Parasurama in the Ramayana


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Parasurama is a unique avatar in the sense that he makes an appearance in the story of Rama, another avatar of Lord Vishnu.

King Janaka had laid down the condition that he would offer his daughter Sita’s hand in marriage to anybody who would be able to string Shiva’s celestial bow which was in his possession. When Rama arrives at Janaka’s court and very easily manages to string the bow, he becomes eligible to marry Sita. After the wedding, when the procession leaves Mithila, the capital city of Janaka and proceeds towards Ayodhya, they suddenly witness strange omens and a fierce tempest.

Out of the darkness and dust that had engulfed the procession, there emerged the fearsome form of Parasurama dressed in tiger skins with matted locks of hair on his head. The warrior sage Parasurama had a reputation as being a fierce warrior who had single-handedly overcome the Kshatriya race on earth multiple times. He now stood before the procession with his battle-axe in one hand and an arrow which resembled lightning in the other hand.

After accepting the honor accorded to him by Dasharatha’s priests, Parasurama addresses Rama O Rama, I have heard of your strength and prowess. By stringing and breaking Shiva’s bow, you have performed an incredible feat.

You have surely heard of my vow against the Kshatriyas. How can I tolerate such prowess in a Kshatriya such as yourself? I have here another sacred bow of Vishnu. Fit this celestial arrow upon this bow and draw it to its full strength. If you are able to do, I challenge you to single combat.

Dasaratha was horrified at this turn of events. Parasurama’s unforgiving hatred against all Kshatriyas was something that all of them had heard about and learnt to be scared of from the time they were all little children. He approached the sage with folded arms and entreated him to spare the young prince. Parasurama ignored him and continued to address Rama.

Both the bow broken by you and the one I carry now were crafted by the architect of the gods, Visvakarma. The one you broke earlier belonged to Shiva, but this one belonged to Vishnu and is therefore more powerful.

This bow has been passed on by Vishnu to my ancestors and thereafter to me. I now offer it to you, Rama. Considering your sacred duty as a warrior to always accept a challenge, exhibit your strength to me.

Unperturbed by Parasurama’s anger and demeanor, Rama addressed him thus You are a Brahmin sage and are therefore worthy of my worship. However since you despise the entire Kshatriya class, you despise me and I therefore have no choice but to display my prowess to you.

Rama took the bow and arrow from Parasurama, easily fit the arrow in the bow and drew it to its fullest extent, and asked the sage Where shall I discharge this deadly arrow? As you are my superior, I cannot aim it at you.

Impressed and astonished Parasurama immediately realized that this was no ordinary Kshatriya standing there in front of him. You surely must be Lord Vishnu himself. I accept defeat but am not ashamed as you are indeed the lord of all the worlds.

You have already divested me of all my power and my pride. Please release this arrow on my desires for heavenly pleasures and burn them to ashes. The only thing that I now desire is to become your eternal servant.

Saying so Parasurama bowed down before Rama who released the arrow. The sage immediately vanished along with the arrow. Varuna, the god of the water then appeared before Rama and gave him the celestial bow to keep, on behalf of all the gods.

Taraka and Subahu – How did they die?

Image courtesy: Maricha and Subahu attacking the yajna
Image courtesy:
Maricha and Subahu attacking the yajna

Taraka was fierce rakshasi and with her sons Maricha and Subahu terrorized and devoured anybody who dared to enter the forest near the confluence of the river Sarayu with the Ganga. This forest soon came to be known as Taraka’s forest and nobody had the guts to even go near the place, let alone enter it and try to earn a livelihood in this region.

Fed up with the menace of the rakshasa trio, the great sage Vishwamitra decided to conduct a penance and yajna with his disciples in this particular forest. When he noticed that his disciples were unable to perform the rituals of the yajna properly due to the constant menace of the trio, he decided to approach King Dasaratha for assistance. He went to Ayodhya and requested the King to send his eldest son, Rama, then just a teenage boy of 13 yrs to help him vanquish the demons. Dasaratha had a soft corner for Rama and hesitated to agree to this request of Vishwamitra. However, when the learned Sage Vashista who was the royal guru of Ayodhya instructed the King to send Rama with Vishwamitra, Dasaratha agree to do so. Not to be left behind, Rama’s brother Lakshmana also accompanied him to Taraka’s forest.

