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Parashurama

aMgaaravarNamabhitO MDabahi: prabhaabhi
rvyaaptaM parashvadhadhanurdharamEkavIram |
 dhyaayEdajEshapuruhUtamuKaistuvadbhi
raavItamaatmapadavIM pratipaadayaMtam ||
 (iti shrImadaanaMdatIrthabhagavatpaadaachaaryakRutataMtrasaarasaMgrahasTha parashuraamadhyaanam)
 
 parashurama devaru-pajake
                    Parashurama devaru @ Pajaka
ಅಂಗಾರವರ್ಣಮಭಿತೋಂಡಬಹಿ: ಪ್ರಭಾಭಿರ್ವ್ಯಾಪ್ತಂ ಪರಶ್ವಧಧನುರ್ಧರಮೇಕವೀರಮ್ |
ಧ್ಯಾಯೇದಜೇಶಪುರುಹೂತಮುಖೈಸ್ತುವದ್ಭಿ ರಾವೀತಮಾತ್ಮಪದವೀಂ ಪ್ರತಿಪಾದಯಂತಮ್ ||
(ಇತಿ ಶ್ರೀಮದಾನಂದತೀರ್ಥಭಗವತ್ಪಾದಾಚಾರ್ಯಕೃತತಂತ್ರಸಾರಸಂಗ್ರಹಸ್ಠ ಪರಶುರಾಮಧ್ಯಾನಮ್)
अंगारवर्णमभितोंडबहि: प्रभाभिर्व्याप्तं परश्वधधनुर्धरमेकवीरम् ।
ध्यायेदजेशपुरुहूतमुखैस्तुवद्भि रावीतमात्मपदवीं प्रतिपादयंतम् ॥
(इति श्रीमदानंदतीर्थभगवत्पादाचार्यकृततंत्रसारसंग्रहस्ठ परशुरामध्यानम्)
ಕ್ಷತ್ರ ಕ್ಷಯಾಯ ವಿಧಿನೋಪಹೃತಂ ಮಹಾತ್ಮಾ ಬ್ರಹ್ಮಧೃಗುಜ್ಜಿತಪಥಂ ನರಕಾರ್ತಿಲಿಪ್ಸು |
ಉದ್ಧಂತ್ಯಸಾವವನಿಕಂಟಕಮುಗ್ರವೀರ್ಯ ಸ್ತ್ರಿ:ಸಪ್ತಕೃತ್ವ ಉರುಧಾರಪರಶ್ವಧೇನ ||
क्षत्र क्षयाय विधिनोपहृतं महात्मा ब्रह्मधृगुज्जितपथं नरकार्तिलिप्सु ।
उद्धंत्यसाववनिकंटकमुग्रवीर्य स्त्रि:सप्तकृत्व उरुधारपरश्वधेन ॥
kShatra kShayaaya vidhinOpahRutaM mahaatmaa
brahmadhRugujjitapathaM narakaartilipsu |
uddhaMtyasaavavanikaMTakamugravIrya
stri:saptakRutva urudhaaraparashvadhEna ||
(SrimadbhagavatE parashuraamastuti:)

Parashuraramavatara is none other than Srihari only.  Here, he was born as a brahmin and also as a very powerful warrior with an axe, as his weapon.  He was born as the son of Saint Jamadagni and Renuka.   (Jamadagni is the son of Satyavathi and Rucheeka Rushigalu).   Parashurama avatara is also poorna avatara.  Though it seems that he was born to Jamadagni, he had apraakruta shareera.  It is only for asura jana mohanaartha that he incarnated as a brahmin.  Some philosophers have not considered Parashurama as Dashavatara.   Some have said that in Parashurama, only some amsha of Bhagavan was there.   But Acharya Madhwa clearly states in his analysis that Parashurama is the definite avatarara (poorna avatara) of Srihari only.

Need for the incarnation of Srihari as Parashurama can be found in MBTN Adhyaya 3 Shlokas 48-51 – wherein Acharya Madhwa narrates.  There were cruel rakshaas  born as kshatriyaas and had the blessings of Shiva. As Srihari had already killed Hiranyakashipu named daithya, the gods thought that Srihari only can do the samrakshane of all.  So they prayed for Srihari to incarnate.  Further,  Brahmins (born out of Srihari’s face)  only can control the kshatriyaas (born out of Srihari’s arms).


