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Parshuram

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Vishnu's sixth incarnation was a personality born to destroy not just one or two evil forces or demons, but an entire social group. "After seeing how the Kshatriyas oppressed the earth, Hari took mortal form to protect the gods, brahmanas, and mankind," says Agni Puran.

Parshuram, a mere pronoun, became popular due to his close association with the 'Parshu,' i.e. axe, his weapon. He is known as Ram, Bhargav, or Jamadagneya (son of Jamadagni) and is one of the seven immortals known as Chiranjivi. Vishnu took the form of Parshuram in order to restore peace and restore the Brahmanas to their rightful place.

Legends of Parshuramavtar

Early Life The Ramayan, Mahabharat, and various puranas contain various legends about Parshuram. If the following account is summarised, Rushi Jamadagni, a member of the Bhrugu clan, was living on the Narmada River's bank. He was Ruchik and Satyavati's son. Vishvamitra's sister was Satyavati. Jamadagni married Renuka, Renu's daughter. Rumanvat, Sushen, Vasu, and Vishvavasu were Parshuram's four elder brothers. Parshuram was the youngest, but he proved to be the most capable.

He was extremely astute. Following his Upanayana, he travelled to mountain Shalgram and studied all the vidyas (streams of knowledge) from sage Kashyap. He preferred Dhanurvidya (the art of war) over other fields of study. He did penance on the mountain Gandhmadan and obtained Dhanurvidya from Shiva. In addition, he received 41 Astras from Shiva, including Brahmh, Raudra, Vaishnav, Agneya, Wasav, Nairut, and his famous Parshu. Valmiki Ramayan describes Parshuram as follows; ददर्श भीमसङकाशं जटावल्कलधारिणम् । भार्गवं जामदग्नेयं राजा राजविमर्दनम् ॥ कैलासमिव दुर्धर्षं कालग्निमिव दु:सहम् । ज्वलन्तमिव तेजोभिर्दुर्निरीक्ष्यं पृथग्जनै: ॥ स्कन्धे चासज्य परशुं धनुर्विद्युद्गणोपमम् । प्रगृह्य शरमुग्रं च त्रिपुरघ्नं यथा शिवम् ॥ – वाल्मिकी रामायण, बालकांड, ७४.१७-१९ Dadarshbhimsankashmjatavalkaldharinam | Bhargavmjamdagneym raja rajvimardanam || Kailasmivdurdharshamkalagnimivduhsaham | Jvalantmivtejobhirdurnirikshyampruthagjnaihi || Skandhechasajyparashumdhanurvidyudganopamam| Pragruhyasharamugramchtripurghanmyathashivam || – ValmikiRamayan, Balkand, 74.17-19 "King Dashrath saw Parshuram, a Bhargav clan descendant. The one who is enormous, wears jata and valkal (clothes made of tree barks), and defeats and destroys kings. He was as elusive as Mount Kailas and as unbearable as galloping fire. Because of his aura, it was impossible for ordinary people to look at him. On his shoulder was an axe and a thunderbolt-shaped bow. He was also holding a sharp arrow. He resembled Tripurantak Shiva." Renuka, Parshuram's mother, once went to get water from a lake. Chitrarath Gandharv was swimming and having fun with his wives when she arrived. Renuka stood there for a while, watching the erotic scene. For a brief moment, her mind was filled with sensual thoughts that were considered impure for a sage's wife. When she returned to the hermitage, Jamadagni rushi, who had sensed the incident, threw her out. He directed his elder sons to murder their mother one by one. When they all refused, Jamadagni cursed them all to death. But Parshuram followed his father's orders and murdered his mother. Jamadagni, pleased with his deed, bestowed a boon upon him. Parshuram immediately requested the resurrection of his mother and all of his brothers.

