|Member of Dashavatara|
|Affiliation||Sixth Avatar of Vishnu, Vaishnavism|
|Weapon||Axe named Vidyudabhi (Paraśhu)|
|Siblings||Vasu, Viswa Vasu, Brihudyanu and Brutwakanwa|
Parashurama (Sanskrit: परशुराम, romanized: Paraśurāma, lit. 'Rama with an axe'), also referred to as Rama Jamadagnya, Rama Bhargava and Veerarama, is the sixth among the Dashavatara of the god Vishnu in Hinduism. He is believed to be one of the Chiranjeevis (long-lived ones or immortal ones), who will appear at the end of the Kali yuga to be the guru of Vishnu's tenth and last avatar, Kalki. He carried a number of traits, which included aggression, warfare and valor; also, serenity, prudence and patience.
Born to Jamadagni and Renuka, Parashurama was foretold to appear at a time when overwhelming evil prevailed on the earth. The Kshatriya class, with weapons and power, had begun to abuse their power, take what belonged to others by force and tyrannise people. Parashurama corrected the cosmic equilibrium by destroying the Kshatriya warriors twenty-one times. He is married to Dharani, an incarnation of Lakshmi, the wife of Vishnu. He is also the Guru of Bhishma, Dronacharya and Karna.
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According to Hindu legends, Parashurama was born to Sage Jamadagni and his Kshatriya wife, Renuka, living in a hut. His birthplace is believed to be on top of the Janapav hills in Indore, Madhya Pradesh. On top of the hills is a Shiva temple where Parshurama is believed to have worshipped Lord Shiva, the ashram (abbey) is known as Jamadagni Ashram, named after his father. The place also has a kund (pond) that is being developed by the state government. They had a celestial cow called Surabhi, which gives all they desire (Surabhi was the daughter of cow kamadhenu). A king named Kartavirya Arjuna (not to be confused with Arjuna the Pandava)[note 1] – learns about it and wants it. He asks Jamadagni to give it to him, but the sage refuses. While Parashurama is away from the hut, the king takes it by force. Parashurama learns about this crime, and is upset. With his axe in his hand, he challenges the king to battle. They fight, and Parushama defeats and kills the king, according to the Hindu mythology. The warrior class challenges him, and he kills all his challengers. The legend likely has roots in the ancient conflict between the Brahmin varna, with knowledge duties, and the Kshatriya varna, with warrior and enforcement roles.
In some versions of the legend, after his martial exploits, Parashurama returns to his sage father with the Surabhi cow and tells him about the battles he had to fight. The sage does not congratulate Parashurama but reprimands him stating that a Brahmin should never kill a king. He asks him to expiate his sin by going on pilgrimage. After Parashurama returns from a pilgrimage, he is told that while he was away, his father was killed by Kartavirya Arjun's Sons seeking revenge. Parashurama again picks up his axe and killed them and also kills many warriors in retaliation. In the end, he relinquishes his weapons and takes up Yoga.
Parasurama and origin of western coast (Konkan and Malabar)
There are legends dealing with the origins of the western coast geographically and culturally. One such legend is the retrieval of the West Coast from the sea, by Parasurama, a warrior sage. It proclaims that Parasurama, an Avatar of Mahavishnu, threw His battle axe into the sea. As a result, the land of the Western coast arose, and thus was reclaimed from the waters. The place from which he threw his axe ( or shot an arrow) is on Salher fort ( the second highest peak and the highest fort in Maharashtra) in the Baglan taluka of Nashik district of Maharashtra. There is a temple on the summit of this fort dedicated to Parshuram and there are footprints in the rock 4 times the size of normal humans. This fort on a lower plateau has a temple of goddess Renuka, Parshuram's mother and also a Yagya Kunda with pits for poles to erect a shamiyana on the banks of a big water tank.
According to the Sangam classic Purananuru, the Chera king Senkuttuvan conquered the lands between Kanyakumari and the Himalayas. Lacking worthy enemies, he besieged the sea by throwing his spear into it. According to the 17th-century Malayalam work Keralolpathi, the lands of Kerala were recovered from the sea by the axe-wielding warrior sage Parasurama, the sixth avatar of Vishnu (hence, Kerala is also called Parasurama Kshetram 'The Land of Parasurama'). Parasurama threw his axe across the sea, and the water receded as far as it reached. According to legend, this new area of land extended from Gokarna to Kanyakumari. The land which rose from sea was filled with salt and unsuitable for habitation; so Parasurama invoked the Snake King Vasuki, who spat holy poison and converted the soil into fertile lush green land. Out of respect, Vasuki and all snakes were appointed as protectors and guardians of the land. P. T. Srinivasa Iyengar theorised, that Senguttuvan may have been inspired by the Parasurama legend, which was brought by early Aryan settlers.
