VISHWAMITRA AND PARASHURAMA
Vishwamitra and parashurama are different in their own ways. Vishwamitra was born as a king but went on to become the most venerable sage or a Brahmin. On the other hand, parashurama was born as a Brahmin but went on to become a terror to all kshatriyas as he was possessing the physical strength and the pride of a kshatriya. Quiet contrasting!!! A little insight into their parentage will open up an interesting story.
There was a king named Gadhi. He had a daughter by name Satyavati (not to be confused with the Satyavati of the mahabharatha) . Satyavati was a very beautiful and dutiful daughter. Once a rishi by names Richikar, a Brahmin, happened to meet her and asked if he could marry her. Satyavati’s father agreed and both of them were married. When Satyavati was planning to have a child, her husband Richikar was preparing a special dish that would give her a highly knowledgeable and sattvic Brahmana as their son. At the same time, Satyavati’s mother also wanted to have a son. She requested Richikar to make the special dish for her too. Richikar made a dish for the mother too. The dish he made for satyavati’s mother would give her a son who was great in valour and be a kshatirya befitting his clan. The mother of satyavati was indeed very calculative. She thought that the dish which Richikar made for his wife would definitely be the best and she exchanged it with her daughter. Both of them had the dish.
Richikar came to know of this, only after the dish was consumed by both the prospective mothers. As a result of this, he said that Satyavati’s mother whoud give birth to a son who would be a kshatriya by birth but a brahmana by choice. While his own wife, Satyavati, would give birth to a brahmana boy but the child would have the qualities of a kshtriya – angry, powerful and ferocious. Satyavati repented for her actions and pleased for mercy. Richkar replied that nothing could be done but the birth of this child could be postponed.
Hence, since Satyavati’s mother ate the dish which was static in nature, she gave birth to vishwamitra. Though vishwamitra was born as a kshatriya, he aimed at becoming a brahma rishi and lived up to the brahminical way of living.
Satyavati gave birth to a son who was called jamadagni. Jamadagni married Renuka devi and their son was Parashurama. Though parashurama was born as a Brahmin, he had the valour and ferocity of a kshatriya.
Thus, the exchange of a dish gave us two important characters who achieved the pinnacle of success in their own way. Parashurama is considered to be the 6th avataram of Lord Vishnu.