Considered as the sixth avatar of Vishnu in Hindu mythology, the birth anniversary of Maharishi Parashuram is celebrated across states of India, on different dates. It is called Parashuram Jayanti. Parashuram Jayanti falls on the third day of the Shukla Paksha in the month of Vaishakh, according to the Hindu calendar.
Legend of Maharishi Parashuram
According to the Hari Vansh Purana, the demon king Kiratarjuna from the Haideya dynasty ruled Mahishmati Nagar, a kingdom of the Kshatriyas in central India. Kiratarjuna was an evil king, and his misdeeds deeply disturbed Goddess Earth, who sought Vishnu’s help.
Vishnu said he would be reborn as the fifth son of Renuka and Sage Jamadagni. Parashuram is also called Rama Jamadagnya. He reincarnated as Parashuram, the great warrior with the ax, also considered as another form of Rama. Parashuram went on to defeat the evil king Kiratarjuna and the Kshatriyas and restored peace in the region. Considered the exterminator of evil, he relieved the burden of Goddess Earth by destroying evil and sinful monarchs who neglected their duties as kings and indulged only in plundering the wealth in their kingdoms.
Another legend has it that Parashuram killed Arjun and freed the Earth of Kshatriyas, 21 times. He filled five ponds in the Samatpanchak district with their blood. When Saint Trichik asked Parashuram to stop the killing, he gifted the Earth to Sage Kashyap and then started living on the Mahendra Parvat.
Mythology related to Maharishi Parashuram and Akshaya Tritiya
This avatar of Vishnu was called Ram, but because he held the mythical weapon, ‘Parshu,’ which was given to him by Shiva, he was known as Parashuram. The day Parashuram was born is called Akshaya Tritiya, and his weapon is called Akshay. According to legend, Parashuram was born on the Vaishakh Shukla Tritiya, during the Pradosh Kala when the Tritiya prevails, Pradosh Kala is considered a part of the Parashuram Jayanti celebrations. Hindus celebrate this day as Parashuram Jayanti with great dedication and zeal.
Parashuram in the Puranas and Epics
The Kalki Purana states that Parashuram is the martial Guru of Kalki, the tenth and final avatar of Vishnu. In the Mahabharata, he was the martial Guru of Karna. According to the Bhagavata Purana, Parashuram was born to destroy the kings of the Haideya dynasty. According to the Ramayana, Parashuram also attended the betrothal ceremony of Sita to Rama, where he is said to have met the seventh avatar of Vishnu. In some texts of Hindu literature, Parashuram is also called Rama Bhargava and Veera Rama. According to ancient Hindu texts, Parashuram was flawless.
Parashuram in Hindu belief
Hindu belief has it that Parashuram is considered ‘Chiranjeevi’ and still lives on earth. People do not worship Parashuram, unlike Rama or Krishna. There is one temple in south India at Pajaka near Udupi, where devotees pay obeisance to Parashuram. Along the coastline of western India, devotees worship Maharishi Parashuram across temples dedicated to him. Parashuram is considered the ‘Mool Purush’ or the founder of the Niyogi Bhumihar Brahmin, Daivadyna, Chitpavan, Tyagi, Mohyal, Anavil, and the Nambudiri Brahmin community.
Tradition & Rituals of Parashuram Jayanti
The celebration starts with fasting, which begins on the previous day of the Parashuram Jayanti. People observe fasting to attain higher goals in life, for which one sacrifices material comforts. The fasting continues into Akshaya Tritiya. The fast includes abstaining from the intake of cereals and pulses. Devotees observing a fast on this day are believed to be blessed with a male child.
Devotees take a holy dip before sunrise, which is considered auspicious. People clean ‘Puja ’ (clothes for worship) and wear fresh clothes on this day. They offer prayers to Vishnu. They also make offerings of sandalwood, basil leaves, vermilion powder, incense sticks, flowers, and sweets to Vishnu. A lamp is lit in front of the idol of Parashuram or an alternate idol of Vishnu.
The conclusion of fasting should be observed with the chanting of ‘japs’ in front of the idol. People consume only milk products and pure, natural condiments on this day.
On this day, people pray to the Maharishi, who is considered the avatar of Vishnu, and devotees visit temples dedicated to him. Devotees conduct a Parashuram Shobha Yatra on this day, with ‘havans’ and poojas. People chant the Vishnu Sahasranama Path and perform Bhajan and kirtans.
Significance of Maharishi Parashuram Jayanti
Parashuram Jayanti holds special meaning for Hindus. The Treta Yuga began on the day of the Vaishakh Shukla Paksha Tritiya. Parashuram had immense energy and was a great warrior who wanted to benefit humanity. The day he was born is called Akshaya Tritiya and it’s considered a very auspicious day for any new beginning. Only Parashuram was said to have the eternal power of handling the arrows of the divine bow of Shiva.
On Parashuram Jayanti, people need not wait for auspicious timings to start anything. On this day, serving food to Brahmins is considered very auspicious. It is very promising for starting a new venture, buying gold jewelry or gold coins. The day is widely known as Akshaya Tritiya.
Important Places to Visit
The religious places to visit on Maharishi Parashuram Jayanti are the Parashuram Mandir and the Shri Vishnu Mandir.
Dates of Parashuram Jayanti
In Gujarat, Rajasthan, Himachal Pradesh, and Haryana, Parshuram Jayanti is observed on Saturday, 25th April 2020. However, the day of observance differs in Punjab and Madhya Pradesh, where people celebrate Parashuram Jayanti on Sunday, 26th April 2020.