The antecedents leading to the birth of Jamadagni, his son Parasurama and of Vishwamitra related by Sage Suka in the Bhagavata Purana reflects the truth that through divine grace and the power of Vedic mantras, one could obtain worthy off-springs according to one’s desire, pointed out Sri B. Damodhara Dikshitar in a discourse.

Sage Richika wishes to marry a Kshatriya princess Satyavati, daughter of King Gadhi. Seeing this as an unsuitable match, Gadhi sets a difficult demand. The sage should give a present of a thousand white horses each with a black ear. But the sage propitiates Varuna and obtains these horses and marries Satyavati. He now wishes to get an offspring who would have the best traits of a Brahmin and prepares a special sacrificial offering consecrated with mantras for this purpose. Gadhi too wishes to have a son endowed with the excellent traits of a Kshatriya warrior and requests Richika to prepare another such suitable offering for his wife. Two separate dishes with two different sets of mantras are prepared. But Satyavati and her mother interchange the offerings meant for each of them without knowing the significance. When Satyavati is told of the implications of her act, she pleads with her husband to avert the consequence. The rishi consoles Satyavati but points out that the power of mantras cannot be nullified. At best he could postpone the effect by one generation.

So Jamadagni is born to Satyavati. Parasurama, believed to be an incarnation of the Lord, is born to Jamadagni and Renuka. Parasurama vows to punish the Kshatriya race for their moral transgressions.

Gadhi’s wife for her part gives birth to Vishwamitra who is endowed with a rare splendour and brilliance. Through penance he gets himself elevated from the state of Kshatriya to that of a Brahmarishi.

More In: Faith | Friday Review