Monday, 15 September 2014

Immortals of Hindu Mythology

           Immortals- The one to whom death never visits. Sounds good, But it’s a painful curse for few who watch all their dearest ones passing away in their lives. Few survived with deep penance. According to Hindu Mythology, there are different numbers of Immortals explained. But I believed in only few stories and herewith presenting them.

Firstly I wish to tell about the “Bheeshma Pithamaha” who is not an Immortal. But, he have his death is his wish. Hence I consider him too an Immortal.

Bheeshma has a blessing of leaving his breath on his wish. He is the grand uncle of Pandavas and Kauravas. Son of Shantan and River Ganga. He has written Vishnu Sahasranama at the end of his life  and handed over to Yudhistara.His Birth was the starting point, story starts like this- King Shantanu loves a lady whom he has seen on the banks of river Ganga. He wishes to marry her and expresses his love. Lady accepts his love but puts a condition that she was never to be questioned and if questioned she will leave him instantly. On his oath she marries him. She gives birth to 7 children and leaves all of them in river. King Shantanu never questioned her anything but when she gave birth to her 8th child he decided to stop her and stops. Lady turns to her original form the goddess Ganga and returns back from him, handing over the eight child to his father. That Eight child is none other than Bheeshma.

At the age of 16 his father wishes to marry another women but their parents make condition that he should not marry and should not be a king forever. Bheeshma agrees to their word and makes the Bheeshma Pratigya(Oath). Father knowing about the oath made by his son asks him to with draw as he is the future of his dynasty and explains that he cannot be so greedy. Bheeshma says his father that his oath is already made and he cannot take it back as a warrior. He promised his father that he will built a perfect Hasthinapur and will stand for the country. Praising his son Bheeshma’s intensity as a warrior he gave a boon to have death on his wish.

Once his brothers wish to marry the beautiful Princess Amba, Ambica and Ambalika, they requests their brother to help. Bheeshma defeats the army of their father and brings them from swayamwara. But Amba loves another prince named Saubala, she conveys the same to Bheeshma brother. Bheeshma sends her back but she gets rejected by him. Bheeshma’s brother also rejects her and hence she asks bheeshma to marry. Bheeshma who is in Oath rejects her. She in a rage to revenge on Bheeshma approaches Parashurama for support. Parashurama made a war of 23 days without conclusion and finally his father stops him saying in voice never to fight Bheeshma. Parashuram expresses his helplessness to Amba and she commences deep penance to Lord Shiva for killing him. Lord Shiva appears and says that he cannot be killed but he can be hurted when an instrument named Shikandi is available. Amba sacrifices her life and takes rebirth as Shikandi. In Kurukshetra Bheeshma is injured only when he leaves his weapons. Arjuna uses shikandi as shield and tried to fight him. Arjuna when Bheeshma is not handling any weapon pierces him with the arrows and makes him rest on arrows.

He is the one who witnessed MahaBharatha Completely.

Ashwathama – Son of Guru Dronacharya,One of them who survived from Kaurava Army along with kritavarma and Kripacharya. He was an Immortal By curse. To be Concise and clear he fought against Pandavas in the great Mahabharath war. To kill his father Guru Dronacharya, King Dharamaraj lies saying “Ashwathama is dead” in Loud voice and says “the elephant” in low voice when Bheema his brother kills the elephant named Ashwathama . Infact Dharmaraj is believed to be a person who never lied and hence on listening to his son’s death. Guru Dronacharya drops his weapon, taking the chance prince Drishtadyumna kills him. Ashwatthama rages against the pandavas, and refuses to allow the Pandavas to attend his father’s last rites.

