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  • Narayaneeyam

    Narayaneeyam Dasakam: 36 -- Incarnation as Parasurama

    Parasurama is one of the Avatars of Vishnu. Parasurama (axe-wielding Rama) is an avataar (incarnation) of Vishnu. Among the ten avataars prominently counted, this is the sixth. Parasurama is the son of saint Jamadagni. He did penance about Lord Shiva and got an axe from him as weapon.

    Once, a king by the name of Kaartaveerya-arjuna visited the hermitage of Jamadagni, along with his army during the course of a hunting trip in the forest. Jamadagni arranged to feed his guest and his vast army with the help of his divine cow. Amazed at this, the king became greedy and wanted the cow to be given to him. Jamadagni refused, saying that the cow is required in the performance of religious rites. The king sent his soldiers and forcibly took the cow away to his city. Hearing this, Parasurama went to the king's place and destroyed his army and finally killed the king with his axe. In retaliation, the sons of Kaartaveerya-arjuna killed Jamadagni by beheading him while in meditation and at that time Parasurama was not at home When Parasurama’s father (Jamadagni) was beheaded by a Kshatriya King, his mother Renuka, cried in anguish: "Rama! Rama! Parasurama, who was away from the ashram(hermitage) could ethereally hear the cries of his mother from afar and rushed home. He counted that his mother had called him twenty-one times. On reaching the ashram he saw his father’s head severed from his body. The horrible crime had been committed by the king Kartavirya’s sons. Parasurama took a vow to wage a war against the vile kshatriya rulers twenty-one times and end their rule on earth. Parasurama accomplished his mission by defeating the Kshatriya kings twenty-one times and came to his ashram to pray to his ancestors for restoring his father’s life. The sage Bharadwaja, to whose gotra (lineage) Jamadagni belonged, appeared before Parasurama and restored Jamadagni to life by placing the head and body together.

    After this, Parasurama felt that the purpose of his advent had been achieved as he had no desire to be a ruler, he made a gift of all the territories he had conquered to the sage Kashyapa. He felt that having given away everything, it would not be right for him to live on the land he had gifted. When Vishnu incarnated as Rama (the hero of Ramayana), Parasurama had to submit before him as his avataara-kaarya (mission) was over. He then surrendered to Rama, gave away all his punya-lokas (the fruits of his good deeds) to Rama and became an ordinary saint, and is said to be still living on Mahendra parvata, spending time in penance, as he is a Chiranjeevi. It is said that Parasurama will become one of the Saptarishis (seven great saints who will direct the mankind towards dharma) in the next Manvantara.