Indian Mythology (by ApamNapat)

Parashurama's Birth

Stories From the Mahabharata

[This story is from [Maha:12.50]]

The sage Richika was a descendant of the great sage Bhrigu. Possessing great ascetic merit, he won the hand of Satyavati, the daughter of King Gadhi, who was born in the race of Bharata. The young couple lived together in perfect amity, content in their devotion to each other.

With a desire of doing good to both himself and the King, sage Richika prepared a magical dish of milk and rice, divided it into two portions, and infused it with sacred incantations and his ascetic powers. He then called his wife and told her, "This portion of the offering should be eaten by you, and the other should be consumed by your mother. In due course of time, due to the power of the sacrificial offering, a son would be born to each of you, who would be possessed of the merits of their respective orders." With these words, he left to collect firewood from the forest.

While the sage was away, King Gadhi arrived there with his queen, the mother of Satyavati. They were on their way to a pilgrimage of holy places. Satyavati then went to her mother, showed her both pots of the rice-milk offering, and repeated the words of her husband. After undergoing a ritual bath, the mother and daughter then both ate one part of the dish. Unfortunately, they got the containers mixed up, and as a result, the queen drank the portion that had been meant for her daughter, and Satyavati drank the portion that had been earmarked for her mother.

When Richika came back from the forest, he at once realized that a mix-up had taken place, by his yogic powers. He then said to Satyavati, "My dear, as you have partaken the offering that was infused with incantations and meant for your mother, the son born to you will have all the attributes of a Kshatriya, will be of a cruel nature, fond of weapons and incapable of being vanquished in battle. Also, your brother, who will be soon born to your mother, will have the attributes of a Brahmana, will obtain mastery of the scriptures, and shall devote his life to ascetic penances."

Satyavati was shocked. She fell at the feet of her lord and said, "Sir, have pity on me. It does not behoove you to say 'Thou shall obtain a wretch among Brahmanas for thy son'. Let my son be a Brahmana of great merit."

Richika said, "What has been ordained, cannot be changed. Since the incantations were spoken by me and the power was transferred to the pots of the rice-milk dish, that which has been pronounced by me shall certainly come to pass."

Satyavati said, "Let my son not be a cruel wretch. Let this fate befall my grandson instead."

Richika said, "Both the son and the grandson are obtained for the propagation of ones race. So, our grandson shall take the attributes that were meant for our son, and our son will be a Brahmana as you desire."

In due course of time, a son was born to Satyavati, and was named Jamadagni. He followed the ascetic path of his father, and became very learned in the scriptures. He married Renuka, the daughter of King Prasenajit. Five boys were born to them: Rumanvan, Sushena, Vasu, Viswavasu and Rama. The fourth child Rama was the one who acquired the attributes of a Kshatriya, as foretold by his grandfather Richika. Since his favorite weapon was the Parashu (axe), he came to be known as Parashurama--"Rama of the axe".

Last Modified At: Sat Mar 26 23:41:50 2005