       After the Defeat of Kauravas, Ashwatthama enters the camp of Pandavas and kills Drishtadyumna, Shikhandi, Uttamaujas, Upapandavas( Draupadi’s five sons) believing they are Pandavas. After his attack only pandavas, Sri Krishna and Satyaki are remained from Pandavas Army. Pandavas wish to seek revenge on Ashwatthama who is in Vyasa’s Ashram and reaches there. He realizing that Pandavas are still living and hence for his life uses all the power of his sacred knowledge on vedas to devise a Brahmastra ( a very powerful Atom Bomb to be called as) against the reaching pandavas and Sri Krishna.

          Arjuna Also releases a Brahmastra to Kill Ashwatthama. Sage Vyasa identifying that nothing will be left if they collides order them to take their respective weapons back. Arjuna was capable of taking it back but Ashwathama never learned it from his father. So he redirects it towards the womb of Uttara ( wife of Abhimanyu who is son of Arjuna) who is carrying Parikshit. Lord Sri Krishna protects the only heir of the throne for Pandavas. Pandavas try to kill Ashwatthama and when Vyasa stops them saying this all happened due to the sin made by them in killing Guru Drona in a wrong way and they have to suffer.

        But Lord Sri Krishna curses Ashwatthama for his evil acts in killing children and fighting on nights to roam around the world with oozing warths. He also mentions that his cruel intentions might put an end mark to the Hasthinapur future( A vision of Bheeshma) without a king. He takes away the Jewel from Ashwatthama which protects him against all evils, animals, demons and demigods. It is believed that his name in Kaliyuga is “SuryaKanta” and he will be relieved of his curse from Sri Kalki(the tenth Incarnation of Shri Maha Vishnu)

King Bali: Bali is an Asura king and it is the only reason he was suppressed to the Netherworld by Lord Vishnu. Infact he is a grandson of Prahalada( Devotee of Shri Maha Vishnu). He is a very powerful king and the only asura who brought the entire world under his rule. He was capable enough to win the heavens and underworld. Lord Indra getting defeated by him approaches Sri Mahaa Vishnu and requests his support in restoring his power.

         Lord Vishnu, Incarnates into Vamana Avatar ( A Small Brahmin Boy) and reaches King Bali requesting him for granting 3 Paces of Land. On Grant of the Boon, Vamana grews into immense size to an extent where he paces entire earth and underworld as first, He paces the sky, heavens, planets and other universes, stars on his second pace. Lord then asks King Bali for the place to Third Pace. King Understanding that the mighty Lord has come to test him, realizes that there is no more room left for him. He asks Vamana to place the third on his head. Vamana places it on his head and drowns him to Netherworld ( Pathala). Lord makes him the king of Pathala forever and grants his wish of meeting people once in a year and hence ONAM festival is celebrated.
       As Shri Maha Vishnu himself pleaded Maha Bali for Boon, he grants him Immortality and that he would be the next Indra before merging with Vishnu.

Anjaneya or Lord Hanuma:

         Hanuma is born in Tretayuga to Anjana and Keshari, Anjana a female Vanara who is infact an apsara due to curse borns on earth. The curse was removed on her when she gave birth to the Incarnation of Lord Shiva who is Hanuma. Hanuma is born with the grace of Vayuvu( Air or Pavan) in fact and hence possess the strength of a flying and immense physical strength.

          He as a child flies to sun thinking it as a riped fruit and wishes to eat it. King Indra hurls his weapon Vajra on him and Hanuma fells down on earth. His father Pavan takes the atmosphere with him and worlds suffered without air. Indra knowing his mistake withdrew the effect of his weapon and granted him multiple boons.

           Hanuma wishes God Surya(Sun) to be his teacher and requests him. Lord Surya rejects his offer saying that he always had to be on the move in his Chariot and it would be impossible to learn from him effectively. Hanuma enlarges his body, places one leg on eastern ranges and other on western ranges with face turned towards Sun request him again. Lord Surya Bhagawan getting pleased by his interest and persistence accepts him. Hanuma followed the same way of Surya to learn by facing him and changing the angle of his stand. He requests Surya to take Guru Dakshina when lord requests him to help Sugriva his spiritual son.

