Parashurama Avatar – The Warrior With The Axe
Lord Parshurama is considered the sixth incarnation of Lord Vishnu in Treta-Yug to exterminate Kshatriyas kings who tried to abuse and misuse their power. To end the bad deeds and avenge all Kshatriya kings who have become evil and started troubling Brahmans, Lord Vishnu came to earth in Parashurama avatar.
Parshu means axe and so his name Parashurama means Rama with the axe. Parashurama was an ardent disciple of Shiva and learned martial arts from Shiva. He was born in Brighu clan to Sage Jamadagni and Renuka. They had four sons and Parashurama was the youngest son and the most powerful and aggressive one. Parashurama always carried an axe which he received from Lord Shiva after pleasing him with his meditation. Though Parashurama was a Brahmin’s son he had a love for weapons hence he is also called ‘Brahma-Kshatriya‘ as he possesses both brahmin and kshatriyas traits in him.
One day Parashurama went to Kailash to meet Lord Shiva. When he came to the door, Lord Ganesha stopped him by saying that his mother forbade anyone from inside. Parashuram threatened Bal Ganesh that if he does not want to let Lord Shiva meet then fight with him. Ganesh’s left tooth broke in this battle. When Goddess Parvati saw this, she became angry and told Parashurama in the form of Adishakti that he had harmed her son, so he would never be satisfied with the blood of Kshatriya. Ganesh asked his mother to forgive Parashurama and he succeeded in praising his mother.
Raja Sahastrajun ruled Mahishmati Nagar, he did austerities to please God Dattatreya. Dattatreya was pleased with his penance and asked him to ask for a boon, and he received the blessing of 10,000 hands from Dattatreya. Mighty Sahasrarjun then conquered all the known and unknown overseas kingdoms. In reference to his powerful hands, Sahasrarjun is addressed as Sahasrabahu, Sahasrabujhadhari, etc. He misused his powers and became a merciless tyrant.
It is said that the Mahishmati emperor Sahastrajun was so broken in his pride and crossed all the boundaries of religion. The public was stricken by his atrocities and incest. He disrespected the Vedas, the Puranas and regarded religious texts as false, insulting the Brahmin’s ashram, disturbing the innocent subjects continuously, even by stealing into the item for their entertainment.
Sage Jamadgani and Renuka both were blessed for having Parshuram as their son. Once Sahastrajun with his entire army crossed through the forest and arrived to rest in the ashram of the sage Jamadagni. Maharishi Jamadgani considered Sahastrajun a guest of the ashram and left no stone unturned in welcoming him. It is said that Rishi Jamadgani had a wonderful cow named Kamadhenu with divine qualities derived from Devraj Indra.
Maharishi managed to arrange food for the entire army in a few moments with the help of that cow. Seeing such unique qualities of Kamadhenu, Sahastrajun began to feel less of his royal pleasure in front of the sage. The desire to find such a wonderful cow arose in his mind. He sought Kamadhenu from the sage Jamadagni. But the sage Jamadagni refused to give Kamadhenu the only means of managing the ashram and maintaining life. On this, Sahastrajun got angry and destroyed the sage Jamadagni’s ashram and took Kamdhenu.
When Parashurama reached his ashram, his mother Renuka told him all the details in detail. Parashuram was enraged at the disgrace of the parents and the destruction of the ashram. The mighty Parashuram vowed at the same time to destroy the vicious Sahastrajun and his army. Parshuram took his Parshu weapon and reached the city of Mahishmatipuri in Sahastrajun. Where Sahastrajun and Parashurama fought. But Sahastrajun proved to be less powerful in front of Parashuram’s fierce force. Lord Parashurama killed thousands of the evil Sahastrajun by cutting off his arms.
After the slaughter of Sahastrajun, Parashurama went on a pilgrimage to atone for this slaughter by the father’s order. Then, with the help of his fellow Kshatriyas, the sons of Sahastrajun got the opportunity and slaughtered Maharishi Jamadagni by cutting his head in his ashram. Sahastrajun’s sons killed all the sages of the ashram, burning the ashram. Mata Renuka called her son Parashurama in a mournful voice. When Parashurama reached the ashram after listening to the call of the mother, he saw the mother mourning and saw the father’s severed head and 21 wounds on his body near the mother. Seeing this, Parashuram was very angry and took an oath to annihilate the entire Kshatriya race.
Parashurama had filled five ponds with the blood of Kshatriyas and the place was later on known as Samant-panchaka. It is said that Maharishi Richiek himself appeared and prevented Lord Parshuram from doing such a terrible act, then somehow the destruction of the Kshatriyas stopped on the land. After that Lord Parshuram performed the Shraadh ceremony of his ancestors and performed Ashwamedha and Vishwajeet Yagya.
He had taught martial arts to Bhishma Pitamah, Dronacharya, and Karna. Parashurama is immortal and it is believed that he is still alive on earth and is teaching his war skills to Kalki who will incarnate on earth at the end of Kali Yuga. When Parashurama met Rama, he realized that it was not necessary to end the warriors and kings and that after leaving Rama he gave up the human life and never came back.