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Read about Jamadagni at Wikipedia

JAMADAGNI. [Source: Dowson's Classical Dictionary of Hindu Mythology] A Brahman and a descendant of Bhrigu. He was the son of Richika and Satyavati, and was the father of five sons, the youngest and most renowned of whom was Parasurama.

Jamadagni’s mother, Satyavati, was daughter of King Gadhi, a Kshatriya. The Vishnu Purana relates that when Satyavati was pregnant, her Brahman husband, Richika, prepared a mess for her to eat for the purpose of securing that her son should be born with the qualities of a Brahman. He also gave another mess to her mother that she might bear a son with the character of a warrior. The women changed the messes, and so Jamadagni, the son of Richika, was born as a warrior-Brahman, and Vishvamitra, son of the Kshatriya Gadhi, was born as a priest.

The Mahabharata relates that Jamadagni engaged deeply in study and “obtained entire possession of the Vedas.” He went to King Renu or Prasenajit of the Solar race and demanded of him his daughter Renuka. The king gave her to him, and he retired with her to his hermitage, where the princess shared in his ascetic life. She bore him five sons, Rumanwat, Sushena, Vasu, Vishvavasu, and Parasurama, and she was exact in the performance of all her duties.

One day she went out to bathe and beheld a loving pair sporting and dallying in the water. Their pleasure made her feel envious, so she was “defiled by unworthy thoughts, and returned wetted but not purified by the stream.” Her husband beheld her “fallen from perfection and shorn of the luster of her sanctity.” He reproved her and was exceeding wroth. His sons came into the hermitage in the order of their birth, and he commanded each of them in succession to kill his mother. Influenced by maternal affection, four of them held their peace and did nothing. Their father cursed them and they became idiots bereft of all understanding. When Parasurama entered, he obeyed his father’s order and struck off his mother’s head with his axe. The deed assuaged the father’s anger, and he desired his son to make a request. Parasurama begged that his mother might be restored to life in purity, and that his brothers might regain their natural condition. All this the father granted.

The mighty Kartavirya, king of the Haihayas, who had a thousand arms, paid a visit to the hermitage of Jamadagni. The sage and his sons were out, but his wife treated her guest with all proper respect. Unmindful of the hospitality he had received, Kartavirya threw down the trees round the hermitage, and carried off the calf of the sacred cow, Surabhi, which Jamadagni had acquired by penance. Parasurama returned and discovered what had happened, he then pursued Kartavirya, cut off his thousand arms with arrows, and killed him. The sons of Kartavirya went in revenge to the hermitage of Jamadagni, and in the absence of Parasurama slew the pious sage without pity. When Parasurama found the lifeless body of his father, he laid it on a funeral pile, and vowed that he would extirpate the Kshatriya race. He slew all the sons of Kartavirya, and “thrice seven times” he cleared the earth of the Kshatriya caste.

Modern Languages MLLL-4993. Indian Epics. Laura Gibbs, Ph.D. The textual material made available at this website is licensed under a Creative Commons License. You must give the original author credit. You may not use this work for commercial purposes. If you alter, transform, or build upon this work, you may distribute the resulting work only under a license identical to this one. No claims are made regarding the status of images used at this website; if you own the copyright privileges to any of these images and believe your copyright privileges have been violated, please contact the webmaster. Page last updated: October 16, 2007 12:22 PM