Ramayana and Mahabharata are great Indian epics. They have been written in Sanskrit language but translations are available in many languages, throughout the world. Each and every character of the epics had fulfilled their assigned roles during their lifetime and returned to heaven or hell according to their accumulated virtues or sins. Some of the souls could not return from this universe but their physical body had been disbursed into the five fundamental items, namely, earth, fire, water, air and sky.

Later, when God appeared in this world as incarnation, like God Rama or Krishna, they had trans granted such souls onto the appropriate end targets, generally in to the heaven. But there are certain relaxations to some persons. The services of Hanuman and Vibhishana were always found necessary in this universe by God Rama. Hence they had been granted uncountable span of life, to live always in this world, exhibiting their own desired choice of physical forms. Hanuman and Vibhishana were called Chiranjeevis of this world after Ramayana.  There are five more Chiranjeevis:

अश्वत्थामा बलिर्व्यासो हनुमांश्च विभीषणः ।
कृपः परशुरामश्च सप्तैते चिरजीविनः ॥
The seven immortals or Chiranjeevis
The Seven Chiranjeevis

Ashwathama, Mahabali, Vyasa Rishi, Kripacharya and Parashurama are the five persons other than Hanuman and Vibhishana. Out of them, three persons, Ashwathama, Vyasa Rishi, and Kripacharya were granted the status of Chiranjeevi after the Mahabharata. During the middle of Satya Yuga, the grandson of Prahlada, or the son of Virochana, the king Mahabali had been suppressed by Vamana into the world, under the earth, say Patalaloka, but his span of life time had not been still audited. Hence he had become a Chiranjeevi, and got permission to appear once in a day of every year on earth. This narration has been elaborated in Vamana Purana.

At the end of Satya Yuga and in the beginning of Treta Yuga, say in the juncture period, God Vishnu had born as Parasurama. He had circumscribed this universe twenty one times, and pulled out the erring kings, and beheaded them using his axe. He had consecrated many Shasta temples in selected Mountain places, after throwing his axe into the sea, where the sea water had quitted back. This landed area was generally known as the God’s own country, Kerala. Being the incarnation of God himself, Parasurama used to pass his time by performing penance on God Shiva, and never died, hence got the laurel as Chiranjeevi.

Similarly, Markandeya was also a great devotee of God Shiva and he had authored many puranas also. One day, God Vishnu was pleased with Markandeya and intimated him about granting of laurel as Chiranjeevi and would make him never die. But Markandeya politely convinced God Vishnu and requested with him to segregate his name from the list of Chiranjeevis. He expressed the assignment would boost his ego and that ego would be an obstacle on his way of life which would divert him from the right way of devotion. He desired to be a sincere devotee of God always as he would be always alive.

सप्तैतान् संस्मरेन्नित्यं मार्काण्डेयं ऽथाष्टमम् ।
जीवेद्वर्ष शतं साग्रं ऽपमृत्यु विवर्जितः ॥

Meaning: The names of the above referred seven persons should be memorized daily in the morning as well as the name of Markandeya also, as the eighth one, by which one could avoid untimely death, and would live for one hundred years.

Separate articles would appear with more stories about Ashwathama, Mahabali, Vyasa Rishi, Kripacharya, Parasurama and Markandeya.

Vibhishana the Chiranjeevi

Since Ravana had expelled Vibhishana from his court, he had come out of Lanka, visited Rama at Dhanushkodi and surrendered under the feet of Rama. Rama first thought and discussed with Hanuman and later took Vibhishana into their confidence. After the start of war, but before leaving Lanka, Rama had crowned Vibhishana at the end point of Dhanushkodi. Vibhishana had constructed a temple for Rama and Sita at the same place. The same temple had undergone many modifications to achieve stability and got the name as Kodandaramaswamy temple. Records are available regarding the cyclone of 1964, where every building in the premises of this temple had been damaged but this building, built for God Kodandaramaswamy by Vibhishana, had sustained the severe cyclone. This could also be visited by any devotee of Rama forever, anytime.