- In Chapter 6 of the Devi Bhagavata Purana, he is born from the thigh with intense light surrounding him that blinds all warriors, who then repent their evil ways and promise to lead a moral life if their eyesight is restored. The boy grants them the boon.
- In Chapter 4 of the Vishnu Purana, Rcika prepares a meal for two women, one simple, and another with ingredients that if eaten would cause the woman to conceive a son with martial powers. The latter is accidentally eaten by Renuka, and she then gives birth to Parashurama.
- In Chapter 2 of the Vayu Purana, he is born after his mother Renuka eats a sacrificial offering made to both Rudra (Shiva) and Vishnu, which gives him dual characteristics of Kshatriya and Brahmin.
Parashurama is described in some versions of the Mahabharata as the angry Brahmin who with his axe, killed a huge number of Kshatriya warriors because they were abusing their power. In some versions, he even kills his own mother because his father asks him to and because to take his test obeisance towards his parents. After Parasurama obeys his father's order to kill his mother, his father grants him a boon. Parasurama asks for the reward that his mother be brought back to life, and she is restored to life. Parasurama remains filled with sorrow after the violence, repents and expiates his sin. After his Mother comes back to life, he tries to clean the blood-stained axe but he finds a drop of blood which he was unable to clean and tries cleaning the blood drop in different rivers. This is when he moves towards the south of India in search of any holy river where he could clean his axe, finally, he reaches Tirthahalli village in Shimoga, Karnataka and tries to clean the axe and to his surprise, the axe gets cleaned in the Holy river of Tunga. With respect towards the holy river, he constructs a Shiva linga and performs pooja and the temple is named as Rameshwara temple. The place where Lord Parashurama cleaned his axe is called Ramakunda.
He plays important roles in the Mahabharata serving as mentor to Bhishma (chapter 5.178), Drona (chapter 1.121) and Karna (chapter 3.286), teaching weapon arts and helping key warriors in both sides of the war.[note 3]
In the regional literature of Kerala, he is the founder of the land, the one who brought it out of the sea and settled a Hindu community there. He is also known as Rama Jamadagnya and Rama Bhargava in some Hindu texts. Parashurama retired in the Mahendra Mountains, according to chapter 2.3.47 of the Bhagavata Purana. He is the only Vishnu avatar who never dies, never returns to abstract Vishnu and lives in meditative retirement. Further, he is the only Vishnu avatar that co-exists with other Vishnu avatars Rama and Krishna in some versions of the Ramayana and Mahabharata, respectively.[note 4]
According to the Sangraha Parva, after killing 21 generations of Kshatriyas, he filled their blood in five pools collectively known as the Samantha Panchaka (Sanskrit: समंत पञ्चक). He later atoned for his sin by severe penance. The five pools are considered to be holy.
The Anukramanika Parva says that the Samantha Panchaka is located somewhere around Kurukshetra. It also mentions that the Pandavas performed a few religious rites near the Samantha Panchaka before the Mahabharata War at Kurukshetra.
There is much interpretation of Parashurama kshetras.
The ancient Saptakonkana is a slightly larger region described in the Sahyadrikhanda which refers to it as Parashuramakshetra (Sanskrit for "the area of Parashurama"), Vapi to Tapi is an area of South Gujarat, India. The area blessed by Lord Parshuram and called "Parshuram ni bhoomi".
There is a Parshuram Kund, a Hindu pilgrimage centre in Lohit district of Arunachal Pradesh which is dedicated to the sage Parashurama. Thousands of pilgrims visit the place in winter every year, especially on the Makar Sankranti day for a holy dip in the sacred kund which is believed to wash away one's sins.
Mahurgad is one of the Shaktipeeth in Maharashtra's Nanded district, where a famous temple of Goddess Renuka exists. This temple at Mahurgad is always full of pilgrims. People also come to visit Lord Parashuram temple on the same Mahurgad.
In Karnataka, there are a group of 7 temples in the stretch of Tulunadu (coastal Karnataka), known as Parashurama Kshetras, namely, Kollur, Koteshwara, Kukke Subrahmanya, Udupi, Gokarna, Anegudde (Kumbhasi) and Shankaranarayana.
