An immortal in Hinduism is referred to as a Chiranjeevi. It is a combination of the words chiran meaning permanent &jeevi meaning lived. A chiranjeevi is an immortal being who is said to live through the Kali Yuga until Kalki (Lord Vishnu’s last avatar) will destroy all evil & lead the world into the Satya Yug.
Lord Vishnu (the preserver), Lord Shiva (the destroyer), & Lord Brahma (the creator) are all immortals. Other than the Trimurti, the other seven immortals are –
- Lord Hanuman – Also known as Bajrang Bali, Lord Hanuman is one of the characters of Ramayan, & an ardent devotee of Lord Rama. When Lord Rama was leaving the earth, He asked Hanuman if he would like to come. In response, Hanuman said that he would stay back on earth as long as people chanted Lord Rama’s name.
- Ashwathama – He was the son of legendary warrior & teacher Dronacharya. He himself was a great warrior, & had been gifted with a gem on his forehead by Lord Shiva & was said to have divine powers. For his deed of killing five sons of Pandavas after sunset, Lord Krishna cursed him – ‘he will carry the burden of all people’s sins on his shoulders & will roam alone like a ghost without getting any love & courtesy till the end of Kali Yuga; he will have neither any hospitality nor any accommodation; he will be in total isolation form from mankind & society; his body will suffer from a host of incurable diseases forming sores & ulcers that would never heal.’
- Mahabali – He was a ‘daitya’ (descendants of Diti) king & his capital was the present-day state of Kerala. He was a devoted follower of Lord Vishnu & was known as a generous & judicious king. During an Ashwamedha Yagna, Bali was granting wishes to his masses. Lord Vishnu reached there in the form of a little Brahmin boy known as Varuna (His fifth avatar). He asked Bali for enough land to cover three paces of his feet. Bali accepted the boy’s wish. So, Varuna grew to a size of gigantic proportion & in two paces took away all the living world. Bali understood that He was none other than Lord Vishnu himself. So, with nothing left to offer, for Varuna’s third & final step Bali asked Him to place His feet on his head. Varuna did so & thus raised Bali to Suthala, the supreme form of heaven.
- Sage Vyasa – Veda Vyasa was a great sage who was born in the later stage of the Treta Yuga & is said to have lived through the Dvapara Yuga & now the Kali Yuga. He is the writer of the Mahabharata, the Puranas, & he also split the Vedas into four parts, & that’s why Veda Vyasa in literal sense means ‘splitter of Vedas’. It is said that he lives the life of a hermit & is still alive living amongst humans till the end of this yuga.
- Kripacharya – Also known as Kripa, he fought in the battle of Kurukshetra for the Kauravas. He trained Parikshit, the grandson of Arjuna & son of Abhimanyu in the art of warfare.
- Vibhishana– He was the brother of Ravana & had sided with Lord Rama after Ravana kicked him out of Lanka for opposing his deed of kidnapping Devi Sita. Vibhishana was a pure-hearted person who was a staunch follower of Lord Rama.
- Lord Parshuram – He is said to be one of the incarnations of Lord Vishnu. It is believed that Parshuram will act as the teacher for the last & final avatar of Lord Vishnu knows as Kalki, & will help him in undertaking penance in receiving celestial weaponry & knowledge which will be helpful in saving mankind at the end of the Kali Yuga.
There are other immortals in Hinduism also – Jambavan, Sage Markandeya, Devapi, Maru, Saptarishis, KakBhusundi (sage living in the form of a crow), Muchukunda the son of Mandhata, Banasur (son of King Bali) by Boon of Shiva, & Udal.