Bedtime mythology: The story of Rishi Markandey, the boy who never aged

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This is the story of Rishi Markandey, the boy who never aged because of his ardent devotion to Lord Shiva

Indian mythology is replete with interesting stories and fables that can help our kids understand the meaning of life. They are not just fictional stories about mystical characters, but also have underlying meaning that can inculcate important moral values.

Today, we begin a series that will include various Indian mythological stories that will act not only as bedtime stories for your kids, but also help them become worldly wise.

One such interesting story is about the birth of Rishi Markandey and the power of his bhakti towards Lord Shiva.

The boy who never aged: Rishi Markandey

There was once a brahmin couple named Sage Mrikandu and his wife Marudmati. They were ardent worshippers of Lord Shiva and would pray to the lord to be blessed with a son.

Satisfied and happy with their devotion, one day Lord Shiva appeared before them and agreed to bless them with a son. However, he asked if they wanted an ordinary son who would live a full-life or a perfect son who would only live till the age of 12. The couple who were worldly wise expressed their desire to have a perfect son so he may also one day be called 'great.'

Fulfilling their wish, Lord Shiva blessed them with a perfect son, who was named Markandey. Because of the virtue of being blessed by the lord himself, Markandey became a great sage at a very young age and was also a devout follower of Lord Shiva.

However, when the time came for his death at the age of 12 years, and Yamraj, the lord of death came to take his life, Markandey evoked Lord Shiva. The lord who was happy with Rishi Markandey's devotion, fought with Yamraj and banished him from the face of the earth. He did not want Markandey to die just yet.

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This event led to the birth of many humans, but there was no death. And this resultantly led to overcrowding of Earth.

That's when goddess of Earth requested Lord Shiva to let Yamraj take lives and maintain a balance on the planet. But Lord Shiva, who was angry at Yamraj for trying to take his devotees' life did not budge.

So in order to let Yamraj do his duties of taking lives, goddess Earth explained to Lord Shiva that perhaps Yamraj misunderstood Lord Shiva's desire. She added that Yamraj will not take Rishi Markandey's life and he will always remain a boy of 12 years.

This request satisfied the ever-forgiving Lord Shiva and he let Yamraj take lives, as destined leaving Rishi Markandey out of his purview. This meant that Rishi Markandey never aged and remained a boy forever.

Read: 5 pauranic mantras you can easily teach your kids

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(Image courtesy: Wikipedia)

Written by

Deepshikha Punj