Srimad bhagavata by Krishna-Dwaipayana Vyāsa

Chapter Sixteen Lord Parasurama Destroys the World's Ruling Class


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Chapter Sixteen Lord Parasurama Destroys the World's Ruling Class

1. Sukadeva Gosvami said: My dear Maharaja Pariksit, son of the Kuru dynasty, when Lord Parasurama was given this order by his father, he immediately agreed, saying, "Let it be so." For one complete year he traveled to holy places. Then he returned to his father's residence.

2. Once when Renuka, the wife of Jamadagni, went to the bank of the Ganges to get water, she saw the King of the Gandharvas, decorated with a garland of lotuses and sporting in the Ganges with celestial women [Apsaras].

3. She had gone to bring water from the Ganges, but when she saw Citraratha, the King of the Gandharvas, sporting with the celestial girls, she was somewhat inclined toward him and failed to remember that the time for the fire sacrifice was passing.

4. Later, understanding that the time for offering the sacrifice had passed, Renuka feared a curse from her husband. Therefore when she returned she simply put the waterpot before him and stood there with folded hands.

5. The great sage Jamadagni understood the adultery in the mind of his wife. Therefore he was very angry and told his sons, "My dear sons, kill this sinful woman!" But the sons did not carry out his order.

6. Jamadagni then ordered his youngest son, Parasurama, to kill his brothers, who had disobeyed this order, and his mother, who had mentally committed adultery. Lord Parasurama, knowing the power of his father, who was practiced in meditation and austerity, killed his mother and brothers immediately.

7. Jamadagni, the son of Satyavati, was very much pleased with Parasurama and asked him to take any benediction he liked. Lord Parasurama replied, "Let my mother and brothers live again and not remember having been killed by me. This is the benediction I ask."

8. Thereafter, by the benediction of Jamadagni, Lord Parasurama's mother and brothers immediately came alive and were very happy, as if awakened from sound sleep. Lord Parasurama had killed his relatives in accordance with his father's order because he was fully aware of his father's power, austerity and learning.

9. My dear King Pariksit, the sons of Kartaviryarjuna, who were defeated by the superior strength of Parasurama, never achieved happiness, for they always remembered the killing of their father.

10. Once when Parasurama left the asrama for the forest with Vasuman and his other brothers, the sons of Kartaviryarjuna took the opportunity to approach Jamadagni's residence to seek vengeance for their grudge.

11. The sons of Kartaviryarjuna were determined to commit sinful deeds. Therefore when they saw Jamadagni sitting by the side of the fire to perform yajna and meditating upon the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who is praised by the best of selected prayers, they took the opportunity to kill him.

12. With pitiable prayers, Renuka, the mother of Parasurama and wife of Jamadagni, begged for the life of her husband. But the sons of Kartaviryarjuna, being devoid of the qualities of ksatriyas, were so cruel that despite her prayers they forcibly cut off his head and took it away.

13. Lamenting in grief for the death of her husband, the most chaste Renuka struck her own body with her hands and cried very loudly, "O Rama, my dear son Rama!"

14. Although the sons of Jamadagni, including Lord Parasurama, were a long distance from home, as soon as they heard Renuka loudly calling "O Rama, O my son," they hastily returned to the asrama, where they saw their father already killed.

15. Virtually bewildered by grief, anger, indignation, affliction and lamentation, the sons of Jamadagni cried, "O father, most religious, saintly person, you have left us and gone to the heavenly planets !"

16. Thus lamenting, Lord Parasurama entrusted his father's dead body to his brothers and personally took up his axe, having decided to put an end to all the ksatriyas on the surface of the world.

17. O King, Lord Parasurama then went to Mahismati, which was already doomed by the sinful killing of a brahmana. In the midst of that city he made a mountain of heads, severed from the bodies of the sons of Kartaviryarjuna.

18-19. With the blood of the bodies of these sons, Lord Parasurama created a ghastly river, which brought great fear to the kings who had no respect for brahminical culture. Because the ksatriyas, the men of power in government, were performing sinful activities, Lord Parasurama, on the plea of retaliating for the murder of his father, rid all the ksatriyas from the face of the earth twenty-one times. Indeed, in the place known as Samanta-pancaka he created nine lakes filled with their blood.

