Parshuram a Disgrace
He was not that great after all
Parshuram was the sixth incarnation of Lord Vishnu. Whereas the other incarnations were for specific purposes, the reason for Parshuram is not clear. As a human, he was the fifth son of Jamadagni and Renuka.
Once Jamadagni got angry with Renuka for some reason and ordered his sons to kill her. One after the other, the first four sons refused to do so and were burnt alive by their father by the power of his eyesight. (It is not explained as to why so powerful a sage could not burn his wife himself.) However, Parshuram did obey his father and was rewarded by being granted a wish. The son then asked the father to bring his mother and brothers back to life. Jamadagni was pleased and revived the five victims of his previous wrath. This indicates that Jamdagani did know how to bring the dead back to life.
Years later, Jamadagni, while in meditation, was killed by Sahasrarjuna, a Kshatriya. Upon learning this, Parshuram set himself to cleanse the earth of all Kshatriyas and did so twenty one times. (The description of this effort of Parshuram makes even Hitler look good.) Three aspects of this effort have gone unnoticed.
First, Parshuram could not revive Jamadagni like Jamadagni had revived Renuka and her four sons because Jamadagni had not considered Parshuram to be worthy enough (‘supaatra’) to be taught the Sanjivani vidya (the art of resurrecting the dead).
Second, the guilt of one member of a varna cannot justify the annihilation of the whole varna.
Third, if Parshuram had succeeded the first time in eliminating all the Kshatriyas, then there would have been no need to do it again. That he is said to have done it twenty one times only means that he failed at least twenty times. In fact, he failed all the twenty one times.
Consider this. Had the sixth incarnation of Vishnu not failed so miserably, the eighth incarnation (Krishna) could not have said ‘Chaturvarnyam maya shrushtam’ (meaning ‘the system of four castes was crated by me’) but would have been required to say ‘Traivarnyam maya shrushtam’ (meaning ‘the system of three castes was created by me’) because by then only three varnas (castes) would have been left in existence. Not only that, but Krishna could not have been borne as a Kshatriya like he did.
When Ram (the seventh incarnation of Vishnu), also a Kshatriya, broke the Shivadhanusha, Parshuram got so angry that he wanted to punish Ram. However, he, considered to be one of the seven immortals, did nothing when Mohammed of Ghazni broke the Shivalinga at Somnath that was a greater sin. It is also amazing that the two incarnations of the same lord did not recognize each other let alone the improbability of their coexistence.
There can be no doubt that Parshuram was born before Rama and lived beyond him. Why could not he kill Ravana? He did go all the way to Kerala and could not have been unaware of the misdeeds of Ravana. He was also on this earth when Kamsa was killing Devaki’s sons. Why could not Parshuram kill Kamsa?
Parshuram is said to have possessed some knowledge (vidya) that he would not pass on to a non-Brahmin. If the supreme knowledge of Yoga could be given to Ikshvaku, a Kshatriya, (Gita, Ch.4, Verse 1) why could not Parshuram’s lesser knowledge be given to a non-Brahmin?
Karna lied to him and learnt it from him. However, when Parshuram found out that Karna was not a Brahmin, he cursed Karna to forget the knowledge just when it would be needed. Let us examine the implications of this part of Parshuram’s behavior.
Parshuram existed before Ram and until Karna who was a contemporary of Krishna. This was a very long duration spanning several centuries and may be millenniums. During this extremely long time frame, our Arya Sanskriti (culture), which we keep boasting about so profoundly, failed to create even one Brahmin whom Parshuram could find worthy to bestow his knowledge. As a result, combined with Parshuram’s narrow-mindedness, the knowledge got permanently lost to our people. Had it not been lost, we could have better defended ourselves against the onslaught of aggressors later on. This is why Parshuram’s worst fault was to have vanished (he did not die, did he?) without leaving his knowledge behind for the protection of our culture.
Vishnu is supposed to be omniscient. One would expect his incarnations to be omniscient too. If so, why could not Parshuram ‘know’ that Karna was a ‘sooryputra’ (son of Sun) and not a ‘sootaputra’ (son of a charioteer)? And the way he found out that Karna was not a Kshatriya was also disgusting. Why should he have been napping in Karna's lap? Why could he not nap with a pillow like everybody else?
When Ram and Krishna were born, Parshuram was already on the earth. If Vishnu was on the earth as Parshuram, why was it necessary to come separately as Ram and Krishna? Why could not he kill Ravana and Kamsa in his Parshuram incarnation?
Parshuram asked Gangeya, a Kshatriya, to marry Ambalika because the latter had kidnapped her. Gangeya declined. The two fought. Parshuram lost again (after having filed 21 times to eradicate all Kshatriyas from the earth) and therefore went away to the Himalayas. He is considered to be 'immortal' along with six others according to the following verse.
अश्वत्थामाबलिर्व्यासोहनुमांश्च विभीषण: ।
कृपश्चपरशुरामश्च सप्तैतेचिरंजीविन: ।।
What good has such immortality of Parshuram done to Hinduism? Most probably the dead bodies of these seven people were never found and therefore not cremated.