The Parashurama Interlude

As soon as the grand ceremony of Sita Rama marriage was over, Vishwamitra took leave, having performed his role in Sri Rama's story perfectly. He went away to resume his penance. Dasaratha and four recently weded couples started homeward jounery loaded with abundant gifts from Janaka.

On the way, Sage Parushurama confronted the party, breathing fire as it were and causing flutter all round. He was born a Bramin but had a Kshatriya's temper. He challenged Sri Rama saying that the Shiva-dhanush which he had broken was a damaged piece, frail, compared to the Vishnu-dhanush which he had inherited from his grandfather Richika.

Poor Dasaratha begged the axe-wielding Parashurama, a sworn enemy of the Kshatriya was a story of carnage. He brushed aside Dasaratha's plea and took Sri Rama head on.

Sri Rama was equal to the challenge. He seized the bow of Vishnu, which Parashurama proudly held in his hand, strung the bow and fitted an arrow to it. But Sri Rama would not kill Parashurama, an ascetic. He asked Parashurama to suggest a target. Now Sri Rama had taken the better of him, Parashurama surrendered the merits of his tapasya and all the higher worlds he had won, as the target for Sri Rama's arrow. He praised Sri Rama as Bhagavan Vishnu Himself. He then entrusted to Sri Rama the bow of Vishnu and went his own way to continue his tapasya.

Dasaratha breathed a sigh of relief. The entourage resumed its homeward jounery. Some scholars opine that the Parashurama avatara faded away after the confrontation with Sri Rama.

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