Story of Parshurama (Part 2)

In the previous article, we learnt that Rishi Bhrigu had come to his newlywed son’s house. Very pleased with the treatment and respect he got from Satyavati, his daughter-in-law, he had her seek a boon. Satyavati asked her father-in-law to grant that sons be born to both her and her mother. The rishi gave her two pots, given to him by the Devas after years of penance. He told her that when her mother was in her fertile period, she should embrace a peepal tree and eat the contents of the dark pot. Satyavati was asked to embrace an umbra tree and eat the contents of the light coloured pot during her fertile period. After granting this favour to his daughter-in-law, the rishi vanished.

When Satyavati related the incident to her mother, in her carelessness she exchanged the trees and the vessels. The rishi, even though very far away, divined what had happened and came to visit his son’s house again. He told his daughter-in-law of the mistake she had made. He told her that her father was a Kshatriya king and wanted a son to rule his kingdom. Because of the exchange, a son would be born to her mother but he would not rule the kingdom but would follow the path of a Brahmin and perform tapas. The son born to her, even though born in a Brahmin household, would have all the qualities of a Kshatriya.

Satyavati was shocked and begged her father-in-law to do something to change the course of events. She wanted to give birth to a child who performed penance and tapas, not one who would become a warrior. After much persuasion, the rishi relented and told her that not her son, but her grandson would become a great warrior rishi.

Satyavati gave birth to a boy with a radiant aura whom the couple named Jamadagni. As the child grew up, he became a rishi renowned for his knowledge of the Vedas and the scriptures. He performed deep penances and his face and aura had a bright lustre. At that time, there was a king called Prasenajit who had a beautiful daughter named Renuka. The king married Renuka to Jamadagni. They built an ashram and started living there, with him spending his time in deep austerities.

Five children were born to Jamadagni, the youngest being Parshurama. Even though he was the youngest, he excelled his brothers in the knowledge of the Vedas and also of archery.

One day Renuka went to have a bath in the river. Some distance away she saw the handsome king Chitraratha playing with his queen in the waters. Seeing the beauty of the king, she was filled with lust for him and for some time fell into a faint in the water. On regaining consciousness, she returned to the ashram. Seeing the state she was in, Rishi Jamadagni, her husband, immediately knew what had happened and was filled with anger.