Parashurama

–  Since his childhood, he used to move around with his formidable weapon, Parashu, meaning axe. Therefore he was called “Parashurama”


Disciples of Parashurama –

  1. Bheeshma       –  Bheeshma learned for nearly 425 years from Parashurama.  He had studied another 100 years under Bruhaspatyacharya.
  2. Dronacharya – Gurugalu of Pandavaru & Kauravaru – Dronacharya had a son named Ashwattama.  He had never drunk the real milk before Duryodana gave him pure cow’s milk.  Then he asked his mother for cow milk.  But Dronacharya, a poor brahmin, who had a vratha, shiloncha vrutti,  not to ask any body for anything in order to feed his son sought Parashurama for help.  He felt that asking Srihari is not wrong – “keLidare enna oDeyana keLuve, bEDidare enna oDeyana bEDuve” – As Parashurama is the paramathma, he felt it is not wrong in asking Srihari.  But when he went to ask Srihari roopi Parashurama, he had nothing at that time, as he had done the daana of whatever he had already given to brahmins.  He gave all the weapons to Drona, making him supreme in the science of arms.   This would be crucial when he would teach  pandavas and kauravas. 
  3. Karna –   Karna  came to Parashurama as he was refused vidya by Dronacharya (as he was a sootaputra).   Parashurama had the principle that he will not teach any kshatriya after killings lakhs of kshatriya kings.  Earlier he had taught Kshatriyas like Bheeshma.   Karna  had not revealed about his Caste (he himself was not aware of his caste) .   Karna had told him that he was a Brahmin.   Parashurama  taught him all lessons during the four years of study.   Once, Parashurama was taking rest on the on the lap of Karna.   An insect came and bit on Karna’s thigh.    In spite of the pain, Karna neither flinched nor cried so as to enable his guru could rest. Warm blood of Karna’s thigh came running on the leg of Karna, which made Parashurama to wake up.     Then Parashurama asked him as to how he could sustain the pain and said that only kshatriyaas could have borne such a pain.  Parashurama came to know that Karna is a Kshatriya by birth, and he cursed him that Karna will not remember the vital Mantra in the war field.  Thus, when Karna and Arjuna fought in   Kurukushetra, Karna loses his life to Arjuna simply because he could not remember the mantra to invoke Brahmastra.  Here one may get a doubt that Parashurama being the paramathma, how could he not know the caste of Karna earlier.   Srihari is sarvajna.  This is only loka shikshanaartha that the liers to be punished.

 

Pitru vakya paripalaka Parashurama –

Once Parashurama’s mother Renuka who had gone for bringing water from a nearby river saw a group of gandharvas (Chitraratha Gandharva)  flying in the sky in a chariot.    For some time, she lost her concentration which  made her return home late.  Sage  Jamadagni,  who realised  the reason for her late-coming, was terribly agitated. He asked his  sons – Vasu,  Viswa Vasu, Brihudyanu, and Brutwakanwa  to kill their mother Renuka as punishment.  But all of them refused to do so.    Then Jamadagni asked Parashuram to perform the pitru vaakya.   He asked Parashurama to kill Renuka as well the four elder brothers.   He had the courage,  obeyed his father’s order and killed his mother as well as his four brothers.    

 

The pitru vaakya paripalana by Parashurama, made sage Jamadagni happy and he told Parashurama to seek a boon which of his choice.  Parashuram sought Jamadagni “to restore life in the dead bodies, and that they shall not be aware of their killings”.   Jamadagni resurrected all. This prayer shows the love that Parashuram had for his dear ones.   Thus Parashurama proved that he is pitru vakya paripalaka.    Parashurama can give the boon to any one including his father, but he accepted the boon by his father just loka reeethya.

 

Here one must note that Parashurama removed the head of his mother and brothers.  But also ensured that they are restored.  He himself stood as the example for Maatrudevo bhava, pitrudevo bhava.

