A Brief Story on Parasurama

Parasurama means rama with parasu i.e. axe/gandragoddali/kodali in tamil. He is the 6th avaatam of Mahavishnu and one of the seven chiranjeevis. Parasurama avatara extends to two yugas treta yuga and dwaapara yuga. He is brahmin birth but with kshatriya qualities.
BIRTH: Parasurama was born as fifth son to sage jamadagni and renuka devi. He hails from bramha i.e. sage chyavana is great grand father, grand father is sage rucheeka. Sage rucheeka after completion of his studies wanted to marry a suitable bride and is in search of that. In those days we have two prime dynasties ruling bharata desa i.e. surya vamsa and chandra vamsa. In chandra vamsa there is a king named kusika and he had a son name gadhi. Gadhi had a daughter by name satyavathi very beautiful prince. Sage rucheeka approached king gadhi and asked his daughter to marry him. The king was taken back by the brahmin wish but does not want to deny. He put a condition to him to give him 1000 horses with one ear black and entire body in white. Sage rucheeka agreed and done penance to please varuna and obtained through him the 1000 horses and offered to king Gadhi and got married with satyavathi. The princess satyavati also adjusted herself to the brahminic customs and living peacefully with sage rucheeka. After sometime she got worried that for herself as well as for her mother there is not male issues to continue the vamsa. She requested the sage rucheeka and he prayed to brahma and obtained two pots of rice pudding and offered it to both satyavathi and her mother clearly instructing that satyavahti will have child with brahminic qualities and her mother will have son with kshatriya qualities. He asked them to worship aswathha and raavi trees first and consume the rice pudding. Accordingly both prayed to the trees and consumed but the pots were interchaned knowingly or unknowingly. Both were conceived and sage rucheeka observed that the foetus of satyavathi is with kshatriya qualities and questioned her. Both were pleaded guilty and requested the sage how to overcome. The sage with his powers made the foetus of satyavathi to born with brahmanic qualities and his son with kshatriya qualities. Thus the son born to satyavathi is sage jamadagni with brahminic qualities and his son parasurama with kshatriya qualities.
The son born to sathyavathi mother with brahminic qualities is called as kusanaabha and in later days he was known to this yuga as sage viswamitra.
BIRTH PLACE: Parasurama was born in haihava kingdom, the present day MAHESWAR. (NARMADA PLATEU)
BROTHERS: The brothers elder to parasurama are called Vasu, Viswa Vasu, Brihudyanu, and Brutwakanwa . The actual name of parasurama is ramabhadra.
PITRUVAAKYA PARIPAALAKA: Parasurama always obeys his father’s words with utmost care. Once his mother renukadevi a pativrata who is to have bath in the river and make a mud vessel with clay and bring the water for her husband to do the vedic rituals. The pot is wet but water will not spill out. One day while getting water from river she happened to see some gandharvas passing in a chariot and for a moment she thought of gandharva’s beauty. The wet mud pot discharged and water were spilled out. She tried to do fresh pot but could not and without knowing what to do she held back in the river shore itself. The sage waiting for his wife had observed through his yogic powers what had happened and asked his elder son to cut the throat of mother with axe. The boy terrified with his father’s order and refused to kill the mother. Sage jamadagni asked next and next but all the four sons refused to obey the order. The sage cursed the brothers to convert as stones. Finally sage called the parasurama who went to collect samidhas to forest and asked to cut the neck of his mother . Without any hesitation, parasurama taken the axe and cut the neck of his mother and came to his father and said that he has carried out the order. Sage jamadagni pleased with parasurama and asked him to have boons and parasurama requested his father to get life to her mother and make the brothers from stone to flesh.
PARASURAMA AND KARTAVEERYARJUNA: Parasurama was living in haihava kingdom who were a savage uncivilised people. The enemity is continued between haihava kings and bhargava brahmins for generations. This is mentioned in mahabharata numerous times. There livied a haihava king called kartveerya who was incarnataion of sudarsana chakra of mahavishnu taken as human birth. In addition king kartaveerha wroshipped the sage dattatreya and obtained boons of flying golden chariot to travel whereever he wished and one thousand arms.