20. Thereafter, Parasurama joined his father's head to the dead body and placed the whole body and head upon kusa grass. By offering sacrifices, he began to worship Lord Vasudeva, who is the all-pervading Supersoul of all the demigods and of every living entity.

21-22. After completing the sacrifice, Lord Parasurama gave the eastern direction to the hota as a gift, the south to the brahma, the west to the adhvaryu, the north to the udgata, and the four corners--northeast, southeast, northwest and southwest--to the other priests. He gave the middle to Kasyapa and the place known as Aryavarta to the upadrasta. Whatever remained he distributed among the sadasyas, the associate priests.

23. Thereafter, having completed the ritualistic sacrificial ceremonies, Lord Parasurama took the bath known as the avabhrtha-snana. Standing on the bank of the great river Sarasvati, cleared of all sins, Lord Parasurama appeared like the sun in a clear, cloudless sky.

24. Thus Jamadagni, being worshiped by Lord Parasurama, was brought back to life with full remembrance, and he became one of the seven sages in the group of seven stars.

25. My dear King Pariksit, in the next manvantara the lotus-eyed Personality of Godhead Lord Parasurama, the son of Jamadagni, will be a great propounder of Vedic knowledge. In other words, he will be one of the seven sages.

26. Lord Parasurama still lives as an intelligent brahmana in the mountainous country known as Mahendra. Completely satisfied, having given up all the weapons of a ksatriya, he is always worshiped, adored and offered prayers for his exalted character and activities by such celestial beings as the Siddhas, Caranas and Gandharvas.

27. In this way the supreme soul, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the Lord and the supreme controller, descended as an incarnation in the Bhrgu dynasty and released the universe from the burden of undesirable kings by killing them many times.

28. Visvamitra, the son of Maharaja Gadhi, was as powerful as the flames of fire. From the position of a ksatriya, he achieved the position of a powerful brahmana by undergoing penances and austerities.

29. O King Pariksit, Visvamitra had 101 sons, of whom the middle one was known as Madhucchanda. In relation to him, all the other sons were celebrated as the Madhucchandas.

30. Visvamitra accepted the son of Ajigarta known as Sunahsepha, who was born in the Bhrgu dynasty and was also known as Devarata, as one of his own sons. Visvamitra ordered his other sons to accept Sunahsepha as their eldest brother.

31. Sunahsepha's father sold Sunahsepha to be sacrificed as a man-animal in the yajna of King Hariscandra. When Sunahsepha was brought into the sacrificial arena, he prayed to the demigods for release and was released by their mercy.

32. Although Sunahsepha was born in the Bhargava dynasty, he was greatly advanced in spiritual life, and therefore the demigods involved in the sacrifice protected him. Consequently he was also celebrated as the descendant of Gadhi named Devarata.

33. When requested by their father to accept Sunahsepha as the eldest son, the elder fifty of the Madhucchandas, the sons of Visvamitra, did not agree. Therefore Visvamitra, being angry, cursed them. "May all of you bad sons become mlecchas," he said, "being opposed to the principles of Vedic culture."

34. When the elder Madhucchandas were cursed, the younger fifty, along with Madhucchanda himself, approached their father and agreed to accept his proposal. "Dear father," they said, "we shall abide by whatever arrangement you like."

35. Thus the younger Madhucchandas accepted Sunahsepha as their eldest brother and told him, "We shall follow your orders." Visvamitra then said to his obedient sons, "Because you have accepted Sunahsepha as your eldest brother, I am very satisfied. By accepting my order, you have made me a father of worthy sons, and therefore I bless all of you to become the fathers of sons also."

36. Visvamitra said, "O Kusikas [descendants of Kausika], this Devarata is my son and is one of you. Please obey his orders." O King Pariksit, Visvamitra had many other sons, such as Astaka, Harita, Jaya and Kratuman.

37. Visvamitra cursed some of his sons and blessed the others, and he also adopted a son. Thus there were varieties in the Kausika dynasty, but among all the sons, Devarata was considered the eldest.

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