KARTHAVEERYARJUNA, the ruler of HEHAYA was a great king. He got boons from Dattatreya and other deities to become invincible. Puffed with ego due to the newfound powers acquired by him, he became tyrannical and began tormenting every one. Once, he even tried to confront Ravana, the ruler of Lanka but was defeated and so he made truce with him. With a thousand arms, with weapons and power, with a powerful ally in Ravana, nothing could stop him from his evil ways.
It is to quell Karthaveerya and his ilk and to protect the righteous from his claws, Lord Vishnu descended down to earth and was born as BHARGAVA RAMA the youngest of the five sons of Jamadagni and Renuka. Jamadagni's father was RISHIKAN who married a Kshatriya girl SATYAVATI daughter of one KHADI. Because of this Varna sangraha (mixing up of castes) and other circumstances, BHARGAVA Rama though born as a Brahmin exhibited Kshatriya traits and had a liking for weapons, archery etc. Indeed, his favorite weapon was an axe which he got as a gift from Siva. Parasu means Axe. Hence, he was called PARASU RAMA.

Once, when the five brothers had gone out, Kartha veeryaarjuna entered the hermitage of Jamadagni and demanded food for himself and his retinue. With the help of Kamadhenu, Jamadagni got food prepared for the host of guests. Karthaveerya knowing this demanded Kamadhenu. But, Jamadagani would not part with it. The king forcibly took away the cow and the calf.

When PARASU RAMA learnt of the incident, he marched towards MAHISHMATI, the capital of the king. The king dispatched 17 battalions of Ratha (Chariots) Gaja (elephantry), Turaga ( Cavalry) and Pathadhi (infantry) each one called an Akshouhini. Single handed, PARASURAMA destroyed the entire lot and then cut off the thousand arms of Karthaveerya and killed him with his axe. Retrieving Kamadhenu and her calf, he returned to the hermitage where life was proceeding peacefully for some time.

On another occasion, Renuka who went to fetch water from a nearby river happened to see some celestial Devas playing. Since her attention was distracted, it became too late when she returned with the water required. Jamadagni got angry and asked his sons to behead her. But, none would carry out his commands. Then entered PARASU RAMA when his father ordered him to behead not only Renuka but also his brothers.

Without hesitation, PARASU RAMA carried out the orders. Pleased, the father asked what boons he wanted. All that PARASU RAMA wanted was that his mother and brothers should come alive and be oblivious of whatever had happened. Jamadagni granted the boon and they did come alive and life was again peaceful at the hermitage.

But, not for long. Karthaveerya's sons stormed the hermitage to avenge the death of their father. Only Jamadagani and Renuka were there at that time, Ignoring the pleadings of Renuka, they cut off the head of Jamadagni who was deep in meditation. Renuka was beside with grief and was crying aloud as PARASU RAMA returned. She beat her breast 21 times. PARASU RAMA vowed that he would wipe out 21 generations of Kshatriyas and proceeded to do the ‘Samskaras’ for his father. Jamadagani gained the realm of the seven Rishis (Saptarishi mandalam). PARASU RAMA carried out his vow, wrested the land and properties of Kshatriyas and finally gave them away to sage KASYAPA and retired to the southwest corner of India. Swami Sri Vedanta Desika describes him as 'ROSHA RAMA' (Indignant Rama)

When, Parasurama confronted Dasaratha who was returning from Mithila after the wedding of Rama and Sita, RAMA the AVATAR took back all the powers of PARASURAMA since the purpose of PARASURAMA AVATAR was completed.

Parasurama threw his axe into the western ocean. The ocean receded upto the point where the axe fell and the land so reclaimed is known as Parasurama Kshetram. Scholars say that modern Kerala is this Kshetram.

This Avatar is not a direct Avatar. Lord Vishnu entered the soul of a Brahmin son of Jamadagni (By Avesa or Anupravesa). Of the 10 Avatars, except Parasurama avatar all the others are Amsa avataras (i.e.) Direct descent of Lord Vishnu.

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