 

One may get a doubt Jamadagni gave the boon and Parashurama whom we call as bhagavantha got the boon.  He is called as “varadesha varaprada”.  Why Parashurama himself who could have restored the life sought boon?  This is only loka shikshanaartha that he did like that.  He did that to ensure that his father Jamadagni shall be respected by all for removing the black remark of his wife.  She had lost her paativratya for a while.   Srihari is called as ” YedamaanadviT”.    Any excess punya beyond their yogyate, he will take off.   For that she was given the punishment.   Further, Jamadagni had the capacity of restoring the life.  That is also proved by Parashurama.  

In both Raamaavathara & Parashuraamaavatara he showed the Pitru Vakya Paripalana is everyone’s duty. Srihari has no karma bhandhana, karma phala.  This is only for loka shikshana. 


Parashurama – Bheeshmacharya : –   

In Mahabharatha, Bheeshmacharya carried Amba, Ambalika, Ambika,  for Chitraveerya and Vichitraveerya.  Amba told Bheeshma that she intended to marry Saalva and was not ready to marry Vichitraveerya.  But Bheeshma had carried Amba.  Now, Bheeshma asked Saalva to marry her, which he refused saying as she was carried out in the swayamvara, it was a shame on his part.  Now Amba insisted Bheeshma to marry her.    He refused as he was on a brahmacharya vratha for ever.

 

With this being the reason, Amba sought refuge with Parashurama who gave Bheeshma two options – Whether he will marry Amba or prefer to fight with parashurama.   Bheeshma preferred to fight.  Bhishma  refused saying that he is ready to sacrifice his life at the order of his guru but not ready to compromise the promise that he had made.  Upon the refusal Parasurama called him for a fight at Kurukshetra.   At the battlegrounds, while Bhishma was on a chariot, he saw his guru on the ground.  He requested Parasurama to be equal to him by taking a chariot and Kavacham  Parasurama blessed Bhishma with the power of divine vision.    Bhishma got down from the chariot and sought the blessings of Parasurama to protect his dharma, along with the permission to battle against his teacher.     Parasurama was pleased and said to Bhishma that if he had not behaved in this manner,  Parasurama would have cursed him, for it is the duty of warriors who fight against elders to not abandon the traditions of humility and respect for elders. Parasurama blessed him and advised him to protect his dharma of bramacharya as Parasurama himself must fight to fulfil his dharma of fighting to uphold his word as given to Amba.   They fought for 23 days without conclusion.  Parasurama is a chiranjeevi (immortal), and Bhishma had a boon that let him choose the time of his death.   Bheeshma initially bent down and did saastanga namaskara to Parashurama saying that he is not ready to marry and as such, he will fight.  Some say that here also Parashurama garva bhanga was there.  No, it was not garva bhanga.  Total surrender of Bheeshma.

 

On the 22nd night, Bhishma prayed to his ancestors to help him end the battle. His ancestors gave him a weapon which was not known to Parasurama.  They told him that it would put Parasurama to sleep in the battlefield. A person who sleeps in the battlefield is considered to be dead as per Vedas. They advised Bhishma to call back the weapon at the end of day after sunset so that Parasurama will come back to his sense and that shall bring the end to war.  However the weapon was never used as Bhishma walked out of the war.

 

Why Parashurama toured the world 21 times and killed many kshatriyas?

There was a king names Karthaveeryarjuna, King of Mahishmati, son of Krutaveerya who was a strong devotee of Sri Dattatreya and blessed with his invincibility. He possessed the strength of a thousand arms on the battlefront. He had defeated Raavana at war and was reigning at Mahishmati, full of glory and arrogance.  Karthaveeryarjuna had yoga siddi with the blessings of Dattatreya roopi paramathma.  It is said that the smarana of Karthaveeryarjuna can bring back the lost wealth.    “yasya smarana maatrena gatam nashTam cha labyate”.

 

Once King Karthaveeryarjuna went on hunting and was tired, thirsty and hungry and came to the Jamadagni Rushi’s ashrama. The sage Jamadagni arranged the entire hunting team of Karthaveeryarjuna, with a royal feast and the king was surprised felt very happy. The king enquired the sage as to how come you have prepared such a delicious food within a short period of time.  Then the sage told him that he has Cow called Kamadhenu which can give anything we require and because of that only that he could give such a good food so quick.

