Parasurama is one of the Avatars of Vishnu. Parasurama (axe-wielding Rama) is an avataar (incarnation) of Vishnu. Among the ten avataars prominently counted, this is the sixth. Parasurama is the son of saint Jamadagni. He did penance about Lord Shiva and got an axe from him as weapon.
Once, a king by the name of Kaartaveerya-arjuna visited the hermitage of Jamadagni, along with his army during the course of a hunting trip in the forest. Jamadagni arranged to feed his guest and his vast army with the help of his divine cow. Amazed at this, the king became greedy and wanted the cow to be given to him. Jamadagni refused, saying that the cow is required in the performance of religious rites. The king sent his soldiers and forcibly took the cow away to his city. Hearing this, Parasurama went to the king's place and destroyed his army and finally killed the king with his axe. In retaliation, the sons of Kaartaveerya-arjuna killed Jamadagni by beheading him while in meditation and at that time Parasurama was not at home When Parasurama’s father (Jamadagni) was beheaded by a Kshatriya King, his mother Renuka, cried in anguish: "Rama! Rama! Parasurama, who was away from the ashram(hermitage) could ethereally hear the cries of his mother from afar and rushed home. He counted that his mother had called him twenty-one times. On reaching the ashram he saw his father’s head severed from his body. The horrible crime had been committed by the king Kartavirya’s sons. Parasurama took a vow to wage a war against the vile kshatriya rulers twenty-one times and end their rule on earth. Parasurama accomplished his mission by defeating the Kshatriya kings twenty-one times and came to his ashram to pray to his ancestors for restoring his father’s life. The sage Bharadwaja, to whose gotra (lineage) Jamadagni belonged, appeared before Parasurama and restored Jamadagni to life by placing the head and body together.
After this, Parasurama felt that the purpose of his advent had been achieved as he had no desire to be a ruler, he made a gift of all the territories he had conquered to the sage Kashyapa. He felt that having given away everything, it would not be right for him to live on the land he had gifted. When Vishnu incarnated as Rama (the hero of Ramayana), Parasurama had to submit before him as his avataara-kaarya (mission) was over. He then surrendered to Rama, gave away all his punya-lokas (the fruits of his good deeds) to Rama and became an ordinary saint, and is said to be still living on Mahendra parvata, spending time in penance, as he is a Chiranjeevi. It is said that Parasurama will become one of the Saptarishis (seven great saints who will direct the mankind towards dharma) in the next Manvantara.
Dasakam: 036 -- Shlokam: 01
अत्रे: पुत्रतया पुरा त्वमनसूयायां हि दत्ताभिधो
जात: शिष्यनिबन्धतन्द्रितमना: स्वस्थश्चरन् कान्तया ।
दृष्टो भक्ततमेन हेहयमहीपालेन तस्मै वरा-
नष्टैश्वर्यमुखान् प्रदाय ददिथ स्वेनैव चान्ते वधम् ॥१॥
atreH putratayaa puraa tvamanasuuyaayaaM hi dattaabhidhO
jaataH shiShyanibandhatandritamanaaH svasthashcharan kaantayaa |
dR^iShTO bhaktatamena hehayamahiipaalena tasmai varaan
aShTaishvarya mukhaan pradaaya daditha svenaiva chaante vadham || 1
Long ago Thou were born as Dattatreya to the sage Atri and Anasooyaa. Mentally tired by the pesterings of Thy various disciples, Thou wandered about with Thy wife immersed in blissful peace. Thus Thou were seen by the great devotee Kaartaviryaarjuna, the king of Hehaya. Pleased, Thou bestowed on him all psychic powers consisting of the eight Sidhis and also promised him death at Thy hands in the end.
