Paraśurāma


Paraśurāma

▪ Hindu mythology
      (Sanskrit: “Rāma with the Ax”), sixth of the 10 avatāras (incarnations) of the Hindu god Vishnu. The Mahābhārata (“Great Epic of the Bharata Dynasty”) and the Purāṇas (“Ancient Lore”) record that Paraśurāma was born to the Brahman sage Jamadagni in order to deliver the world from the arrogant oppression of the baron or warrior caste, the Kshattriyas. He killed all the male Kshattriyas on earth 21 successive times (each time their wives survived and gave birth to new generations) and filled five lakes with blood. Scholars view the legend as reflecting strife between the two classes of society in pre-Buddhist India. Paraśurāma is the traditional founder of Malabar and is said to have bestowed land there on members of the priestly caste whom he brought down from the north in order to expiate his slaughter of the Kshattriyas. He is sometimes said to have lived on earth during the lifetime of the seventh avatāra, Rāma, and to have expressed some jealousy of the younger incarnation.

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Universalium. 2010.

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