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Paraśurāma


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(in Mahābhārata) (‘

According to the Vaiṣṇava Purāṇic texts and the Mahābhārata, Paraśurāma is the sixth avatāra of Viṣṇu; he owes his name to his decapitation of twenty generations of kṣatriyas in revenge for the killing of his brahmin father, the Bhārgava Jamadagni. He therefore re-establishes the proper varṇa hierarchy, as conceived by the brahmins. Other stories are told of him: in one, on the order of his father, he beheads his mother, Reṇukā, but, since this proves his obedience, he is allowed to replace her head and bring her back to life.

Subjects: Hinduism.


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