When Rama, Lakshmana and Vishwamitra entered the forest, they were almost immediately attacked by Taraka. Rama, with some help from Lakshmana succeeded in felling the foul demon with a well placed astra. Pleased with this outcome, the sage Vishwamitra blessed the young duo, and also gifted them with divine weapons.

Then, the sage took the young princes to the place where the yajna rituals were being conducted and proceeded to restart all the rituals with the boys on guard. The teenage warriors stood guard day and night near the place watching out for any signs of Taraka’s sons, Maricha and Subahu. Despite their constant sleepless vigil, for the first five days they did not notice anything untoward.

However, one thing that they did not know was that they were being watched. When Maricha and Subahu heard the news of their mother’s death, they were shocked and enraged beyond their wits. Shocked because Taraka was a formidable rakshasi who with her knowledge of the dark magic and ferociousness would strike mortal fear into the hearts of even seasoned warriors. And the fact that two teenage boys had managed to kill her struck fear into their hearts.

At the same time, they were enraged as nobody had even dared to think of challenging them and their authority over this forest for many a decade now. And now suddenly these young boys had popped up from nowhere and in one felling swoop managed to kill their mother.

They were therefore watching the activities of Rama and Lakshmana very carefully for the past five days, waiting for the appropriate opportunity to strike back and extract revenge for their mother’s death as well as reclaim the forest, their forest.

On the sixth day, the rakshasa brothers had run out of patience and attacked the yajna from the skies above with their horde of asuras. Despite putting up a mighty and valiant attempt, the entire group of asuras were no match for the battlefield prowess of Rama and Lakshmana. And finally when Subahu was killed by the divine astras of Rama, his brother Maricha fled to the ocean. Thus, the hegemony of the asura brothers over the forest finally ended. Maricha would eventually reappear in Rama’s life, but that story happens quite a few years later.

Thus, even at the very young age of 13 years, Prince Rama clearly showed the world what he was capable of on a battlefield with a bow and his arrows.


This post is a part of Write Over the Weekend, an initiative for Indian Bloggers by BlogAdda. We give out creative writing topics each weekend for Indian bloggers.

Today’s prompt was that post had to include the line one thing that they did not know was that they were being watched and that is the reason this phrase has been specifically highlighted in the post.


This post has been picked as one of Blogadda’s WoW posts of the weekend.


Brotherly love

Bharata falling at Rama's feet and requesting him to come back to Ayodhya
Bharata falling at Rama’s feet and requesting him to come back to Ayodhya

During the beginning of his long exile, Rama, Sita and Lakshmana made their home in a forest hut in a region called Chitrakut. With the help of Guha, the king of the Nishada tribe, they had managed to build a reasonably functional home in the forest and were living in peace when they were visited by Bharata.

Bharata had come all the way from Ayodhya to deliver the sad news of Dasaratha’s demise to Rama and also to request him to come back to Ayodhya and take back what was rightfully his, the throne of Ayodhya and become its King.

Rama, bound by his duty to honor the promise made his father to Kaikeyi refuses to do so and exhorts Bharata to go back to Ayodhya and rule it justly, fairly and gracefully.

Despite multiple attempts by Bharata to convince him, Rama remained unconvinced and finally orders his brother to leave the hut.

After a while when Rama was inside the hut, Sita came up to him, “Rama, you seriously need to speak to Bharata, he said he was leaving an hour ago, but he’s still standing in the doorway.

Rama was moved to tears by his brother’s love, affection and devotion towards him. Despite the fact that he was being crowned the King and would enjoy all the trappings of a luxurious life, Bharata’s love for his elder brother and devotion towards him moved Rama very much.


This post has been written for the Today’s Author Write Now prompt for October 25, 2013 where the post had to include the line “He said he was leaving an hour ago, but he’s still standing in the doorway.