Significance of Parasurama Jayanti

via V.N. Gopalakrishnan published on May 15, 2010

Parasurama Jayanti is observed on the third day of Shukla Paksha in the Vaishakha month (April-May). It is the birthday of Sage Parasurama and this year it is celebrated on the Akshaya Tritiya day on May 16. In Kerala and some other places, Parasurama Jayanti is observed in the month of Vrishchika Masam (Margasira month) which comes usually in December. Parasurama Jayanti is an important festival for the Brahmins as the sage was born as a Brahmin. They worship him with utmost devotion and in some regions people observe fasting as the festival coincides with Akshay Tritiya. The word Akshaya means imperishable or eternal and during Akshaya Tritiya the Sun and Moon are in exaltation.

The Mahabharata, the Ramayana and the Puranas record that Sage Parasurama was born to the Brahmin sage Jamadagni and Renuka in the Satya Yuga. During this period, the Kshatriya kings became very cruel and were performing many dubious acts. Goddess Prithvi (Mother Earth) was unbearable and she worshipped the Lord Vishnu. Lord Vishnu appeared in front of the Goddess and assured that he will incarnate as Lord Parasurama to punish the Kshatriyas. The purpose of all avatars of Vishnu is for the protection of Dharma. Whenever adharma increases beyond tolerable limits, Lord Vishnu takes Avatar to clean up the system
It is said that Lord Parasurama killed all the male Kshatriyas on earth for 21 successive times and filled five lakes with the blood. Each time he killed the Kshatriyas their wives survived and gave births to new generations! Parasurama also took revenge of his father’s brutal murder by the sons of Kartaveeryarjuna, a Kshatriya king.

Exploits of sage Parasurama are explained in the epics. He was considered as the greatest warrior of the time. He acquired from Lord Siva all the great Astras and Sastras including the great axe (Parasu) on account of his severe penance. His devotion to Lord Siva was so great that even Lord Ganesha allowed Parasurama’s axe to cut off one of his tusks. It seems that when Parasurama was going to Kailas for a darshan of Siva and Parvati, Ganesha obstructed the way. Parasurama got angry and threw his mighty axe at Ganesha. Knowing that he was a great Siva Bhakta, Ganesha allowed the axe to cut off one of his tusks.

According to the Puranas, Kerala is known as Parasurama Kshetram which has been reclaimed from the sea by Sage Parasurama by throwing his axe from Gokarnam. Sage Parasurama is the sixth avatar among the ten and was born in Satya Yuga. He is considered a Chiranjeevi (Immortal). He stayed alive till Mahabharata time (Dwapara Yuga). Some scriptures say that he will stay alive until the Universe faces the Mahapralaya (deluge).
It is said that Parasurama was present on earth when Lord Vishnu incarnated as Lord Rama and Lord Krishna. Though an incarnation of Lord Vishnu, he is not worshipped as much as Lord Rama and Lord Krishna. In the Ramayana, Parasurama appears when Lord Rama breaks Lord Shiva’s bow to win the hands of Sitadevi. In the seventy-sixth sarga of Balakanda of Valmiki’s Ramayana, the encounter between Parasurama and Lord Rama is described. In the Mahabharata, it is mentioned that Bhishma, Drona and Karna learnt warfare from Parasurama thereby becoming their guru.

In Maharahstra, there is a temple for Lord Parasurama at Lote Parshurama in Ratnagiri district. The Konkan region is called Parasurama Bhoomi (the land of Parasurama). There are few temples for Lord Parasurama in Gujarat (Bharuch and Songadh), Maharashtra (Akkalkot, Khopali) and Jammu-Kashmir (Akhnoor). The origin of many of the popular temples in India for Vishnu, Shiva and Shakti is traced to Sage Parasurama. He is also credited to have installed many temples in Kerala, at times referred to as ‘Gods own country’.

In Maharashtra, there is a temple for Lord Parasurama at Lote Parshurama in Ratnagiri district. The Konkan area is called as Parasurama Bhoomi (the land of Parsurama) because Lord Parsurama is considered as the creator of the Konkan coast and Kerala. There are several temples for Lord Parasuram in Gujarat (Bharuch and Sonagadh), Maharashtra (Akkalkot, Khapoli) and in Jammu Kashmir (Akhnoor). Parasuram Kund is in Lohit District, Arunachala and at Makara Sankranti time, a great number of devotees come and take bath in that kund and worship Parasurama.

There is a story in the Puranas which says that on the day of Akshay Tritiya, Sage Veda Vyas along with Ganesha started writing the great epic Mahabharata. Ganga Devi or Mother Ganges also was said to have descended on earth on this day. It is also believed that people born during this time shine bright in life. Many luminaries such as Lord Buddha, Adi Shankaracharya, Ramanujacharya and Basaveshwara during this auspicious month.
(The author is a social activist and Director, Indo-Gulf Consulting. He can be contacted on [email protected]).

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