Dasakam: 036 -- Shlokam: 02
सत्यं कर्तुमथार्जुनस्य च वरं तच्छक्तिमात्रानतं
ब्रह्मद्वेषि तदाखिलं नृपकुलं हन्तुं च भूमेर्भरम् ।
सञ्जातो जमदग्नितो भृगुकुले त्वं रेणुकायां हरे
रामो नाम तदात्मजेष्ववरज: पित्रोरधा: सम्मदम् ॥२॥
satyaM kartumathaarjunasya cha varaM tachChakti maatraanataM
brahmadveShi tadaakhilaM nR^ipakulaM hantuM cha bhuumerbharam |
sa~njaatO jamadagnitO bhR^igukule tvaM reNukaayaaM hare
raamO naama tadaatmajeShvavarajaH pitrOradhaassammadam ||2
Oh Hari ! To fulfill the boon given to Kaartaviryaarjuna, who oppressed Brahmins and hadbecome a burden on earth, and were restrained only by Arjuna's might, Thou were born to Jamadagni and Renuka in the line of the Bhrigus, by the name Raama. Thou were the youngest among Jamadagni's sons and gave Thy parents great joy.
Dasakam: 036 -- Shlokam: 03
लब्धाम्नायगणश्चतुर्दशवया गन्धर्वराजे मना-
गासक्तां किल मातरं प्रति पितु: क्रोधाकुलस्याज्ञया ।
ताताज्ञातिगसोदरै: सममिमां छित्वाऽथ शान्तात् पितु-
स्तेषां जीवनयोगमापिथ वरं माता च तेऽदाद्वरान् ॥३॥
labdhaamnaayagaNashchaturdashavayaaH gandharvaraaje manaagaasaktaaM
kila maataraM prati pituH krOdhaakulasyaaj~nayaa |
taataaj~naatigasOdaraiH samamimaaM Chitvaa(a)tha shaantaat pitusteShaaM
jiivanayOgamaapitha varaM maataa cha te(a)daadvaraan ||3By the age of fourteen years Thou acquiered the knowledge of the Vedas. Thy father was greatly enraged with Thy mother who was a little bit attached to the Gandharva king Chitraratha. By the command of Thy father Thou cut of Thy mother's head and also of Thy brothers' as they had failed to carry out the same order of Thy father. After Thy father had calmed down, as a boon from him, Thou got to restore them to life. Thy mother also being pleased gave Thee boons.
Dasakam: 036 -- Shlokam: 04
पित्रा मातृमुदे स्तवाहृतवियद्धेनोर्निजादाश्रमात्
प्रस्थायाथ भृगोर्गिरा हिमगिरावाराध्य गौरीपतिम् ।
लब्ध्वा तत्परशुं तदुक्तदनुजच्छेदी महास्त्रादिकं
प्राप्तो मित्रमथाकृतव्रणमुनिं प्राप्यागम: स्वाश्रमम् ॥४॥
pitraa maatR^imude stavaahR^itaviyaddhenOrnijaadaashramaat
prasthaayaatha bhR^igOrgiraa himagiraavaaraadhya gauriipatim |
labdhvaa tatparashuM taduktadanujachChedii mahaastraadikaM
praaptO mitramathaakR^itavraNamuniM praapyaagamaH svaashramam ||4
To please Thy mother Renuka, Thy father Jamadagni, brought by prayer the heavenly cow Kaamdhenu to his aashrama. On the advice of Bhrigu, Thou set out from Thy aashrama to the Himaalayaa and worshipped Shiva. Thou were bestowed with his battle-axe and other various divine missiles, and killed the asura pointed out by him.Then making friends with sage Akritvrana, Thou returned to Thy aashrama.
