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Parashurama and his parents

Both became pregnant in due course. Rucheeka noticed 'Kshatriya' (royal) brightness on the face of his wife and was surprised. By his insight, he under stood the reason, and upon his mentioning this to Satyavati, she realized the mishap. She prayed that her son might become a sage and the grandson a valiant royal hero. Her husband blessed her accordingly. Rucheeka's son was Jamadagni and Jamadagni's son was Parashurama who, wielding an axe, toured the land getting rid of evil kings and assuring the pious peace and freedom from evil.

Parashurama's mother was Renuka. She was the adopted daughter of king Prasenajit. She had married sage Jamadagni and was serving him faith fully. Parashurama was her first son and four others Rumanvanta, Sushena, Vasu and Vishwavasu followed him. Several incidents enraged Parashurama, forcing him into the vow of getting rid of Kshatriya families from this land.

There was a king named Kritaveerya belonging to the Lunar Race. Born to him was Kartaveeryarjuna, a heroic personality. He had worshipped Lord Dattatreya and been blessed with invincibility. He possessed the strength of a thousand arms on the battlefront. He was reigning at Mahishmati, full of glory and arrogance. One day Kartaveeryarjuna went on a gaming expedition to the forest accompanied by his huge army. After the expedition had progressed for some time he began to feel hungry and thirsty and asked his men to look for any sage's hermitage around. Nearby they sighted the ashram of Jamadagni. When the king arrived there the sage extended him a warm welcome and also requested that the royal personage could rest at the ashram for the day and move out later. The king, tired after the day's hunting adventures, could wish for nothing better.

The sages perform penance for securing welfare to the world. Not only the people on earth but those in heaven also assist them in their task. Indra, the Lord of Heaven, had sent the divine cow Kamadhenu for assisting Jamadagni who was in penance at the time. Kamadhenu was a wish fulfilling divine cow. When the king Kartaveeyarjuna had been visiting the hermitage, he had to be treated with a reception fitting the majesty of royalty. The sage requested the divine cow to oblige him by helping to arrange for a sumptuous lunch. Soon, the ceremonial lunch was ready. The sage treated the guests to a royal feast and all felt happy and contented.

King ordering to snatch kamdhenu
"What a wonderful feast, I had never tasted such fine meals even at the palace. And it is practically impossible to prepare such a festive meal at such a short notice even at the palace. How did you arrange this?" the king queried in surprise. "O king, this is the grace of Kamadhenu. Lord Indra has sent this sacred cow to assist me. The cow can bestow any favor instantly. All these are her blessings", replied Jamadagni.

A strong selfish desire gripped the king and he entreated the sage thus; "O sage, it would be very useful if such a distinguished cow remained at the palace. Thousands of people visit us and we will be obliged to treat them without delay. But your ashram will not be under such pressure as a routine. I shall leave a lot of land and other property for you. You can look after your guests comfortably. Please hand the cow over to me." The sage replied: "O king, I can't present this cow to others. I can get her to help with only the needs of the ashram. I have no right to present her to anyone else. Please don't ask for her."

The arrogant king was angry. He ordered his soldiers to take the cow by force and they tied her and drove away to the capital Mahishmati. Jamadagni was distressed. By this time, Parashurama who had gone to the woods to collect material for sacrificial worship (Yajna) returned and learnt about the king's taking away Kamadhenu by force. Enraged, Parashurama decided to go in pursuit of Kartaveeryarjuna and bring Kamadhenu back. "The king is to suffer proper punishment", he thought and armed with his sharp axe and bow and arrows, left on the chase.

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