With these boons, Kartavirya became immeasurably powerful, conducting many military conquests. The military corporations of the Shakas, Yavanas, Kambojas, Pahlavas and Paradas, known as the Five Hordes, also gave their support to the Haihaya and Talajunga. Haihaya was of the Lunar Dynasty and went on to sack Kasi. In return, the Solar Dynasty fought back, and expelling the Haihayas from Vatsa. Kartavirya then defeated the Nagas, after which he made mahismati in present day Maheswar as capital of his kingdom, and prevented Ikshwaaku King Bahu, descendant of Harishchandra , from taking back Ayodhya , which was his by birthright. A generation later, Sagara, son of Bahu, recaptured Ayodhya with Kartavirya dead. After defeating the Haihaya, he shaved their heads to humiliate them. His retaking of Ayodhya would set the stage for the upcoming ramayana. Kartavirya became so powerful that he was even able to defeat and imprison the demon king Raavana at the river godavari .
As Rama grew older, he was sincere in his piety, and pleased Lord Shiva with the performation of excruciating tapas As blessing, he was granted the parasu of Shiva, after which he was known as Parashurama, or ‘Rama with axe’.
Once king kaartaveerya came to hermitage of sage jamadagni and that time parasurama was gone to forest to collect sticks to yaga. Though the king came with his massive entourage, the sage able to give good feast to them in a short notice. The king asked the sage how he could able to arrange in a short notice and the sage said he had a calf of kamadhenu offered by indra so that he is able to feed them. The king grew greedy and asked the sage to give the cow to king but sage refused but he has taken the calf with force. Parasurama came to know this though his father after returning from forest he went to haihava king and fought with him and killed him in the fierce battle and obtained back the calf. His father was pleased, but seeing the blood stained axe of Parashurama, also concerned. He cautioned his son he must be aware of wrath and pride. Parashurama accepted the reprimand of his father, in penance, and went on a pilgrimage to holy places for one year in purification.
Meanwhile, the sons of Kartavirya discovered their father at the palace and knew that only Parashurama could have killed him. In revenge, they traveled to the hermitage and murdered Jamadagni, surrounding the rishi and shooting him to death with arrows like a stag. Afterwards, they decapitated his body and took his head with them.
When Parashurama returned home, he found his mother next to the body of his father, crying hysterically as she beat her chest twenty-one times in a row. Furious, he hunted down the sons of Kartavirya at the palace. He killed them all and returned with his fathers head to conduct the cremation. Parashurama then vowed to enact a genocide on the war-mongering Kshatriyas twenty-one times over, once for each time the hand of his mother hit her chest.
Parashurama then travelled throughout the Indian subcontinent, killing all men of the Kshatriya caste, guilty or innocent. In the interval between the Treta and Dwapara Yugas, Parashurama, great among all who have borne arms, urged by impatience of wrongs, repeatedly smote the noble race of Kshatriyas. And when that fiery meteor, by his own valour, annihilated the entire tribe of the Kshatriyas, he formed at Samanta-panchaka five lakes of blood .
There is another legend that the Nairs, Bunts and Nagas of Kerala and Tulunadu, receiving word as Parashurama approached, took the sacred threads that marked them twice-born, hid them in the forest and traveled south. Parashurama then gave their land to the Nambuthiri Brahmins, and the Nambuthiri then denied the Nairs and Bunts their status as royalty when Parashurama left.
After he had finally rid the world of Kshatriyas, Parashurama conducted the aswamedha sacrifice, done only by sovereign kings, and gave the land he had conquered to the Brahmin head-priests, who performed the yagya kasyapa. The Ashvamedha demanded that the remaining Kshatriya kings either submit to Parashurama, or stop the sacrifice by defeating him in battle. They were unable to do either, and so perished
RAMA AND PARASURAMA: In the ramayana , Parashurama had given the bow of Siva to the father of princess Sita for her swayamvaram. As a test of worthiness, suitors were asked to lift and string the mythic weapon. None were successful until Rama, but in the process of being strung, the bow snapped in half. This produced a tremendous noise that reached the ears of Parashurama as he meditated atop the mahendra mountains
In one version , Parashurama arrived to the mithala after marriage of rama and sita deeply angry. The Kshatriyas were advised by Brahmarishi Vasistha not to confront the sage, but Sita still approached. Parashurama blessed her, saying “Dheergha Sumangali bhavah,” or “You will have your husband alive for your lifetime.”