The Offense of Kartavirya and the Oath of Parshuram

On the banks of the Narmada, King Kartavirya ruled. He was born into the 'Haihay' clan. He is said to have had a thousand arms. Because of his thousand arms, he was known as 'Sahastrarjun.' His empire stretched from the Narmada River to the Himalayan Mountains. Kartavirya became arrogant as his power and empire grew. He began to harm Brahmins and commoners. He once went to rushi Vasistha's hermitage and unnecessarily destroyed it. "Parshuram, who was born in the Bhargav clan, will cut your thousand arms and kill you!" cursed Vasistha. Kartavirya decided to put Parshuram to the test. He went to Jamadagni's hermitage and forcibly took their cows. The divine cow Kamadhenu, who appeared during the churning of the ocean samudra manthan-by gods and demons-was one of them. When Parshuram returned, he was enraged after hearing about the incident. He made the decision to assassinate the king. Jamadagni, on the other hand, tried to stop him. Finally, he requested that Parshuram seek permission from the god Brahmha. He did exactly that. Brahmha dispatched him to Shiva. Finally, Shiva agreed, and Parshuram fought Kartavirya on the Narmada's banks. He assassinated the king and many of his sons. Some sought refuge in the Himalayas. When Parshuram returned, his father sent him on a pilgrimage to atone for his sin of killing Kshatriyas. During his absence, Kartavirya's sons attacked the hermitage and killed his brothers and father. Parshuram immediately returned home after hearing the terrible news. He saw twenty-one scars on Jamadagni's body and swore, "For the sin of killing a helpless sage, I shall destroy the entire Kshatriya clan twenty-one times."

First, he attacked Kartavirya's sons and killed all Haihayas, their allies and friends who stood up to him. He put down his axe after killing them all and went to the mountain Mahendragiri to do penance. He destroyed unjust Kshatriyas twenty-one times in a row. This expedition made it to the Himalayas. Parshuram defeated the wicked kings of Ang, Vang, Kaling, Videh, Kashmir, Shibi, Kshudrak, Tamralipti, Malav, and others. He fought his final battle at Samantpanchak, where he washed his axe in Kshatriya blood and completed his oath.

Ashvamedh yagna by Parshuram

His victories elevated him to the position of earth's sovereign, granting him the authority to perform the Ashvamedhyajnya (sacrifice). The sacrifice was presided over by Sage Kashyap. Parshuram gave the Sage the entire earth as his 'dakshina' at the end of the sacrificial ceremony (fees). But Kashyap knew that armed Kshatriyas were essential for protecting the poor and caring for the land. He attempted to locate some Kshatriyas and request that they rule. However, they were so terrified of Parshuram that none of them were willing to come forward and accept responsibility.

Finally, Kashyap realised that the Kshatriya clans would not regenerate until Parshuram left the land. He confronted Parshuram, saying, "You do not have the right to stay on this land after donating the earth in the yajnya." Parshuram followed Kashyapa's instructions and went to Mount Mahendragiri for penance.

Creation of Konkan

Parshuram is credited with creating the entire western coastal land of India, which includes the current states of Maharashtra, Goa, Karnataka, and Kerala. It became known as 'Parshuram Kshetra' (land of Parshuram). According to Puranas and some mediaeval texts, after completing his penance at Mahendragiri, he threw his axe into the sea and created the land of 'Shurparak' for himself. Another legend holds that the western coast of India was threatened by stormy tides and turbulent sea waves. Parshuram fought against the advancing ocean to free Konkan and Malabar. During the battle, he threw his axe into the sea, creating a narrow strip of land.

Parshuram in Ramayan

Encounter with ShreeRam Parshuram was irritated when he learned that Shree Rama had broken Shiva's bow and challenged him to bend his bow, which had once belonged to Vishnu. ShreeRam simply extended his sacred bow. The stunned ShreeRam was recognised by Parshuram as a divine incarnation of Vishnu. Parshuram urged him to vanquish all earthly territories with an arrow from Vishnu's bow. Parshuram then gave that bow to ShreeRam.