 

Karthaveeryarjuna demanded the cow, but the sage refused to give the Kamadhenu. Then the king ordered his solders to take away the cow by force. By that time, Parashurama who had gone out for collecting wood for Yagna, returned and got angry over the king, went to Mahishmati, where they had carried the cow and had a fierce fight with the solders, killed all the solders. Then came the King who had 1000 arms with the Anugraha of Dattatreya, and the two were engaged in a fierce battle, finally Parashurama killed the King alongwith his 1000 arms.  Parashurama thus brought back the Kamadhenu defeating the Karthaveeryarjuna team comprising of 17 akshyohini sainya.

 

Jamadagni even though was happy with the return of Kamadhenu, asked Parashurama to go on a piligrimage tour for the parihaara of the sin for having killed so many people, which Parashurama accepted.    Here, one gets doubt as to whether Srihari can get sin for killing.  It is the wrong understanding of Jamadagni which made him to ask Parashurama to do tirtha yaatre.   Srihari can never get any sin.  Just to please his father for the pitru vaakya paripalana, he went for tirtha yaatre.

 

While Parashurama was away, the 10000 sons of the King Karthaveeryarjuna, attacked Jamadagni Rushi’s ashram and killed Jamadagni, who was on a penance, in front of Renuka and Jamadagni was beheaded and took the head of the sage to Mahishmati.  Parashurama, on his return was angry, he picked his Axe and marched towards Mahishmati. On reaching the city,  he broke down the heavy gate, he stalked to the palace like a fierce lion. There he destroyed the whole army, which came to attack him. He killed all the princes, picked up his father’s head and returned to the ashram. There the children performed all the formalities in honor of the departed soul. Then Parashurama vowed : “All these kings are evil for the nation. They stole the cow which had fed them; they killed my father and made my mother as a widow. This entire kingly class should be destroyed. The pious cannot live in peace till then. Let me sharpen the axe. I am going to wipe out the whole lot of them.”

 

Carrying the axe on his shoulder, he toured the earth twenty-one times, killed all the daithya Kshatriya, wiping out the entire royalty and distributed the entire kings’ properties to Brahmanaas as daana. He did not kill those kings who performed religious sacrifices (‘yajnas’) and kings like Janaka Maharaaja were thus saved; he did not kill marrying princes, and thus king Dasharatha and others were spared. He did not attack women. In fact, it is said that upon knowing that Parashurama would not harm women, some Kshatriya princes donned the robes of women and escaped amidst female groups. One such person came to be known a ‘Nari-kavacha’ (one who sought protection amidst women.)   But Parashurama has not killed Dasharatha as he was not a “dusta” (cruel) kshatriya. 

 

He created sarovara comprising of only blood  “shyamanta panchaka in Kurukshetra”.  It is nothing bhoo bhaara harana by a brahmin roopi parashurama.  He had not ruled the state, he was a brahmin, but created awareness amongst the entire world by killing cruel kings.

 

Parashurama kShetra

After touring 21times for kshatriya samhaara, and killing majority of Kshatriya Kings and got possession of their entire kingdom, Parashurama made the daana of his entire possession to brahmanas. He was not left with any place to stay. That is why at the time of making any daana one should say “Parashuramaaya namaha”.

Then Parashurama threw his axe on the western ocean and moved the sea for some distance, and converted the sealand into land (bhoomi) which area is called as Parashurama Kshetra.   Seven  kshetras are popularly known as Parashurama kshetras and   are called as ‘Parashurama Srishti’.  :  The region in between the Arabian sea and the Western Ghats stretching from Nasik in Maharashtra to Kanyakumari in the southern end of the peninsula is known as Parashurâma-kshetra — the holy land of Parashurâma.   Udupi,  Subramanya,  Kollur,  Shankaranarayana,  Koteshwara,  Kumbasi (Annegudde), Gokarna.      Parashurama kshetra extends to Kerala, and Konkan region.  That is why when we are doing sankalpa at these places, we have to say parashurama kshetre…

Udupi & Parashurama – Earlier Udupi was called as Roopya peeta puram as described in Sumadhwa Vijaya –  There is a devotee of Parashurama .  He was performing Ashwamedha yajna and while ploughing the land, he mistakenly killed a serpant.   To repent the sin, Rambhoja was directed by Parashurama to build a silver image of serpant and that he himself shall have his sannidhana – Anantheshwara. 