When he then turned to confront Rama, Parashurama was unable to lift his axe. He was held back by his own word and pacified by the brilliance of Rama. When the warrior-sage realized he was looking at his own subsequent reincarnation, his bow flew into the hands of Rama, and thus the essence of Vishnu was fully realized in the seventh avatar
PARASURAMA AND BHISHMA: Parashurama and Bhishma, two of the greatest warriors of the epics, shared an interesting history together as guru and student. Bhishma was a kURU prince, and Parashurama instructed him in the martial arts as a boy. Their conflict began years later, with the beautiful princess Amba. Along with her sisters Ambika and Ambalika, princess Amba had been abducted by Bhishma in a misunderstanding between two kingdoms. Now, with her honor tainted, no man would take her for bride, and she was condemned to remain destitute. Bhishma himself was unable to marry due to his bhishana pratigya, or vow of celibacy, and allegiance to Hastinapur Amba then sought the help of Parashurama to kill Bhishma.
Taking pity on her plight, the avatar agreed to fight his former student on her behalf. The battle lasted twenty-three days, by the end of which, both warriors were bloodied and filled with arrows. Bhishma had knowledge of the divine deadly weapon Paasupataastra , which had the power to put a foe to sleep, and of which Parashurama was unaware. When he was about to use the celestial weaponry, all Gods rushed to Bhishma and asked him to hold his hand, as it would humiliate his guru. Out of respect, Bhishma acquiesced.
Pitaras then appeared and obstructed the chariot of Parashurama, forbidding him from fighting any longer. The spirit of Parashurama’s father, Jamadagni and his grandfather, Rucheeka, spoke to him:
O son, never again engage in battle with Bhishma or any other Kshatriya. Heroism and courage in battle are the qualities of a Kshatriya, and study of the Vedas and the practice of austerities are the wealth of the Brahmans. Previously you took up weapons to protect the Brahmans, but this is not the case now. Let this battle with Bhishma be your last. O son of the Bhrigu race, it is not possible to defeat Bhishma.
In the end, the Gods showered praise on Bhishma, and he sought the blessing of Parashurama as his guru. The avatar then acknowledged that his former student was truly invincible, telling Amba:
Using even the very best of weapons I have not been able to obtain any advantage over Bhishma, that foremost of all wielders of weapons! I have exerted now to the best of my power and might. Seek the protection of Bhishma himself, thou hast no other refuge now.
PARASURAMA AND DRONA: At the end of his time in the Vedic period, Parashurama was renouncing his possessions to take sanyaasi As the day progressed, Drona, then a poor Brahmin, approached Parashurama asking for alms. By that time, the warrior-sage had already given the Brahmins his gold and Kasyapa his land, so all that was left were his body and weapons. Parushurama asked which Drona would have, to which the clever warrior responded:
O son of Bhrigu, it behoveth thee to give me all thy weapons together with the mysteries of hurling and recalling them.
Thus, Parashurama gave all his weapons unto Drona, making him supreme in the science of arms. This would be crucial when he was teacher to both pandavas and kauravaas in the upcoming kurukshetra war.
PARASURAMA AND KARNA: Karna was half brother to the pandavas and son of Surya , but raised by a low caste charioteer. Karna came to Parashurama after being rejected by Drona due to his perceived caste. Karna lied and said he was Brahmin, and so Parashurama accepted him as his student, giving him knowledge of the powerful Bramhastra weapon.
One day, Parashurama was sleeping with his head resting on the lap of Karna and a scorpion crawled up the leg of the student and bit his thigh. In spite of the pain, Karna neither flinched nor cried so his guru could rest. Warm blood, however, trickled down his leg, waking Parashurama. Convinced that only a Kshatriya could have borne such pain in silence, Parashurama realized the lie of Karna, and cursed his student that his knowledge of the Brahmastra would fail him when it was most crucial.
Years later, during the Kurukshetra war, Karna had a dream in which he envisioned his guru and asked him to take back the curse he had given years back. Parashurama revealed that he had known all along Karna was a Kshatriya, but because he was a worthy student Parashurama had instructed him regardless. The avatar explained to karna that the Brahmastra had to fail him when he needed it most. If he killed Arjuna, duryodhana would be king instead of Yudhishtira , and chaos would ensue. Parashurama asked Karna to accept his curse and die at the hands of Arjuna, that the world might live in peace.
PARASURAMA AND EKADANTA: According to PURANAS , Parashurama travelled to the Himalayas to pay respect to his teacher, Siva. While travelling, his path was blocked by Ganesha, son of Shiva and Parvati . Parashurama threw his axe at the elephant-god. Ganesha, knowing the weapon had been given to Parashurama by his father, allowed it to sever his left tusk.