       Hanuma was cursed to forget the strengths he possess in childhood days by some sages who were teased by him. They grants him a boon that he will remember them again when someone reminds him. Hanuma is the greatest devotee of Lord Shriram and he followed him all his life after their meet.

Hanuma at a stance crosses to Lanka for finding the trace of Seeta devi the consort of Lord Shriram. He consoles Seeta for her loneliness and conveys that the lord is here for her. He conveys the message of sita and makes lord shriram also happy.

During the Ramayana war, when Lakshmana brother of Lord shriram is severely wounded. Hanuma flies to fetch Sanjeevani and on not able to mark the plant properly brings the entire mountain for curing him. Recovered Lakshmana takes revenge on killing Indrajit.

       In another phase of war, Mahiravan the king of pathala captures ram and lakshman with his black magic. Hanuma in search of them reaches Pathala(netherworld) and finds Makardhwaja his son( Born when a drop of sweat is fallen in sea and swallowed by a fish) He is half fish and half vanara. Mahiravana raises him and places him as guard of the netherworld. He knowing about his father asks his blessing and decide to fight against. Hanuma ties him up till he rescues Ram and Lakshman.

Entering Pathala, Hanuman discovers he must extinguish five lamps at a time to kill Mahiravana. Hanuma then assumes the Pancha Mukha or five faced form, Sri Varaaha, Sri Narasimha, Sri Garuda, Sri Hayigriva and  of  his own and blows out the lamps. Thus rescues and crowns his son as king of Patalapuri.

After the war and at the end of the Avatar, Lord Shriram wishes to grant boons and moksha to all his devotees. Hanuma asks that he will live till the name of Lord Shriram is chanted on earth and hence he lived forever.

During MahaBharath, Hanuma was requested by Arjuna to be his flag on chariot. He is the one among the three who listened shri Mad Maha Bhagavatha from Lord Sri Krishna directly. While the other two are Arjuna and Sanjeya.

Numerous saints in the modern times claimed that they have seen Hanuma, notably Madhvacharya(13 century AD), Tulsidas (16th century AD), Sri Ramdas (17th century), Raghavendra swamy ( 17th century) and sri Satya sai baba ( 20th century).
It’s believed that no evil can approach us on his name.

Vyasa: Vyasa Maharshi is the Legend who has classified the veda into 4 parts and the scriber of Vedas and Puranas. He is therefore known as Veda Vyasa. He has written MahaBharatha, indeed believed to be another Incarnation of Lord Vishnu. The Festival of Guru Purnima is dedicated to him and celebrated in India on his birthday. He is the grandfather of Pandavas and Kauravas. Vidura the courtier of Hastinapur is his son.

       It is described that Vyasa asked Lord Ganesha to aid him in writing the text, while MahaBharath is written. Lord Imposed a condition that he would narrate only if Vyasa narrated the story without breaks or pause. To which a counter condition Vyasa made to Ganesha that he must understand the verse before he transcribed it. Thus Vyasa narrated entire Mahabharatha, 18 puranas and all Upanishads when Lord ganesha wrote.

It is believed that the power of his Vedic knowledge keeps him alive forever and it’s a boon from Sri Maha Vishnu.

Vibhishana:  Vibhishana is the brother of Demon King Ravana. He supports Lord SHRIRAM in the war with Ravana. He was noble in character and advises Ravana to send Seeta Devi (wife of Shri Ram) back. King Ravana denies his advice and sends him out of court. He reaches Shri ram and helps him in all ways to win the war. Lord ShriRam makes him the Lord of Lanka after Ravana’s death.

At the end of Rama Avatar, Lord in his original Form of Shri Mahaa Vishnu ordered Vibhishana to stay on earth forever and guide the people towards the path of Dharma And Truth. He is also asked to pray – Lord Ranganatha, the family deity of Rama.