Mahabharat's Parshuram

Parshuram began teaching Dhanurvidya to both Kshatriyas and Brahmhanas after the incident with ShreeRam. In Mahabharat, Dronacharya, Bhishm, and Karna learned the skill from him.

Amba’s Vengeance Kashiraj's eldest daughter was Amba. He planned the 'Swayamvar' (groom selection ceremony) for her and her two sisters, Ambika and Ambalika. Bhishma kidnapped them for his younger brother Vichitravirya during this ceremony. Amba had feelings for King Shalva. When Bhishma learned of this, he gave her permission to visit him. Shalva, on the other hand, refused to accept her, claiming that the touch of her captor had rendered her impure. Amba returned, enraged, and urged Bhishma to marry her because she had nowhere to go. However, he was unable to do so due to his life-long vow of celibacy. Finally, Amba approached Parshuram and requested assistance. Parshuram, his guru, sent a message to Bhishma, telling him to accept Amba. Parshuram challenged Bhishma after he refused. The battle lasted twenty-three days and produced no results. Finally, Amba went to the forest and began to practise austerities. She swore an oath to destroy Bhishma, the man who had ruined her life. Shiva was pleased and bestowed upon her the boon that she would destroy Bhishma in her next life as a man. She then set herself on fire on a funeral pyre. Later, she gave birth to Drupad's daughter 'Shikhandini,' who later transformed into a man 'Shikhandi,' and became Bhishma's destroyer in the Mahabharat war.

Iconography of Parshuramavtar

Parshuram's iconography is straightforward. According to some texts, his figure should have two hands. The right hand should be holding parshu and the left in'suchi' pose (i.e. pointing to something). He should put on jatamukuta and yajnyopavita, as well as some ornaments. According to the Agni Purana, Parshuram has four hands and carries parshu, khadga, ban, and dhanush. VishnudharmottaraPuran suggests that he wear deer skin.

Temples

Parshuram is thought to be the god of the 'Seven Konkans.' He occupied the western coast of India, from the Vaitarna River to Kanyakumari, and assisted people in settling there. Today, these areas are known as 'Parshuram Kshetras' (Lands of Parshuram). As a result, he is worshipped by locals in many places.

Shree KshetraParshuram

It is ten kilometres from Ciplun in the Maharashtra district of Ratnagiri. The temple is located on a hill known as Parshuram. This temple contains three idols: Kam, Parshuram, and Kal, in that order. Kam represents Brahmha, Parshuram represents Vishnu, and Kal represents Shiv.

Parshuram Temple in Himachal Pradesh

It is located 40 kilometres from Nahan, Sirmour's district headquarters, at the confluence of the Giri and Jalal rivers. The main attractions are Renuka Lake, Parshuram Tal, and temples dedicated to Parshuram and his mother Renuka. Every year on Kartik Ekadashi, a large fair is held.

ParshuramKund in Arunachal Pradesh

It is thirteen kilometres north-east of Tezu in the district of Lohit, Arunachal Pradesh. Parshuram is said to have bathed in this lake to cleanse himself of the sin of matricide. On Makarsankranti, a large fair is held here every year.

Parshuram Jayanti

Parshuram is said to have been born on the first prahar of the night of VaishakhShuddhTrutiya (Lunar third day of waxing phase of moon). A puja is performed on this occasion. On the day of Parshuram Jayanti, a devotee should make a holy mandla (circle) and place the Parshuram idol inside. It should be worshipped by chanting the 'Vishnu-mantra.' Ghee and sweets are then served.

Symbolism

Brahmhanas were considered a 'wise' class in ancient India due to the Varna system. Their mission was to study and teach the Vedas. They carried out yajnyas and preserved the traditions. Kshatriyas, on the other hand, were expected to fight for peace and protect people, particularly Brahmhanas who could not fight.

Knowledge and power are both necessary for a society's growth and stability. Humanity suffers when this does not occur. Every power should be checked. When it comes to protecting honour, a sage can destroy mighty empires with just a simple axe, according to Parshuram's avatar.

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