Parasurama – The story of Jamadagni’s birth


It is a well-known story that the Supreme Personality of God-head annihilated the Kshatriyas on earth twenty-one times in the incarnation of Parasurama. This series of posts tries to narrate the circumstances based on which Lord Vishnu had to take birth as Parasurama and kill the Kshatriyas on earth so many times.

Kartaviryarjuna, the king of the Haihaya dynasty received one thousand arms as a boon from Dattatreya Muni by worshipping him and performing severe austerities. He had also received the boon of unobstructed sensory power, beauty, influence, strength, fame and mystic power due to which he became extremely opulent. He was used to roaming the universe without any opposition.

Due to the lack of resistance from anybody in the three worlds, his pride and arrogance got the better of the king and he wreaked havoc by trampling upon the devas, asuras, rishis and yakshas in all the three worlds. When the troubled beings approached Vishnu for deliverance from the evil tyrant, the good lord promised them that Kartaviryarjuna would be slain by him in due course of time.


On earth, in Kanyakuvja there lived a virtuous ruler, known as Gadhi who had resigned to living in the forest peacefully when he begot a daughter. Her name was Satyavati and she was as beautiful as the nymphs in heaven. The son of sage Bhrigu, Richika asked for her hand in marriage to Gadhi, who stated his only condition to the marriage. As per his family custom, any bridegroom intending to marry his daughter would have to offer a dowry consisting of one thousand brown colored horses which had single sable ears.

Richika agreed to the condition and approached Lord Varuna for assistance Give me a thousand steeds brown in color and each one with a single black ear. I want them as dowry for my marriage. Varuna gifted the horses to the sage’s son who in turn gave them to Gadhi and married Satyavati.

Pleased with his son’s marriage and his daughter-in-law’s devotion and service, sage Bhrigu offered her a boon that she could ask him anything she wished for. She wished that a son be born to both herself and her mother.

The sage granted her the boon and informed her of the following conditions to be fulfilled for it to come to fruition. During the days that your fertile period lasts, you and your mother must take a bath with the ceremony for bringing forth a male child. And then you two must separately embrace two trees – she a peepal tree and you a fig tree. Here, take these two pots of rice and milk, prepared by me with utmost care, with drugs and ingredients sourced from all over the universe. It must be taken as food with great care.

Despite these instructions, the two ladies accidentally interchanged the two pots of rice and milk and also hugged the wrong trees. By virtue of his divine knowledge sage Bhrigu came to the ashram and addressed Satyavati, since you and your mother partook of the wrong pots and also hugged the wrong trees, she will have a son who will be a Kshatriya by birth but will assume a life suitable to that of a saint, and you will be blessed with a son who will be of the priestly caste by birth but will have a character that would be suitable to a military order.

Satyavati then requested her father-in-law please make it so that my grandson and not my son have this character which the sage agreed to.

In due time, Satyavati then gave birth to Jamadagni who was endowed with splendor and grace. As the years went by, he grew in strength, and excelled the other saints in his proficiency of his knowledge. He was easily able to learn the knowledge of military art and other related subjects.

<< Part 2 >>

15 thoughts on “Parasurama – The story of Jamadagni’s birth

  1. Yet another beautiful gift on mythology and m only happy to learn more about them. Love ur crisp narration, Jairam:) It makes for such an interesting narrative coupled with wisdom and adventure:)

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