Monthly Archives: December 2018

Parashurama- Symbol of Brahmakshatriya Power

Parashurama (5587 / 4969 B.C.) was the son of Jamadagni and Renuka and belonged to the Bhargava vamsa. In the Puranas, Parashurama is represented as an incarnation of Vishnu. He is said to have been born during the period of interval between the Treta and Dvapara yugas. He was a great warrior skilled in all weapons especialy in archery. The Parashu (battle axe) was his special weapon on account of which he came to be called Parashurama in distinct from Rama Dasharati. Though a Brahmana, Parashurama is generally spoken of as virtually a kshatriya combining the two characters, Brahma Kshatra.

The family of Bhrigus/Bhargavas to which Parashurama belonged lived in Anarta (Gujarat). When western India came under the sway of the Haihayas, the Bhrigus became associated with the Haihayas and became their priests and one Kartavirya bestowed them with great wealth. The Bhrigus/Bhargavas were also enterprising trademen who amassed wealth by acting as intermediaries between Indian and foreigners. Though Brahmins they entered into matrimonial alliance with kstrariya ruling families. Bhargava Richika married Satyavati daughter of king Gadhi of Kanyakubj to whom was born Jamadagni. Jamadagni in turn married Renuka, the daughter of Renu, a junior king of the ruling family of Ayodhya and their son was Parashurama.

Parashurama’s fight with Kartavirya Arjuna

The Haihaya ruler Kartavirya Arjuna wanted to take control of the sea trade as it was a lucrative source of revenue. The growing teritorial conquests which he had embarked required money and he demanded the Bhargavas to return the wealth given by his father. The Bhargavas refused and Arjuna used violence against them. One day Arjuna’s sons entered the ashram of Jamadagni and killed him. The devastating raids and conquests of the Haihayas had led to a growing discontentment and unpopularitiy of the Haihayas. Parashurama organised a confederacy of various kingdoms and led an all round attack against the Haihayas and killed their king Kartavirya Arjuna.

On the devasted Haihaya realm Parashurama founded new cities and also colonized the region known as Aparanta on the west coast where Surparaka became a great trading center. Parashurama was the first colonizer of the tract (the present Konkan and Kerala region) which probably erupted out of the sea due to seismic disturbances. Here Parashurama is said to have settled Brahmin families brought from north and other parts of India and outside. The Malbar coast is even now known as Parashurama Kshetra and it is said that he introduced the Bhagavathi cult and built 108 temples of the goddesses in this region. Parashurama performed many sacrifices and later retired to south India.

Reference

  • A. D.Pusalker- The New Style Puranas in Mahendra Kulasrestra- Edited, Culture India– A Compendium of Indian Philosophy, Religion, Arts, Literature and Society contributed by authorities in various areas, Lotus Press, New Delhi,2006,

  • R.K.Pruthi (Edited) – Vedic Civilization, Discovery Publishing House, New Delhi, 2004, p.91

  • R.C.Majumdar and A.D.Pusalker Edited, The History and Culture of the Indian People- The Vedic Age, George Allen & Unwin Ltd

  • S. V. Vishwanath- Racial Synthesis in Hindu Culture, London, 1928