This is the story of a Young boy named Markandeya, who was destined to die at sixteen. However, even Yama, the God of death couldn’t take his life, Eventually, Markandeya became immortal. This story is often linked with the holy city of Varanasi. This blog is all about who is Markandeya and how did Lord Yama get defeated.
Birth of Makandeya
Once there lived a sage couple named Mrikandu and Marudvati (Manasvini in some texts). They were extreme devotees of the Lord Shiva. They had everything and would lead a happy life except they were childless. For a very long time, they were unable to conceive a child. Feeling miserable for not having a child, Mrikandu organized worship for Lord Shiva along with his wife. Soon Lord Shiva was pleased with the worship of the couple and appeared in front of them.
Lord Shiva Then asked them what kind of boon they wanted. Mrikandu then put forth his misery of not having a child. And requested Lord Shiva to give them a child. Lord Shiva agreed to this, But he put forth a condition. He said the couple had two choices and they would have to choose which type of child they want out of the two choices
- A boy who would be extremely talented, intelligent and skillful but who would die at the age of sixteen.
- A dull, lazy boy who would have a long life.
Without any second thought, Mrikandu chose the first kind of child. As the couple were not interested in a child they couldn’t be proud of. Lord Shiva agreed to this and blessed them with a child who would be extremely intelligent but a short life.
To know Who is Markandeya and how he defeats his own death, we need to know about the story of his childhood.
Soon after the boon of Lord Shiva, Mrudvati conceived and gave birth to a baby boy who was named as Markandeya by their parents.
At the very young age of 5, the boy was taught Vedic scriptures. He was well versed with all the four Vedas, Upanishads, and Puranas and was an extreme devotee of Lord Shiva. Even the Gurus of that boy were surprised to see the intelligence of the young boy. But Markandeya didn’t fear anything. He would have the curiosity to learn every scripture.
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The Parents’ grief
As the boy grew older, markandeya’s parents started to feel the misery of losing the child as according to the boon lord Shiva, the age of the boy is short. However, they didn’t show their grief in front of Markandeya. Little did they know Who is Markandeya and what his potential was.
At the age of 12, as per the rituals, Mrikandu provided Gayatri Upadesham to Markandeya, who sincerely followed it every day. The boy would practice worshipping and pooja, Archana every day with utmost devotion. However, as the sixteenth year came closer, Mrikandu and Mrudvati became extremely sad and couldn’t control their emotions on the premature death of their son.
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Lord Yama’s grief
Soon Markandeya found out that some grief was troubling their parents. His mother told him about the history of his birth and how Mahadev said that he would be short lived.
However, unlike others, the Boy didn’t fear death at all. He confidently consoled his mother and promised them that he was confident to defeat death. Soon the world witnessed a 16 year old boy construct a Shiva Linga and started worshipping Mahadev.
When the day for the Boy’s death came, Lord Yama was prepared to take the life of Markandeya. He sent his soldiers to bring the boy to Yamlok as they always do. Neither Yama nor their soldiers know Who is Markandeya and how big a devotee of Mahadev he was. The soldiers of Yama couldn’t take the life of Markandeya. They just couldn’t enter in the vicinity of Markandeya’s worship.
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Did Markandeya die?
After the failure of all his soldiers, Lord Yama the God of death himself came down to earth to take Markandeya. To his surprise, even Lord Yama couldn’t hide himself from Markandeya. Not only he lost his invisibility, but also he was not able to even touch the little boy who was currently worshipping Lord Shiva.
Since the timeline of Markandeya was over, Yama would have to use force to take the boy’s life. But Markandeya just hugged the Shiva Linga tightly and wrapped his body around the Shiva Linga. Then Yama used his weapons to force the boy out.
Soon the world witnessed an extremely angry Lord Shiva. The Linga broke into two and Mahadev came out of it. Nobody could hurt an extreme devotee of Mahadev, not even the God of death. Lord Shiva then Killed Yama and blessed the boy Markandeya with an immortal life.
After the request from all the Devas, and advice from Brahma and Vishnu, Lord Shiva brought back Yama to life. But he was not allowed to take the life of Markandeya.
That’s how everybody knew who is Markandeya. And how could mere devotion to Mahadev solve all our problems.
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