Etymology and scriptural context 
The term is a combination of chiram, or 'permanent', and jīvi, or 'lived'. It is same as'amaratva, which refers to true immortality. At the end of the last Kalpa, a demon attempted to become immortal by swallowing the Vedas as they escaped from the mouth of Brahma. The scripture was retrieved by the first avatar of Vishnu, Matsya. Incarnations of Vishnu also later fought and killed two other asuras, Hiranyakasipu and Ravana, who tried to become immortal through obeisance to Shiva. In Hinduism, immortal does not mean eternal, as all physical bodies are foretold to become immaterial at the end of time, along with Brahma himself.
Puranas, the Mahabharata and the Ramayana describe eight long lived personalities in the Hindu pantheon. They existed in past ages, Satya Yuga, Treta Yuga, and Dvapara Yuga, and are alive today in our current Kali Yuga. Each represents a different attribute of man, which as long as they live, will exist amongst humanity.
The chiranjivi are as follows:
- Markandeya, an ancient sage from the Hindu tradition, born in the clan of Brigu Rishi.
- Ashwatthama, the son of Drona, a great warrior. He acted out of cowardice to avenge the killing of his father, resulting in a curse of immortality.
- Bali Chakravarthi, granted a boon by Vishnu that he would be the next Indra, before merging with Vishnu. He expounds virtues of valour and charity.
- Hanuman, avatar of Shiva, who served Rama. He stands for selflessness, courage, devotion, strength, and righteous conduct.
- Kripa, military guru of the princes in the Mahabharata.
- Parashurama, 6th avatar of Vishnu, master of all astras, sastras and divine weapons. The Kalki Purana writes that he will re emerge at end time to the martial guru of Kalki. He will then instruct the final avatar to undertake penance to receive celestial weaponry, required to save mankind at end time.
- Vibhishana, brother of Ravana. Vibhishana surrendered to Rama before his battle with Ravana. Later, he was crowned king of Lanka after Ravana was killed by Rama. He stands for righteousness. Vibhishana is not a true Chiranjeevi, as his boon of longevity is to remain on the earth only until the end of Treta Yuga.
- Vyasa, a sage who narrated the Mahabharata. He represents erudition and wisdom.
Hindu scripture contains a mantra about the seven immortals, in which their names are recited for luck and longevity:
- Ashwathaama Balir Vyaso Hanumanash
- cha Markandeyashcha Krupacharya sh
- cha Parashuramam Saptaita Chiranjeevanam
Om Namah Shivay
- Bhāgavata Purāṇa 3.32.8-10
- Malayalam book Bharata Paryatanam (A journey through the Mahabharata) by Kuttikrishana Marar.
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