Hindu scriptures mention that there are 7 immortals who are associated to the sanata dharma. These seven warriors are mentioned in either Ramayana or in Mahabharata, and few are mentioned in both. They are,
1) Bali, the asura-king, vanquished by Vishnu in his dwarf avatar.
2) Parashurama, the priest-warrior avatar of Vishnu.
3) Hanuman, the wise and mighty monkey who serves Ram.
4) Vibhishana, who is Ravana’s brother.
5) Vyasa, organiser of Veda and composer of the Mahabharata.
6) Ashwatthama, the son of Drona.
7) And the final one was the warrior who could fight against 60,000 soldiers single handedly.
He is none other than Kripacharya, or Kripa, the brother-in-law of Drona, and teacher of the Pandavas.
Mahabharata describes this warrior, who is immortal, as “Kripacharya was capable of managing 60,000 warriors single handedly in the battle field. He ravaged the whole of the foe’s army like a blazing fire. In fighting the battles bravely, he is comparable only to Karthikeya, the son of Lord Shiva who vanquished the demons”.
Hindu scriptures state that there are seven “Chiranjivis” and among them the prominent one is Kripacharya. Born to Saradvana and Janapadi, Kripa and his sister were adopted by the King Shantanu. As he started to teach the royal children, he got the name “acharya”.
It is also mentioned that on reaching adulthood, Kripa was the chief priest at the court of Hastinapura. This great warrior who was praised even by his enemies was with the Kauravas (rivals of the Pandavas) in the Mahabharata or the Kurukshetra war.
The Mahabharata war ended with the victory of the Pandavas, with just 11 survivor. Among them, only three survived in the Kauravas side, including Acharya Kripa. The eleven were,
From the Pandavas side:
- The 5 Pandavs (Yudishthir, Bhim, Arjun, Nakul and Sahadev).
- Lord Krishna.
- Satyaki (Yadava Sena Commander).
From the Kauravas side:
- Ashwattama (son of Dronacharya)
- Kripacharya (bro-in-law of Dronacharya)
- Kritavarma (ex-Yadava Sena Commander)
Earlier in the article it was quoted that acharya Kripa could fight against 60,000 soldiers and this was said by none other than Bhima, one among the Pandavas. Reports state in Udyoga Parva of Mahabarath, Bhishma declared Kripa as a mighty Maharathi, or a warrior capable of fighting 60,000 warriors simultaneously; circumspect in his mastery of all forms of weapons and combat skills.
Now you may ask where it is mentioned that Kripacharya is immortal?
There is a sloka that mentions about all the immortals found in Hindu scriptures. The sloka is below,
विभीषण:कृपश्चपरशुरामश्च अष्टचिरंजिविन :।
Translation: (Ashwathaama Markandeyarr Vyaso Hanumanash cha Vibhishana Krupacharya cha Parashuramam Saptaita Chiranjeevanam).
What happened to Kripacharya after the Kurukshetra war?
After the Kurukshetra war that ended on the 18th day after the death of 4 million soldiers, Kripacharya was said to be a teacher of Parikshit, grandson of Arjuna. It is also said that the boon of immortality was offered to him by Lord Krishna.
Kripacharya holds a very special place in the history because of the principles he followed. Even at the extreme condition, he never compromised with the values he preached.