Chiranjivi : The 8 (Ashtha) Immortals in Hinduism

In Hinduism, the concept of Chiranjivi refers to immortal or long-lived beings who are believed to exist in the world for an extended period or until the end of a particular cosmic age. These beings are not considered deities but rather exceptional individuals who have been granted immortality or longevity through various means, such as the blessings of gods or the practice of intense penance. The number of Chiranjivi can vary in different Hindu texts, but a commonly mentioned list includes eight Chiranjivi, known as the “Ashtha Chiranjivi.”


Legends of Ashtha Chiranjivi

The Ashtha Chiranjivi are:


Ashwathama is a significant character from the Mahabharata, an ancient Indian epic. He was the son of Dronacharya, the royal guru of the Kuru dynasty. Ashwathama played a pivotal role in the Kurukshetra War, supporting the Kauravas.

One of the most notable aspects of Ashwathama’s story is the curse of immortality he received. During the war, in a fit of rage and desperation, he unleashed a powerful weapon, the Brahmastra, with the intent of annihilating the Pandava lineage. Lord Krishna intervened to protect the Pandavas, but Ashwathama’s actions resulted in the death of his own father, Dronacharya.

As punishment for his heinous act, Ashwathama was cursed by Lord Krishna and other sages to roam the earth eternally, suffering from pain and guilt. This curse granted him immortality but condemned him to endure perpetual agony.

Ashwathama’s story serves as a cautionary tale about the consequences of unchecked anger and highlights the enduring nature of karma in Hindu mythology.


Vyasa, also known as Vedavyasa or Krishna Dvaipayana Vyasa, is a revered figure in Hinduism and a central character in Indian mythology. He is best known as the legendary sage and author who is attributed with compiling and classifying the Vedas, the ancient sacred scriptures of Hinduism.

Vyasa’s contributions to Hinduism go beyond the Vedas. He is also credited with composing the Mahabharata, one of the world’s longest epic poems, which includes the Bhagavad Gita, a sacred dialogue between Lord Krishna and the warrior Arjuna. The Mahabharata is not only a narrative of the great Kurukshetra War but also contains profound philosophical and moral teachings.

In addition to the Mahabharata, Vyasa is traditionally believed to have written the Puranas, another genre of important Hindu texts that cover a wide range of subjects, including cosmology, mythology, history, and religious practices.

Vyasa’s legacy extends to his role as a spiritual teacher, and he is often revered as a symbol of wisdom and knowledge in Hinduism. His contributions to the preservation and dissemination of ancient wisdom have had a profound and lasting impact on Hindu culture and spirituality.


Hanuman is a beloved and revered deity in Hinduism, known for his unwavering devotion, incredible strength, and loyalty. He is a central character in the Indian epic, the Ramayana. Hanuman is depicted as a monkey-faced deity with a robust and muscular body.

His devotion to Lord Rama, the seventh avatar of Lord Vishnu, is legendary. Hanuman played a crucial role in the rescue of Lord Rama’s wife, Sita, from the demon king Ravana. He leaped across the ocean to reach Lanka, carried the mountain with the life-saving herb, and exhibited numerous divine feats to assist Lord Rama in his quest.

Hanuman’s devotion to Lord Rama is a symbol of unwavering faith and selfless service in Hinduism. His stories and teachings emphasize the values of courage, humility, and dedication. Devotees often recite the Hanuman Chalisa, a hymn dedicated to him, to seek his blessings and protection.

Hanuman is venerated not only for his role in the Ramayana but also as a symbol of strength and devotion. His temples are widespread, and he is a beloved deity known for his protective and auspicious qualities.

Kripacharya, also known as Kripa, is a prominent figure in Hindu mythology, particularly in the epic Mahabharata. He was a revered warrior, teacher, and royal counselor who played a significant role in the events leading up to and during the Kurukshetra War.


Kripacharya was the son of the sage Sharadvan and was known for his exceptional skills in warfare, particularly archery. He served as a guru (teacher) to the royal princes of the Kuru dynasty, including the Pandavas and Kauravas, alongside his friend and fellow teacher, Dronacharya.

Despite his close association with both sides, Kripacharya sided with the Kauravas during the Kurukshetra War, as he felt a strong sense of loyalty and duty to his students, Duryodhana and his brothers.