The Hindu literature on iconography such as the Vishnudharmottara Purana and Rupamandana describes him as a man with matted locks, with two hands, one carrying an axe. However, the Agni Purana portrays his iconography with four hands, carrying his axe, bow, arrow and sword. The Bhagavata Purana describes his icon as one with four hands, carrying his axe, bow, arrows and a shield like a warrior. Though a warrior, his representation inside Hindu temples with him in war scenes is rare (the Basohli temple is one such exception). Typically, he is shown with two hands, with an axe in his right hand either seated or standing.
Claim of descent
The Sampangirama family is one of the many families that claim descent from the mythical Parashurama. The Sampangirama family goes by many last names, the most notable being Sampangirama, Nagar, and Rao. The Sampangirama family follows the pravara (bloodline): Bhargava, Chyavana, Apnavana, Aurva, Jamadagni, Parashurama. Majority of the Sampangirama family lives in the state of Karnataka. Additionally, the family follows the Bhargava gotra, an ancient line of lineage starting from Sage Bhrigu.
'Vatsa' gotra brahmins of Hindi belt region (Saryupareen Brahmins) also have five pravaras- bhrigu,chyavan, apnavan, aurva and jamadagni. These gotra can be found in people of surname Dubey, Mishra, Jha etc of Uttar Pradesh, Bihar,Jharkhand and other parts of Awadh, Purvanchal, Bundelkhand , Baghelkhand and Mithilanchal region. Vatsa gotra originated from Sage Bhrigu , that is why vatsa gotra are bhargav brahmins. Gotra is named after that particular sage. Sage Vatsa is the grandfather of Sage Aurva and great-grandfather of Sage Ṛchika (Ruchika), and son of Ṛchika was Jamadagni. And hence 'Vatsa' gotra brahmins are direct descendent of Sage Parshurama.
A Parasurama temple in Kerala
The 108 temples in Kerala consecrated by Parasurama are listed below:
- Velorevattam Mahadeva Temple, Cherthalai (Velorevattam), Alleppey, Kerala.
- Sree Mahadevar Temple Chittukkulam (Thrichattukulam), Alappuzha
- Pattinikkad (Pattanakkad) Alappuzha, Kerala
- Chengannur Mahadeva temple Alappuzha, Kerala
- Kandiyoor Alappuzha, Kerala
- Cherthala (Nalpathenneeshwaram) Alappuzha, Kerala
- Gokarnam Samsthan Sri Mahabaleswara Temple, Karnataka State
- Chowwara Ernakulam, Kerala
- Thrikkariyoor Mahadeva Temple, Ernakulam, Kerala
- Ernakulam Mahadeva Temple, Kerala
- Parivaloor (Pazhoor Perunthirukkoil) Ernakulam, Kerala
- Vyttila (Nettur) Ernakulam, Kerala
- Vaikkam Kottayam, Kerala
- Aluva Ernakulam, Kerala
- Adampalli (Chakkamkulangara) Ernakulam, Kerala
- Cheranalloor Ernakulam, Kerala
- Thashtam (Uliyanoor) Ernakulam, Kerala
- Chenthamangalam Ernakulam, Kerala
- Thiruvaloor Ernakulam, Kerala
- Chirakkal Ernakulam, Kerala
- Karikkodu (Kanchiramattam) Idukki, Kerala
- Thrikkapaleswaram Kannur, Kerala
- Kottiyoor Kannur, Kerala
- Puthur Kannur, Kerala
- Chellur – Perinchellur (Thalipparambu) Kannur, Kerala
- Kottur (Karivellur) Kannur, Kerala
- Ramashwaram Kollam, Kerala
- Kollam (Anandavalleeswaram) Kollam, Kerala
- Pancharkulam (Padanayarkulangara) Kollam, Kerala
- Puthuppalli (Changangulakkara) Kollam, Kerala
- Kottarakkara Kollam, Kerala
- Vellur (Perunthatta) Kottayam
- Parippu Kottayam, Kerala
- Ettumanoor Mahadeva Temple, Kottayam, Kerala
- Thaliyil Kottayam, Kerala
- Kaduthuruthi Kottayam, Kerala
- Thirunakkara Kottayam, Kerala
- Edakkulam (Kanchilachery) Kozhikode, Kerala
