Sree Parashuram Jayanti
Shrī Parashūrām is sixth reincarnation of Shrī Vishnu. His legends are found in the Holy texts, Ramayan, Mahābhārat and some Purāns.
Shrī Parashūrām's mother was Renuka and father was Rushi Jamadagni. He was born in Bhrugu dynasty. Shrī Parashūrām was born in the nineteenth Tretayug (in the transition period between Treta and Dwapar Yug according to Mahābhārat). Shrī Parashūrām was born in a dynasty which was predominant in Divine radiance (Brahmatēj) and kindled with the radiance of the fighting spirit (Kshatriyatēj).
His physical appearance can be described as having a mammoth physique, matted hair on the head, bow on the shoulder and holding an Axe (Parashu) in the hand.
2. Getting the Divine weapon Parashū from Deity Shiva
Shrī Parashūrām left home to do devout austerities (tapascharyā) to please Deity Shiva. Considering his extreme devotion, intense desire and unmoved and perpetual meditation (dhyan), Deity Shiva was pleased with Shrī Parashūrām. He presented Shrī Parashūrām with Divine weapons. Included was His unconquerable and indestructible axe shaped weapon, Parashu. Deity Shiva advised him to go and liberate the Mother Earth from felons, ill-behaved people, extremists, demons and those blind with sexual passion and pride.
Once, Deity Shiva challenged Shrī Parashūrām to a battle to test his skills in warfare. The spiritual master (Gurudev) Deity Shiva and the disciple Shrī Parashūrām were locked in a fierce battle. This dreadful duel lasted for twenty one days. While ducking to avoid being hit by the Trident (Trishul) of Deity Shiva, Shrī Parashūrām vigorously attacked Him with his Parashu. It struck Deity Shiva on the forehead creating a wound. Deity Shiva was very pleased to see the amazing warfare skills of His disciple. He passionately embraced Shrī Parashūrām. Deity Shiva preserved this wound as an ornament so that the reputation of His disciple remained imperishable and insurmountable. 'Khanda-parshu' (wounded by Parashu) is one of the thousand names (for the salutation) of Deity Shiva.
3. Getting a bow named Vijay (Vijay Dhanushya) from Shrī Indra
Shrī Parashūrām, cut/clipped the thousand arms of Sahasrarjun, one by one, with his Parashu and destroyed/killed him. He repelled his army by showering arrows on them. The whole country greatly welcomed the destruction of Sahasrarjun. The king of Deities, Indra was so pleased that he presented His most beloved bow named 'Vijay' to Shrī Parashūrām. Indra had destroyed demon dynasties with this bow. By the fatal arrows shot with the help of this bow 'Vijay', Shrī Parashūrām destroyed the miscreant Kshatriyas twenty one times. Later Shrī Parashūrām presented this bow to his disciple Karna when he was pleased with his intense devotion to the Guru (Gurubhakti). Karna became unconquerable with help of this bow 'Vijay' presented to him by Shrī Parashūrām.
4. Attributes of Shrī Parashūrām
‘Agratah chaturovedah prushthatah sasharam dhanuh I
Idam braahmam idam kshatram shaapadapi sharaasdapi II’
Meaning: Knows four veds by heart, means has full knowledge of them. Has arrows and bow on the back, means has valour; which also means has both, radiance of Brahma and of Kshatriya. Shrī Parashūrām will defeat anyone that opposes him, either by a curse or by shooting an arrow.
4.1 Passing on Divine radiance (tēj) to Shrī Ram
When Shrī Parashūrām came to know about Shrī Ram's glory, he decided to test Shrī Ram's bravery. He confronted Shrī Ram on His way, gave his bow to Him and asked Him to bend it. He also asked him for a target to shoot the arrow at. Shrī Ram obeyed him. Also as told by Shrī Parashūrām, Shrī Ram controlled Shrī Parashūrām's movement on this (Kashyapi) land. Shrī Parashūrām was pleased with this and presented his bow to Shrī Ram. In this way, Shrī Parashūrām passed on his Kshātra (fighting spirit) radiance to Shrī Ram.