Kripacharya’s character exemplifies the complex moral dilemmas and conflicting loyalties that are central to the Mahabharata. He is often depicted as a wise and virtuous individual who had to make difficult choices during a tumultuous period in ancient Indian history.

His contributions to the Mahabharata and his role as a teacher and warrior make him a respected figure in Hindu mythology and literature.


Parashurama is a legendary figure in Hindu mythology and one of the ten avatars (incarnations) of Lord Vishnu. He is often depicted as a warrior sage with an axe, symbolizing his martial prowess and dedication to upholding dharma (righteousness).

Parashurama’s story is primarily associated with his mission to rid the world of corrupt and oppressive Kshatriya rulers, who were believed to have deviated from their righteous duties. He embarked on a relentless campaign, wielding his mighty axe, and successfully vanquished numerous warrior clans, earning him the title of “Warrior Brahmin.”

Despite his warrior nature, Parashurama was also a devoted and austere Brahmin, known for his deep knowledge of scriptures and his strict adherence to ascetic practices. His duality as both a warrior and a sage is a unique aspect of his character.

Parashurama’s legacy endures through his teachings and the stories of his valor. He represents the idea that divine incarnations can take various forms to restore balance and righteousness in the world, and he is venerated by devotees for his commitment to justice and dharma.


Vibhishana is a significant character in the Indian epic, the Ramayana. He is known for his role as the younger brother of Ravana, the demon king of Lanka. Despite being part of the demon race, Vibhishana stood out due to his virtuous nature, wisdom, and devotion to righteousness.

Vibhishana is most renowned for the pivotal decision he made during the epic. Seeing the cruelty and injustice of his elder brother Ravana, Vibhishana chose to side with Lord Rama, the hero of the Ramayana, who sought to rescue his abducted wife, Sita, from Ravana’s captivity. Vibhishana’s decision to abandon his own kin in favor of dharma (righteousness) is seen as a symbol of moral integrity and loyalty to higher principles.

Lord Rama welcomed Vibhishana into his fold, and after Ravana’s defeat, Vibhishana was crowned as the king of Lanka. He ruled with wisdom and justice, embodying the ideals of dharma.

Vibhishana’s character serves as a reminder of the eternal conflict between good and evil and the importance of choosing the path of righteousness, even when faced with difficult decisions. He is revered for his devotion to dharma and his unwavering commitment to Lord Rama.


Markandeya is a revered sage in Hindu mythology, best known for his extraordinary devotion, deep knowledge, and the story of his encounter with Lord Shiva, which is a prominent episode in Hindu scriptures.

The most famous narrative associated with Markandeya is the story of his confrontation with death (Yama), which occurs when he was just a young boy. As destined by Lord Shiva, Markandeya encountered Yama while clinging to the Shiva Lingam (a sacred symbol of Lord Shiva) during a great flood that engulfed the world. Yama threw his noose around the boy, but Markandeya’s steadfast devotion to Lord Shiva protected him from death’s grip.

Impressed by Markandeya’s devotion, Lord Shiva appeared and defeated Yama, sparing the sage’s life. This event reinforced the belief that sincere devotion to the divine can overcome even the inevitability of death.

Markandeya is also known for his deep insights into spirituality, which are recorded in the Markandeya Purana, one of the eighteen major Puranas in Hinduism. His teachings and experiences continue to inspire devotees and seekers on the path of spirituality and unwavering devotion.


Yudhishthira, often referred to as Dharmaraja or Yudhishthira the Just, is a central character in the Indian epic, the Mahabharata. He was the eldest of the Pandava brothers and played a significant role in the events of the epic.

Yudhishthira is best known for his unwavering commitment to dharma (righteousness) and moral principles. Despite facing numerous challenges and injustices, he consistently upheld the values of truth, justice, and integrity. His sense of duty and honor earned him the title of Dharmaraja.

Yudhishthira’s journey is marked by both triumphs and trials. He led the Pandavas to victory in the Kurukshetra War, ultimately establishing their rule. However, his life was marred by personal tragedies and dilemmas, including the infamous game of dice in which he and his brothers lost their kingdom, leading to their exile and the war.

Yudhishthira’s character serves as a moral compass in the Mahabharata, emphasizing the importance of righteousness, ethical conduct, and the consequences of one’s actions. His unwavering adherence to dharma makes him a revered figure in Hinduism, and his life and teachings continue to inspire individuals to lead virtuous and just lives.

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