PARASHURAM
February 20, 2005
Hartford, Wisconsin

Referenced in Bhagavat 9/15-9/16, the most powerful kshatriya, King Kartaviyarjuna, received one thousand arms by worshipping Dattatreya. Filled with powers, King Kartaviyarjuna first arrogantly captured Ravan who was resting in the River Narmada, and then went to the residence of Sage Jamadagni and his wife Renuka. Jealous of the sage's possession of a kamadhenu (wish-fulfilling cow), the king forcibly took the cow. Enraged, their son, Parashuram (who when little, received a parash or axe from Lord Shiva), killed the king and brought back the kamadhenu. Sage Jagadagni however rebuked his son's hasty reaction and explained that brahmins are to cultivate the quality of forgiveness. Parashuram's father thus asked his son to visit holy places as atonement. Later when Sage Jamadagni was alone in his ashram (hermitage), the ten thousand sons of Kartaviyarjuna killed him out of vengeance. Vowing to kill all kshatriyas 21 times, Parashuram went to Mahismati (the king's capital) and killed all the sons. After holding a sacrifice for his father, Parashuram gave the directions of the world to the brahmins.

The (Girdharkrut) Ramayan explains that Parashuram gifts a bow given by Lord Shiva to King Janak of Mithila. His daughter, Sitaji displayed her incarnation as the consort of Lord Vishnu at a young age when she played with the bow like a toy horse. She was to marry the person who was powerful enough to string the bow. When Lord Rama attempted to string it, he broke the bow! When Parashuram heard the crack of the bow while in meditation, Naradji revealed to Parashuram that it was cracked by Lord Rama. When Parashuram went to see Lord Rama who was on his way back to Ayodhya, Lord Rama did not even dismount his horse and greet Parashuram. Further, referencing his garb, Lord Rama asked Parashuram if he was a brahmin (of the priestly class) or a kshatriya (of the warrior class)? When Parashuram recalled his killing of the kshatriya class, Lord Rama retorted that he, a kshatriya, was still alive! Both Lord Rama and Parashuram armed their bows with arrows. First, Parashuram fired an arrow on Lord Rama, but Lord Rama swallowed the arrow. Parashuram thus humbly accepted Lord Rama as the powerful incarnation of Lord Vishnu. Lord Rama however had the vow that once he chose to release an arrow, he could not take it back. So Lord Rama aimed the arrow on Parashuram's kaal (time or destiny), making him one of the seven chiranjeevis (immortals).

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