4.2 The best instructor/teacher of archery
After laying down his arms, Shrī Parashūrām gave up his animosity towards Kshatriyas and started teaching art of weaponry to both Brahmins and Kshatriyas all alike. The great warriors of Mahābhārat, Bhishmacharya, Dronacharya, Karna, etc. were disciples of Shrī Parashūrām.
4.3 Munificent/extremely generous
Shrī Parashūrām undertook many campaigns for killing Kshatriyas, due to which he became the king of the entire Earth. He was then entitled to perform the Ashvamedh sacrificial fire (yadnya), which he performed. At the end of the yadnya, he donated the entire land to Kashyap, the presiding priest of the yadnya.
4.4 Creating new land
Kashyap realised that as long as Shrī Parashūrām is living on this land, the Kshatriyas will not prosper here. So he told Shrī Parashūrām 'Now I have authority over this land. You have no right to even stay here.' Shrī Parashūrām then pushed and shifted the sea backwards and created his own place/terrain. The land between Vaitarana and Kanyakumari (coastal places in South India) is known as 'the land of Shrī Parashūrām' (Shrī Parashūrām-kshetra).
Shrī Parashūrām is one of the seven persons who are considered as immortal (sapta-chiranjeev).
5. Shrī Parashūrām's mission – the killing of vile Kshatriyas
Sage Valmiki described Shrī Parashūrām as killer of kings (rajvi-mardan) and not as the killer of Kshatriyas (Kshatravi-mardan). From this we can infer that Shrī Parashūrām did not kill all the Kshatriyas but killed only those Kshatriyas who were wicked and vile.
Kartavirya had taken away the Kamdhenu (a Divine, wish-fulfilling cow) and her calf from the hermitage of Rushi Jamadagni. Shrī Parashūrām was not present at that time. On his return, when he came to know about it, he vowed to kill Kartavirya. They fought a fierce duel on the banks of the river Narmada. Shrī Parashūrām killed Kartavirya during this war. Subsequently he left for a pilgrimage and austerities on the command of his father Jamadagni.
After Shrī Parashūrām had left, Haihayas killed Rushi Jamadagni by beheading him, in order to take revenge for the killing of Kartavirya. On hearing this, Shrī Parashūrām immediately returned to the hermitage. When he saw the twenty one wounds on the body of Jamadagni, his father, he instantly vowed that 'I will eliminate entire the Kshatriya race twenty-one times from this Earth, as a punishment for the killing a Brahman (Jamadagni) by Haihayas and other vile Kshatriyas.' As per this vow, he would kill arrogant Kshatriyas and go back on Mount Mahendra, then again come back to eliminate them when they became arrogant. He repeated this campaign twenty one times. After fighting the last war at Samantapanchak, he washed his blood smeared Parashu (axe) and laid down his arms.
6. Sacred places of (worship) Shrī Parashūrām
The sacred places of Shrī Parashūrām are In the fort on the mount Salher which is at the extreme north end of the Sahyadri mountain range; in the Kangda district of Punjab (North India); on a mountain five kilometres away from Chiplun in Konkan (West India); and there is also an old temple of Shrī Parashūrām on a mountain near Kankon in Gomantak (Goa, India).
7. Ritualistic worship:
Since Shrī Parashūrām is reincarnation of Shrī Vishnu, he is worshipped as a Deity of worship (Upaasya-devta). The birth anniversary of Shrī Parashūrām (Shrī Parashūrām Jayanti), which falls on the third day of the bright fortnight of the Hindu calendar month Vaishakh, is celebrated as a festival and also as a vowed religious observance (vrat)
(Ref. : Sanatan's Publication : Holy Festivals, Religious Festivals and Vowed Religious Observances
Compilers : H.H. Dr. Jayant Athavale and Dr. (Mrs) Kunda Athavale)
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