Do you know that Brahmarishi Vishwamitra is related to Parashurama the great warrior sage who is the sixth incarnation of Lord Vishnu?
Their story starts with a king called Gadhi. Gadhi had a beautiful and intelligent daughter Satyavati.
Once a great sage called Ruchika came to the kingdom of Gadhi. When he entered the kingdom, he saw Princess Satyavati who was out with her maids. The sage was mesmerised with the princess.
The very next day he went to the King’s court.
‘Your Majesty! I am Ruchika, the son of Sage Chyavana.’ The king was thrilled in welcoming the sage. Chyavana was one of the most powerful sages in the world.
As the king enthusiastically welcomed the sage, the sage told the king about his mission. ‘I saw your daughter, Princess Satyavati yesterday….’ The sage said with glazed eyes. ‘She looks beautiful and is very intelligent. I am a sage….’ Ruchika said confidently, ‘By the power of my penance, I can keep your daughter very happy….If you and your daughter have no objections, I would like to marry her….’
Gadhi was taken aback. He certainly did not expect his daughter, who had been born and brought up in a palace to live like the wife of a hermit, in the forests. But then he could not downright refuse a sage.
He looked at the sage slyly, ‘Great sage! I am glad you want to marry my daughter. But before I give my daughter away, I request that you grant me a thousand white horses with one black ear!’
The king was confident that the sage would never be able to find more than ten such horses….
The unassuming Sage Ruchika left the kingdom and meditated on Lord Varuna. After a powerful meditation, Varuna appeared before him. Ruchika requested the Lord of the Ocean to give him a thousand pure white horses with one black ear.
By the power of the meditation, Varuna gave the sage the horses.
Gadhi was astounded when Sage Ruchika came for the second time with a thousand horses. He knew he did not have a choice in this matter. He gave his only daughter in marriage to the rishi.
Much to the surprise of everyone, Satyavati adjusted to the life in the hermitage very well. She was loved by everyone in the hermitage and around it. However she had one worry which was eating her.
Ruchika saw his worried wife and spoke to her. ‘Satyavati! I thought you were happy in the hermitage. Is there something wrong? You were happy…now…something is bothering you…’
Satyavati sadly nodded her head. ‘You have been keeping me very happy here and I am happy beyond my wildest dreams…But you need to understand…I am worried about my father!’
Ruchika looked surprised at his wife, ‘What is wrong with your father?’
Satyavati looked unhappily at the sage, ‘My father…I am the only child of my father….And I am now in this hermitage….My father has no one who will look after the kingdom after him….’
Ruchika smiled at his wife, ‘If you had told me this earlier, I would have solved your problem earlier…’ By the power of his meditation he picked up two potions and handed them over to his wife. ‘Give this potion to your mother! This potion has the power of the warrior’s energy stored in it…The child born would be a powerful warrior and a good king…’ Satyavati gladly nodded her head as the sage picked up the second potion. ‘This my dear is for you…This has the power of the sages stored in it…The child which would be born from it, would be a powerful rishi…’ Satyavati looked shyly at her husband as she took the potions.
She told her mother all about the two potions and gave the warrior’s potion to her mother….However Satyavati’s mother was doubtful…She did not believe the sage….I am sure that sage would love his wife more than he would care about me…I am sure the other potion would give a better child than the one he has given me….So Gadhi’s wife interchanged the potions.
So Satyavati drank the warrior’s potion and Gadhi’s wife drank the sage’s potion….
Born to Gadhi’s wife was Kaushika. The story of Kaushika is very famous in Hindu mythology. He was the king who fought with Sage Vasishta for the heavenly cow Nandini. Kaushika was humiliated when he was defeated by the power of Sage Vasishta’s penance. Disgusted Kaushika gave up his kingdom and decided to become a sage.
Kaushika was no normal sage. By the power of his penance, Kaushika became Brahmarishi Vishwamitra.
True to the Ruchika’s power, though the child was born as a king,the child grew up and went on to become one of the most powerful rishis ever….
As Satyavati had a child in her womb, Ruchika was surprised…The aura emanating from his wife was not that he had expected. He looked at his wife. ‘My dear! The child….the child in your womb…It does not have the aura of a sage…in fact it looks like a warrior…’ Satyavati was surprised as Ruchika using the powers of his mind sensed what Satyavati’s mother had done.
Ruchika told Satyavati everything that her mother had done.
Satyavati looked at Ruchika, ‘NO! I do not wish for the child to be a warrior! Please, change it…please, I do not want to be the mother of a warrior! I want him to be like you…a great sage one who is well versed in the Vedhas and the Scriptures…’
Ruchika looked at his wife and sadly nodded his head. ‘Because you ask for it, I can only make sure that your child is not a warrior….But the power of the warrior cannot just go away….At the best I can just shift it by one generation….If not your child, then your grandchild will be a warrior!’
Satyavati agreed to it gladly. So Ruchika using the fruits of his penance, took away the warrior powers in the child. The child born to Ruchika and Satyavati was Sage Jamadagni. He was a great sage, who was one of the Saptarishis of the world….
However such a power could not be totally taken away. It was only shifted by one generation. Jamadagni’s son was Parashurama, [In Sanskrit it literally means the Rama with the axe].
True to Ruchika’s power, Parashurama though born to a sage was one of the greatest warriors in the world. It is believed that he was an incarnation of Lord Narayana, born to destroy all the kings in the world, because they had become haughty and arrogant.
Parashurama’s fighting prowess is out of the world. It is believed that he got the world rid of the haughty and arrogant kings and warriors 21 times.
There were very few warriors who could match the power of Parashurama. Bheeshma, the grandsire of the Mahabharatha was one of the few people whom Parashurama considered his equal.
However Parashurama was stopped by another Avatar of Lord Vishnu – Lord Rama of Ayodhya.
When Parashurama met Rama, Parashurama realized that it was no longer necessary to destroy the warriors and kings of the world. After meeting Rama, it is believed that Parashurama left the realm of humans never to come back.