- Kollur Uduppi, Karnataka
- Mahadeva Temple Thali Kozhikode, Kerala
- Mannur Kozhikode, Kerala
- Thriprangodu Malappuram, Kerala
- Sree Mandhankunnu Malappuram, Kerala (Thirumandhamkunnu Bhagavthy temple)
- Mahadeva templePorandekkad (Puramundekkad) Malappuram, Kerala
- Paraparambu (Perumparambu) Malappuram, Kerala
- Maniyoor Malappuram, Kerala
- Thirunavaya Malappuram, Kerala
- Thirukkandiyur Malappuram, Kerala
- Sucheendram Nagarkoil, Tamil Nadu State
- Peroor (Kaipayil) Palakkad, Kerala
- Panaiyoor (Paloor) Palakkad, Kerala
- Thirumittakkodu Palakkad, Kerala
- Alathur (Pokkunni) Palakkad, Kerala
- Thrippalur Palakkad, Kerala
- Thrithala Palakkad, Kerala
- Mangalam (Anchumoorthy) Palakkad, Kerala
- Kodumboor (Kodumbu) Palakkad, Kerala
- Killikurishimangalam Palakkad, Kerala
- Thrikkapaleswaram Pathanamthitta, Kerala
- Perumala (Panaiyannarkavu) Pathanamthitta, Kerala
- Thiruvalla (Thiruvatta) Pathanamthitta
- Vazhappalli Pathanamthitta
- Kunnappuram (Kunnam) Thiruvananthapuram
- Chathamangalam Thiruvananthapuram
- Amaravila Rameswaram Sri Mahadeva Temple
- Vanchiyoor (Srikanteshwaram) Thiruvananthapuram
- Vadakkunathar Thrushiva Perur
- Raveeswarapuram Thrushiva Perur
- Mathur Thrushiva Perur (Mathur Malappuram)
- Mundaiyur Thrushiva Perur
- Chowwallur Thrushiva Perur
- Pananchery (Mudikkoda) Thrushiva Perur
- Koratty (Annamanada) Thrushiva Perur
- Avungannur (Avanur Sreekanteshwaram) Thrushiva Perur
- Thirumangalam Sree Maha Vishnu Siva Temple Thrushiva Perur
- Ashtamangalam Thrushiva Perur
- Iranikulam Sree Mahadeva Temple Thrushiva Perur
- Kainoor Thrushiva Perur
- Adattu Thrushiva Perur
- Thrikkur Thrushiva Perur
- Chemmanthitta Thrushiva Perur
- Kallattuppuzha Thrushiva Perur
- Thrikkunnu Thrushiva Perur
- Kunnamkulam Cheruvathur Mahadeva Temple, Thrushiva Perur
- Ponganam (Pungunnam) Thrushiva Perur
- Avittathur Thrushiva Perur
- Kattakambala Thrushiva Perur
- Pazhayannur (Eravimangalam Siva temple) Thrushiva Perur
- Perakam Thrushiva Perur
- Ambalikkadu Thrushiva Perur
- Nediyathali Thrushiva Perur
- Kodungallur Thrushiva Perur
- Vanchuleswaram – Tiruvanchikulam Siva Kshethram Thrushiva Perur
- Perunthatta Thrushiva Perur
- Ashtamichira Thrushiva Perur
- Sree Someswaram Thrushiva Perur
- Venganellur Thrushiva Perur
- Palaiyoor Thrushiva Perur
- Nedumpura (Kulasekharanallur) Thrushiva Perur
- Sringapuram Thrushiva Perur
- Mammiyur Thrushiva Perur
- Parampanthali Thrushiva Perur
- Kottappuram Thrushiva Perur
- Muthuvara Thrushiva Perur
- Velappaya Thrushiva Perur
- Peruvanam Mahadeva temple Peruvanam Thrushiva Perur
- Thrikkapaleswaram – Siva Temple
- Thrichaliyoor (Thrissileri) Wayanad, Kerala
Related Indian topics:
- Bhagwan Parshuram
- Bhagavad Gita
- Heheya Kingdom
- Kalachuri Kingdom
- Parasuram Express
- Vijaya (bow)
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- The Mahabharata includes legends about both Arjuna, one is dharmic (moral) and other adharmic (immoral); in some versions, Arjuna Kartavirya has mixed moral-immoral characteristics consistent with the Hindu belief that there is varying degrees of good and evil in every person.
- According to Madeleine Biardeau, Parasurama is a fusion of contradictions, possibly to emphasize the ease with which those with military power tend to abuse it, and the moral issues in circumstances and one's actions, particularly violent ones.
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