Dasakam: 036 -- Shlokam: 05
स्त्वत्पित्रा परिपूजित: पुरगतो दुर्मन्त्रिवाचा पुन: ।
गां क्रेतुं सचिवं न्ययुङ्क्त कुधिया तेनापि रुन्धन्मुनि-
प्राणक्षेपसरोषगोहतचमूचक्रेण वत्सो हृत: ॥५॥
aakheTOpagatO(a)rjunaH suragavii sampraaptasampadgaNaiH
tvatpitraa paripuujitaH puragatO durmanitra vaachaa punaH |
gaaM kretuM sachivaM nyayunkta kudhiyaa tenaapi rundhanmunipraaNakshepa
sarOSha gOhata chamuuchakreNa vatsO hR^itaH ||5Once, when Kartaveeryarjuna had come hunting to the forest, Thy father welcomed him as his guest and showered on him the various treasures given by the celestial cow. On returning to his capital, he was wrongly advised by his evil-minded minister and he sent a minister to purchase the cow, but Thy father did not agree to sell it. So he tried to take her away by force and killed the sage when he tried to stop him. Kamadhenu,overcome by rage, produced hosts of warriors from her body, who destroyed the minister’s army, but in the confusion the minister abducted her calf
Dasakam: 036 -- Shlokam: 06
शुक्रोज्जीविततातवाक्यचलितक्रोधोऽथ सख्या समं
बिभ्रद्ध्यातमहोदरोपनिहितं चापं कुठारं शरान् ।
आरूढ: सहवाहयन्तृकरथं माहिष्मतीमाविशन्
वाग्भिर्वत्समदाशुषि क्षितिपतौ सम्प्रास्तुथा: सङ्गरम् ॥६॥
shukrOjjiivita taatavaakya chalita krOdhO(a)tha sakhyaa samaM
vibhraddhyaata mahOdarOpanihitaM chaapaM kuThaaraM sharaan |
vaagbhirvatsamadaashuShi kshitipatau sampraastuthaaH sangaram ||6
Thy father was brought back to life by Shukraachaarya. When Thy father related the whole incident Thou were very angry. With Thy friend Akritavrana Thou meditated upon Mahodara who then equipped Thee with bow, arrows and the battle axe. Boarding the chariot with the horses and the charioteer, Thou entered Maahishmati. Even when the king was requested, he did not give the calf back, Thou started the battle.
Dasakam: 036 -- Shlokam: 07
भीतिप्रद्रुतनष्टशिष्टतनयस्त्वामापतत् हेहय: ॥७॥
mitra nivahairvyaajR^imbhitaayOdhanaH |
sadyastvatka kuThaara baaNa vidalannishsheSha sainyOtkarO
bhiitipradrutanaShTashiShTatanaya stvaamaapatad hehayaH ||7
The lord of Hehayas, Kartaveeryarjuna, encountered Thee on the battlefield with his ten thousand sons, seventeen divisions of army, powerful army chiefs and numerous friends, but Thou destoyed them all in no time, with Thy axe and arrows. Many run away in fear and many others were killed; the king then attacked Thee with his remaining sons.
Dasakam: 036 -- Shlokam: 08
श्रीमद्बाहुसहस्रमुक्तबहुशस्त्रास्त्रं निरुन्धन्नमुम् ।
चक्रे त्वय्यथ वैष्णवेऽपि विफले बुद्ध्वा हरिं त्वां मुदा
ध्यायन्तं छितसर्वदोषमवधी: सोऽगात् परं ते पदम् ॥८॥
liilaavaarita narmadaajalavalallankesha garvaapahashriimadbaahu
sahasramukta bahushastraastraM nirundhannamum |
chakre tvayyatha vaiShNave(a)pi viphale buddhvaa hariM tvaaM mudaa
dhyaayantaM ChitasarvadOShamavadhiiH sO(a)gaat paraM te padam ||8
Kartaveeryarjuna, who had a thousand powerful arms was well known for his mighty feats. Once while sporting in the waters of the river Narmada, he had stopped the flow of water by using his thousand hands to form a dam; he had even curbed the pride ofRavana, who was performing a worship on the banks of the Narmada, by immersing him in the waters, making him breathless. Now with these thousand mighty hands, he fired numerous missiles and weapons on Thee. When all these and even the disc of Vishnu, that he sent turned out to be futile against Thy strength, he realized that Thou wert none other than Hari himself and he was overjoyed. He meditated on Thee and was at once liberated from all his sins. Thou killed him and he attained salvation in Thy supreme abode, Vaikunta.
