Parshuram Avatar
(The Angry Man)

Sixth Incarnation of Lord Vishnu (Rama with the Axe)
Bhagwan Parshuram Avatar

RUCHIKA was a great sage of yore-hailing from the famous race of Brighus. He asked GAADHI'S daughter SATYAVATHI in marriage to him. Gaadhi thought it was an unworthy match and told Ruchika "Let a thousand horses white as the moon, each having one black ear be given as the price of the girl. We belong to the race of Kusika renowned for our noble pedigree".

Ruchika invoked the blessings of God Varuna, who granted his request. The thousand horses were duly delivered and Ruchika married Gaadhi's daugther Satyavathi. Time passed od. One day Satyavathi and her mother both approached the sage and said, "Swamin, My mother wants a son and I too want a son. We crave your blessings".

The good sage Ruchika wanted to grant their request and he prepared a porridge of rice, barley and pulse boiled with butter and milk to be dedicated to the gods. He, while presenting the preparation to the gods invoked the birth of a Brahmin to his wife Satyavathi and a Kshatria to his mother-in-law. They were asked to eat the same as instructed by him and said that each would be blessed with a son. For good or bad the porridge was interchanged. This interchange happened knowingly.

The sage having come to know this said to his wife, "You have committed a grave blunder : your son will be of a cruel nature while your brother will be the foremost among virtuous men." Implored by his wife Satyavathi the sage gave a change as follows, "So then your grandson will be such." In course of time Jamadagni was born of Satyavathi. Jama-dagni the scion of the Brighus, married Renuka and through her brought forth a number of sons, the youngest of whom was PARASURAM, whom the learned speak of as a part manifestation of Lord Vishnu.

The HAIHYAS (called Kshatrias) were ruling the earth. They became more and more powerful and having been over-come by passion and ignorance (Rajas and Tamas) began, to commit atrocities and continued to do so.

Through acts of worship to Lord Naaraayana the then ruler of the HAIHYAS, KAARTHAVIRYA ARJUNA secured a thousand arms and formidable strength against his foes. There was an instance of DASAANANA (Ravana) having been imprisoned in Arjuna's capital MAHISHMATI for some impudent action and insolent behaviour.

Once Kaarthavirya Arjuna went out hunting with his entourage. Ranging in a dense forest in pursuit of game, on one occasion Arjuna and his party found their way by chance into the precincts of the hermitage of Sage Jamadagni. The sage as was wont in those days entertained the king and his party of hundreds of men and animals with respect, affection and hospitality. The king was amazed at the great affluence existing in the lonely parnasala in the thick of the forest. He also understood the cause of such abundance was due to the presence of the Divine cow of plenty, the Kaamadhenu in the ashram. The king thought as follows. "This kind of animal is fit to be in possession of kings. If this cow is with me in my capital MAHISHMATI it will be of great use to me adding to the splendour of my court." When Kaarthavirya Arjuna opened his mind to the sage the latter said, "Well O ! King, I have no control over this cow. The gods have sent it to me for the benefit of the sages who are busy conducting sacrifices for the welfare of the world." The haughty and proud Arjuna did not seem to heed the words of the sage. He ordered his men without a second thought to take the cow to his capital. The screaming cow with its calf was transported to Mahishmati.

After the regal party had left, Rama of the Battle Axe who had gone out returned to his hermitage. The first thing he learnt was that the cow was forcibly dragged away by the King Kaarthavirya Arjuna. Parasu Rama flew into a rage. He took his invincible and terrible axe and pursued the king. There was heavy fighting. Rama single-handed had to face seventeen most formidable AKSHAUHINIS. (One akshauhini is comprised of 21,810 chariots, equal number of elephants, 65,600 horses and 1,09,350 soldiers). Rama annihilated the whole lot.

Then Arjuna who had secured a thousand hands by dint of his penance took five hundred bows and began sending arrows simultaneously and in quick succession. But Rama with only one bow cut down all the shafts sent against him by the king of Haihyas. Kaarthavirya Arjuna now rushed forward with great rage and speed uprooting rocks and trees with his innumerable hands. But calmly Parasu Rama cut off not only his opponent's hands but severed his head also. Thus fell the king of the Haihyas, Arjuna of great strength.

Rama came back to his hermitage with the cow and calf. He recounted to his father what all happened. Sage Jamadagni said, "My son O ! mighty armed Rama! you have committed a crime in that you have killed a king who is the embodiment of all gods. The murder of an anointed king is more heinous than the slaying of a brahmin. We brahmins become fit for honour, only because of our forbearance. A perfect brahmin is one who has overcome anger, who is patience incarnate and who observes the rituals according to the Vedic Texts without fail. Now that a blunder has been committed, my son, my opinion is that you undertake a pilgrimage with your thought fixed on the Supreme Being." Accordingly Rama of the Battle Axe made visits to holy places for a year and returned to his hermitage.

One day when Parshurama and his brothers were away from the parnasala the sons of Kaarthavirya Arjuna with a view of avenging their father's death came to Jamadagni's hermitage. They saw the moment was very favourable because ParasuRama and his brothers were not there. The old sage was sitting before the altar of the sacrificial fire in utter concentration. His wife Renukadevi alone was by his side. They made short of the sage by chopping off his head and took it away with them leaving the body there. Renuka's protests were of no avail. The virtuous lady cried loudly 'Rama Rama.' Parasu Rama who was just coming at a distance heard the cry and came running to sec the ghastly scene of his father's body alone lying in a pool of blood.

He did not take much time to determine the course of action he had to take. He took his battle axe and away went towards Mahishmati, the capital city of Kaarthavirya Arjuna. There Parasu Rama killed all the sons of Arjuna and hordes of his soldiers and followers. He raised in the heart of the city a huge mountain of their heads and with their blood, a terrible river of blood.

Parasurama brought the head of his father, joined it to its trunk and placed the body on the sacred kusa grass. He then propitiated the Supreme deity through a number of sacrifices. At the end of these sacrifices Parshurama gifted away all his holdings to suitable persons thus washing off his entire sin, incurred by killing numberless Kshatrias and their satellites. Jamadagni too regained his own body completely spiritualised. Honoured by Parasu Rama who was none but the Supreme Self, Jamadagni attained the status of the Seventh in the group of the SEVEN GREAT SAGES (Saptharishis).

[Saptha rishis are: (1) KAASYPA,(2) ATRI, (3) VASISHTA (4) VISWAMITRA, (5) GAUTAMA, (6) BHARADWAJA, (7) JAMADAGNI].

That was the time when Kshatriyas became highly tyrannous having taken to unrighteous ways. Parasu Rama making the murder of his father Jamadagni-an excuse, waged war with the Kshatrias twenty one times and got rid of them.

The slaughter of Kshatrias by Bhargava Rama (Parashurama) must be interpreted not as a wanton act of revenge but as an attempt to crush the growing militarism, aggressiveness and tyranny of the warrior caste as a whole.

Lord Vishnu who incarnated as Parshuram, the son of Jamadagni, is believed to be present even now in the Mahendra Hill, South of Vindhyas.

Whenever there is decline of Dharma and increase of Adharma in this world, HARI the LORD and MASTER incarnates HIMSELF taking any form at HIS WILL.

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