Tuesday, May 10, 2011

PDE Ramayana: Parashurama

Reading Guide. You will meet a fascinating character here: Parashurama, Axe-Rama (Parashu-Rama), who is also an avatar of Vishnu. Parashurama gives Rama another test, and as a result, Rama comes into possession of a new weapon. This is just one episode in the fascinating life of Parashurama; he also appears in the Mahabharata. You can find out more at Wikipedia. The "fiend" that Parashurama refers to is the thousand-armed Kartavirya.

Image: The image below shows Rama confronting Parashurama, who is depicted as gargantuan in size.

SourceThe Divine Archer by F. J. Gould (1911). [300 words]

Rama Wins Sita | 11. Parashurama | Wedding

But just then a strange and weird figure sprang upon the scene. It was a tall, bull-like man who had a bow in one hand and had tilted an axe over his shoulder. His body was bare except for a deerskin cloth about his loins. On his brow were marked three white lines that showed he worshipped the god Shiva. His hair was twisted in a knot. Flushed with rage, this hermit of the woods had come to see who had broken the god's bow.

The whole crowd bowed to him for his name was a name of terror to all the land. "Who has broken the bow? " he thundered.

"'Twas an old bow," replied Lakshmana, "which my brother snapped. Why be angry?"

"Wretch!" shrieked the hermit. "Do you talk thus of the sacred bow? Know you not that with my axe I cut off the thousand arms of a fiend?"

"Holy sir," said Lakshmana, "do not blow at me as if I could be puffed away."

"The madman who dares thus to speak shall be swallowed by the jaws of death!" The hermit would have smitten the youth with his terrible axe, but Rama stepped between, put his hands together in sign of respect, and sought by soft words to turn away the sage's wrath.

"If," said the hermit at last, "you are a hero indeed, draw this bow of Vishnu."

So saying, he handed to Rama his bow, the string hanging loose. No sooner had Rama touched it than the string fastened itself tight, ready for shooting a shaft! At this token of magic the hermit of the woods clasped his hands in homage: "Glory to the mighty Rama!"

Rama Wins Sita | Parashurama | Wedding

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