Rama, the Destroyer of Parashuram’s Ego

bhārgavadarpavināśaka rāma |
bhārgavadarpavināśaka rāma |

When Sri Ram broke Lord Shiva’s bow, the deafening sound that followed, echoed throughout the universe. The great sage Parashuram, armed with the Kodandha, the bow of Lord Vishnu, storms into the assembly enquiring as to what has happened. Upon discovering Shiva’s bow broken, Parashuram takes the act as a personal insult to himself and his beloved guru, Lord Shiva. The infuriated sage then threatens to wield his axe on the offender.

Parashuram is outraged and ready to avenge what he sees as an unforgivable sacrilege. His state is made worse by Lakshman, who provokes the angry sage with daring rejoinders, as the latter reproves the assembly. Being a kshatriya, Lakshman’s instincts are that of a warrior, and he refuses to be intimidated or shy away from confrontation with the sage. Lakshman finds the sage’s anger amusing and is ready to take up arms against him if necessary. At this point, when the sage is bursting with fury and ready to take on Lakshman, Sri Ram intervenes.

Lord Ram tries to appease the sage, by talking to him almost self-effacingly and with absolute respect, pleading that Lakshman’s words be looked upon as a child’s prattle by someone as revered as him. However, the sage takes Sri Ram’s diplomacy to be insulting to his intelligence. The sage’s pride has a firm grip on him, making combat seem inevitable. Anything that Lord Ram says, only infuriates him further, eventually leading the sage to hand Sri Ram his Vishnu bow, so that the prince can be armed for a duel. Sri Ram seizes the bow from Parshuram’s hand. The sage is stunned, knowing the bow Kodandha is as strong as Shiva’s bow itself, and realising how effortlessly Ram was able to take it from him. It slowly occurred to him that such a thing could only be possible on account of Sri Ram’s true divinity. Parashuram himself is an avatar of Lord Vishnu and instantly identifies the Lord in the human form of Ram. Realising this is no ordinary prince that stands before him, Parashuram pays his respects to Lord Ram and hands over the bow of Lord Vishnu to its rightful master.

Thus, the pride of the great sage Parashuram is subdued by Sri Ram’s divinity and he humbly transfers the responsibility of protecting the world onto the able shoulders of the young prince. A seeker too must surrender his ego at the altar of the Lord and focus on removing all the negative tendencies of the mind through devotion and meditation on the higher.

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Chinmaya Udghosh