Hanuman the Chiranjeevi

During the Dwapara yuga, Krishna had advised Dharmaraya to collect required weapons, after the period of exile of twelve years. This could be reserved to use in case a war happens in their forthcoming periods of life on returning to Hastinavathi. Bhima had started to perform penance and stayed at an undisclosed place. Arjuna had also started to search for a place to sit for penance. He wished to visit the Dwadasha jyotirlinga temples before sitting for penance to get the Pashupatastra.

Arjuna reached Rameshwaram. After prostrating before the Rameshwara God, he wished to offer his tributes to God Kodanda Rama Swamy temple. He came to the end of Danushkodi island, but an old monkey was laying on his way to the temple. Arjuna harassed the old animal, to leave way for him, to go towards the temple. Since the monkey was aged and tired, it could not move its own tail.

Later, oral quarrel had started and Arjuna started to boost himself saying he was a great warrior. The monkey plainly told he was Hanuman and due to old age only, he could not move and laid up there. Arjuna could not believe that monkey and made fun of him. Arjuna told him he could build a bridge to Lanka by using his bow and arrows only. Then the monkey told him, he could break the bridge by pressing it with a single leg, if Arjuna could build a bridge. Arjuna had really built a bridge immediately, and the monkey had broken it by stamping it with his left leg.

Hanuman challenged Arjuna. If he rebuilt the bridge, Hanuman could break it and in case he failed, he should enter into the fire. Arjuna failed and Hanuman was successful. Hence Arjuna had to enter the fire. With bold steps, Arjuna had prepared a fire pyre and was ready to enter into the burning fire.

Then there appeared an old man supported by his stick. He could hear and see but he was very old and he could only walk with the help of the stick. Arjuna explained his helpless situation and wished to jump into fire. The old man had not seen the works and could not believe them. He told them there should be a third person for judging the challenges.  Hence, he advised Arjuna to construct the bridge once again with his arrows and show to the old man his capabilities. Arjuna had done it thinking of God Krishna in his mind. Then the old man told the monkey to break the bridge. Hanuman tried but could not break it easily.

Then, in order to test the stability of the bridge, the old man suggested Hanuman to walk over the bridge to the other end and return and try again. Hanuman walked over the bridge and returned and felt sorry. Hanuman agreed with the old man that he had failed to break it. Then Hanuman thought of God Rama. He could not remember that he is Chiranjeevi due to the curse. Hence Hanuman wished to jump into the fire and told Arjuna that he admitted his failure and would jump into the fire then.  

Then the old man had to protest Hanuman from jumping into the fire. He asked Arjuna for his opinions. He also asked Hanuman for his opinions. Then both of them left the final judgment to the old man.

In order to help Arjuna, God Krishna had visited the spot as an old man in disguise. Then he reminded Hanuman regarding his capability and told him to try again to break the bridge. Hanuman had recited Rama mantra and stamped the bridge with his left leg and wonderfully, it had immediately broken. When the old man had reminded regarding his strength, he could gain his self-confidence. Hanuman agreed, more over the Rama mantra had worked itself. Then Arjuna’s face blackened. He prayed to God Krishna and immediately the old man asked his bow and arrow-filled quiver, and held them in his hand. Hanuman immediately prostrated to Rama and felt happy to see God Rama. When Hanuman understood him as God Rama, he returned the bow and quiver to Arjuna and showed his form as God Krishna to him. Arjuna joined his both hands and knelt before God Krishna.

God Krishna praised the power of devotion of Hanuman and advised Arjuna to exhibit one idol of Hanuman on the front end of roof of his chariot to keep his confidence always active. Arjuna had agreed accordingly. That is why we see the flag with Hanuman on Arjuna’s chariot. The header picture of gomangala.com contains a picture of the chariot of Arjuna with God Krishna.

God Rama had disappeared. Then Hanuman went inside Rameshwaram temple to visit God Shiva. Later, Arjuna had reached Mamallapuram and sat in penance to obtain Pashupatastra.

Hanuman is still living and hence he is Chiranjeevi.

Regarding the other six Chiranjeevis, articles would be available in the website separately.    

It is humbly prayed for the blessings of God Rama upon us.

Next post, being ‘The Fivefold Personality of God Rama in Ramayana’ may not be missed. ‘Freedom in Rama’s Empire’ would be presented separately in another article.

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