Kripacharya: Kripacharya is another Guru of Pandavas and Kauravas. He is also one among who were left behind after the Mahabharatha war. He was the son of Shardwan and Janapadi, but adopted by King Shantanu. After Kurukshetra he has tought Parikshit the grandson of Arjuna the skills of war and given knowledge in vedas. He stands against the evil things of Kauravas unlike other courtiers hence Lord Shri Krishna himself gives the Boon of being Immortal and place a mark of law, truth and ethics in next generations.

Parashurama: Parashurama is the sixth Incarnation of Lord Vishnu, he carries an weapon (Parashu) which is presented from Lord Shiva as boon. He has learned the war skills from the mighty lord Shiva. He is the son of sage Jamadagni and Renuka. He is the first Brahmin warrior and called as BrahmaKshatriya. With a rage of revenge on his father’s death due to Kartavirya king. Parashurama kills all the Kshatriya kings over the world for 21times. It is believed that he lives forever and teaches the tenth Incarnation of Vishnu- The Kalki with war skills.

        He fought Bhishma pitamaha and was objected by his father in voice to never fight him again after 21days of fight. He fought with Lord Ganesha and has cut his tusk. Maha kali(mother of Ganesha) gets angry on him, wishes to fight him. Lord Ganesha understanding the situation stops his mother explaining that he is Sri Maha Vishnu. Pleasing with his behavior he presents his Parashu to Ganesha. He challenges Lord Shrirama also in Ramayana, understands he is the next Incarnation of himself leaves the place.

For the complete story of Parashuram. Please click here for Ten Incarnations of Vishnu.

Markandeya:  Mrikandu Rishi and his wife Marudmati worshipped shiva and sought from him the boon of begetting a son. Lord shiva appears and gives them a choice of either a gifted son with short span of life or a child of low intelligence with long life. Parents chose the former and was blessed with Markandeya.

Markandeya was a great devotee of Lord Shiva. He was just a kid who was destined to die at the age of 12 years. Neither the messengers of Yama or Yama was not able to take his life because of his great devotion and worship of Lord Shiva. When Lord Yama himself tried to noose his neck it by mistake rounded the shivalinga. Lord Shiva in his aggressive style attacks lord Yama for reaching his devotee. After defeating him lord revived him with a condition that Markandeya will live forever. The stotra made my Markandeya to lord shiva is known as the Maha Mrityunjaya Stotra and is believed that the difficulties of death will not pass by on spell.

The Markandeshwar Mahadev Temple is located in the town of Shahbad Markanda which is situated in the Kurukshetra district of Haryana in India.

Jambavantha: Jambavantha is the King of Bears. He was asked by Brahma to assist Lord Shri Ram during Tretayuga war with the demon king Ravana, but he do exist even before Tretayuga. He is believed to be present during the churning of milk-ocean. Also he have circled Vamana seven times when he was acquiring the three worlds from king Maha Bali (Another Immortal). He received a boon of Immortality with handsomeness and strength of ten million lions from Lord Shri Ram himself for his help. He asks Lord Shrirama a boon of fight with him when he grants it in next Incarnation.

Lord Sri Krishna fights him for eighteen days to get the jewel Samanthakamani which Jambavantha wins by killing a lion. To detail, Prasena was the brother of lord sri krishna’s wife SatyaBhama. Lord knowing about the Jewel near him asks for it and gets rejected. One day he wears it and goes for a hunt in forest. When a Lion kills him and takes away the jewel. Jambavantha kills the lion and takes it for his daughter Jambavathi. Others not knowing the fact, suspect lord Krishna for killing Prasena. Lord Krishna moves in search of the precious jewel and finds it near Jambavathi. Fights ferociously with Jambavantha, After 18 days Jambavantha realizes that the only one who can fight him like this is sri Maha Vishnu- Lord Shriram. Understanding that his boon of fight is complete, requests Lord Krishna to take the hand of Jambavathi.


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