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Markandeya Avtar
Saint Markandeya is believed to be the immortal incarnation. He is associated with Lord Shiva. There goes a legend that when Markandeya was about 12 yrs old, the family was aware that his death was near. This so happened that the couple (father & mother of Markandeya) got their son with special blessings but at the time of birth they were told that the child would face death at the age of 12 years. Parents asked the child to touch the feet of every passer-by at a crossing of Kashi Nagari. While the child was doing so, Saptrishis happened to pass the crossing. On touching the feet of the rishis, one of the Rishis blessed him that he would live long but saw the death standing in front. The Rishis ordered the child to enter the Shiva temple of Kashi and continuously chant the Mantra ‘Om Namah Shivaya’. At the scheduled time, the lord of death, Lord Yama came riding a black-buffalo with a black rope in his hand. The child seeing this horrible scene was frightened and he embraced the Shiva Ling tightly chanting the mantra ‘Om Namah Shivaya’ at a very high pitch of his voice. It was a time for miracle to strike. Lord Shiva with his Trident appeared and challenged the Yama, asserting that the child is under his escorts and so the Yama quipped nothing and returned. This child was later known as Markandeya Rishi. Since Lord Shiva gave him the blessing of immortality, he is still considered as immortal entity.

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