Bhargava Raama and Raghukula Raama

Sri Raamachandra broke the Shiva dhanassu in the “Seetha Swayamvara”. After the broking of Shiva dhanassu, Parashurama came near Sriramachandra and asked him to lift his dhanassu. Sriramachandra lifted the dhanassu with ease and used an arrow to kill the asura named “atula” who was hiding in Parashurama. This Atula named asura was knowing that Sri Vishnu will never be defeated. He was blessed with a boon that he will not die unless Sri Mahavishnu or his avatara is defeated. So he was hiding in Parashurama, having aware of the fact that Parashurama is Vishnu’s avatara and he will never be defeated.   He thought that Srihari is defeated and came out of the womb of Parashurama.   Parashurama told Sriramachandra (who is other incarnation) to use his arrow on Parashurama, and pretended to be defeated by Ramachandra, which prompted Atula to come out of Parashurama and then Rama killed Atula.    Here Shiva’s boon also proved and Harisarvottamatva also established.

 

The defeat of Parashurama may mislead that Parashurama was defeated.    There was no defeat at all as both Ramachandra and Parashurama are one and the same.     They did as a drama only and there was no ajnaana in any of the roopaas of Srihari.    Here they played like that only for asurajana mohanaartha.  Similarly the other incarnations who came in the same time are Vasistakrishna – Yadavakrishna; Yadavakrishna-Parashurama, Yajna-Rushabha paramathma, Srinivasa-Bhoovaraha, Vasistakrishna-Parashurama, etc.     After some time, Parashurama got aikya in Ramaroopa in front of all.    It proved that both the roopaas are one and the same.  After some time, again, he came out of the Raama roopa.   Some have written that it is the Parashurama Garva Bhanga.  There is no bhanga at all.


Acharya Madhwaru in his dwadasha stotra calls Parashurama as “ಕ್ಷತ್ರಕುಲಾಂತಕ ಶಂಭುವರೇಣ್ಯ क्षत्रकुलांतक शंभुवरेण्य “-     Many have taught that Parashurama is the shishya of Shiva.
Parashurama is the guru of Shiva.   Shiva Danannu of Shiva was broken by Ramachandra.  Vaishnava Dhanassu was held by Parashurama.  As such, he is the guru of Shiva.     Shiva gave him the “Parashu”, the weapon of Parashurama after he had the samarpana bhava with devotion of vidya.  Only loka reethya that he pretended to have learnt from Shiva.

As per Vishnu Dharmottara purana – Parashurama went to Kailasa.  Shiva was doing the severe penance.  Parashurama asked loka reethya to Shiva “You are the sarva shresta.  But you are doing the penance at some body, then he must be superior to you, whom you are worshipping”.  Shiva smiled and said “I am worshipping you only – i.e., Srihari only.  He is the supreme amongst all – He (Srihari) does not have birth, death, naasha etc.  He is the kaarana for jagatkaarana Brahma”.  This proves that Shiva was only guru for some period to Parashurama loka reethya.   This proves that Parashurama is none other than Srihari only as clarified by Shiva himself.


While we are doing Vaishwadeva, we are worshipping Harini pathi Parashurama devaru.  In yagna, we have to do the chintana of Pararashurama only who is there in Agni.    We say in sankalpa as “agnyantargata harinipathi parashurama preraNaya parashurama preetyartham”.

 

There is a traditional saying about sapta chiranjeevigalu, which is popular :

ashwatthamO bali vyasah hanumanscha vibhishanah |
kripah parashuramascha saptaite chirajeevinah |

Ashwatthama, Bali, Vyasa, Hanuman, Vibhishana, Kripa and Parashurama- these are the seven eternal, ageless, immortal souls according to our traditional belief.   Even though he is listed as Chiranjeevi,

It is believed that Parashurama is still doing tapassu at Mahandra parvatha, for the peace and happiness of the world.   It is believed that Lord Vishnu incarnated as Parashurama to make the earth free from the burden of cruel Kshatriya kings by defeating the evilness in them

 



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