I have once heard a story regarding the Ashwathama, whose immortality is because of a curse which also made him a leper. In the story, in a village in India, in a Lord Shiva temple, a person who is a leper and who also has a groove mark on his forehead is seen offering prayers to Lord Shiva. People of that village believe him to be Ashwathama. I would like to listen to stories and myths of this sort. Though Hindu mythology and especially stories about Chiranjeevis from the Hindu mythology are my primary request, I would also be glad to listen to any stories that link Mythology to present times.
Chiranjivi are not "true" immortals, the word for that is Amaratva. Chiranjivi literally means "permanent" (chiram) "living" (jīvi). Amaratva literally means "state of the gods".
The difference is that Amaratva "survive" the change of epochs called Yuga, Chiranjivi do not.
The main textual source for the longevity of Chiranjivi is the Bhāgavata Purāṇa (3.32.8-10):
द्विपरार्धावसाने य: प्रलयो ब्रह्मणस्तु ते ।
तावदध्यासते लोकं परस्य परचिन्तका: ॥ ८ ॥
pralayo brahmaṇas tu te
tāvad adhyāsate lokaṁ
Worshipers of the Hiraṇyagarbha expansion of the Personality of Godhead remain within this material world until the end of two parārdhas, when Lord Brahmā also dies.
There are seven well-known Chiranjivi in Hindu mythology:
- King Mahabali,
- Veda Vyasa,
- Hanuman Ji,
- Vibhishana ,
- Lord Parashuram
Most of their stories are contained in the Mahabharata.