By Swami Harshananda
Tale of Mārkaṇḍeya
Destined to die at an early age, the young Mārkaṇḍeya worshiped Lord Śiva with intense devotion to transcend death. Just as Yama, the god of death, approached him with his noose to take him away, Mārkaṇḍeya clung to the Śivaliṅga he was worshiping. Whence Śiva appeared with his trident and prevented him from doing so. He also gave Mārkaṇḍeya, a long life of 14 kalpas’ duration. He is also classed along the cirañjīvis along with Hanumān, Vyāsa and others.
Achievements of Mārkaṇḍeya
- The Mārkandeyapurāṇa is attributed to him as the chief narrator.
- He is said to be one of the smṛtikāras who edited and condensed the original Manusmṛti to 8000 ślokas and passed it on to Sumati Bhārgava.
- Mārkaṇḍeya appears in the Mahābhārata and in some purāṇas like the Bhāgavata and the Matsya.
- He is said to have visited the Pāṇḍavas in the Kāmyakavana and taught them dharma through many stories.
- He also told Yudhiṣṭhira that Śrī Kṛṣṇa was the Supreme Lord Himself.
- While discussing dharma with the sage Nārada, Mārkaṇḍeya gives his views on various topics connected with marriage and chastity.
- There is one Mārkaṇḍeya Āśrama near Bhāgeśvara at the confluence of the rivers Gomatī and Sarayu in Uttar Pradesh.
- The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore