Born in the lineage of Maharshi Bhrigu, to parents Maharshi Jamadagni and Mata Renuka, Parshuram was the Sixth Avatar of Bhagwan Vishnu. He is the fifth and also the youngest son of the couple. He is among the Sapta- Cheeranjivis (seven immortals) of Hinduism. His day of birth according to the Hindu calendar is on the day of ‘Akshaya Tritiya’.
Story of Birth
Bhagwan Parshuram was born in Rishi Jamadagni’s ashram on top of Janavap Hills of present-day Madhya Pradesh. Even though he belonged to a Brahmin lineage, he had characteristics of a Kshatriya as well. Rishi Jamadagni’s wife Satyavati had asked for a boon from Rishi Bhrigu for a son of Brahmin’s nature for her and a Kshatriya son for her mother (who was a Kshatriya). Bhrigu gave them two fruits to eat and instructed Satyavati and her mother to embrace Chinar and Peepal tree respectively. Satyavati’s mother cunningly interchanged the fruits. She desired to have a son with Brahmin’s characteristics. However, Bhrigu was aware of this due to his yogic powers and divine vision and warned Satyavati about the opposite effects.
After several requests by Satyavati, Bhrigu her another boon. He informed her that her son will be a Brahmin. But the Kshatriya features will be expressed in one of her grandsons. Mixed features of a Brahmin and Kshatriya were seen in Bhagwan Parshuram as a result of this incident.
Alternate Names of Parshuram
Bhagwan Parshuram’s birth name was Ram. He gained the ‘Parshuram’ title layer because he was gifted the divine Parshu (battle axe) by Lord Shiva. He also has other names like Bhargava, Bhargava Rama, Jamadagneya, Veerarama, Ramabhadra, etc.
The Story of Revenge
Parshuram, an excellent student of Lord Shiva had learned the art of warfare from Shiva himself. Impressed by his valor Shiva gifted him his battle axe. He also got the boon of immortality so that he can be alive on this earth and fight Adharma.
Once King Kartivirya Arjun of the Haihaya dynasty visited Rishi Jamadagni’s ashram. The Rishi welcomed him as a guest. He saw the Kamdhenu (wish-fulfilling cow) in the ashram and expressed the desire to take it with him. On being denied permission, he killed Jamadagni and took the cow forcibly. When Parshuram arrived home, his anger crossed limits on learning about the incident. Mata Renuka cried beating her chest repeatedly 21 times and hence Parshurama vowed to destroy the upcoming 21 generations of evil Kshatriyas. He avenged his father’s death by killing Kartivirya Arjun after chopping off his 1000 arms that he got as a boon from Lord Dattatreya. Parshurama destroyed 21 generations of evil Kshatriyas as vowed.
अग्रतः चतुरो वेदाः पृष्ठतः सशरं धनुः ।
इदं ब्राह्मं इदं क्षात्रं शापादपि शरादपि ।।
The above mantra states that He has the knowledge of all the four Vedas on the tip of his tongue and weapons(Parshu and bow) on his back. He destroys the adharmic either with shraap (curse) or shastra (weapon). He firmly believes that in order to protect dharma, one should have the knowledge of both shaastra (Vedic and spiritual knowledge ) as well as shastra (weapons). The present-day Naga sadhus in their akhadas follow this principle and train themselves in both the above fields.
After a long war of 21 generations, Parshuram was advised to perform Ashwamedha Yagna to compensate for the sins of killing innocents who got dragged into the wars. He donated all the land he won to Rishi Kashyap. Parshuram had to create new land for performing the Yagnas. He stood on top of the Sahyadri Mountains ( Western Ghats) and shot an arrow into the ocean. The arrow struck at a point in the ocean and he ordered the ocean waters to recede away from this point and never cross it again. Therefore, a new strip of land called the Konkan region came into existence. This region is Parshuram Kshetra or Parshuram Shristi. The place where the arrow landed came to be called BanaHalli ( Bana= Arrow, Halli = Village in Kannada). This village in Gomantaka (present-day Goa) is today Banavli/Benaulim in the local Konkani language.
- Parshuram donated Gomantaka (present-day Goa) to the Saraswat Brahmins who resided in this area. Today Parshuram is worshipped in the Konkan region. His temples are in Maharashtra, Goa, and Karnataka. This region is Parshuram Kshetra or Parshuram Bhoomi.
Current Whereabouts Of Parshuram
After donating all the lands he had conquered, Parshuram moved to Mahendragiri Parvat to meditate. Since he has the boon of immortality he existed to see all the subsequent avatars of Vishnu. He met Bhagwan Ram in Treta Yug and Krishna in Dwapara Yug. He was the guru of three great Maharathis ie. Bheeshma, Karna, and Dronacharya in Mahabharat. According to Kalki Puran, Parshuram will reappear at the end of Kali Yuga. He will be the guru of Kalki (the last avatar of Vishnu) and train him in warfare and help him attain all the celestial weapons of War to re-establish Dharma.