, and is one of the seven immortals or Chiranjivi, of Hinduism. He received an parashu(axe) after undertaking terrible penance to please Shiva, who in turn taught him the martial arts.  Parashurama is most known for ridding the world of kshatriyas twenty-one times over after the mighty king Kartavirya killed his father.


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