Markandeya was born in the clan of Bhrigu Rishi, hence he is also known as one of the most ancient rishis.
Markendeya is a disciple of Lord Shiva. When Yama, the God of death had come to take Markendeya, Lord Shiva appeared and fought with Yama.
Lord Shiva won and granted immortality to Markendeya.
“Markandeya Purana” comprises dialogues between sage Jaimini and Markandeya.
There are many chapters in the “Bhagavata Purana” dedicated to these conversations and prayers. One of these chapters states that once sage Narayana visited Markandeya and asked him for a blessing or a boon.
Markandeya requested sage Narayana to show him his Maya or illusory power. To accomplish his wish, Lord Vishnu appeared in the form of a child floating on a leaf and professed to the sage that he was Time and Death.
Sage Markandeya entered into his mouth to save himself from the rising water. Inside the child’s stomach, Markandeya learnt about all the worlds, the seven regions and the seven oceans. The mountains and the kingdoms were all there in the child’s body. Markandeya did not know what to comprehend from this vastness so he started praying to Lord Vishnu.
Sage Markandeya spent almost a thousand years with Lord Vishnu to understand what he saw and then he composed the “Bala Mukundashtakam”.