His mother Parvati was infuriated, and declared she would cut off the arms of Parashurama. She took the form of Durga becoming omnipotent, but at the last moment, Shiva was able to pacify her by making her see the avatar as her own son. Parashurama also asked her forgiveness, and she finally relented when Ganesha himself spoke on behalf of the warrior-saint. Parashurama then gave his divine axe to Ganesha and blessed him. Another name for Ganesha because of this encounter is Ekadanta, or ‘One Tusk’.
CREATION OF PARASURAMA KSHETRAS: Puranas write that the western coast of India was threatened by tumultuous waves and tempests, causing the land to be overcome by the sea. Parashurama fought back the advancing waters, demanding Varuna release the land of konkan and Malabar . During their fight, Parashurama threw his axe into the sea. A mass of land rose up, but Varuna told him that because it was filled with salt, the land would be barren.[11]
Parashurama then did a tapas for Nagaraja , the King of Snakes. Parashurama asked him to spread serpents throughout the land so their venom would neutralize the salt filled earth. Nagaraja agreed, and a lush and fertile land grew. Thus, Parashurama pushed back the coastline between the foothills of the Western Ghats and the Arabian Sea, creating modern day Kerala
The coastal area of Kerala, Konkan, Karnataka, Goa and Maharashtra , are today also known as Parashurama Kshetra or Land of Parashurama in homage.[12] Puranas record that Parashurama placed statues of Shiva at 108 different locations throughout the reclaimed land, which still exist today Shiva, is the source of Kundalini , and it around his neck that Nagaraja is coiled, and so the statues were in gratitude for their baneful cleansing of the land
Then he took a winnowing basket, or Surpa, and threw it at the sea. The water retreated, and from the place the basket fell at Gokarna, land rose again Gokarna. This land is called Kerala, or ‘Siirparaka’ (bramhanda purana , Chapters 98 and 99). It is also said that while beating back the sea, Parashurama fired an arrow from his mythical bow that landed in Goa at Benaulim, creating Salkache Tollem, or ‘Lotus Lake’
PARASURAMA AND RAMBHOJA: Kshetra scripture has a legend in which a king named Ramabhoja worshipped Parashurama. He was the ruler of the lands between Gokarna and Kanyakumari and was proclaimed king of the entire Parashurama Kshetra. While performing ASWAMEDHA YAGNA , he was plowing the land, but mistakenly killed a snake that was a raksha in disguise. In repentance, Rambhoja was directed by Parashurama to build a rajathatpeetha, or large silver pedestal, with the image of a serpent at its four corners in obeisance. Parashurama also ordered that he distribute gold to the needy equal to his own weight as Tulabhara.
Rambhoja performed the ashwamedha yajna successfully and Parashurama appeared before him again, declaring that he was pleased. To this day, the silver pedastal remains a center of pilgrimage. The surrounding land is known as Thoulava , in remembrance of the Tulabhara of Rambhoja.
PARASURAMA AND SURYA: Parashurama once became annoyed with the sun god Surya for making too much heat. The warrior-sage shot several arrows into the sky, terrifying Surya. When Parashurama ran out of arrows and sent his wife Dharini to bring more, the sun god then focused his rays on her, causing her to collapse. Surya then appeared before Parashurama and gifted him with two inventions that have since been attributed to the avatar, sandals and an umbrella.
Parashurama and the Agastya are regarded as the founders of kalaripayattu the oldest martial art in the world. Parashurama was a master of shastravidya, or the art of weaponry, as taught to him by siva . As such, he developed northern kalaripayattu, or vadakkan kalari, with more emphasis on weapons than striking and grappling. Southern kalaripayattu was developed by Agastya, and focuses more on weaponless combat. Kalaripayattu is known as the ‘mother of all martial arts’
He traveled to central India at the northern end of the Eastern Ghats and western Orissa and ascended the mahendra mountains . Before he left, Parashurama distributed the territories he conquered among a clan of Brahmins called the Bhumihar who ruled for many centuries. Kingdoms included the Cheras,Pandyas, Dravida, Mushika, Karnata and Konkana
Unlike other incarnations of Vishnu, Parashurama is a chiranjeevi , and is said to still be doing penance today in Mahendragiri.
Eight Kshetras are popularly known as Parashurama Kshetras or Parashurama Srishti:
1. Gokarna
2. Kollur
3. Konkan Maharashtra
4. Koteshwara
5. Mangalore
6. Shankaranarayana
7. Subramanya
8. Udupi
Let us pray to Parasurama, the incarnation of Maha Vishnu so that our enemities will ward off and have peaceful life through out.

Brahmasri Chaganti Koteswara Rao Garu's photo.

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