Dasakam: 036 -- Shlokam: 09
भूयोऽमर्षितहेहयात्मजगणैस्ताते हते रेणुका-
माघ्नानां हृदयं निरीक्ष्य बहुशो घोरां प्रतिज्ञां वहन् ।
ध्यानानीतरथायुधस्त्वमकृथा विप्रद्रुह: क्षत्रियान्
दिक्चक्रेषु कुठारयन् विशिखयन् नि:क्षत्रियां मेदिनीम् ॥९॥
bhuuyO(a)marShita hehayaatmajagaNaistaate hate reNukaa
maaghnaanaaM hR^idayaM niriikshya bahushO ghOraaM pratij~naaM vahan |
dhyaanaaniitarathaayudhastvamakR^ithaa vipradruhaH kshatriyaan
dikchakreShu kuThaarayan vishikhayan niHkshatriyaaM mediniim ||9
Overcome by rage at the killing of their father by Thee, the remaining sons of Kartaveeryarjuna killed Thy father in revenge. Unable to bear the sight of Thy mother Renuka, beating her breast and weeping for Thy father, Thou took a terrible oath to kill all Kshatriyas, who hated Brahmins. Through meditation, Thou acquired a chariot and weapons, and massacred all Kshatriyas with axe and arrows, clearing the earth of their presence in all directions.
Dasakam: 036 -- Shlokam: 10
तातोज्जीवनकृन्नृपालककुलं त्रिस्सप्तकृत्वो जयन्
सन्तर्प्याथ समन्तपञ्चकमहारक्तहृदौघे पितृन्
यज्ञे क्ष्मामपि काश्यपादिषु दिशन् साल्वेन युध्यन् पुन:
कृष्णोऽमुं निहनिष्यतीति शमितो युद्धात् कुमारैर्भवान् ॥१०॥
taatOjjiivanakR^innR^ipaalakakulaM trissaptakR^itvO jayan
santarpyaatha samantapa~nchaka mahaaraktahradaughe pitR^In |
yaj~ne kshmaamapi kaashyapaadiShu dishan saalvena yudhyan punaH
kR^iShNO(a)muM nihaniShyatiiti shamitO yudbaatkumaarairbhavaan ||10
Thy father was revived and Thou defeated the clan of kings twenty one times. Thou then performed tarpana to the ancestors in the vast lake of blood named Samant Panchaka. In the sacrifice Thou also gave away land to Kaashyapa and other Rishis. Thou fighting again with Saalva, refrained, on being restrained by Sanata Kumaars who told Thee that he was destined to be killed by Krishna.
Dasakam: 036 -- Shlokam: 11
न्यस्यास्त्राणि महेन्द्रभूभृति तपस्तन्वन् पुनर्मज्जितां
गोकर्णावधि सागरेण धरणीं दृष्ट्वार्थितस्तापसै: ।
ध्यातेष्वासधृतानलास्त्रचकितं सिन्धुं स्रुवक्षेपणा-
दुत्सार्योद्धृतकेरलो भृगुपते वातेश संरक्ष माम् ॥११॥
nyasyaastraaNi mahendrabhuubhR^iti tapastanvan punarmajjitaaM
gOkarNaavadhi saagareNa dharaNiiM dR^iShTvaarthitastaapasaiH |
dhyaateShvaasadhR^itaanalaastra chakitaM sindhuM sruvakshepaNaadutsaaryOddhR^
itakeralO bhR^igupate vaatesha sanraksha maam ||11
Oh Lord! Then throwing away all missiles, Thou did penance on the Mahendra mountain. The earth was submerged up to Gokarna in the ocean; so thesages entreated Thee for help. Through Thy power of meditation, Thou acquired bowand arrow and aimed the missile of fire at the ocean; the lord of the ocean shaken by fear, started to withdraw; Thou threw the sacrificial ladle, the Sruva, into the ocean and brought up the land of Kerala, beyond which the waters of the ocean receded. Oh Lord Guruvayurappa ! May Thou of such wonderful exploits, protect me.